Green Time

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"We are going to exit the fossil fuel era."

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.  

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.  
"We are going to exit the fossil fuel era. It is inevitable." - Elon Musk

100% renewable energy worldwide isn’t just possible, it’s more cost-effective than existing system

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Solar-Powered Kettle Chips Will Help Test Renewable Energy Batteries In Salem

Solar-Powered Kettle Chips Will Help Test Renewable Energy Batteries In Salem
Ecotrope | May 31, 2013 11:08 a.m. | Updated: May 31, 2013 1:16 p.m.

Cassandra Profita
Courtesy of Portland General Electric

The Salem Smart Power Center opens today with the battery power of 1,440 electric cars. A room full of batteries, shown here, will be used to store renewable energy when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining so it can be used later when power is in short supply.

Kettle Brand has enough solar panels on the roof of its Salem plant to make 250,000 bags of Kettle Chips. But they only work when the sun is out.

When clouds block the sun from reaching solar panels, the renewable power generation at the Kettle Chips plant takes a dive.

A new smart grid project launching today in Salem is aiming to fill the gaps in solar power at the Kettle Chips plant with renewable energy stored in a room full of lithium ion batteries. The batteries are housed in a new facility called the Salem Smart Power Center, which can store up to 5 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 3,500 homes. It's a breakthrough in smart grid technology, though it's just starting up as a demonstration project.

"This is the first of its kind in the nation and in the industry," said Kevin Whitener, smart grid project manager for Portland General Electric. "We're used to calling upon energy sources when we need them, but sun and wind aren't great for that. With this project, we can take that sun and wind energy and store it so it can be available when our customers want to use it."

The Kettle Foods potato chip factory in Salem has 616 solar panels on its roof, but the amount of power they produce fluctuates with the availability of the sun.

PGE's Salem Smart Power Center holds promise for resolving the Northwest springtime power conflicts between wind and hydropower, when dams are wind farms together produce more power than the region needs. It could also store wind power generated at night, when power demand is low, and release it during the day when power use peaks. Long term, it could help wind and solar power compete with other sources of electricity that offer a steadier, more reliable source of power.

Battery storage could save utilities money at times when they would otherwise have to shut down wind turbines, sell renewable power at a discount when it's not needed or buy extra power to meet high electricity demand, Whitener said. Those savings, and any income from selling stored power at a higher price when it's most needed could justify the $23 million cost of building the storage facility.

PGE will be working with the Kettle Chips plant to test whether battery power can fill in for solar panels when the sun isn't shining.

The main production facility for Kettle Chips is in Salem.

Kettle Brand has had a 114 kilowatt solar array on the roof of its potato chip plant since 2003. You can see how the power supply from the plant's 616 solar panels fluctuates in the graphs generated by this online monitor.

The solar signal from those panels will tell the Salem Smart Power Center when to release electricity from its batteries to make up for dips in solar supply.

"The output from that system is simply coming and going as the sun rises and sets or the clouds pass over the factory," said Whitener. "The solar output from that system is not always 114 kilowatts. It varies all over the place – from zero up to 114 kilowatts.

"We can have a bright sunny day but you can still get that one cloud that passes overhead and causes that power drops down to zero in a matter of seconds. What do you do with those resources that come and go in a one-second time frame? That's what our energy storage facility can do. As solar output drops down for some random period of time, we can fill in that gap. It smooths out the curve and makes it look like it was steady."

The Smart Power Center will also work with the state of Oregon to use batteries to keep electricity flowing during power outages, with help from the state's back-up generators.


IBM solar collector magnifies sun by 2,000x

IBM solar collector magnifies sun by 2,000x (without cooking itself), costs 3x less than similar systems


Cleverly combining solar PV with solar thermal to reach 80% conversion efficiency

Concentrating the sun's ray onto solar photovoltaic (PV) modules requires walking the fine line between optimizing power output and not literally melting your very expensive super-high-efficiency solar cells. A team led by IBM Research seems to have found a way to push back the line. They have created a High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns onto hundreds of triple junction photovoltaic chips measuring a single square centimeter each (they even claim to be able to keep temperatures safe up to 5,000x). The trick is that each solar PV cell is cooled using technology developed for supercomputers; microchannels inspired by blood vessels but only a few tens of micrometers in width pipe liquid coolant in and extract heat "10 times more effective than with passive air cooling."

Waste not

The beauty is that this heat is not just thrown away. This system gets useful work out of it. So while the PV modules are 30%+ efficient at converting the sun's light into electricity, another 50% of the sun's energy is captured as heat and can then be used to do things like thermal water desalination and adsorption cooling. This means that the system is capable of converting around 80% of the collected solar energy into useable energy (though the electricity is of course more useful than the thermal energy).© IBM

A single collector can produce about 25 kilowatts of electricity. Below is a closeup of some PV cells where the light is being concentrated. Notice the piping to bring the liquid coolant.


In the video below, IBM research scientist Bruno Michel gives an overview of the project:


Keeping costs low

It's great to see that efforts have been made to kind costs low. Some parts are very high-tech, but others are decidedly not:
"The design of the system is elegantly simple," said Andrea Pedretti , chief technology officer at Airlight Energy. "We replace expensive steel and glass with low cost concrete and simple pressurized metalized foils. The small high-tech components, in particular the microchannel coolers and the molds, can be manufactured in Switzerland with the remaining construction and assembly done in the region of the installation. This leads to a win-win situation where the system is cost competitive and jobs are created in both regions."
They are targeting a cost below $250 per square meter, which would be three-times lower than comparable systems and bring "levelized cost of energy" to less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh). At this price, it would be a good fit for Southern Europe, Africa, the Arabic peninsula, the southwestern United States, South America, and Australia.


Via 300,000 mirrors: World's largest thermal solar plant (377MW) under construction in the Mojave

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Izhar cardboard bike project on Vimeo

Izhar cardboard bike project on Vimeo

ERB provides a full-spectrum of customized financial services for start-up, high-tech, financial, commercial and multi-national clients. For close to two decades our more than 60 strong multi-disciplinary team of management and finance consultants has been providing financial guidance and support to over 300 companies operating in Israel.

The firm has a proven track record for working with and supporting start-up companies and helping them grow. Over the years, ERB has accompanied their clients in raising hundreds of millions of dollars. ERB has also been involved in its clients’ M&A transactions amounting to over one billion dollars. Known for being astute, quick to respond, transparent and professional, clients trust the ERB team to effectively manage the financial aspects of their operations. The advantages are clear: 1) Reducing expenditures by outsourcing financial services; 2) More time for the client to focus on what they do best; and, 3) The peace of mind of knowing that the company’s finances are in good hands.


Izhar cardboard bike project

Film-maker & producer: Giora Kariv. Photography: Uri Ackerman

Contact for the bike:

For more information and content about this project:

ERB in Facebook:

ERB in Twitter:

Izhar cardboard bike project on Vimeo

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small is Beautiful

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Eco Power Africa - A Mini Power Grid Startup

Eco Power answers a need for more mini-grid energy startups across the continent.Their product could be self built or purchased:
The GEK gasifier which is designed to consume kilos, not tons of biomass daily. The GEK gasifier is clearly a winner for those who have plenty of biomass lying about, such as lumber sawmills, farmers or food processors. Other entrepreneurs will have to obtain biomass. Since biomass is waste by-product, the main expense will not be the biomass itself but transporting it to the gasifier.
A need for decentralized micro-grids:
the solution is modeled on the telecom breakthrough in Africa. Following the central-station model as practiced in the West meant that Africa had no tele–communications for decades. Cellular telephone technology allowed local entrepreneurs to build small, cheap, and rapidly deployable cell towers. Cellular technology enabled Africa to avoid replicating the expensive centralized model.

The same can be done with electricity generation. Instead of investing billions in constructing major power stations, transmission towers, and distribution and metering infrastructure, it is much easier to deploy micro-to-small power generating nodes that will supply electricity efficiently on a localized basis.

By default, power generation in most of Africa is already Distributed Generation. Institutions and individuals that can afford it use diesel genrators. But diesel is much too expensive, inefficient and polluting.

Because there is no readily available distribution network for conventional fossil fuels – gas, oil or coal – distributed generation in Africa will depend on the advent of green technologies.

EcoPower Africa’s solution is to generate electricity with locally available biomass fuel, making electricity much more affordable.
Coupled with biogas generation, mini-grids like these could solve the energy power generation problem. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CHART OF THE DAY: The American Paycheck Now Buys Half As Much Gas As It Did 10 Years Ago - Business Insider

 Eye Opening Chart:  We all feel it at the pump but this simple picture  tells the story of your irritation every time you pull up to the pumps.

Over the last decade, the price of gas has moved higher while wages have been driven lower.

Here's a sad chart plotting how many gallons of gasoline can be bought at average U.S. hourly wage since 1998, from Reuters by way of Marc Chandler.

chart of the day, gallons of gasoline that could be bought with an hour's worth of wages, septemberg 2012

Follow Money Game Chart Of The Day and never miss an update!

Read more:

CHART OF THE DAY: The American Paycheck Now Buys Half As Much Gas As It Did 10 Years Ago - Business Insider

CHART OF THE DAY: The American Paycheck Now Buys Half As Much Gas As It Did 10 Years Ago - Business Insider

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Make Renewable Energy Competitive

How to Make Renewable Energy Competitive



Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.

These tax incentives, and the Congressional battle over extending them for wind projects beyond the end of this year, mean that other, more powerful policies to promote renewables are not getting the attention they deserve. If renewable energy is going to become fully competitive and a significant source of energy in the United States, then further technological innovation must be accompanied by financial innovation so that clean energy sources gain access to the same low-cost capital that traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas enjoy.

Two financial mechanisms that have driven investment in traditional energy projects — real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — could, with some help from Washington, be extended to renewable energy projects to lower their cost and make America’s energy future cleaner, cheaper — and more democratic.

Federal support for renewable energy today consists primarily of two tax breaks: tax credits and accelerated depreciation rates. But both tools have a very limited reach. Only investors with hefty tax bills, typically big banks or corporations, can exploit them to reduce their tax burden. Most potential investors, including tax-exempt pension funds and, importantly, retail investors trading stocks, don’t have big enough tax bills to exploit the break. As a result, the few remaining players whose considerable tax bills place them in the market for tax breaks are able to demand returns of up to 30 percent for investing in renewable energy projects — an investment known as “tax equity.”

There are better options. They may sound wonky, but they could prove revolutionary.

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, which are traded publicly like stocks, could tap far broader pools of capital to vastly lower the cost of financing renewable energy. REITs have a market capitalization of over $440 billion while paying shareholders average dividends below 10 percent — roughly a third of the cost of tax equity investments for renewable energy.

Master limited partnerships carry the fund-raising advantages of a corporation: ownership interests are publicly traded and offer investors the liquidity, limited liability and dividends of classic corporations. Their market capitalization exceeds $350 billion. With average dividends of just 6 percent, these investment vehicles could substantially reduce the cost of financing renewables.

But current law makes using both of these investment vehicles for renewable energy difficult if not impossible. Washington could help in two ways. First, the Internal Revenue Service needs to clarify the eligibility of renewable power generation for REIT financing. Second, Congress needs to fix a bizarre distinction in the tax code that bars master limited partnerships from investing in “inexhaustible” natural resources like the sun and wind, while allowing investments in exhaustible resources like coal and natural gas. In 2008, as surging gasoline prices were infuriating American voters, Congress amended the tax code to enable master limited partnerships to invest in alternative transportation fuels like ethanol. We should treat power sources, like wind and solar farms, similarly.

There is hope. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, plans to introduce a bill to allow master limited partnership investment in renewable energy. This approach is preferable to a recent proposal by Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, to eliminate this investment option for fossil-fuel projects. Both moves would level the playing field between conventional and renewable energy, but the Coons bill does so by promoting, rather than limiting, economic growth across the energy industry.

These approaches could help renewable energy projects reduce their financing costs up to fivefold. These cost improvements could significantly reduce the price of renewable electricity and, over time, erase the need for costlier subsidies. Of course, making renewable energy eligible for master limited partnership and REIT financing would amount to a new kind of subsidy, because both are exempt from income tax. Indeed, some members of Congress fear that expanding master limited partnerships will erode the federal tax base. We don’t think so. Investors in master limited partnerships and REITs still pay taxes on dividends. Moreover, these investments would most likely bring many more renewable energy projects online, actually raising overall tax revenue.

A more valid concern is whether renewable energy master limited partnerships might be abused as tax shelters, reminiscent of what happened in the 1980s California “wind rush.” Back then investors cared more about putting turbines in the ground to secure tax credits to lower their tax bill on other income than whether the machines actually produced electricity.

History, however, need not repeat itself. Renewable energy master limited partnerships can guard against such abuse by ensuring that these tax privileges actually result in green electricity.

There’s another benefit to expanding the pool of renewable energy investors: It would help democratize, and thus build support for, these new energy sources. Today, all American taxpayers fund renewable energy subsidies, but only a deep-pocketed few can cash in on the tax benefits. Publicly traded master limited partnerships and REITs would empower all Americans to invest and have a stake in the transition to cleaner energy.

Renewable energy has come a long way since the 1970s energy crisis but much work remains. We must complement continued technological innovation with critical financial innovation — to level the playing field, incentivize growth, reduce subsidies and democratize America’s energy future.

Felix Mormann is a fellow, and Dan Reicher is the executive director, both at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

How to Make Renewable Energy Competitive -


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Begin now to creat the life that you want for yourself while adhering to the principles of sustainability, compassion and fairness.

Purpose: What do you want to provide meaning and engagement in your life.  What meaning do you want to give to your life knowing that the meaning of life is the meaning you give to it?

 First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
- Epictetus

Whatever you do, do with all your might. ~ Cicero

 The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle

Be clear about what you want and make the appropriate decisions and choices...

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. ~ William James

Persevere and Persist...

When something of an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it.
~ Rousseau

The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity. ~ Seneca

“When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice.
You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone.
Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”
– Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Learn from your mistakes...

Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners.
- Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad)

Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems. ~ Descartes 

When you’re ready to quit, you are closer than you think.
– Bob Parsons (Founder Of Go Daddy)

As is our confidence, so is our capacity.
- William Hazlitt

"One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."
~Albert Schweitzer

Being true to our own set of values and always remembering to give life the meaning we want by the actions we take and the choices we make.  This will provide us the greatest satisfaction in the long run.


We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.
– Pete Cashmore (Founder Of Mashable)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”    -- Steve Jobs

"And in the end it's not the years in your
life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln

Be Here Now...

Projecting our thoughts far ahead of us, instead of adapting ourselves to the present, is cause of fear. Foresight, the greatest blessing humanity has been given, is also a curse.
~ Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius

Creating something from nothing is the meaning of being an entrepreneur...

Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration
- Thomas Edison, inventor and scientist


Timing, perseverance and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.
– Biz Stone (Twitter)

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once.  Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.” 
 - Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, co-founder of, founder of HDNet


   The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. 

      A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. 
      Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.

- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s

Monday, June 11, 2012


Whatever you do, do with all your might. ~ Cicero

When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it.
~ Rousseau

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. 
~ John Locke 

All things deteriorate in time. ~ Virgil

Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems. ~ Descartes 

Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil. ~ Marcus Aurelius 


You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one. ~ Rousseau

No one is laughable who laughs at himself. ~ Seneca

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle

It is not wisdom but Authority that makes a law. ~ Thomas Hobbes

If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. ~ Marcus Aurelius

  Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms. ~ Aristotle

You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one. ~ Rousseau

The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity. ~ Seneca

He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it. ~ Seneca

  By a lie, a man... annihilates his dignity as a man. ~ Kant

A man of courage is also full of faith. ~ Cicero 

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. 
~ Epictetus 

The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions. ~ Cicero 

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. ~ William James

You must become an old man in good time if you wish to be an old man long. ~ Marcus Aurelius 


Friday, April 20, 2012

The 5 Investing Realms Of Renewable Energy - Seeking Alpha

The 5 Investing Realms Of Renewable Energy - Seeking Alpha
This article is presented here as a good synopsis of the 'players' in the public company realm of enterprises managing renewable energy projects.

The future must entail clean, renewable energy. Drilling for oil isn't sustainable and is increasingly getting dangerous as companies move offshore. Natural gas prolongs the inevitable and requires significant infrastructure changes. Nuclear energy has always been a double-edged sword from both a political and environmental standpoint. Coal remains a cigarette in the mouth of the world. As a result, there are only a few alternatives, all of which have their advantages and their setbacks. Solar energy, Biofuels, Geothermal energy, Hydropower, and Wind energy stand as the known core alternatives to the hydrocarbon-based energy standard we have today.
Investors of today may be disappointed by much of their choices when it comes to direct investment in sustainable energy. The most stable and profitable companies remain the conglomerates who derive a small portion of their profits from such sources. As for the direct players, nearly all have been victim to the latest struggles of their respective industries. Yet in each sector, there remain viable direct investments that prospective investors may wish to look into.
Solar Power. The solar industry has practically collapsed under the weight of falling subsidies and inventory dumping. The ongoing European Debt crisis casted a shadow of uncertainty in the largest market for solar. Yet renewed hope came in the form of Warren Buffett's investment into two utility-scale solar projects supplied by First Solar (FSLR). Falling solar panel prices also bode well for consumers as widespread acceptance and increasing affordability have increased the industry's demand and long-term future. First Solar remains one of the few viable investments in this sector, with its industry-leading margins that have kept the company profitable throughout the crisis.
Biofuels. The industry is trying to shake off its negative connotation to unsustainable ethanol in light of innovative and proven second generation technology. The struggle remains to be the ability to raise capital and public acceptance in order to bring online production capacity to work on a commercial scale. One of the bright shining lights in this industry remains Solazyme (SZYM), which utilizes algae-based technology to convert non-food sources into renewable oil equivalents, chemicals, food and even cosmetics. Out of companies that provide sustainable ethanol, investors may want to consider Cosan (CZZ), a Brazilian-based sugar company with leading ethanol production capacity and distribution capabilities. Especially as American ethanol subsidies have come to an end, Brazilian-based ethanol companies may continue to outshine their ethanol counterparts in America with access to cheaper input materials.
Geothermal Energy. Geothermal is practically non-existent from the public trading realm and is much smaller in size. Yet it also remains one of the more stable prospects. One of the most direct plays on the industry remains Ormat Technologies (ORA). The company was founded 1965 and remains the only vertically integrated provider of geothermal and recovered energy-based equipment.
Hydropower. Another stable industry, hydropower companies tend be utility companies governed by municipalities in light of the high capital expenditures necessary to build a dam. Brazil remains one of the greatest developers of hydropower with its vast river resources, abundant rains, and lack of alternatives when it comes to energy sources. Centrais Electricas Brasileiras (EBR), more commonly known as Electrobras, operates 29 hydroelectric plants throughout Brazil. The company remains diversified into thermal, coal and oil power generation units, however, and therefore is a far stretch from being a pure play on hydropower.
Wind Energy. The wind industry has been dominated by the Chinese market, which dethroned the United States in 2010 as the largest wind power installer. Yet publicly traded Chinese companies in America came under increased scrutiny in early 2011 that resulted in a lack of viable wind investments. The most viable investments may continue to be General Electric (GE) or Siemens (SI), neither of which are pure plays on the industry. American Superconductor Corp (AMSC) would have been a solid company to consider had the company not been victimized by China's Sinovel through corporate espionage. One of the more direct plays to consider is China Ming Yang Power Group (MY), which IPO'd on the NYSE in 2010, and stands as the largest non-state owned wind turbine manufacturer in China. The company has encountered rising expenses and difficulties including weather that interrupted installations. Yet management has initiated a share repurchase program for $50 million, which is impressive for a company currently trading with a market capitalization of $359 million as of January 23, 2012.
Disclosure: I am long FSLR, SZYM.

Monday, April 9, 2012

We Need An Aurthentic Measure of Wealth

 “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

The Mismeasure of Wealth | NationofChange

Anatha Duraiappah and Partha Dasgupta

 "As a whole, humanity has achieved unparalleled prosperity; great strides are being made to reduce global poverty; and technological advances are revolutionizing our lives, stamping out diseases, and transforming communication.”

The Measure of Wealth
Despite many successes in creating a more integrated and stable global economy, a new report by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability 

 Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing

 recognizes the current global order’s failure, even inability, to implement the drastic changes needed for true “sustainability.”

The Panel’s report presents a vision for a “sustainable planet, just society, and growing economy,” as well as 56 policy recommendations for realizing that goal. It is arguably the most prominent international call for a radical redesign of the global economy ever issued.

But, for all of its rich content, Resilient People, Resilient Planet is short on concrete, practical solutions.

 Its most valuable short-term recommendation – the replacement of current development indicators (GDP or variants thereof) with more comprehensive, inclusive metrics for wealth – seems tacked on almost as an afterthought.

Without quick, decisive international action to prioritize sustainability over the status quo, the report risks suffering the fate of its 1987 predecessor, the pioneering Brundtland Report, which introduced the concept of sustainability, similarly called for a paradigm shift, and was then ignored.

Resilient People, Resilient Planet opens by paraphrasing Charles Dickens: the world today is 

“experiencing the best of times, and the worst of times.” 

As a whole, humanity has achieved unparalleled prosperity; great strides are being made to reduce global poverty; and technological advances are revolutionizing our lives, stamping out diseases, and transforming communication.

On the other hand, inequality remains stubbornly high, and is increasing in many countries.  

Short-term political and economic strategies are driving consumerism and debt, which, together with global population growth – set to reach nearly nine billion by 2040 – is subjecting the natural environment to growing stress. 

By 2030, notes the Panel, “the world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy, and 30% more water – all at a time when environmental limits are threatening supply.”

Despite significant advances in the past 25 years, humanity has failed to conserve resources, safeguard natural ecosystems, or otherwise ensure its own long-term viability.
Can a bureaucratic report – however powerful – create change?
Will the world now rally, unlike in 1987, to the Panel’s call to “transform the global economy”?
In fact, perhaps real action is born of crisis itself. As the Panel points out,it has never been clearer that

 we need a paradigm shift to achieve truly sustainable global development.

The 2010 Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress echoed the current consensus among social scientists that 
we are mismeasuring our lives by using  per capita GDP as a yardstick for progress. 

We need new indicators that tell us if we are destroying the productive base that supports our well-being.

...working to find these indicators for its “Inclusive Wealth Report” (IWR), which proposes an approach to sustainability based on natural, manufactured, human, and social capital. provide a comprehensive analysis of the different components of wealth by country, their links to economic development and human well-being, and policies that are based on social management of these assets.

The first IWR, which focuses on 20 countries worldwide, will be officially launched at the upcoming Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Preliminary findings will be presented during the Planet under Pressure Conference in London in late March.

The IWR represents a crucial first step in transforming the global economic paradigm, by ensuring that we have the correct information with which to assess our economic development and well-being – and to reassess our needs and goals. 

While it is not intended as a universal indicator for sustainability, it does offer a framework for dialogue with multiple constituencies from the environmental, social, and economic fields.

The situation is critical. 

As Resilient People, Resilient Planet aptly puts it, “tinkering around the margins” will no longer suffice – a warning to those counting on renewable-energy technologies and a green economy to solve our problems. 

The Panel has revived the call for a far-reaching change in the global economic system.


ABOUT Partha Dasgupta

Partha Dasgupta is Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. His most recent book is

"Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment".