Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism, month 3, 21st March – 20th April 2017

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 1. Climate action: Trump endeavours to dig a little coal 

President Trump moved to dismantle President Obama’s climate legacy with an executive order that seeks to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Within a week, 17 US states filed a legal challenge. China immediately pledged to uphold its Paris climate commitments, including considerable efforts not to use coal, accusing the US of “selfish” behaviour. The EU joined the pushback. Miguel Árias Cañete, the EU’s climate action commissioner, said: “The continued leadership of the EU, China and many other major economies is now more important... read more...


Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism, month 2, 20th February – 20th March 2017: Tech-for-good and truth take a pounding

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This month evidence of the potential use of AI and robotics for social benefit continued to lag portentous developments. On the one hand, the prospects for improving healthcare systems continue to grow. Google plans a health record tracking system loosely based on the bitcoin concept and using its DeepMind AI, for example. It aims for real-time tracking of data by hospitals, health organisations and patients alike. Beneficiaries will have better treatment prospects. Lives will be saved. On the other hand, a Microsoft researcher warned openly this month that AI, even in its current state, is ripe for abuse by aspiring despots: perfectly suited... read more...


Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism, month 2, 20th February – 20th March 2017: Climate action holds ground and energy transition accelerates

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Action around the world on climate and air pollution continued to offer cautious grounds for hope this month. The IEA reported that carbon dioxide emissions have not increased for a third year in row, despite the global economy growing. Fighting climate change requires that they begin to fall soon of course, but growth of renewables has much to do with the current freezing of emissions, and that trend will surely continue globally. The imperative of facing up to air pollution should ensure this, never mind climate considerations. In early March China vowed a new round of steel and coal capacity cuts as part of its national drive to eradicate... read more...


Appropriate civilization includes environmental balance, sustainable capitalism, empathic societies, racial and religious harmony, poverty alleviation at home and abroad, common security, and use of tech for social good.

New despotism includes environmental sabotage, reckless capitalism, isolationist nationalism, incitement to racial and religious hatred, retreat from aid, war mongering, and the use of tech for social harm.

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Latest blog posts

How can renewables help to create a better civilization? Statement by Dr Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chair of SolarAid, to the Start Up Energy Transition Tech Festival, Berlin, 20th March 2017

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I speak today about the wider context of all the wonderful innovation and creative disruption we are hearing about from around the world at this inspiring event. My message is about how to maximise its impact, in the singular times in which we live. The first is to inspire allcomers with what that civilization – let us a call it a solar civilization – looks and feels like.... read more...


The business case is clear: renewables companies must openly resist the new despotism

google-protest

Picture: Google employees protest against Trump immigration policies.

Blog: A slightly extended version of my latest column for Recharge:

By building on the explosive growth of clean energy in recent years, and triumphs of multilateralism led by the Paris Agreement, a renaissance of civilisation can realistically be envisioned in the decades ahead.... read more...


Appropriate Civilization versus New Despotism: State of Play on 20th February 2017, one month into the Trump presidency

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Suddenly believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing human co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues can now realistically plot the polar opposite: a new despotism rooted in rising isolationist nationalism and human conflict. The more we dig into how the demagogues and their supporters have organised their recent successes, in particular... read more...


G20 climate risk report is a wake-up call for fossil-fuel investors

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My latest for Recharge:

It is rare for a report to hold the potential to change the world, but one study published last month may do just that. The Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD — a group of experts assembled by the G20’s Financial Stability Board) aims to give investors, lenders and insurers visibility of how climate-change... read more...


Read more blog posts >>

The chronicle which accompanies The Winning of The Carbon War

Act de Triumph

Paris - Triumph

On Saturday December 12th, 2015, I witnessed something that nothing else in human history comes close to, in terms of scale and stakes. Most of the nations on Earth, 195 of them, adopted the world’s first universal agreement to fight an existential threat to civilisation and indeed life, as we know it, on the planet.
Going into the Paris Climate Summit, there were three possible outcome... read more...


The full Chronicle >>

The Paris Climate Summit begins. The world watches. And my Chronology of the Carbon War, charting the years running up to this unique event in human history, closes. But for one more entry.

Paris - atmosphere over

With this image of the atmosphere over Paris at night, this is the penultimate entry in my Chronology of the Carbon War. The last one will be made after the summit ends, with its outcome hopefully clear. The drama that will no doubt unfold in the next two weeks I will describe in the last few chapters of The Winning of the Carbon War, to be published as a free-download e-book in the first week... read more...


Latest interviews, presentations, videos and Tweets

Selected interviews:

“The solar revolution is coming… fossil fuels could be facing extinction”: BBC Click


BBC TV News’s popular Click programme summarises the state of play in solar, and how step-changes in cell efficiency could be “icing on the cake”, as I put it.… Read-morescreenshot-2016-10-01-12-49-23

More Interviews >>