A Global Water Crisis, the Only Market to Rival Oil
By Nick Hodge
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
………………..Huge Scale & Implications
What is often overlooked on the rare occasions that water makes it into the mainstream is the massive scale of these problems.
Yes, California is facing water shortages.
But so are 18 other states, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which border the Great Lakes.
What’s a potential $40 billion times 18?
And that’s without considering other areas of the world most notoriously known for dry conditions, like Africa and the Middle East, as Stahl referred to in her opening remarks……………..
Full article at http://digg.com/u1JInu
January 3, 2010
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December 12, 2009
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Welcome to the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer NetworkPart of the UK Technology Strategy Board’s Knowledge Transfer Network programme, the Environmental Sustainability KTN (ESKTN) is the result of a merger between the previous Environmental and Resource Efficiency KTNs. The ESKTN officially came into existence on the 1st September 2009 and is now the primary KTN supporting the Technology Strategy Board’s Environmental Sustainability Key Application Area.
As well as moving into this exciting new phase of support to UK technology and innovation, we are also in the process of developing a new web-portal using a powerful platform provided by the Technology Strategy Board. While this major development rolls out across all the Board’s activities you can use this site as a starting point for access to key new information from ESKTN and legacy resources of the Resource Efficiency and Environmental KTNs.
Read more about the benefits of being a member under ’Our Network’ in the main menu above, or find out more about the key areas to which we are giving priority by clicking on one of the pictures below.
June 17, 2009
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The Homes and Communities Agency intend having a single conversation with with all the actors in Housing and renewal, which is fantastic you might say.
However, they are basing that conversation on Growth, Affordability, Renewal and Sustainability GARS, but is this a meaningful conversation?
Any meaningful converstion must be based on SARG, Sustainability etc.
To move forward we must move forward on a journey of continual improvement towards sustainability, only this route is affordable, creates renewal and offers the possibility of growth at reduced resource intensity.
The Learning and Skills Council have already tried the the GARS approach, which has led to a complete shambles as identified on the BBC Radio 4′s File on 4 programme. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00l0z3b/File_on_4_16_06_2009/
A Single conversation
By engaging local authorities in a ‘single conversation’ on all aspects of housing and regeneration, we aim to connect local ambition with national targets.
The Single Conversation is the HCA’s most important business process – it is the way in which we agree and secure delivery at the local level in support of our national objectives. By working in an open and transparent way with local authorities and others we aim to become local government’s best delivery partner, enabling us to secure more and reach better outcomes for each place…………
March 29, 2009
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It is almost beyond belief. In just two decades or so, the National Health Service has gone from having virtually no formal management structure, just administrative staff, to this week’s announcement that out of a total staff of 1.36 million, 39,900 are managers. Let me put that in context: there are 5,000 more people now employed to tend to organisation than there are consultants – a mere 34,900 – tending to the sick. And if that were not enough to savour, new figures from the Incomes Data Services show that chief executives of NHS foundation trusts now earn an average of £158,000. Across the board at executive level within the NHS, salaries rose by 7.6 per cent in foundation trusts, and 5.7 per cent in non-foundation bodies. It is the starkest of all illustrations of just how far the pendulum has swung from medicinal to managerial.
Not that I am against management, nor high salaries – far from it. I am a passionate believer in management. In my career, as a former chairman of Granada, Allied Domecq, and the Arts Council, I spent much time analysing, writing about and teaching management skills. But in the case of the NHS, what we need are far fewer – albeit far better – managers…………………….
………………..The experience was both salutary and shocking; the hospital staff, including management and consultants, was eager to make it a better, more efficient place. There was enormous goodwill and huge pools of talent. But there was simply no process to pull it all together in a cohesive, sensible way.
When I meet people in the health service now who saw the BBC series, they say the same thing: how typical my experience was of their own hospital – and how the problems I identified persist throughout the NHS today. …………………..
Full personal view and comments at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/5062266/Cure-the-NHS-with-far-fewer-managers.html
March 26, 2009
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Towards an Accountable Capitalism
Author: Stephen Davis, Jon Lukomnik and David Pitt-Watson
Publication Date: 26 March 2006
The credit crisis has been a systemic failure. Though the press primarily blames the bankers for our problems, the failure was not that of one single set of agents.
In this paper, the authors set out some of what went wrong, and how we can develop a framework of policy and institutions needed to ensure a vibrant and stable financial system in the future. This will require new thinking about the type of institutions on which a successful modern financial economy depends. In particular, the paper focuses on the relationship between each of these institutions and how it is possible to get them to work in a way that will support open and effective capital markets.
The paper’s aim is not to lay out a detailed framework for bank solvency or accounting regulation though we will touch on many examples of reform. Rather, it is to try to clarify the principles on which any responsible Bretton Woods-style remaking of the market system will rest, and how these might be applied to the banks and other institutions where finance is raised to keep the economy going.
This paper is part of our Tomorrow’s Capitalism programme.
view full publication (PDF file)
February 24, 2009
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Founded in June 2007 by Nicko Williamson, Climatecars is London’s eco-alternative cab service. Although the popularity of cycling around the UK capital is significantly rising, the Climatecars service is sure to help improve awareness to many Londoners who still need to use taxi services. With an ambition to combine ecology, economy and innovation, the Prius hybrid car service cuts the carbon footprint of iconic black cab rides from 243g/km to 104g/km.
More photos and full story at http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/02/24/climate-cars-alternative-cab-service-in-london/
book at http://www.climatecars.com/
February 23, 2009
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Beyond Public and Private
21st Century problems cannot be fixed by 20th Century solutions”….Dr Narsi GhorbanThe Credit Crash marks the end of an era for the global financial system, and the beginning of another. Few understand our modern banking system, but in simple terms it consists of banks as “credit intermediaries” who create credit based upon an amount of capital specified by international banking regulators…………………..
………………….Introducing the Open Corporate
On 6 April 2001 a new UK legal entity, the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), came into effect in order to protect professional partnerships. Confusingly, an LLP is not legally a partnership. It is, however – like a Corporation – a corporate body with a continuing legal existence independent of its members. Also, as with a limited liability company, you cannot lose more than you invest in an LLP.
The `LLP agreement’ between members is totally flexible and need not even be in writing, since simple provisions based upon partnership law apply by way of default. The LLP may truly be thought of as an “Open” Corporate, and it is being used for purposes never envisaged.
In particular, it is being used as a framework for investment in productive assets of all kinds. LLP’s are routinely in use in the public sector, and the City of Glasgow currently has three municipal LLP joint ventures, albeit conventionally financed.
The Hilton Group first demonstrated the potential of an LLP framework for development and long term financing in a > £1bn plus Capital Partnership.
The Capital Partnership allows risk and reward to be shared equitably in proportional shares of production or revenues : in a good year, Hilton and Investors have a good year; and in a bad year, they share the pain.
This model has universal application, and any enterprise; whether Public or Private; commercial, social or even charitable in aims; whatever the legal form; may opt to share production or revenues in this way.
Within a Capital Partnership framework it is possible to create:
(a) Equity Shares – proportional shares which are not redeemable (there must always be 100%) but may be transferable.
(b) Units – redeemable in “money’s worth” such as Kilo Watt Hours;
and these enable entirely new mechanisms for the financing of assets of all kinds.
In particular, we may create a new class of Community-owned enterprises which allow the production or revenues from assets in Public ownership to be shared equitably as between the providers and users of finance. Let’s have a look at how this might work………………
complete article at http://www.claverton-energy.com/beyond-public-and-private-chris-cook.html
February 5, 2009
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“Direct Connect – a Flight to Simplicity?” – Chris Cook
John Gilmore famously said that;
“The Internet interprets Censorship as Damage and routes around it”
Perhaps one of the key events in the development of the Internet age was the invention by a 19 year old of direct on-line music sharing – Napster – which destroyed for good the existing business model of the global music industry.
This capability of the Internet to route around, or dis-intermediate, middlemen is becoming daily more apparent, to the extent that a reader of the Financial Times recently won £10,000 for identifying “Peer to Peer” finance as the “Next Big Thing” in the financial world.
How such a directly connected financial system could work is a question that has interested me, from a starting point as a former Director of a global energy futures exchange, throughout almost 10 years work in the area where markets and Internet converge
At a conference last week in Teheran addressing the challenges of the current financial crisis, one of my fellow speakers observed that;
“… it is not possible to solve 21st Century problems with 20th Century solutions…”
I agree wholeheartedly, and the partnership-based enterprise model – or legal and financial structure – which I observe emerging has evolved in response to the challenges of this direct Internet connectivity.
Finance consists of credit, which facilitates trade and enables productive assets to be created; and investment, which consists of financial claims over productive assets such as secured debt (eg mortgage loans), and Equity (eg shares in a Corporation).
Both credit and investment may in fact be achieved without the intermediation of Banks. Since Bank capital will be further eroded as the Credit Crunch spreads into the productive economy, I believe that “Peer to Peer” finance offers a solution form an entirely unexpected direction.
January 7, 2009
In John Heywood’s ‘A dialogue Conteynyng the Nomber in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue.’ He wrote ‘Plentie is no deinte, ye see not your owne ease. I see, ye can not see the wood for trees.’ http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/16/messages/630.html
The final two paragraphs below from a far longer anaylsis on The Oil Drum is worth investigation but we seem to have gotten ourselves into a position where, as John Heywood said ” We can’t see the wood for the trees”
Most current analysis is apocalyptic and all solutions proffered, trival, and although no easy answers will be found here, the reality will. The reality that unless we solve the ‘One Planet Equation’ so that it includes the essential needs of all human society, the Earth will solve it dispassionately for us.
The Media, politicians and books such as ’7 years to save the planet’ speak endlessly about the symptoms but nothing about the need to liberate the ingenuity to create the skills and knowledge required to enable the, wished for, low or zero carbon future. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Years-Save-Planet-Questions/dp/0297853368
Our failure in this respect is evidenced in Professor Hedley Beare’s book ‘Creating the Future School’, where he states ” Increasingly radical changes are expected due to advances in Information Technology in post-industrial economies and through globalisation” http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creating-Future-School-Outcomes-Education/dp/0415238692
The concept of a post-industrial society is a fallacy that can only be sustained within a limited range of products and services. The reality is that societies that lose the industrious ability to create, maintain and extend their infrastructure from within are doomed to wither and decay at best, and collapse at worst, in fulfilment of the comments below.
Financial Forecast for 2009, Considering Resource Limitations
Posted by Gail the Actuary on January 6, 2009 – 10:10am
…………………….Many people have started making preparation for the time when food needs to be produced locally and electricity is often not available. I would not discourage such preparations. While we do not know that the economy will collapse completely, I think such preparations are prudent, in the face of rising risk. Preparation for a major change takes many years, so starting earlier rather than later makes sense. Also, with the tower of debt (Figure 1) and the many feedback loops, the downward spiral can happen more quickly than our prior experience suggests is possible.
To solve our current financial problems, I expect that the United States (and other countries) will ultimately need a new financial system that is much less debt based. Such a system might start simply as ration coupons for food and energy products, and gradually be expanded to replace our current monetary system. Debt forgiveness and derivative write downs will also probably need to be part of the solution, but with the caveat that debt forgiveness and derivative write downs can be expected to have just as adverse an effect on the balance sheets of financial institutions as outright defaults. In conclusion, 2009 looks like to be a very challenging year for the new administration and for the world as a whole.
December 18, 2008
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As always, it is important to recognise the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. No matter how much we can improve the ‘efficiency’ of water services as they exist in, say, the UK, they would not represent an ‘effective’ use of water service resources in India. See Sunita Narain’s foreword in The Worldwatch Institutes ’2006 State of the World’ in which Gandhi is also quoted as saying
“If it took Britain the rape of half the world to be where it is now, how many worlds would India need?”
Water efficiency organisation launched
17 December 2008 A global organisation promoting resource efficiency of water has been launched with partners from civil society, academia, multilateral organisations and business.
The Water Footprint Network, which aims to encourage the transition to equitable and sustainable water use around the world, was launched earlier this week.
Among its founding members are conservation group WWF and the University of Twente, while the Nature Conservancy and Unilever PLC are among its first partners.
The organisation will set standards for footprint accounting and reduce the negative impact individuals, organisations and business’ water footprints have on people and the environment.
Professor Arjen Hoekstra, the network’s scientific director, said: “The concept of Water Footprint has really helped to create the understanding that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption.
“Issues like local water shortages and pollution are now better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole. Local water depletion and pollution are often closely tied to the global trade of water-intensive goods.”
The network reports that 16,000 litres of water are used in the production of one kilogram of beef and 140 litres go into the production of a single cup of coffee.