Discussion Paper

How are rising CO2 emissions linked to a rising world population?

Many discussions on sustainability rarely mention the world's growing population and whether current or projected future levels are – or can be made – compatible with living within the limits set by the Earth's regenerative capacity. David Knight's paper shows that the growing population is not incompatible with lower levels of energy use, but that the rising levels of consumption in rich countries and “emerging” ones like Brazil, India and China certainly are.

Can unpaid co-operation produce better products than the profit motive?

Wikipedia and the Linux computer operating system were both created by unpaid volunteers using the internet, and both are out-competing their commercially-produced rivals, such as the Encyclopaedia Brtiannica and Microsoft. Are they examples of a new type of economy which has a lot further to go? Michel Bauwens, the founder of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation (P2P) believes so.

The costs and benefits of moving out of beef and into biofuel

Most beef farmers in Ireland are losing money. In view of this, some policymakers and commentators think that it would be in the national interest to encourage a lot of them to give up their loss-making hobby and to switch to growing biofuels instead. The Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network is preparing a report which explores this idea and draws some unexpected conclusions, and comments are very welcome.

New articles about the Liquidity Network and debt-free currency

The Liquidity Network group, which is developing a debt-free currency, submitted this entry to the Your Country, Your Call contest, which will award two €100,000 prizes later in the year. An article in the May issue of Construct Ireland magazine about the group’s plans is here.

You can also download a powerpoint file of a talk that Richard Douthwaite recently gave at the Degrowth conference in Barcelona here. …