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The Solar Economy

Book Description

The global economy and our way of life are based on the exploitation of fossil fuels, which not only threaten massive environmental and social disruption through global warming but, at present rates of consumption, will run out within decades, causing huge industrial dislocation and economic collapse. Even before then, the conflicts it causes in the Middle East and elsewhere will be frighteningly exacerbated. The alternative exists: renewable energy from renewable sources - above all, solar. Substituting renewable for fossil resources will take a new industrial revolution to avert the worst of the damage and establish a new international order. It can be done, and it can be done in time. The Solar Economy, by one of the world's most effective analysts and advocates, lays out the blueprints, showing how the political, economic and technological challenges can be met using indigenous, renewable and universally available resources, and the enormous opportunities and benefits that will flow from doing so.

Table of Contents

  1. Front cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Figures
  6. Foreword
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Abbreviations
  9. Scenario From fossil fuels to solar power: transforming the global economy
    1. The power of the pyromaniacs
    2. Fossil resource dependency: how economic processes have come adrift from their environmental and social bases
    3. Global competition in place of global environmental policy
    4. The origins of the fossil-fuel economy
    5. Accelerating change and global displacement
    6. Business unbound: cutting loose from nature and society
    7. Reconnecting business and society through solar resources
    8. From the political to the economic solar manifesto
  10. PART I CAPTIVITY OR LIBERATION: FOSSIL FUEL AND SOLAR SUPPLY CHAINS COMPARED
    1. Chapter 1 Ensnared by fossil supply chains
      1. Long supply chains due to limited resources: the logic of globalization
      2. Fossil resource supply chains and industrial concentration: market destruction through market mechanisms
      3. The spider in the web: the growing influence of Big Energy and Big Mining
      4. The convergence of power: networking, supercartels and the disempowerment of democratic institutions
    2. Chapter 2 Exploiting solar resources: the new political and economic freedom
      1. The solar supply chain
      2. The economic logic of the solar energy supply chain
      3. Solar power: technology without technocracy
  11. PART II THE PATHOLOGICAL POLITICS OF FOSSIL RESOURCES
    1. Chapter 3 The 21st century writing on the wall: the political cost of fuel and resource conflict
      1. A world in denial: the disregard for limited reserves
      2. Dwindling reserves versus worldwide growth in demand
      3. Arming for the resource conflict
      4. Resource reserves, gunboat diplomacy and the moral bankruptcy of society
    2. Chapter 4 The distorting effects of fossil supply chains
      1. The rise and fall of the fossil city
      2. The fossil resource trap closes on the developing world
    3. Chapter 5 The mythology of fossil energy
      1. Figures of fancy: the inadequacy of conventional energy statistics
      2. The inadequacy of energy forecasts
      3. The profligate subsidies for conventional energy systems
      4. The feigned productivity of nuclear and fossil energy
      5. Ideology and the physics of energy
      6. The fear of the small scale
  12. PART III THROWING OFF THE FOSSIL SUPPLY CHAINS
    1. Chapter 6 Energy beyond the grid
      1. Wireless power: the potential of solar stand-alone and stand-by technologies
      2. The potential for natural and technological solar energy storage
      3. Synergistic applications, cross-substitution and all-load micro-power plants
      4. The solar technology revolution and the solar information society
    2. Chapter 7 The untapped wealth of solar resources
      1. The higher productivity of biological materials
      2. Replacing fossil with solar resources
      3. Solar materials: from agricultural monocultures to polycultures
      4. The real biotechnology: materials science, not genetic engineering
    3. Chapter 8 The profitability of renewable energy and resources
      1. Whose costs? Why solar and fossil resources cannot be compared on the basis of economic efficiency calculations
      2. Cost avoidance: economical application of solar resources in a nutshell
  13. PART IV TOWARDS A SOLAR ECONOMY
    1. Chapter 9 Exploiting solar energy
      1. The role of capital allowances – and their problems
      2. Tax-exempt status for solar resources: overcoming the legitimacy crisis of environmental taxation
      3. Possibilities and problems in the market for green electricity
      4. Green suppliers and municipal self-sufficiency
      5. Creative destruction in the energy industry and the transformation of the resource industry
      6. Hard roads to soft resources
    2. Chapter 10 Regionalization of the global economy through solar resources
      1. Regionalization effects through solar resources
      2. ‘Own implementation’ versus ‘joint implementation’: opportunities for the developing world
      3. Regionalizing trade flows
      4. The sustainable economy: global technology markets, regional commodity markets
      5. Trade not talk: beyond the energy industry
    3. Chapter 11 The visible hand of the sun: blueprint for a solar world
      1. Forwards: towards the primary economy
      2. Work and the solar economy From the bounty of the sun to global economic prosperity
  14. References
  15. Index