Green shoots and radical reform withering in tandem

The recent talk of 'Green shoots' is now looking distinctly optimistic. A recent analysis by economists Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O'Rourke suggests that the world economy is following a worryingly similar pattern to the Great Depression. One year in, global output is declining at roughly the same rate as it was in the 1929-30 downturn (Chart 1).

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Civil liberties in a changing climate

Once again, civil liberties and climate change are crossing paths in the news. This morning, the Guardian released footage showing two activists being brutally manhandled by police at last year's climate camp at E.on's coal-fired power station in Kingsnorth, Kent. The film shows two female protestors, Emily Apple and Val Swain, asking unmarked police officers why they aren't wearing their numbers. More

Back from a permaculture siesta

I mentioned a while back that the practice of permaculture might hold some answers to our present predicaments around energy, climate change and looming food scarcity. Now, having spent two weeks in the Forest of Dean actually studying the thing, I feel knowledgeable - or foolhardy - enough to attempt to explain it here.

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Numbers to remember

The second number is 24.10.09, which stands for 24th October 2009. That's when the 'doing something' part really kicks off. Our friends at 350.org - the campaign headed up by Dr Hansen and Bill McKibben - have chosen 24th October as a day of global action on climate change. nef has some exciting plans for this day already (more of which to be revealed in due course), but for now, check out this little trailer and start dreaming up some actions of your own.

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Britain’s supplicant state

That was the rhetoric - a shift from top-down targets to individual entitlements - but when it comes to localism, Gordon Brown is the victim of a huge misunderstanding. Targets are targets, Mr Brown: you don't escape the huge inefficiencies they produce by having fewer of them, or by dressing them up as entitlements that people can enforce. More

89 months and counting

OK, so the audience did laugh spontaneously at that point. But what makes people cling so tenaciously to denial that they would entertain ludicrous feats just to preserve the status quo, rather than embrace relatively simple changes - like switching the energy system away from fossil fuels - and in the process create jobs and greater energy security and (even if they don't accept its reality) tackle climate change?

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Denham is ignoring inequality

Well if you are John Denham you clearly abdicate any responsibility for this fact by trying to claim that people don't care about inequality anyway. Representative democracy has been brought low in recent times and many think it is on its knees. A cloying and calculated attendance to 'middle class voters' interests is hardly the shot in the arm it requires. More

A cheap flight to ancient Pompeii, anyone?

There's a fantastic sketch in a recent episode of That Mitchell and Webb Look. It's first-century Pompeii, and the city consul Robert Webb has called his most trusted soothsayer Quintillius, played by David Mitchell, to discuss the dark smokey clouds that are hovering over his city. Having established that the forecast is hardly rosy, the consul suggests making an offering to appease the angry gods.

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Growth as usual won’t fix the crisis

Sadly, there are few signs of a new approach which takes seriously the 'triple crunch' of the financial, environmental and energy crises. Rather, governments are turning back to tried and tested state-led growth strategies to reflate national economies, pumping liquidity into credit markets and creating new or bringing forward existing public spending plans. In other words, there has been a return to post-war Keynesianism - the doctrine that the state could and should regulate the market and step in to boost demand whenever required. More

Film competition: win £1,000 with 1 Minute to Save the World

So you've probably seen An Inconvenient Truth and The Age of Stupid. They're both pretty good. But perhaps you think you can do better. Perhaps you think not only can you make the most astounding, life-altering and empowering film about climate change that the world has ever seen, but also you can make it in less than one minute.

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