Essay Posts

Post COP21 Ecology Strategy Review

Posted Sunday 27 December 2015 by .

We are still in the magic of Christmas and I think it’s a good time to reflect on whether Santa will grant the COP 21 wishes. As all children know, there are no guarantees. And that’s the whole point, there is nothing in the COP21 agreement that sets out to try to guarantee anything, we are told that’s because that would be too hard. The climate Santa may come one day, but maybe not.

As George Monbiot notes "By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster." Why is this so?

Not long ago the discussion around climate negotiations was “enforceability”, how would an agreement, assuming it is reached, be enforceable. The answer is of course simple: trade tariffs on anyone that breaks the agreement, forcing the environmental costs internalized on polluters. i.e. the “polluter pays” (the true actual cost of production) which is the only method that is both common sense and proven to work for harmful pollutants of which there is no practical short term mechanism to simply ban altogether.

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The COP21 Agreement: A Letter to Santa

Posted Thursday 17 December 2015 by .

The COP21 agreement is filled with all sorts of legalese that may be difficult for the average person to understand. A great deal of press has been published about a few phrases in the agreement, like a nod to 1.5°C being better than 2°C, but without a human, readable, translation it’s difficult to put this discussion in context.

As chairman of my company I often have to both read and write similarly worded agreements, MoU’s, letters of intent, going through fine print of service and insurance contracts of various sorts, etc. As such, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the COP21 agreement into layman’s terms to allow greater access to it.

Dear Santa Claus (of 2025),

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Solar and the Meaning of Life

Posted Monday 28 September 2015 by .

We have many ecological and social problems.
Some say we’re doomed.

Solar is expanding exponentially.
Some say everything will be fine.

We believe a solar economy is possible, but we can’t be relaxed about it.
Our Plan Is To Do Something About It

Our aim is to strike at the heart of our social and ecological problems, all of which are either directly caused by or fundamentally enabled by our bio-fossil energy system — and so the solution must be fundamentally an energy one, as we’ve known for a while. But because the hour is late we now must solve a lot more problems than just energy, we must not only technically produce a solution but scale it super quick, in shaky financial times, against the business as usual plan of the fossil fuel interests, furthermore the solution must be inclusive to half or more of humanity that has little financial access and the solution must be resilient against global economic disruptions.

In other words, an energy solution must be low capital (lower the
better), yet power a viable economy, and be locally buildable and
maintainable with little or no imports. If such a system can be found it
could be scaled all over the globe simultaneously without reliance on
any inter-government treaty and wouldn’t break-down (could even continue
scaling) in the event of serious global economic dislocations... And at
GoSol, we think we have found it.

Though effective inter-government treaties, global economic
stability, milder than expected climate events, and peaceful times
certainly help a great deal, and should be hoped for and striven for as
best we can, an overarching energy transition plan must account for one
or several of these things going worse than expected.

At the end of the day people need energy where they are, if they can
build a renewable and clean energy device where they are, with the means
they have, then that would be a viable solution.

It’s not an unfamiliar concept: Most people on earth take it for
granted that they can build and light a wood fire right where they are
to cook, heat themselves and power a range of commercial and industrial
processes. We want to transfer the knowledge to just as many people that
they can build a solar device right where they are and access even more
energy, clean and sustainably. If this starts to be taken for granted
then we’re getting somewhere.

Such a method might exist but may not be obvious. In the case of
fire it was not "obvious", humans are the only species, as far as we
know, to have mastered fire in the 2 billion years history of earth, so
too for accessing solar energy ever where a method may exist that is not
obvious but must be invented, learned and mastered globally before taken
for granted.

Making and spreading this tangible method is what GoSol is all about.

However, in the discovery of fire there wasn’t any short term risk
of catastrophe if our ancestors didn’t master fire, they could take
their sweet time, the mastery of solar is on the other hand on a time
schedule: We have to master solar as fast as possible, the faster the

And the only way to master solar faster right now is with your
participation. Free construction guides is the only way to scale a
potential "GoSol Method" rapidly. Join us now!

Do you really think our plan of viral exponential construction is feasible?

Yes, because three things have recently changed:
1. Fossil fuels and biomass energy are finite when over-exploited,
our exploitation of them leads to depletion and cost increases, which
shifts the goal posts in our direction making it easier to get to
“cheaper than”.
2. The Internet allows information and experience to be spread at
incredible speeds. Getting the information out there followed by much
implementation at local scales all around the globe is required to get
to technology and business models adapted locally. The Internet can
massively accelerate this information sharing and learning process.
3. Supply chains are increasingly penetrating world markets. Power
tools are now more commonplace around the globe and much cheaper to get
if you don’t have them. Similarly, reflective materials are much cheaper
and all sorts of old and new forms have been improved. This makes things
much easier and quicker to scale from a logistical and technical

What would be a locally-rooted solar economy?

Building a locally-rooted solar economy – as in a local economy that
could go more than a few weeks without external imports, but can still
benefit from trade with other communities – means redesigning a majority
of agricultural, domestic and economic processes to work with the sun.

Just as all sorts of bio-energy based applications needed to be
re-designed to work with fossil fuels, likewise to move to direct solar
power we need to redesign applications to work with direct solar energy.
The best way to make these applications happen is to make free
construction of our reflectors and core-applications freely available so
anyone can build them, use them, and test out new uses.
Every new
application that is developed increases the value of building a solar
concentrator, which increases the reasons to adapt other applications
thus increasing the value. The more solar concentrators that are built
the lower the cost becomes, due to increased skill, better designs and
better materials, fueling the positive feedback loop further.

Check our FreeTheSun campaign page.

L’entreprenariat solaire accessible aux plus pauvres

Posted Monday 6 July 2015 by Arnaud Crétot.

L’article ci-dessous est la version complète d’un article de deux pages qui sera publié dans la revue du réseau "Sortir du nucléaire" cet été 2015 :

Basée en Finlande, l’entreprise sociale Solar Fire Concentration propose des solutions thermiques pour les petites et moyennes industries du sud. En parallèle de son activité, la jeune équipe internationale a développé l’initiative, première plateforme numérique pour un transfert de technologie destiné aux plus pauvres.

La question de l’énergie y est abordée comme un enjeu social, les technologies développées sont basés sur des concentrateurs solaires (jeu de miroir permettant de concentrer les rayonnements solaires), à commencé par la boulangerie solaire (coût total en matériel : 400 €). Le tout est porté par une campagne de souscription et diffusé gratuitement. Chaque machine c’est une entreprise de créée, une communauté qui se nourrit mieux et se dynamise.

First Pizzas baked in Haiti

First Pizzas baked in Haiti

Le projet social de
Il n’est plus utile de rappeler les enjeux énergétiques, environnementaux et sociaux très bien maîtrisés par les lecteurs de ces pages... Depuis une dizaine d’années, dans la limite de ses capacités d’action, l’équipe de Solar Fire s’efforce de prendre le problème à la racine : quelles solutions énergétiques propres, pérennes, fiables, économiques, indépendantes, locales et socialement acceptables pour alimenter les activités vitales et plus encore, dynamiser l’activité des plus pauvres en ralentissant la déforestation ?

... Read whole article




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