Lester Brown

Lester R. Brown is founder and president of Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Follow EPI: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn

Getting the market to tell the truth

Cross-posted from Earth Policy Institute. Moving the global economy off its current decline-and-collapse path depends on reaching four goals: stabilizing climate, stabilizing population, eradicating poverty, and restoring the economy’s natural support systems. These goals—comprising what the Earth Policy Institute calls “Plan B” to save civilization—are mutually dependent. All are essential to feeding the world’s people. It is unlikely that we can reach any one goal without reaching the others. The key to restructuring the economy is to get the market to tell the truth through full-cost pricing. If the world is to move onto a sustainable path, we need economists …

Fossil Fuels

World governments spend $1.4 billion a day to disrupt climate

A world facing catastrophic climate change can no longer justify $500 billion a year in subsidies to expand the burning of coal and oil. Carbon emissions could be cut worldwide simply by ending fossil fuel subsidies.

Solar Power

Harnessing the sun’s energy for water and space heating

Rooftop solar systems provide a simple, low-cost way to heat water and space.Photo: London PermacultureCross-posted from Earth Policy Institute. The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both. China had an estimated 168 million square meters (1.8 billion square feet) of rooftop solar thermal collectors installed by the end of 2010 — nearly two-thirds of the world total. This is equivalent to 118,000 thermal megawatts of capacity, …

Fossil Fuels

U.S. carbon emissions down as renewable energy keeps growing

Cross-posted from Earth Policy Institute. Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four years. And this is only the beginning. The initial fall in coal and oil use was triggered by the economic downturn, but now powerful new forces are reducing the use of both. For coal, the dominant force is the Beyond …

Oil

Pipeline? We don't need no stinkin' pipeline

Arguments against the tar-sands pipeline focus on the environmental dangers it poses. The more fundamental question is: do we really need that oil?

Climate Change

Dust bowls, water shortages, and toxins drive people from their homes

Droves of climate refugees across the world are on the move in search of greener and cleaner pastures.

Climate Change

Raging storms, rising seas swell ranks of climate refugees

The last decade's destructive storms are a warning: If we can't stabilize the climate, more damage, displacement, and loss lies in the decades ahead.

Coal

A $50 million tipping point?

Michael Bloomberg's contribution to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign could have many ripple effects and force the U.S. to quit coal for good.

Iowa is a lean, mean, grain-growin' machine

The single state of Iowa produces more grain than all of Canada, and almost as much soy as China.

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