Nov 24, 15

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The Good News Paradox: Reflecting on the Human Development Index

This year's Human Development Index (HDI) came out last week and it was full of good news. The HDI started out 20 years ago to provide a way of indexing development and progress that gives a fuller picture of human well being than GDP's shallow economic calculations. This year's report celebrates the fact that over the past 40 years “average life expectancy rose from 59 to 70 years, primary school enrollment grew from 55 to 70 percent, and per capita income doubled to more than $10,000.”...


Game for Change: Fate of the World

New Computer Game Simulates Challenges of Global Warming A British company has developed a new computer game that allows players to save the planet from the effects of global warming — at least in a simulated setting. “Fate of the World,” produced by the gaming company Red Redemption, places players at the head of a global environmental organization — a “UN with teeth” — charged with saving the world over the next 200 years in the face of rising temperatures, diminishing...


The Conventional Energy Trap: Hermann Scheer [1944-2010]

Hermann Scheer, pioneering German Parliamentarian and renewable energy advocate, died earlier this month. Scheer was the driving force behind Germany's Renewable Energy Act, thanks to which Germany last year accounted for half of all worldwide solar electricity installations. I recently came across one of his last ever interviews, done by Amy Goodman over at The interview covers everything from the Energy Act, to the impact of political corruption on the transition to...


China's Urban Low Carbon Future in Shanghai

by Warren Karlenzig China Pavilion, 2010 Shanghai World Expo (Copyright Flickr photographer: penphoto) The Shanghai Expo officially closed yesterday with pomp, circumstance, and a confirmation of the city as the planet's primary hope for a low-carbon future. "Eco-friendly development and dissemination of renewable energy sources and new materials will influence the way we live and will lead the course of industrial development in the future," said China's Premier Wen Jiabao to the closing...


Keeping Within Our Earthly Limits

The Living Planet Report, produced by WWF and its partners, shows that humanity’s demands still outstrip the world’s natural resources – a trend likely to worsen, unless leading countries begin to provide the highest quality of life with the lowest ecological demand. chinadialogue looks inside the 2010 edition. Populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity’s demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50% more than the earth can sustain, according to the 2010...


Struggling to Adjust: Adaptation Finance in Developing Countries

by Tan Copsey The need for humans to adapt to climate change is clear, but the where, when and how remain fuzzy. Tan Copsey reports on existing – and hotly debated – plans for financing change in vulnerable countries. The climate is changing and human beings will need to change with it. People will have to adapt to floods, droughts, disease, increasingly severe weather events and disrupted water and food supplies. But some of those facing these threats have limited capacity to...


Good News x2 for U.S. Offshore Wind

U.S. Offshore Wind Could Provide 20 Percent of Electricity by 2030 U.S. officials calculate that the total potential for offshore wind generation is more than 4,000 gigawatts — or about four times the generating capacity currently carried on the U.S. grid. That estimate assumes one 5-megawatt wind turbine could be placed on every square kilometer of water with an annual average wind speed above 7 meters-per-second. This map illustrates the offshore wind resources by region and depth....


Solar Panels to Appear on White House in Spring 2011

by Adam Vaughan In this June 20, 1979, file photo President Jimmy Carter, center, is surrounded by reporters and photographers as he inspected new White House solar hot water heating system located on the roof of the West Wing of the mansion, over the Cabinet Room. Photograph: Harvey Georges/AP (via The Guardian) Solar panels will be installed on the White House roof a quarter of a century after they were removed by Ronald Reagan, the Obama administration said today. A mix of solar...


Roadmap 2050: Pathways to Achieving a Low-Carbon Economy in Europe

The European Climate Foundation's Roadmap 2050 project analyzes a series of ways in which Europe could achieve a zero carbon economy by 2050 and comes to some very positive conclusions about the feasibility of achieving that goal. Foremost, the project team asserts that a zero carbon energy sector is essential to the development of a zero carbon economy and that drastically reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy generation are more easily realizable than they are often considered...

Future City: Seattle on the Threshold

In preparation for our Future City event this Friday, we're comparing progress towards urban sustainability in Portland and Seattle. In its Cascadian context, Seattle is the middling city. It's true that it retains a vibrant central core, that it has had neighborhood planning since 1993, and that in general Seattle is more and more compact. Yet it is no Vancouver, where new development has brought the sustainability benefits of compact community to much of the city. It's also true that...

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