The BIG (Basic Income Grant) and the BEE (Basic Energy Entitlement): A Sustainable Convergence
by Roy Morrison
This paper explores a global Basic Energy Entitlement (BEE) as a concomitant to a Basic Income Grant (BIG) within the context of building a global ecological civilization from industrial business as usual. The BIG is a global means for both justice and for sustainable consumption levels. The BEE is a tool for fair transfer of assets and skills for building a global efficient renewable energy system. This is key to making economic growth mean ecological improvement and encourage the regeneration of natural capital that must characterize an ecological civilization. The intention of the BIG and BEE is to help catalyze a global convergence on social justice for all, sustainable consumption levels, sustainable energy use levels, and a funding means to facilitate building an efficient renewable energy system and encouraging sustainable economic growth.
A sustainable future will mean a combination of global social justice and efficient distributed renewable energy and continental scale Supergrids. Efficient renewable energy can be many times more thermodynamically efficient in second law terms, and contribute negligible amounts of carbon.
The BEE sets a sustainable per capita energy entitlement and carbon entitlement. A global plan for the BEE uses assessments on all energy use, on a kWh equivalent basis. The BEE will be used as a means for the transfer of resources and capital from rich to poor, both from North to South, and, within nations, from rich to poor. The BEE is a means for an ecological global growth regime. A BEE based on a per capita annual entitlement of 70 gigajoules of primary energy (19,443 kWh equivalent) and 3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. A 3 ton per person global coverage average keeps carbon output equal to natural carbon sinks at around 21 gigatons per year. Physics can be on the side of a sustainable ecological global growth and a sustainable investment plan catalyzed by a BEE. The BEE assessment would be portional to energy use with large industrial and commercial users paying much larger shares. The BIG would more than rebate BEE payments made by the poor in both rich and poor nations. Global per capita total energy use was 22,127 kWh equivalent in 2012 and 4.5 tons carbon. U.S. per capita total energy use in 2012 was equal to 86,203 kWh equivalent and 17.6 tons carbon per person per year. China per capita total energy use in 2012 was 23,240 kWh equivalent, with 6.2 tons carbon . U.S. total BEE assessment for 311 million people at a penny a kWh equivalent rate would be around $300 billion a year. The average American, for example, would pay BEE assessments, while the average Chinese would be a net recipient of BEE transfers. An average U.S. household using 7,200 kWh/yr electricity and driving a gasoline car 10,000 miles a year at 30 miles per gallon (11,303 kWh primary energy) would pay a $72 BEE for electricity and $113 for gasoline a total of $185/year.
The BIG and the BEE and A Sustainable Convergence
The Global Challenge
The essential question is whether a global capitalist market system can be domesticated, and transformed to act in a fashion to combine goals of economic growth and profit along with ecological improvement and social justice. Is the only choice for a sustainable future to abolish corporate capitalism and start again? Or, can a global capitalist market system be transformed through a series of radical reforms, in the terms of Andre Gorz (Gorz, 1979). Gorz, it should be noted, was also a champion of a BIG in his book Critique of Economic Reason (Gorz, 1989). This article will address a Basic Income Grant (BIG), and a BEE (Basic Energy Entitlement) as tools for building an ecological future.
The global challenge of the 21st century is sustainable development. The pursuit of sustainability is the basis for building an ecological civilization to replace a self-destructive industrial business as usual. This requires a global convergence upon means that will end poverty and reverse the global degradation of ecosystems. An industrial and productive ecology must govern and ameliorate the ecological consequence of all realms of human activity. The goal is a zero pollution – zero waste circular production regime where the outputs of all processes become inputs for others. The rise of an ecological world system means fundamental change in the conduct of the global market.
In an ecological civilization, economic growth will come to mean ecological improvement and the creation of sustainable wealth and the regeneration of natural capital. A fully functional ecological market system will rest on the equilibrium between economic growth, profit, and natural capital. The working capital account and the natural capital account must be kept in dynamic balance. Reaching toward this equilibrium state is an essential task for the 21st century. Already, combining high efficiency with renewable energy resources, for example, has demonstrated the ability to sever the connection between increased energy use and increasing pollution moving in lock step with economic growth. This is a beginning. The broad social and justice context of an ecological transformation is to end poverty, fairly redistribute resources, and employ them to strengthen and maintain freedom and community, justice and fairness within the context of democracy and personal autonomy.
A Basic Income Grant (BIG) and a Basic Energy Entitlement (BEE), to be discussed here, are part of the new market rules, laws, and regulations to support an ecological transformation. The broad ecological-economic-political context of an ecological transformation is to make the price system work to send clear signals for sustainability through ecological assessments on all goods and services for the elimination of externalities and creation and maintenance of a zero-pollution zero-waste economy within the context of new market rules, laws,and regulations for the pursuit of sustainability.
Such ecological assessments can be crafted using a wide range of economic tools based variously, as needed, on broad consumption measures such as an ecological VAT (EVAT) on all goods and services; on targeted assessments on sources of pollution and on sinks; on resource extraction; on ecological condition of land and structures; on degrees of reuse and recycling. Such assessments should, in general, replace income based taxation, on a zero new net revenue basis to construct a market where prices send clear signals throughout the economy for sustainability. A BIG will serve in this context to ameliorate the regressive nature of consumption taxes. New market rules must make sustainable goods and services cheaper, gain market share, and become more profitable. Polluting, depleting and ecologically damaging goods must become more expensive, loose market share, and become less profitable. The combination of sustainable price signals plus ecological market rules, mandates, law, combined with fiscal, monetary, and investment policy is the basis for the aggressive pursuit of sustainability and an ecological global growth strategy. The time for concerted and bold healing action is now. A continuation of industrial business, pollution, and injustice as usual is the path toward ecological and social collapse.
Domesticating the Capitalist Market System?
The ability of governments on a global scale to swiftly mobilize in defense of capital was made crystal clear in the response to the global financial collapse in 2007-2008. Many trillions of dollars of public funds were used to save the bankers and investors from the consequences of their rampant speculation in financial derivatives and other instruments of financial self-destruction.
These bailouts led largely to a return to the profitable status quo ante for the financial sector. Bailouts did not lead to public control, or new management, or to writing down home mortgages and other bad debt to market, or real reform in conduct of investment banks. The financial consequences were generally not borne by bankers and speculators and the rich, and shifted instead to many millions who lost their jobs, homes, and savings. But what the financial crisis did make clear was the ability to take swift, concerted and system saving action. The underlying question is to what purpose such actions are taken. An ecological transformation of capitalism is, like the financial bailout, an essential step to save the market system from self-destruction.
The difficulty in taking this step lies both in the self-interest and political power of polluters, and in the series of punctuated crises of the gathering ecological collapse. Each crisis seems separated from the next by semi-calm intervals that encourages the inertia of both elites and the populace. This undermines the ability to mobilize the general interest as opposed to the parochial interests of polluters. But the long term durability and political and economic stability of business as usual is an illusion that events will likely unravel with stunning speed. The transformation will likely astonish, much as did the collapse of the Soviet Empire. What's needed now is to articulate and develop the substantial series of practical steps and radical reforms that can be taken to move toward the pursuit of sustainability that must engage every aspect of economic and social order. A BIG and a BEE are examples of such practical steps.
An ecological transformation will be catalyzed by the insistent and determined demand for change by a global movement for ecological survival and ecological justice and the withdrawal of consent from business and pollution as usual. As Martin Luther King counseled, “We must move past indecision to action.” (King, 1967). Tens of thousands in the streets demanding change will become billions in support of an agenda of sustainability and ecological justice.
Jared Diamond in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed examined a wide range of social and political systems making key decisions that led either to sustainability or ecological collapse. He compared, for example, the collapse of a deforested Easter Island and the sustainability of Tokopia; Hispaniola divided between a ravaged Haiti and an ecologically much better off Dominican Republic. The central question is the ability to make the necessary choices for embracing ecological, conduct whether done by Tokugawa Japan or the tribes of central New Guinea. We have all the technical, political, and economic tools necessary to pursue an ecological market system. The question is will we make the choices to do so? Will we choose self-destruction through the pursuit of short term profit over a sustainable and profitable future for all?
Even the capitalist elite has made the consideration of steps to encourage the evolution to a circular economy of material reuse and recycling the theme of the 2014 World Economic forum Davos gathering:
“Today’s ‘take-make-dispose’ economy has long relied on inputs of cheap and available resources to create conditions for growth and stability... In its most extreme manifestation, the global economy is a massive conveyer belt of material and energy from resource-rich countries to the manufacturing powerhouse China, and then on to destination markets in Europe and America where materials are deposited or—to a limited degree—recycled. This is the opposite of a loop. The materials leakage points and barriers to mainstreaming the new model of circular material flows in a globalized economy must now be addressed and overcome. This requires better understanding of the archetypes into which supply chains fall, and the three main barriers to change: geographic dispersion, materials complexity, and linear lock-in. Analysing the most advanced business cases confirms that a supply chain management approach that balances the forward and reverse loops and ensures uniform materials quality is critical to maximizing resource productivity globally. The transition can begin once the hinge points are identified and acted upon in a concerted effort—across companies, geographies, and along the supply chain.(Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, 2014).
The technical, economic, and political tools are available for the construction of an industrial and production ecology encompassing all aspects of human activity. The pursuit of sustainability will be to create a circular , zero-pollution zero-waste system, where all outputs of one process become useful inputs to another, to improve efficiency of processes by an order of magnitude, and for the price system and regulatory system to send clear signals for sustainability for all goods and services. This represents a complete and saving transformation of business and markets as usual whose nature extends far beyond the Davos agenda.
Examining textbooks for industrial ecology (Graedel and Braden R. Allenby, 2010), plans for continental scale renewable energy grids (Faulkner, Morrison,Wells, 2013), (Kyu-won, et al. 2014), plans for improving efficiency five to ten fold (Weizsacker et al., 2005) , designs for sustainable global agriculture (McGill, 2011), forestry (Hansen et al., 2013), and aquaculture (Brugère, 2004) outlines ecological paths forward for sustainability in motion. The failure of market systems to properly account for externalities, and the willingness to discount the value of a sustainable future are, of course, crucial leaks in the boat that must be fixed to allow a market system to continue to function and avoid self-destruction, and to convert profit seeking into an ecologically sound activity. As point of departure, I am using the existing global market system, arguing that it is possible to make the political and economic changes manifested in new market rules and regulations, investment, monetary and fiscal policy necessary to create an economic order focused on the pursuit of sustainable growth and ecological ends. The self-interested adoption of such a global regime for ecological global growth is well within the ambit of existing political and economic structures faced with ecological crisis and its political, social, and economic consequences catalyzed by global demand for countervailing and healing response to excess and ecological emergency.
The adoption of an ensemble of reforms that establishes a structure of clear economic incentives and mandates for the pursuit of sustainability can be accomplished without abolishing markets or political democracy, and, in fact, can and must employ market means and democratic political means to rapidly drive such a global transformation. Global transformation means trillions of dollars in productive ecological investment, for example, in building a global efficient renewable energy system for which the BEE will be considered as one tool for its development.
The often ecologically self-destructive consequences of economic growth have led led many to consider sustainable economic growth an oxymoron, and to advocate de-growth and economic contraction. I will not follow this path as a guide for policy. It is almost certain that a continuation of industrial global pollution and ecological degradation as usual will lead to global ecological crisis and economic and social collapse and involuntary de-growth, along with famine, war, epidemics, mass migration of the desperate. The constructive alternative that we can and must pursue is a sustainable global growth agenda before the consequences of business as usual foreclose our options and the involuntary de-growth of collapse overwhelms us.
In Ecological Democracy (1995) I wrote: An ecological civilization is based on diverse lifeways sustaining linked natural and social ecologies. Such a civilization has two fundamental attributes. First, it looks at human life in terms of a dynamic and sustainable equilibrium with a flourishing living world: humanity is not at war with nature, but exists within nature. Second, an ecological civilization means basic change in the way we live: it depends on our ability to make new social choices....An ecological civilization is not a prescription for order, but a description of the arrangement of disparate societies, of the exquisitely complex web of relationships with one another and with the biosphere.
An operational definition of an ecological civilization is to make economic growth mean ecological improvement. In an ecological economic and political order, an increase in finance capital means the protection and regeneration of natural capital.
An ecological order is all encompassing. It means fundamental and transformative changes in energy and industrial production, in agriculture, forestry, fishing, aquaculture, water use, that must go hand in hand with the protection and restoration of habitat and ecosystems.
The essential challenges are less the myriad technical details that must be addressed, and much more political and economic. We can and must choose the direction our society will take. This is humanity acting consciously in pursuit of sustainability as a fundamental principle of the co-evolution of planet and biosphere. Our future is not yet decided. What will happen depends, in large part, on the concerted actions of all of us. An ecological turn and the pursuit of sustainability can transform a self-destructive industrialism into a prosperous global ecological civilization. The choices are ours to make in the 21st century. The consequences will endure long after us. Humanity's self-consciousness and social behavior has become integral to the great co-evolutionary dance of sustainability where life changes the ecosphere as the ecosphere changes life. We must face the significance of this epochal change.
Sustainability is a fundamental dynamic where life, in response to all influences and circumstances, has evolved, and, at the same time, shaped an ecosphere to be favorable for life in all its dazzling manifestations. Evolution has sped up and slowed down in co-evolutionary response to changes in the ecosphere. This is sustainability in motion. And now, sustainability, as fundamental biological dynamic, has become a self-conscious social behavior.
This is evolution and planet shaping co-evolution, not limited to chance and random variation of selfish individual genes, but a grand expression of life's action on a planetary scale. Sustainability takes advantage of all the instruments in life's evolutionary orchestra including a tendency toward self-organization, exchange of genetic material, symbiosis, cooperation, and complex epigenetic ways and means to control and switch genes on and off. And now, sustainability encompasses social action.
Sustainability as social practice is the dynamic resolution of the contradiction between biological and social change. Humanity is now central to the future of life, for better, or for worse. Humanity's actions now affect all Earth's species far beyond our own existence as another successful primate.
The 21st century must choose between two paths. First, is the path toward building a prosperous, sustainable future of vital ecosystems. Second is the continuation of a self-destructive business and pollution as usual and an unfolding global 6th mass extinction.
Life has not only created and maintained an oxygen atmosphere with just enough carbon dioxide to keep a hospitable surface temperature. Life, even in the face of sudden catastrophic change and periodic mass extinctions, has repeatedly been able to survive and once again flourish without privileging any particular species or group.
The rise of an ecological civilization, or a 6th mass extinction, will mark the Anthropocene, the Age of Humanity. These are our epochal choices, no more, and no less.
Our history is part of a grand living and ceaseless co-evolutionary canvas where we now play a leading role. In general terms, the dynamic of ecological improvement and regeneration of natural capital must apply to any productive activity human activity whether through markets, or voluntary exchange based on use values, or determined by planning and administered prices.
Across economic systems, an ecological civilization must involve a refinement and evolution of the enjoyment of public, private, and social property to include as an essential part of rights to use, the r responsibility for effective stewardship and ecological health and regeneration. The right to use is not the right to abuse. The consequences of such abuse are generalized and socialized to affect not only others now, but future generations. Such a balance between right to use and responsibility for ecological stewardship need become part of corporation charters, by-laws and definitions of fiduciary responsibility, for both for-profit and not-for profit entities, as well as a matter of governing law and constitutions. An ecological civilization is not merely the aspiration of social theorists (Morrison, 1995).
China, for example, has made building an ecological civilization the basis for state policy and issued the Hangzhou Declaration in 2013 for sustainable global development. China, while emerging as the global factory, and largest greenhouse gas emitter, has become a world leader in photovoltaic and wind production installing 7 gigawatts of wind in 2014 (Yang 2014) compared to about 3 gigawatts in U.S. China installed 3.2 gigawatts solar electric in first half of 2014 , more than the total in 2013 (Yan, 2014), compared to a U.S. total in 2014 of about 2.5 gigawatts solar in 2014.
A significant portion of China's emissions are a consequences of production exported to the West. When accounting for these "consumption" emissions, EU emissions have appear to have stabilized, but, according to the Global Carbon Project, would be 30 percent higher if we accounted for those goods that are produced elsewhere. (An, 2014). China has undertaken initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 40-45% from 2005 level by 2020 (Fu, 2014; replaced traditional GDP accounting with ecologically nuanced measures (Yang, 2014); accepted reduced growth rates and sound development as the new normal(Tang, 2014). The recent presidential agreements between China and the United States are the beginnings of an effective greenhouse gas plan. President Barack Obama said the move was "historic", as he set a new goal of reducing US levels between 26%-28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. President Xi Jinping did not set a specific China target, but indicated emissions would peak by 2030. (BBC, 2014).
China and developing nations point to the historic responsibility for GHG emissions of the advanced industrial states. Summary historical GHG emissions data, as of 2005, is 1. US: 339,174 megatons (MT) GHG or 28.8%; 2. Germany, UK, France 186,624 MT or 15.47 %; 3.China: 105,915 MT or 9.0%; 4. Russia: 94,679 MT or 8.0%; 5. Japan: 45,629 MT or 3.87%; 6. India: 28,824 MT or 2.44%; 7. Canada: 25,716 MT or 2.2%; 8. Ukraine: 25,431 MT or 2.2%. (Clark 2011)
The questions remain: Will the United States and China make the basic choices and the necessary investments to eliminate fossil fuel pollution with efficient renewables and leave fossil fuels in the ground if they cannot be used without pollution? Will the United Sattes and China help lead the world toward a global sustainable carbon allowance of 3 tons carbon per person per year? It's a global challenge that we all must successfully, fairly, and creatively respond to.
All of us must converge on a sustainable global carbon budget.
A BEE is one means to help facilitate a global renewable renewable transformation. We have the technical ability, for example, to replace fossil fuel and nuclear use with efficient renewable energy, a prime example of economic growth leading to ecological improvement. An efficient renewable energy system means a combination of optimized distributed renewables and continental scale renewable Supergrids using high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission. An expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard moving to 100% renewables, and not a carbon tax, can drive a planned 100% renewable energy transformation. And renewables. while having high capital costs, have generally zero fuel costs. A 100% RPS phased in over 20 years, and supported by competitively bid long-term contracts, will drive investment policy and massive productive investment in sustainable economic growth. Similar policies can be structured for the range of productive activity guided by a mandate for sustainable conduct. If fossil fuels can be extracted without ecological pillage ,and employed without releasing carbon and other emissions, they can be used, or they must be left in the ground.
A BIG and A BEE
New market rules, including a BIG and a BEE, are part of moving expeditiously in pursuit of a global ecological growth agenda and a global sustainable convergence. A Basic Income Grant (BIG) is a means for fair distribution for all. A BIG can be conditioned to favor the use and purchase of sustainable products. Thus, a BIG debit card can reward purchasing of sustainably rated products, providing a market incentive for sustainability.
The BIG expresses four interesting attributes. A BIG is one expression of a society moving away an all encompassing focus on production and consumption. By it's nature, a BIG encourages the pursuit of other useful goals beyond production and consumption. The BIG is a response to structural unemployment and limited work availability as a result of automation. The BIG will serve as a means to rebate both BEE payments by lower income groups, and regressive ecological assessments on consumption. A global plan for a Basic Energy Entitlement (BEE) uses assessments phased in on all energy use, on a kWh equivalent basis. The BEE is a concrete means for transferring capital from high energy users to low energy users, from rich to poor, both between and within nations. BEE assessments, levied at point of consumption on all energy use in terms of kilowatt hour equivalent, is a fair means to help fund a global renewable energy transformation.
A BEE can logically be based on a per capita annual entitlement of 70 gigajoules of primary energy (19,443 kWh) and 3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions (UNDESA, 2011) that represents a global standard for ecological sustainability and a funding means for making sustainable energy development possible for all. The more renewable,the less carbon and ecological damage. The more efficient, the more work. Physics can be on the side of a sustainable ecological global growth and investment plan catalyzed by a BEE. The BEE assessment would be portional to energy use with large industrial and commercial users paying much larger shares. The BIG and BEE would more than rebate BEE payments made by the poor in both rich and poor nations. A BEE is a concrete proposal to help catalyze the building of a global ecological civilization, one that can proceed within the context of grassroots economics, self-management, cooperative development, and market activity.
Carbon Allowance and the BEE
Current world average carbon output is 4.5 tons per person per year. This puts more carbon into the atmosphere then is removed naturally by ocean and soil and biomass. This imbalance is inexorably driving climate change. National per capita carbon emissions vary enormously and fluctuate yearly. For example : Qatar: 36.9 tons,United States: 17.3 tons, Australia: 17.0 tons, Russia: 11.6 tons, Germany: 9.3 tons.UK: 7.8 tons, China: 5.4 tons, India: 1.4 tons, Africa average: 0.9 tons, Ethiopia: 0.1 tons (Clark, 2011).
There is some inconsistency in various reports of carbon data. This can be a result of a combination of exactly what is counted and how, what year's data are included in each summary, what years are included in latest national reports, and annual fluctuations. The relative comparisons between emitters, however, are consistent. The best data is available using the ODIAC data set that can be obtained from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
More importantly, global totals are reflected in the accurate NOAA Mana Loa Observatory weekly measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide. For the Week beginning Feb 1 , 2015 the measurement is 400.21 ppm, up from 397.92 ppm one year ago in 2014, and 379.40 ppm ten years ago in 2005 (NOAA, 2015). This is real data, and the basis, unless we act, for ecological catastrophe.
A three tons per person global BEE carbon allowance for 7 billion people keeps atmospheric carbon dioxide at stable levels. At 3 tons per person per year, carbon added by human activity for 7 billion of us equals the approximately 20.1 gigatons of natural carbon sinks of ocean and soil and biomass (+/- 4.6 gigatons). In 2004-13 annual global carbon releases were about 35.9 gigatons. This means that after the sinks atmospheric carbon increased annually by about 15.8 gigatons a year (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, 2015).
A seven billion population meeting an average 3 tons per year carbon allowance would mean about annual carbon of 21 gigatons per year roughly equal to the natural carbon sinks and therefore in long-term sustainable balance.
The central question on a global level is to reduce total carbon to 3 tons per person per year. This means it is essential to develop efficient renewables to replace fossil fuels, addition to reducing carbon and other GHG emissions from cement and concrete, reducing methane from industrialized animal feedlots, and to increase the GHG removal capacity of soil, grasslands, and biomass.
Reducing global carbon to 3 tons per person does not, however, address already existing emissions and there consequences. Stable emissions need be combined with global cooling regime that can, for example, remove huge amounts of carbon through reforestation, proper grassland management for grazing, and hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) for the production of biocoal for terra preta soil enrichment, and proper agro-forestry for desert cultivation. (Fell, 2012). The goal is to remove 200 gigatons of carbon over the next 30 years to reduce atmospheric carbon to the 330 ppm range.
Global Per Capita Energy Use and BEE Assessments
Global per capita total energy use was 22,127 kWh equivalent in 2012. U.S. per capita total energy use in 2012 was equal to 86,203 kWh equivalent and 17.6 tons carbon per person per year. China per capita total energy use in 2012 was 23,240 kWh and 6.2 tons carbon equivalent. (Based on: Updated UNDSEA, 2011 data and Work Bank, 2015). U.S. total BEE assessment for 311 million people at a penny a kWh equivalent rate would be around $300 billion a year.
The average American, for example, would pay BEE assessments, while the average Chinese would be a net recipient of BEE transfers. An average U.S. household using 7,200 kWh/yr electriicity and driving a gasoline car 10,000 miles a year at 30 miles per gallon (11,303 kWh primary energy) would pay a $72 BEE for electricity and $113 for gasoline a total of $185/year.
This 30 mpg gasoline car driven 10,000 miles releases 3.33 tons of CO-2 per year (about 20 pounds per gallon of gas), already exhausting a per capita CO2 annual carbon dioxide allowance. It has will have also consumed the equivalent of 11,303 kWh of primary energy. The electric vehicle , at 3kWh per mile (with much higher efficiencies demonstrated) , would use 3,333 kWh of primary energy from a renewably powered grid for 10,000 miles and release zero carbon directly. Net carbon would depend on nature of material manufacture. Again, this would be small in a non-fossil fuel energy system.
The mechanical transformation of internal combustion is very inefficient, as well as polluting. Only 17-21% of gasoline energy is transferred to wheels with much productive energy lost to friction, exhaust, heat. In charp contrast, for electric cars, 59-62% of energy from the gird is transferred to wheels (DOE, 2015). If your car was electric, even if the generation was not renewable, you would have about a 3x higher 2nd law efficiency and a much lower net BEE assessment. Renewable electricity is important to remember not only avoids pollution from fossil fuel combustion, but is much more efficient in second law terms. It pays double dividends of less carbon and more work out for less energy in. A heat pump, for example, taking advantage of the Carnot cycle, can easily get three times more useful energy out, then the amount of electricity consumed, compared to a less then 10% second law efficiency of conventional fossil fuel combustion.
An efficient renewable energy transformation will mean a greatly expanded use of electricity to power our vehicles, light, heat and cool our homes, power our factories. This is central to a sustainable global energy convergence.
Future of the BEE
The next step for the BEE that I will undertake is to calculate national BEE revenue and develop plans for sustainable investments and technology transfers. BEE fund transfers should not be limited to the provision of funds to government and should include capitalizing Grameen Bank type and other self-help groups, capitalizing resolving funds to provide low or zero interest renewable development loans, funding educational institutions for mass training in decentralized renewable development.
There are 1.3 billion people in 2014 without access to electricity and 2.7 billion who use traditional biomass for cooking and its attendant indoor air pollution.(IEA, 2015). To achieve the UN goals of a Decade of Sustainable Energy for All requires a robust funding means to facilitate a renewable energy transformation and avoid the choice of the pursuit of a fossil fuel path. I am working, for example, on a grassroots project working with high school students in Namibia to assemble and sell small PV systems for lighting and cell phone charging to replace expensive candles,kerosene, battery purchases (Sundance Solar, 2015). A BEE is an example of a way to be able to both provide support for proven plans needing capital and technical support, and to help seed multiple efforts and then scale up, allowing successful entrepreneurial pilot projects to become new models and part of a broad transformative effort.
Conclusion The integration of a BEE with a BIG helps creates a global dynamic of ecological justice. The BEE and the BIG are expressions of the global pursuit of sustainability and transition to a zero-waste zero pollution economy characteristic of a sustainable ecological civilization. Economic growth can and must mean ecological improvement and the regeneration of natural capital as a consequence of the growth of finance capital. A BIG and a BEE are strong affirmative steps in this direction.
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