Blog Profile / The Breakthrough Institute

Filed Under:Utilities / Energy
Posts on Regator:299
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Archived Since:November 19, 2010

Blog Post Archive

What Intersectionality Tells Us about That Gender Problem

Jennifer Bernstein’s essay raises the important critique that environmentalism’s knee-jerk reaction to modernization echoes the tendency to naturalize an essential woman whose biology is connected to the nonhuman world. And yet, while...Show More Summary

Might Feedlots Be the Sustainable Option?

A new report provides further evidence that cattle grazing, even when purportedly low-impact practices are used, might not be carbon-neutral or reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking: experts have long...Show More Summary

Potential Energy

By Ted Nordhaus and Emma Brush The extraordinarily ambitious Grand Inga project on the Congo River provides a potent symbol of the potential that hydropower holds in Africa. On a continent where vast numbers of people lack access toShow More Summary

Rick Perry’s One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

Last week, the Department of Energy received almost universal criticism over its new electricity market rule proposal, designed to keep US coal and nuclear power plants from shutting down. And this criticism was deserved: though theShow More Summary

The Modern Joy of Cooking

Technology, increased leisure time, shifting social structures, and widening of economic opportunity are together changing the way we think about work. Part of this progress of modernity is that the drudgery of household chores can transform into uplifting activities. Show More Summary

The Allure of Do-It-Yourself

Before Michael Pollan, there was Deadwood, Oregon. Located in a dense green valley in Oregon’s Coast Range, the small pioneer community became a magnet for the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s. After a decade of chaotic uproar, young hippies were looking for a novel way to protest consumerism and conformity. Show More Summary

The Power of Progress

In his magisterial book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, the economic historian Benjamin Friedman considered the historical relationship between economic growth and social values and identified a clear pattern. During periods of rising economic prosperity, people tend to be more tolerant, optimistic, and egalitarian. Show More Summary

Stuck in the S-Curve?

Some have described the growth of solar electricity as “exponential,” and many expect solar power to provide the bulk of zero-carbon energy in the future. There’s reason for optimism. Solar panel costs have plummeted and solar deployment has skyrocketed. Show More Summary

Where’s the Fake Beef?

The Impossible Burger—the meatless burger that bleeds—has recently been lambasted by some environmental activists for using genetic engineering to make the burger taste and look like meat. It’s a strange accusation, to say the least....Show More Summary

Last Plant Standing

Last week, Southern Company announced that it would continue its project to build two AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The decision, which still awaits approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission, could leave Vogtle as the only commercial nuclear power plant under construction in North America. Show More Summary

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Global Diets

Accounting for nearly one-third of global land use and 14 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, meat production weighs heavily on the global environment, and beef production most of all. Comprising 41 percent of total livestock...Show More Summary

Decoupling without Disconnection

We live in an increasingly urbanized world. More than half of the people on the planet live in cities. By 2050, it is predicted that 64 percent of the developing world and 86 percent of the developed world will be urbanized. 1 Cities...Show More Summary

Decoupled, Not Detached

In the months after the publication of the Ecomodernist Manifesto, a curious agglomeration of environmentalists attacked the manifesto for its call to decouple human societies from dependence upon nature. The idea seemed calculated,Show More Summary

Farming Better

How do we feed a growing population while minimizing environmental impacts? Contrary to popular belief, making the switch from conventional to organic farming is not the answer, or so find Michael Clark and David Tilman in a recent study published in Environmental Research Letters. Show More Summary

Breakthrough Dialogue East Announced: November 17, 2017

We’re bringing the Breakthrough Dialogue to Washington, DC! For the last seven years, the Breakthrough Institute has hosted a unique conversation with scholars, technologists, business leaders, philanthropists, and policy-makers in the Bay Area about how to build a future that is good for people and the environment. Show More Summary

Breakthrough Dialogue 2017

Breakthrough Dialogue 2017: Democracy in the Anthropocene took place on June 21 – 23, 2017 In a world in which humans have become the dominant ecological force on the planet, good outcomes for people and the environment increasingly depend upon the decisions we collectively make. Show More Summary

Global Conservation on a Used Planet

For over a decade, landscape ecologist Erle Ellis has marshalled an enormous trove of archaeological, paleontological, and historical evidence to demonstrate that humans have been terraforming the Earth for many, many millennia. A planet that once could support perhaps a few million humans today supports seven billion. Show More Summary

In Search of a Feminist Environmentalism

“Not so long ago,” Jennifer Bernstein begins her important new essay in the Breakthrough Journal, “technologies like microwaves and frozen foods were understood to be liberatory.” Along with other modern conveniences, those devices dramatically...Show More Summary

How Natural Gas and Wind Decarbonize the Grid

Cheap natural gas has reduced carbon emissions on the US electricity grid more than anything else over the past decade. That’s the core conclusion of our new analysis. But while the coal-to-gas shift continues to lead power sector decarbonization,...Show More Summary

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