economics

In agriculture, building, urban design transportation, energy production and use and more, there are steps already being taken to keep carbon out of the atmosphere. And according to a serious new book, scaling up those actions—all of them—could be a pathway to reversing global warming.

Many of the 100 climate change solutions examined by Project Drawdown have interlocking effects. Editor Paul Hawken says their analyses work scrupulously to keep their projected benefits separate.

“Drawdown” is the term used to describe the time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have peaked and then begin to decline. A new book offers a pathway to get there by 2050.

The foremost consideration in the assessments made for the Drawdown Project, explains co-founder Paul Hawken, was how much carbon could be kept out of the atmosphere by wider adoption of each strategy.  In most cases, the 30-year impact could be measured in gigatons.

John Perkins, the self-described “Economic Hitman,” says the problems he helped create-- before reforming--have gotten worse in recent years. But he’s got a recipe for turning things around.

John Perkins says he has been encouraged in his call for consumer activism to counter corporate overreach in private conversations with many top executives in the companies that are driving the debt economy.

  From genetic predisposition to flawed cultural assumptions, humankind’s history is getting in the way of preparing for a very different future. So says Nate Hagens, a writer, educator and energy analyst who will speak in Sebastopol Wednesday night.

A more rational and comprehensive way of thinking about and measuring all forms of energy consumption, Hagens suggests, would be to focus on calories, which offers a stark contrast between what is needed and what is actually used.

  Longevity and the changing nature of retirement was a central topic at the annual Economic Outlook Conference at Sonoma State Wednesday morning. But a short-term look at the local economy was part of the program, too.

 As the remainder of the demographic bulge known as Baby Boomers head into retirement, Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald says they are increasingly redefining that that means.

 

  The economics of recycling are driven by oil prices, environmental regulations, and consumer demand. But the results are being felt by local garbage haulers and their customers

   The economic factors that affect international markets vary from one material to the next, explains Eric Koenigshofer of North Bay Corporation. Purchase prices for both cardbord and plastics are down sharply, but for quite different reasons.

  The economics of installing home solar energy systems could change dramatically if utility-backed rate changes are approved by state regulators.

PG&E spokeswoman Ellen Hayes says the incentives for solar systems are a holdover from the early days of alternative energy deployment in California, and are now due to be updated. But, she says, the utility remains supportive of further solar expansion.

  However, Brad Heavner, from the California Solar Energy Industries Association questions that timetable.

  The key factors in creating a sustainable wine business are the same all over the world, concludes a new book, and can also apply to other kinds of businesses.

  Has the evolution of the Internet undone the democratic ideals of its founders? In economic terms, says digital industry critic Andrew Keen, the answer is distressingly clear.

Santa Rosa author Andrew Keen’s latest book is The Internet is Not The Answer. Peering into the not-too-distant future, he sees massive investments in new artificial intelligence technologies—not as dystopian robots, but more ominously, as smart tools that will displace jobs and expand the capture of our personal data even further.

One little-publicized aspect of the immigration reform issue is the role that American laws and policies play in driving impoverished Latinos to leave their homes. The 10 year old North American Free Trade Agreement is a case in point.

  The downside of NAFTA is abundantly clear now, contends writer David Bacon, while the benefits that proponents of the policy predicted  have not lived up to those expectations.

 

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The Great Recession is now safely behind us, with the nest two years expected to be a time of continuing gradual economic growth. That was the forecast presented at the annual State of Sonoma County forum yesterday.

 Virtually everyone is in some form of denial around climate change, contends progressive journalist Naomi Klein, but their reasons for that can be radically different.

While capitalist exploitation of fossil fuels has triggered and accelerated the climate change crisis, Klein says there are other solid reasons to create an alternative economic system.

   What would a truly sustainable economic system look and feel like? A four-day conference, sponsored by Sonoma’s Praxis Peace Institute, plans to explore that question in depth.

Capturing rainwater for yard and garden use is practical and environmental. But it’s not an investment that will pencil out anytime soon.

Below, students at Healdsburg High School installed an eight-barrel catchment system on their campus with support from Guerneville's Blue Barrel Systems.