Sunday, November 18, 2018

Daniela Vincenti Mitchener talked to Jeremy Rifkin

European Dream: Is it still alive? Read the interview if you want to know.





As the eurozone crisis continues to unfold there are lots of catastrophic headlines. We are a long way away from the picture of Europe you painted in your book, ‘The European Dream’. Europe, it seems, has lost its sense of solidarity, the euro is a shambles, our businesses are unable to compete in the world, and budgets are under pressure and cannot sustain our welfare systems. Is the European dream turning into a nightmare?


No. I don’t think it is turning into a nightmare. The problem is facing every country, including the United States. I have been sitting down with heads of state and government of the European Union in the last few months discussing this, with [European Commission President José Manuel] Barroso and [permanent Council President Herman] Van Rompuy. I am going to tell you what I told them. First, let me tell you what I think the crisis is and then tell you where I think the European dream is going. There are two elements to this: the real crisis hit in July 2008. That’s when oil reached $147 a barrel on the world market. Prices went through the roof from food to petrol. Food prices soared in 30 countries, because everything is embedded with oil: fossil fuel. Our food is made out of petrochemicals, fertilisers and pesticides. Almost all our pharmaceutical products are petrochemical-based: our clothes, our construction materials and our civilisation are based on fossil fuel. When prices hit $147 a barrel – world prices went through the roof – inflation soared and purchasing power plummeted. In July 2008, the economic engine of the second industrial revolution shut down. That was the economic earthquake. The collapse of financial markets 60 days later was the after-shock. This is what I call peak globalisation and it’s an end game for the second industrial revolution. As you know, leaders are dealing with the after shock: the financial bubble. As long as they are all dealing with this, they are not grasping the historic importance of what is happening.

Are you saying they are short-sighted and not looking at the big picture?


Precisely. They are looking at the side-show. Now, the reason the crisis has happened is because of peak oil per capita – not to be confused with peak oil production. These are two different things. Global peak oil production is a geological term – it’s when half of the oil reserves in the world are used up, prices go up and it becomes unaffordable. There is controversy about peak oil production, but that controversy is narrowing. The pessimists think global oil reserves will peak between now and 2020. The optimists say maybe it will peak between 2020 and 2030. But even the International Energy Agency, who were the optimists, now say supply will crunch in 2014. Now they are only arguing between 10-15 years. But that is not why we had a crisis of the second industrial revolution in July 2008. It was because of something called peak oil per capita.  No controversy about that. It occurred in 1979, at the height of the second industrial revolution in America and Europe. British Petroleum did a study about that and other studies confirmed it over the year: we distributed all the oil reserves that we knew we had to everyone on Earth at that point in time – that’s the most oil that these persons could have if it was distributed equally. We have found more oil since then and the population is growing more quickly. So if we distribute the oil to the 6.8 billion people we have in the world now, there is less to go around. When China and India made a bid – starting in the 1990s at a 10% blistering growth rate –  to bring a third of the human race into the second industrial revolution, the demand pressure started to build against supply and in 2008 the demand against supply was so great that it hit $147 a barrel and the engine turned off. The reason this is important for Europe and the world is that as soon as the economy is starting to recover, oil is going to go above $60-70 a barrel. Increasing demand against the limited oil reserves will inevitably force prices to go up, and when that happens it will collapse again and the engine will switch off again: that is an end game. Each time that we are trying to re-grow the global economy, it puts more demand out there, with developing countries like China and India joining the game. Oil prices will go up, short circuit and cut off the engine every single time. It is going to be a boomerang effect. When this happens for the second time, you are going to see panic.

Are our leaders aware of that or are they still in total denial?


I have been sitting down with leader after leader after leader in the last two months. Privately, they are aware. It is just that the economists have not gotten there yet. Now, the financial bubble is related to that. The reason for the financial bubble is that the second industrial revolution is based on centralised electricity communication and oil – the internal combustion engine and suburban construction. In our country the juvenile infrastructure was put together for the second industrial revolution between 1900 and 1929. Then we had the Great Depression and the war. The mature infrastructure was put together in the 1950s-60s: it was called the interstate highway – the biggest public works project in US history. Europe followed with its interstate highways in the 70s and 80s. So you were a little behind us. That was the infrastructure shift that allowed us to get the full multiplier effect out of the auto age, the oil age with suburban construction, travel and tourism and all the things that go with that. The productivity of that technology and infrastructure boomed in the late 80s. We overbuilt in housing, commercial, real estate. We overshot. At that point, we went into a housing recession, which became a global recession. How did we get out of the recession? We didn’t. We did not have a third industrial revolution in place with the same multiplier effect as the auto age, the oil age and suburban construction, so we began to eat up the savings of the second industrial revolution through extended credit. Family savings became the purchasing power to move globalisation in the early 90s.

Are you saying that we started living beyond our means?


Correct. It was not about new wealth or productivity. It was using the wealth that we generated when we matured the second industrial revolution infrastructure. You were lagging behind in Europe for 10 years or so. Family savings were about 9% in the 1990s. It has been negative for the last three years. We depleted the family savings of the US in the last 15 years in order to build globalisation. That was the credit bubble. Then when we ran out of savings we had a second bubble – the housing bubble. People were not buying houses because they had new wealth based on new productivity, but we were giving them away for nothing with sub-prime interests to pay later – it was a bubble which later burst and then it spread to Europe. The credit bubble is the result of a second industrial revolution that peaked in the 80s in our country, maybe a decade later in Europe. Then, when the oil prices went to $147 because the late players came in – India and China – that was too much. It is too late for India and China to build a second industrial revolution. The game is over. In other words, they are the last guys in. It is not going to happen, because every time they are trying to push demand, the prices are going to shoot up again. When you add into that the entropy bill, climate change – now we have to pay for 200 years of spewing CO2 into the atmosphere – then the price becomes enormous. That’s why Copenhagen [the UN-led conference in December 2009 which aimed to agree on a legally-binding agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol] collapsed. Now we have our scientists telling us we might be threatened with mass extinction of life on our planet. Our own species is now threatened with agricultural losses. We are at an end game of the second industrial revolution.

So are you saying it’s a nightmare for the planet, not just for Europe…


It’s a nightmare for the planet. But remember the EU is still the leading economy – its GDP exceeds ours [the United States]. However, everyone is in this end game. But the EU is in the position – the best position in the world – to make a transition from a second to a third industrial revolution, and it has a key asset to allow it to do so. The third industrial revolution which I was privileged to develop for the EU was formally endorsed as the medium to long-term plan by the [European] Parliament in 2007 by written declaration. It started with [former European Commission President] Romano Prodi and now various parts of the European Commission, the agencies and the Parliament are moving this vision. It is also moving more quickly in some member states than others: Germany, Scandinavian countries, Spain. This is a four-pillar infrastructure revolution that will give us the same economic multiplier effect, as the first and second industrial revolution did, over the next 50 years.

What's that?


I am going to explain what it is and then I am going to tell you what the asset is that Europe has that makes unique so it can move this. The EU has committed to 20% renewable energy – pillar one. We have to get off oil and all the other fossil fuels that shadow oil.

Is that enough – 20%?


No. It is enough for 2020, but past that, we need to move to zero emissions and post-carbon by 2050 – not low carbon, but post-carbon. So pillar one, the EU committed to 20% renewable energy by 2020, which is one-third of the electricity. That is a mandate, not a benchmark. Pillar two: we ask how to collect renewable energy, because it is everywhere – the sun, the wind, the heat out of the ground, garbage, ocean tides, etc. The first inclination in the EU was to go where the wind and sun is and collect it in a centralised way. Go to the Mediterranean where the sun is, go to Ireland where the wind is, go to Norway where the hydro is, centralise and build big power lines across Europe. We don’t oppose that – that is transitional – but not sufficient. In other words, we started to ask the question: if renewable energy is distributed and is found everywhere, why would we collect it in Europe at a few central points? That led to pillar two: buildings. They are the major cause of climate change. Buildings use 40% of the energy [consumed in Europe] and produce 40% of CO2. We see buildings as the solution. They are the problem, and they are the solution. We are beginning to envision converting every single building that exists in Europe to a partial power plant that can collect the energy around the building: a little bit of sun on the roof, a little bit of wind on the walls, heat from the ground – partial power plants. Every home, office, factory becomes its own power plant – like you can have your own personal computer. The new buildings that are coming up now: they are positive power. They produce more power than they need. The first building that is positive power went up in Spain. Pillar two gets construction moving, as we see that construction is always the way you rebuild an economy. In the first industrial revolution it was construction that gave us the first huge vertical cities, like London and New York. In the second industrial revolution it was suburban construction, because the automobile and the interstate highways gave us construction of new suburbs. In the third industrial revolution it is taking the existing building stock across Europe and turning them into a dual purpose utility – it is going to be both a power plant and a dwelling. It appreciates the real estate stocks and creates millions of jobs not thousands, because you have to actually reconvert every single building in the EU to become a partial power plant. Germany has begun to do that, the Scandinavian countries and Spain too. It is not theoretical, but we have to move it. Pillar three: the EU is committed to hydrogen as a means of storing these intermittent energies. The EU has committed two billion euros R&D when Romano Prodi was there. The Barroso Commission allocated eight billion euro public-private joint technology initiatives, which you reported about on EurActiv. Hydrogen is basically a storage technology like digital to media. So when the sun is shining on your roof and you have a little extra electricity, you use some of the surplus you don’t need and you electrolyse water – like in high-school chemistry. Hydrogen comes out of water in a tank and when the sun is not shining on your roof, you convert hydrogen into electricity. We have to set up hydrogen infrastructure across all buildings, infrastructure and the power lines of Europe. Pillar four is the most interesting pillar, because this is where you take the Internet communication technology revolution and combine it with the distributive renewable energy revolution and create the third industrial revolution. We take the same technology that we used to create the Internet and we take the transmission and power grid of Europe and turn into an intergrid, which acts like the Internet. Millions and millions of buildings are producing their own energy, storing some of the surplus hydrogen –like you store digital and media–, then what they don’t use, they can share across 27 states with 500 million people on an intergrid that acts exactly like the Internet. The technology is there and we are beginning to lay down the master plan. This is the third industrial revolution. The democratisation of energy. But it creates a totally new economic infrastructure, equivalent to the intestate highway in the 20th century or equivalent to the railroad that connected cities in the 19th century. The intergrid that connects energy with communication. Now what does this have to do with Europe…

Just a minute: you said this revolution is going to create millions of jobs – but these are skilled labour jobs. In your book 'The European Dream', you said Europe had very good primary and secondary education, but lagged behind in higher education compared to the US. Do we have the right skilled labour force to implement this third industrial revolution?


Let me get to that in a few minutes. I will also get to the question on how you finance that in a period of austerity.


Okay…I am listening.


Let me finish this on the four pillars. The first is renewable energy. The second, the buildings become your power plant to convert local, distributive energy. The third, hydrogen lets you store energy. Fourth, you have an intergrid that acts like the Internet so that you can distribute energy among millions and millions of people. The fourth pillar fits in also because we are coming out with plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars in the next 24-36 months, and they have to be plugged into the grid. This is all happening. It is not theoretical. Utility companies are beginning to become distributive, moving towards the third industrial revolution, because they have to deal with the plug-in and transportation of electric and fuel-cell cars. Germany has got a massive partnership with Royal Dutch Shell, RWE and others to set up hydrogen fuelling stations across the country, because production is coming out in 36 months. The reason we can do this – and this is crucial because we could not do that 10 years ago – is because we have second-generation grid IT (IT 2.0). In the last seven years we have developed software that allows us to connect millions of little desktop computers – they don’t have much power by themselves – but when the software connects them, the distributive power of hundreds of thousands of computers working together exceeds anything that you can imagine with centralised super computers. We know we can do it technologically.

What's Europe’s asset in this?


Let me tell you that now. This is what I said to EU leaders in Brussels. I said to them that this is the next stage of integration for Europe. This is the way to achieve the Lisbon Agenda that has not been delivered. The European dream is an integrated, seamless market across Europe – so that the European dream of sustainability, quality of life, peace – so that all the elements of that dream can come together. An integrated single market that can deliver the Lisbon Agenda – the most competitive knowledge-based society in the world. What is the asset? Europe, which is the leading economy in the world, also has the largest commercial market in the world (500 million consumers). In addition, its associated partnerships with the Mediterranean regions – North Africa, the Middle East, add another 500 million people. That is one billion people, potentially the largest internal market in the world, way beyond anything that China could imagine. What is missing is that it has not been integrated in a single internal market – what is missing an economic vision and game plan that would create a seamless, distributive renewable energy grid across Europe, a seamless communication grid and logistics and transport grid to go with the new seamless energy grid – that is the third industrial revolution. That will create an internal market so that you can engage in commerce and trade with a billion people in a post-carbon, sustainable manner. Secondly, it will allow you to advance the subsidiarity principle, because all that energy is local. You have to generate locally so that everyone is an entrepreneur, but you have to do it collaboratively in order to share it across the continent. The old geopolitics gives way to biosphere politics. With energy cooperatives, small businesses and communities, you have to create that energy across Europe so that it creates a biosphere politics that leaves geopolitics behind. You are not beholden to some far up geopolitical power – whether it is Russian oil or gas or Middle Eastern oil. I am being very frank. That is the asset. That is the integration of Europe, the next project for Europe, and if it fails, the European dream will fail. If it succeeds, the European dream becomes a dream for an empathic civilization, a global dream of living together in a shared biosphere. Because if you can integrate Europe in an internal market with a third industrial revolution and a post-carbon energy infrastructure, it is going to create millions of jobs to implement the four pillar strategy.

Now, the question is how do you finance this? Across Europe member states are adopting austerity measures to reduce spending and slash deficits. How do you finance this revolution?


Yes. There is austerity. They are cutting budgets. People say we cannot do this. The problem is they do not understand how you approach it. If you approach it as a public expenditure – because you are dealing with energy, climate change, public jobs in a vacuum – that is not the right way to go. You have to look at this as an economic development model. The reason it is important is that it changes the whole way one thinks about where the money is. The third industrial revolution model that we are talking about is an economic investment model – an economic development, not a public expenditure model. Here is the way it works. I have set up the third industrial revolution CEO business roundtable, made up of 100 companies and cooperatives around the world. We are beginning to lay down master plans. We just presented one for Rome. It took us six months with the lead development team. We put out a 150-page report on how Rome can move to a third post-carbon revolution economy. We are doing Utrecht in the Netherlands. We have just finished Monaco too. Here is how these economic developments work. They are collaborative efforts between the cities and regions and our development teams, based on economic investments. Let me take Rome as an example. Rome spends about [this year] €26 billion on economic investment – that’s approximately one fifth of its GDP. Now what is economic investment? That’s money you spend anyway, even in bad times, on economic improvements, bridges, roads, new infrastructure, fixing power lines, transmission… When our global development team went in and ran the numbers for them, we found that what they would need to do in Rome over the next twenty to thirty years to get a 40% reduction in CO2, which is really high, is spend less than 1.4% of what they would spend anyway on economic investment – that’s only three-tenths of 1% of their GDP per year on average. But the reason they can do this at such a low amount is to leverage with the right kind of public-private long-term planning so that at each step, you know what you have to lay down on infrastructure on pillar one, pillar two, pillar three, pillar four…you can create a juvenile infrastructure in twenty years and a mature one in forty. Now, what we say to them is: you’re spending that money anyway, do you want to spend all 100% of your economic investment on an old, second industrial revolution that’s on life support? Whose energies have sun-setted, whose technologies are obsolete and whose infrastructure is collapsing? You can’t let the second industrial revolution completely die, because then we’re all in trouble…

But it would still take twenty years to set up a juvenile infrastructure.


For sure, but you have jobs along the way. So your multiplier effect starts immediately, as soon as you start the project. You would have the infrastructure in place step-by-step, it’s a process, it’s organic and you start building the jobs on day one. So you are starting to benefit from it right away. So this is what the EU needs to do. The EU has the first continental governing body and the third industrial revolution favours continents, because it’s across land masses: everyone is producing their own power on a land mass and then sharing it across the largest land mass you can find – and that’s a continent. The EU has formally endorsed this – the Parliament has, the Commission is working on it at various levels – but it hasn’t yet gone the extra yard and acknowledged that this is what we have to do as the centre-piece of the next stage of European integration. How do you create that single internal market? You need a new energy regime, it needs to be distributed, you have to use it as an economic investment model and you have to see it across Europe and the associated regions. If they don’t do it, then I don’t think there is a Plan B – and I think the European dream fails.

We have to go towards the ‘Energy Community’?


I’m saying that they need to have a new economic development plan that lays down an infrastructure for a third industrial revolution. Just like the first industrial revolution laid down rails and set up new cities across the continents and created new construction booms. The second industrial revolution did the same thing: we set up inter-state highway systems, the automobile internal combustion engine allowed us to have travel and tourism, suburban construction…you have to lay down the infrastructure. This third industrial revolution is an economic development plan, endorsed by the Parliament to set up the infrastructure – which is a smart, distributed power grid around Europe that combines ICT with distributed energy, converting all your building stock to local power plants that can produce their own energy and share it across Europe.

A political question: do you sense that Europe has the political will to embark in the third industrial revolution? The EU failed with the Lisbon Strategy. Now it is reducing its ambitions on the 'Europe 2020' strategy – do we have the political visionaries that led the other industrial revolutions?


This is a challenging moment for the EU. [German] Chancellor [Angela] Merkel has said to me privately on a few occasions that a third industrial revolution is the game plan for Germany and they’re doing it quietly: pillar one, renewables; pillar two, converting buildings all over Germany to partial power plants – solar, wind; pillar three, hydrogen storage for the new automobiles; pillar four, utility companies are starting to move towards distributed…Germany leads. Germany led the second industrial revolution with the internal combustion engine and the Autobahn. And they’re leading the third industrial revolution. Spainis not far behind – it is number one in renewables under Prime Minister [José Luis Rodríguez] Zapatero’s administration. It’s number one in terms of percentage of renewables in overall energy – it’s number two behind Germany because Germany has more renewables due to a bigger physical output. Scandinavian countries are moving this way. But what you’re asking is whether they see the Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 with the same kind of vision that a Jacques Delors would have?

Exactly, thanks for rephrasing it …


That is what’s required now. What they have to do is step to the fore. I gave President Barroso very strong points for his tenure: I think he has been very strong for the EU. You have a new president [Hermann Van Rompuy] – who I’ve just met for the first time – and I think he has an understanding of the big picture. And I think some of the heads of state do, but what I’m saying is that it’s very difficult for any political leader who has a crisis each day to get out of that and still be positioned with a long-term vision that they can get the public to embrace. I do believe that up to now, that the vision I’ve outlined has been an elite vision – a vision in Brussels, in the Parliament, the Commission and of some heads of state, but has it moved out to become a major public discussion that brings in the population of Europe in a significant way – like the expansion of the EU, the introduction of the euro or Maastricht? No. It needs to go from the elite areas to the people. In some countries, it is. As we’re moving in with our master plans, everyone in Rome and now Italy knows what we’re doing – the Mayor of Rome said 'let’s do it'. It requires political leaders who can ‘talk the talk’ with the public and still ‘walk the walk’. What that means is, there’s no reason why any political leader shouldn’t be able to get up in their county or in Brussels and say: the second industrial revolution has matured; the energies are clearly mature energies – coal, oil, gas and uranium – and the technologies based on those energies are old technologies, their multiplier effect is exhausted; the infrastructure built from fossil fuels is ageing. Any politician can say that. Second, they should say: where do we want to be in twenty years from now, in Europe? Do we want to have the sunset energies, sunset technologies and sunset infrastructure of a twentieth century second industrial revolution? Or do we want the sunrise energies, sunrise technologies and sunrise infrastructure of a twenty-first century third industrial revolution? Number three, they should say: this is the next stage in European integration, this is the way that Europe can be a European community – where you do not lose your own locality or your own identity, but you share it by sharing energy across Europe and creating an integrated market in the biggest integrated market in the world – for the 500 million people in Europe and another 500 million from associated partners in the region. You can complete Lisbon, you can have a 2020 agenda and you can build a third industrial revolution with millions of local jobs to create the entire infrastructure – like we did in the second industrial revolution: the highways, the suburbs, etc. Finally, point four, turn to the younger generation in Europe and say the following: for a younger generation under the age of thirty, who grew up on the Internet, who have become comfortable with the idea of creating their own information and sharing it with each other in common social spaces – YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google, etc. – say to them, why not join with us in a challenging journey for Europe: to create your own energy and share it peer-to-peer in open social spaces, like you create and share information in cyberspace. That should be the four-point winning formula that any political leader should be able to say to any audience – grandparents, parents and children – in Europe.

Let me take what you are saying and put it in the context of the failure of Copenhagen. Should we put our resources behind implementing the third industrial revolution and forget international negotiations that seem to be stuck in delivering an international legally-binding agreement?


I met with [UNFCCC chief] Yvo de Boer a year before Copenhagen and I told him then that if everyone comes to Copenhagen and it’s all about benchmarks of who has to commit to what to CO2 reductions, everyone is going to see it as a punishment. Every country will blame the other country, and say ‘not me, you first’. I said to him that Copenhagen has to stand as a moment for an economic vision and game plan that converts a punishment into an opportunity – from a terrible catastrophic loss for the planet to a great challenging opportunity for the future. Otherwise, I said, it would collapse. And it collapsed. Because everyone came to Copenhagen with a geopolitical frame of reference: that is battling each other to maintain their own position. It was a joke. [US] President [Barack] Obama barging into doors to try and sit down with the Chinese delegation… it was preposterous. It was sad, it was …


Leaderless. It was a big moment for the human race. We have been here 175,000 years, we are the youngest species on the planet – and here was a moment of crisis. Our scientists tell us that we may be seeing the potential mass extinction of life on this planet by the end of the century, our own species is in peril, we are seeing a real-time climate change: this is our moment, and we allowed it to slip by. This next stage after the collapse of Copenhagen and now with the collapse of the global economy, we have to change the way we think about all this and we have to see that opportunity for a new economic vision, game plan and a new economic revolution that will get us to a post-carbon society. If you are saying, what about if the EU does it and no one else does it, this is what I am going to tell you: if the EU does it, everyone is going to be jumping on board, because China and India, the United States and Japan do not want to be back in the pack in the sunset of the second industrial revolution, whose technologies are old, and whose infrastructure is collapsing, while the great world power, the EU, the lead economy is moving quickly to a third industrial revolution: new technology, new infrastructure, millions of jobs and economic sustainability and post-carbon. Why would anyone want to stay in the sunset of the second industrial revolution, which is collapsing?

So if everyone is on track to achieve what you are describing, then we can get a legally-binding agreement?


At that point, we don’t even need a legally-binding agreement. Once you have started moving towards a third industrial revolution, it is completely irrelevant, because it is post-carbon. The EU now needs to go out and… Communicate? That’s correct. In the midst of this crisis, this is the time for the EU to step back and look at where the recovery is, and instead it is looking at austerity, unemployment and cuts. We are going to have big troubles in the streets. We have it in the US, but not in the streets yet. But it is bad: we have real unemployment of 18%, if you count the detached workers that only work a few hours. If they just go day to day in trying to put out a fire, and they don’t have this new economic vision that is workable, that has been endorsed by the Parliament, that has been activated by the Commission, that is starting to move in some way as a major vision for Europe, they are going to deal with bigger and bigger fires and eventually they will not be able to put them out. You cannot live in a political space anywhere in the world that is all based on less opportunity and more crisis every day. Eventually, you will get people in the streets and we lose opportunities and get rebellion in the streets. Every day we lose an opportunity, we have one less day available to us.

Do you think this has been communicated enough? Are we capable of telling the story of a human revolution and convincing people to follow?


I am 65 years old and I will not see this. But this is what I really believe: for all of its faults – and I am not naïve about Europe, I have spent 20-odd years working there – with all of its problems, Europe is still the laboratory for the world. The new ideas on how we move from geopolitics to biosphere politics, how we move from a world based on military might to a world based on building bridges of peace, how we move to a world based on quality of life and not on individual accumulation of wealth, how we move to a continental form of government that is networked and not centralised – the European dream is to see Europe’s youngest generation, especially middle class, college-oriented, now beginning to have a sense of global humanity. I am not saying there is no populism or xenophobic movements, but the younger generation is on the Internet everyday. Now is the time for Europe to step to the fore – Europe has the idea. America is moving further and further back in time: politics is getting bad. China is a top-down centralised regime that is going to implode. What is left? Europe has to step to fore – we need some political leadership and as you say, they are going to have to start telling a story. What I have just said is not a difficult story. Yes, it makes sense, but is not easy. But people need to believe in it, because we can probably make it work.

Rome Master Plan

We're glad to make you available the final version of the Master Plan for Rome created by Jeremy Rifkin and his team, in cooperation with the Municipality of Rome and other professionals.

Click the following link to view the document.

Final Rome Master Plan [donate]

CETRI experts meet the Bahrain authorities to start devising a Third Industrial Revolution energy plan for the Principality of Bahrain

Below fidn the Nnwspaper's article about the journey of CETRI-TIRES's members Angelo Consoli (President), Peter Marchl and Bruno D'Aguanno in Bahrain for a meeting with Government's representatives and Kholood Akbari, form the  Association of Engineering Offices of Bahrain.

The Third Industrial Revolution film event in the Italian Parliament







The Third Industrial Revolution European Society and the Camera dei Deputati


a film by Eddy Moretti

Rome 15th of October 10 am

Aula dei gruppi parlamentari, (Parliamentary Groups room)
Camera dei Deputati – Rome

After the film there will be a panel discussion with
Eddy Moretti and Jeremy Rifkin


A detailed event program will follow
Entrance allowed upon invitation and registration

Film trailer here:


The Venue is in Via del Campo Marzio 74.




Hydrogen on the EU agenda!

Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger and EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at the informal meeting of energy ministers on 18 September 2018

On 18 September 2018 the use of hydrogen as a future?oriented energy form was among the items on the agenda of the informal meeting of EU energy ministers.

“The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union proposed a Hydrogen Initiative that many member states approved of and signed”, said Elisabeth Köstinger, current chair of the EU energy minister meetings. “Under this initiative, the signatory states commit themselves to continue research and investment in the production and use of hydrogen as a future?oriented technology”,

Elisabeth Köstinger added. In Linz, where the informal meeting of energy ministers took place on 17 and 18 September, one of the most modern European hydrogen production plants is currently being built.

“In order to achieve the European?wide 2030 climate and energy goals, renewable energy forms have to be strengthened and better integrated”, Elisabeth Köstinger emphasised. “A big challenge is also being able to use renewable energy at those times when the sun is not shining, the water level is low or the wind is not blowing. Therefore, energy storage solutions are crucial in order to stock energy and to store it in the case of overproduction.”

According to Elisabeth Köstinger, renewable hydrogen could, in future, play an important role in this area. Moreover, she said, hydrogen constituted not only a potential future?oriented technology for storing energy but its use as a vehicle fuel would also add to reducing the role of fossil energy sources in mobility. “With the Hydrogen Initiative we want to send out a strong signal for renewable hydrogen and a European-wide cooperation”, Elisabeth Köstinger said.

EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete also welcomed the initiative of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union:

“Green hydrogen offers significant potential for the d“WE HAD A VERY OPEN AND ACTIVE DISCUSSION ON THE POINTS MENTIONED ABOVE. IN THESE DISCUSSIONS, THE POSITIONS OF ALL MEMBER STATES WERE FULLY RESPECTED. THIS IS ONE OF THE BASIC PREREQUISITES FOR MAKING PROGRESS POSSIBLE AND POTENTIALLY FINALISING THE CLEAN ENERGY PACKAGE IN THE COMING MONTHS.”ecarbonisation of the European economy. The Commission warmly welcomes the Hydrogen Initiative as it will further harness the innovative drive across the EU.”

More information about the informal meeting of energy ministers can be found on the event page.

We, the signatories of this initiative, gathered in Linz, Austria, on the 17th and 18th of September 2018, collectively aim to maximise the great potentials of sustainable hydrogen technology for the decarbonisation of multiple sectors, the energy system and for the long-term energy security of the EU. Acknowledging climate change as a common global challenge and focusing on our commitments to the UNFCCC, we especially underline the key role of sustainable energy technologies in the targeted process of decarbonisation. We need to increase our ambition in all sectors to fulfil the targets set by the Paris Agreement, namely to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The signatories of this declaration stress that in light of the continuous progress of automation and digitalisation in industry, the energy sector should prepare for new challenges in energy demand, usage, transport and storage. We highlight the potential of renewable hydrogen as an energy storage solution as well as a sustainable climate neutral energy carrier and feedstock. Therefore, renewable hydrogen is able to store as well as provide reliable and timely access to renewable energy, thus offering new opportunities to increase energy security and reduce the Energy Union’s dependency on fossil imports…

The full text is available here  The Hydrogen Initiative (not available in an accessible format) (EN only)

Germany in the lead for the hydrogen implementation strategy.

Klaus Bonhoff

Klaus Bonohff, Managing director of the German Hydrogen support and research organisation that had been funded with 2 bn euro until 2026, sends us a short update on the situation.
The German Government has approved to continue the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (NIP) for another ten years (2016-2026). While in the first phase (2007-2016) the target was on market preparation of respective technologies, with the result of market-ready technical performance,  the second phase (2016-2026) will focus on (i) continued R&D to further reduce costs and (ii) market activation. Market activation for transportation will especially include support for a commercial development of a hydrogen station network (e.g. via H2 Mobility Germany), development of hydrogen production based on renewable power (electrolysis), incentive programs for fuel cell vehicles (especially rail and busses) and green logistics (FC applications at production sites, airports etc.).

For further information on the Nationale Organisation Wasserstoffen please go to this page:

TAP with no flow!

Today, at a board meeting in Luxembourg the European Investment Bank (EIB) has decided, for now, to postpone loaning €1.5 billion to the controversial Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

A growing number of civil society groups are calling on the EIB not to fund this fossil fuel pipeline. In the last few days over 4000 people across Europe and beyond told the bank’s board members that supporting TAP with a massive public loan would be inconsistent with the EIB’s attendance at the One Planet Summit in Paris where the bank pledged, once again, to align its finance with the Paris climate Agreement.

Traversing Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before making a landfall on Italy’s southern shores, TAP is envisaged as the western section of the Southern Gas Corridor. A 3500 kilometre long chain of pipelines starting in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II offshore gas field, this grandiose project is designed to annually pump 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe starting 2020, in addition to 6 billion cubic meters to Turkey as early as next year.

Nevertheless, TAP, and the entire Southern Gas Corridor, is a climate-busting fossil fuel project that serves to prop-up corrupt regimes that trample over human-rights, and today’s tragic news of the gas explosion in Baumgarten, Austria, demonstrates that these pipelines increase danger and vulnerability, not European energy security.

On a day in which the World Bank pledged to end funding for oil and gas exploration and gas extraction projects, the EIB board seemed to recognize the myriad problems with the TAP project and decided it needs further discussion before deciding on such a large, controversial loan. The project has been sitting in the bank’s pipeline for more than two years now, and the board will discuss the loan again no earlier than February 2018.

Anna Roggenbuck, EIB Policy Office with CEE Bankwatch Network, says:

“Acknowledging the impacts the project would have on both the climate and impacted communities, the EIB board decided it needs more discussion. We expect the board to demand the bank responds meaningfully to all the complaints raised so far by affected communities along the pipeline route.”

Xavier Sol, Director of Counter Balance, says:

“This further postponement of the Board’s decision on TAP is an important sign that the project’s toxicity has become increasingly obvious. The climate paradox at the heart of the project, together with the human rights abuses, impacts on local communities and corruption links associated with it have made it harder and harder for the EU’s bank to endorse.”

Cécile Marchandclimate and public actors campaigner from Friends of the Earth France says:

“Clearly it was too much even for the EIB to fund this fossil fuel mega project on the anniversary of the Paris Agreement – now they should make sure that 2018 sees them end support for fossil fuels entirely’’

Tim Ratcliffe from says:

“Communities in Italy, like the people of Melendugno, have been bravely resisting this pipeline in the face of fascist-era laws. Now, everyone that has been demanding the European Investment Bank defund the Trans Adriatic Pipeline just got the decision on a €1.5bn delayed until next year. This is a massive blow to this dangerous new pipeline – we’re turning the tide on new fossil fuel projects. TAP will not go ahead.”

For more information contact

Xavier Sol
Director, Counter Balance
+ 32(0)2 893 08 61
Twitter: @xavier_sol

Anna Roggenbuck
EIB Policy Officer, CEE Bankwatch Network
Mobile: +48 509970424 Office: +48 91 831 5392
Twitter: @RoggenbuckA

Cécile Marchand (in the One Planet Summit)
Climate and Public Actors Campaigner, Friends of the Earth France
Mobile: +33 (0)6 69 97 74 56
Twitter: @Cecile_Mcd

Mark Raven
European Communications Specialist,
+447841474125 (UK) +90544145425 (Turkey)

L’Eurodeputato Tamburrano rimette in carreggiata il Regolamento sull’Energia

Buone notizie da Bruxelles: le commissioni energia ed ambiente del Parlamento Europeo introducono con il contributo determinante del Movimento 5 Stelle nuovi elementi nel regolamento UE per la governance dell’Unione dell’energia, eliminando i sussidi all’energia fossile e mettendo in corsia preferenziale gli interventi per l’efficienza energetica.

Dario Tamburrano al Parlamento Europeo

Cominciamo col dire che le lobby fossili hanno sempre operato in modo da stroncare qualunque tentativo di introdurre norme di favore a livello europeo per l’efficienza energetica e il risparmio di consumi energetici, per una ragione molto semplice. I monopoli dell’energia fossile non vedono di buon occhio il restringimento del mercato che questo comporta. Ovviamente. E la seconda cosa che non hanno mai visto di buon occhio è la perdita dei privilegi fiscali e dei sussidi diretti e indiretti che generosamente i poteri pubblici hanno sempre loro accordato (tanto per capire di che si parla, all’incirca 700 miliardi di euro che rappresentano quasi il doppio dei 400 miliardi invece accordati all’energia solare).
Ebbene, le commissioni Energia e Ambiente (ITRE & ENVI) hanno votato per l’eliminazione entro il 2020 di tutti i sussidi, diretti ed indiretti, ai combustibili fossili.

Nell’UE questo enorme flusso di denaro, a seconda di come si fanno i calcoli, ammonta alla bellezza di 39-200 miliardi di euro ogni anno (FONTE Parlamento Europeo – Fossil Fuel Subsides a pag. 4). La stima del Fondo Monetario Internazionale, che include anche le esternalità, è addirittura di 300 miliardi annui (FONTE Commissione Europea – Action to boost the clean energy transition a pag. 6).

E non è tutto: sono stati votati a maggioranza anche gli emendamenti che infondono nel quadro legislativo il concetto, finora del tutto assente, di “energia sociale” e il riconoscimento degli interventi di efficienza energetica come “opere infrastrutturali”.

Le commissioni parlamentari ITRE (industria ed energia) ed ENVI (ambiente) hanno approvato giovedì 7 dicembre le modifiche che vorrebbero apportare al testo del Regolamento UE sulla Governance dell’Unione dell’energia proposto dalla Commissione Europea. Come nel caso della direttiva efficienza energetica, bisognava scegliere fra due serie contrapposte di emendamenti relativi alle politiche UE su clima ed energia: una rigorosamente orientata verso rinnovabili, efficienza energetica e riduzione delle emissioni; l’altra molto più bendisposta a perpetuare l’uso dei combustibili fossili. Il  voto del M5S é stato determinante insieme a quello di Verdi, S&D (socialisti), GUE (sinistra) e ALDE (liberali).

Questo regolamento è l’architettura portante delle politiche UE su energia e clima fino al 2030 poiché stabilisce come gli Stati membri dovranno concretamente recepire diversi provvedimenti in merito alle politiche energetiche dell’Unione, tra i quali la nuova direttiva rinnovabili e la nuova direttiva efficienza energetica. Viene stabilito inoltre come gli Stati membri dovranno redigere i loro piani nazionali energia e clima per diminuire le emissioni climalteranti e per raggiungere i target di efficienza energetica e di energia rinnovabile al 2030.

Sono indicati, ovviamente, anche gli strumenti con cui l’UE controllerà che gli obiettivi nazionali vengano effettivamente raggiunti e siano coerenti con quelli unionali.


In base agli emendamenti approvati dalle commissioni ITRE ed ENVI, il regolamento stabilisce che la ristrutturazione finalizzata al risparmio di energia é un investimento prioritario e che l’efficienza energetica é un’infrastruttura. Questo recepisce completamente l’ emendamento 580 di questo elenco) presentato da Dario Tamburrano e cofirmato dagli europarlamentari Pedicini, Borrelli, Evi e D’Amato.

Ancora, gli emendamenti “incorporano” nel regolamento gli accordi di Parigi che mirano a contenere entro due gradi (possibilmente entro 1,5 gradi) il riscaldamento globale e inseriscono quindi nei piani nazionali relativi ad energia e clima l’obbligo di

  • eliminare tutti i sussidi ai combustibili fossili entro il 2020 ed indicare la traiettoria verso questo obiettivo. Era uN emendamento specifico (in questo elenco al numero 553), sempre cofirmato dagli eurodeputati suddetti.
  • raggiungere i target di rinnovabili e di efficienza energetica attraverso una traiettoria lineare
  • mirare alla decarbonizzazione dell’economia entro il 2050, muovendosi verso un sistema basato sulle rinnovabili e sull’efficienza energetica.

Per quanto riguarda la dimensione “sociale” dell’energia, sempre in base agli emendamenti approvati in commissione i piani nazionali dovranno:

  • indicare quante persone si trovano in condizioni in condizioni di povertà energetica e, se sono in numero significativo, le misure per ridurle
  • stabilire un target di energia rinnovabile prodotta dai cittadini e dalle comunità per l’energia, e la traiettoria per raggiungerlo
  • specificare quali benefici i cittadini trarranno dall’autoproduzione ed autoconsumo di energia rinnovabile
  • essere il frutto di consultazione e partecipazione pubblica

Queste novità andranno confermate dal voto in assemblea plenaria, che avverrà presumibilmente in gennaio, insieme alla direttiva rinnovabili e alla direttiva efficienza energetica.

Sarà quindi una delle plenarie più importanti della legislatura e la più importante per le politiche energetiche dell’Unione. I risultati finora ottenuti sono molto buoni e in parte insperati. Ma in plenaria si dovrà lottare per ogni singolo voto dato che sono coinvolti estesi interessi geopolitici, enormi quelli finanziari.

Il testo che sarà approvato in plenaria servirà come base per i negoziati con il Consiglio UE – l’altro co legislatore europeo – durante i quali nascerà la versione definitiva del regolamento. Nell’UE, un regolamento  è un atto legislativo superiore alle direttive perché viene direttamente applicato in tutti gli Stati membri senza che vi siano ulteriori passaggi per recepirlo nelle legislazioni nazionali.

Il percorso è ancora lungo, ma siamo inaspettatamente in una buona direzione, grazie a Dario Tamburrano.

Per ulteriori riferimenti si può consultare l’articolo dello stesso Dario Tamburrano a questo link:

Parma: nuova vita in chiave “educational” per il Modulo Eco.

Dopo quasi un anno, e centinaia di manifestazioni a cui hanno preso parte decine di migliaia  d ragazzi e ragazze, Il Modulo Eco si sposta da Piazzale della Pace alla sua sede definitiva
nel Parco Testoni del quartiere Crocetta.

L’Associazione Manifattura Urbana sotto la sapiente direzione dell’architetto Francesco Fulvi, del Comitato Scientifico del CETRI e responsabile del modulo “high School” del CETRI Educational, organizza una serie di workshop che si svolgeranno in una o più giornate ciascuno, alternando momenti didattici di lezione frontale, tenute da professionisti ed aziende sponsor leader nel settore, e momenti
operativi di costruzione dei vari elementi durante le varie fasi costruttive del Modulo.

Antonio Rancati e Francesco Fulvi

Una splendida occasione di fare l’ esperienza di un cantiere in autocostruzione!
Fin dalla nascita del progetto CETRI-TIRES ha concesso con entusiasmo il suo patrocinio per le numerose attività di educational e tutti gli eventi in linea alle teorie della Terza Rivoluzione Industriale di
Jeremy Rifkin.

E’ un progetto dell’associazione culturale Manifattura Urbana costruito da volontari sotto la direzione di Francesco Fulvi, senza l’uso di soldi pubblici come strumento di divulgazione e didattica sui temi della sostenibilità economica, ambientale e sociale. E’ uno spazio per il quartiere e la cittadinanza dove incontrarsi e fare rete. Luogo per realizzare iniziative a carattere sociale e culturale, fondamentale per la socializzazione e per un processo di riappropiazione delle città da parte di chi la vive.

Lo smontaggio e rimontaggio da Piazzale della Pace al Parco Testoni è realizzato grazie al sostegno di Fondazione Cariparma. I materiali per la costruzione del padiglione sono sponsorizzate da aziende del settore. Il progetto è sostenuto dal Comune di Parma e da Fondazione Cariparma. In foto la splendida iniziativa “La tua Casa in Classe A” per aiutare tutti i cittadini negli interventi di efficentamento energetico.
Cittadini, scuole, associazioni, enti proponendo temi, progetti o eventi.
Anche società sportive come le Zebre Rugby di Parma, che si sono rese disponibili a promuovere le nostre lanterne green per i bambini che vivono al buio.


Impianto domotico dell’ecomodulo controllabile vi smartphone

Chi volesse partecipare come osservatore o collaborare alle fasi di assemblaggio delle varie parti ed alla loro verifica attraverso una serie di workshop tematici, come l’assemblaggio della struttura in legno, la
posa dei serramenti, del tetto verde, la realizzazione di muri ed intonaci in terra cruda, sistema di tenuta all’aria, impianto elettrico, fotovoltaico, VMC, domotico, blower door test e diagnostica.

In questo primo anno di attività il Modulo ECO ha ricevuto 9 certificazioni e premi nazionali, ed alcuni studenti che ne hanno fatto argomento per la loro Tesi di Laurea, che hanno anche ricevuto importanti attestati istituzionali.

PER PARTECIPARE: è necessario compilare il form online disponibile sul sito internet e su facebook, e MUNIRSI DI DISPOSITIVI DI PROTEZIONE INDIVIDUALE (scarpe antinfortunistiche, guanti e caschetto).

Singola giornata € 10 + 5 € quota associativa
WS completo € 40 + 5 € quota associativa






Le idee della Terza Rivoluzione Industriale in concorso !

Il CETRI TIRES ha concesso il proprio patrocinio al concorso

Smart solutions for a smart living,

indetto da EXITone con la collaborazione di EcoSteer, società specializzata nello sviluppo di software verticali e multicanale.

Il concorso è rivolto a laureandi o Neo Laureati, Professionisti, PMI – PMI innovative e Start-up, e nasce con lo scopo individuare e sviluppare idee progettuali innovative, vision di nuovi servizi, nuove applicazioni, ricerche sperimentali e proposte di ottimizzazione di processi e sistemi riconducibili al concetto di Smart City, che siano in grado di migliorare, semplificare e rendere fruibili, “a costi sostenibili”, i servizi pubblici e privati della collettività e promuovere una crescita intelligente della comunità stessa.

Il concorso consta di due categorie:

  1. Vita delle persone
  2. Ambiente e territorio  .

Per iscriversi al concorso bisogna indicare le sottocategorie alle quali si vuole partecipare inviando i propri progetti entro le ore 12,00 del 28 febbraio 2018 all’indirizzo indicato

La partecipazione al concorso non comporta alcun costo.

Il monte premi, messo a disposizione da EXITone per un ammontare complessivo di 20.000 € verrà così suddiviso fra i primi tre classificati per ognuna delle due categorie:
7.000 euro al primo classificato,
2.000 al secondo   classificato
1.000 al terzo classificato.

Il CETRI garantirà nel comitato di valutazione, la coerenza nell’ambito della visione TRI dei progetti candidati.

Tutte le informazioni sul concorso “Smart solutions for a smart living” sono disponibili sulla sezione del sito o contattando la segreteria organizzativa: EXITone S.p.A. – Stradale San Secondo, 96 – 10064 Pinerolo (TO), Telefono +39.0121.040100, e-mail

The Fourth Industrial Revolution does not exist!

It is finally out the book conceptualized two years ago by German economist Klaus Schwab, inventor of the “exclusive Davos Club”  (the World Economic Forum).

It took him two years to get from the initial definition paper published by the Foreign Affairs Review (which can be viewed here based on the original Davos paper that can be downloaded here )   to the actual book that is presented by the publisher as a great novelty in the panorama of the new ideas (but really only repeats in the “chow and spit” format, concepts that Jeremy Rifkin has been expressing in due and fully researched fashon for the last 30 years, since he wrote his book “Entropy“.


Schwaub, defines his idea of Fourth Industrial Revolution” as  “ the inexorable shift from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution)“. This very statement suggests that the author did not took the bother to even read the back of the cover of THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, book, never mind reading “THE ZERO MARGINAL COST SOCIETY” where all the aspects of the “the innovation based on combinations of technologies” are exhaustively covered since 2014, when he did not even know that Industrial Revolutions exist.

Schwab argues (echoing Rifkin)   “the key technologies driving this revolution and discusses the major impacts expected on government, business, civil society and individu­als. … We all have the opportunity to contribute to developing new frame­works that advance progress”.

But the only concrete suggestion that comes out from his pen is a warning at risks implied by the possible social riots that will be unleashed by the unavoidable effects to “disrupt the labor market” . In fact Schwaub argues that “the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets. As automation substitutes for labor across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor. On the other hand, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology
will, in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs.
We cannot foresee at this point which scenario is likely to emerge, and history suggests that
the outcome is likely to be some combination of the two.

Yes, Mr Schwaub belongs to that old school that thinks that economic scenarios “emerge”  alone by themselves like irresistable forces of nature,  No possible doubt that “economic scenarios”  are designed and forged by man. They simply “happen” by decision of the Gods of the Economy (with Capital E) because the Economy is a Science governed by unchangeable laws like Physics, laws which human beings cannot govern or influence but can only observe and suffer.

Then the Author goes on.

Discontent can also be fueled by the pervasiveness of digital technologies and the dynamics
of information sharing typified by social media. More than 30 percent of the global population
now uses social media platforms to connect, learn, and share information. In an ideal world, these interactions would provide an opportunity for cross­cultural understanding and
cohesion. However, they can also create and propagate unrealistic expectations as to what
constitutes success for an individual or a group, as well as offer opportunities for extreme
ideas and ideologies to spread.

Yes because, you know? all these people enabled by new technologies might get the wrong idea and pursue protagonism true false ideologies spread…

Also government must be aware of the danger!

As the physical, digital, and biological worlds continue to converge, new technologies and platforms will increasingly enable citizens to engage with governments, voice their opinions, coordinate their efforts, and even circumvent the supervision of public authorities.”

God forbid! Do not let the citizen  use the new technologies and platforms to circumvent the supervision of public authorities. The government must be in charge. Of course not with businesses. That would be an intrusion in economic freedom. But when it comes to simple citizen, then the government must use all its authority to prevent “citizen to engage with covernments”…

The analysis on what the government should and shuould not do in face of this new “citizen enabling” revolution goes on: ”

“Ultimately, the ability of government systems and public authorities to adapt will determine their survival. If they prove capable of embracing a world of disruptive change, subjecting their structures to the levels of transparency and efficiency that will enable them to maintain their competitive edge, they will endure. If they cannot evolve, they will face increasing trouble.
This will be particularly true in the realm of regulation. Current systems of public policy and decision-making evolved alongside the Second Industrial Revolution, when decision-makers had time to study a specific issue and develop the necessary response or appropriate regulatory framework. The whole process was designed to be linear and mechanistic, following a strict “top down” approach.
But such an approach is no longer feasible. Given the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s rapid pace of change and broad impacts, legislators and regulators are being challenged to an unprecedented degree and for the most part are proving unable to cope.
How, then, can they preserve the interest of the consumers and the public at large while continuing to support innovation and technological development? By embracing “agile” governance, just as the private sector has increasingly adopted agile responses to software development and business operations more generally. “

Finally, Mr Schwab becomes a faithful supporter of Jeremy Rifkin’s vision and concluding on a high note declares that “In the end, it all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them. In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul. But as a complement to the best parts of human nature—creativity, empathy, stewardship—it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter prevails

But these are just words. The facts remain that governments must “embrace agile governance” and “mantain their competitive edge” (a concept that should not apply to public powers but only to private businesses).

Bearing in mind that the above mentioned definitions given by the authors, of the Third and the Fourth Industrial Revolutions clearly shows that he has not understood either, we then go now to see more in detail how according to Mr Schwab the industrial revolutions can be recognized:

Schwab says that the First Industrial Revolution introduced steam-powered and mechanized production. The Second Industrial Revolution introduced electric power and mass-production processes. The Third Industrial Revolution introduced the digitalization of technology. He then declares that “now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the end of the last revolution. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

But here’s the hitch. The very nature of digitalization — which characterizes the Third Industrial Revolution — is its ability to reduce communications, visual, auditory, physical, and biological systems, to pure information that can then be reorganized into vast interactive networks that operate much like complex ecosystems. In other words, it is the interconnected nature of digitalization technology that allows us to penetrate borders and “blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” Digitalization’s modus operandi is “interconnectivity and network building.”  In other words the  “simple digitization” that is supposed to characterize the Third Industrial Revolution and the “innovation based on combinations of technologies”  that is supposed to connote the Fourth Industrial Revolution, perfectly coincide in the Third Industrial Revolution. That’s what digitalization has been doing, with increasing sophistication, for several decades. This is what defines the very architecture of the Third Industrial Revolution.

Which raises the question: why, then, a Fourth Industrial Revolution? Here we should ask the enlightement of Jeremy Rifkin who, in an editorial published by th Huffington Post on January the 15th (that you can read in its full lenght at this link: ) explains: “Perhaps, realizing he’s on thin ground, arguing that “blurring the lines” between the physical, digital, and biological world is somehow a qualitatively “new development” that necessitates the postulation of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, Professor Schwab switches his argument away from what the technology does, concentrating rather on the dramatic temporal, spatial, and organizational effects of digitalization, suggesting that the changes are so pronounced that they warrant the exiting of the Third Industrial Revolution and the entrance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution onto the world stage. Schwab writes, “there are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution, but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact.” On closer examination, Schwab’s argument that a qualitative change in the velocity, scope, and systems impact of the new technologies forces a shift from a Third to a Fourth Industrial Revolution fails to hold up on several grounds.
The plunging fixed costs of digital technology, the near zero marginal cost of utilizing it and the intrinsic interconnected nature of the technology itself is what has enabled a qualitative leap in “velocity, scope, and systems impact” for the past twenty-five years. Certainly Professor Schwab is aware that digital technology — the heart of the Third Industrial Revolution — has been responsible for unleashing exponential curves, disrupting entire sectors of the economy, and creating new business models for several decades, beginning with the doubling of capacity and the halving of cost of computer chips at Intel, bringing the cost of computing to near Zero Marginal Cost.
Wherever digital technology has spread — personal computers, cell phones, the World Wide Web, social media, data storage, digital music and video, renewable energy technology, fabrication technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, gene splicing and gene sequencing, synthetic biology, GPS tracking, and now the Internet of Things — the velocity, scope, and systems impact has been both exponential and transformative. Again, this has been going on for decades.

The music industry, television, the news media, the knowledge sector, and more recently, the energy sector, transport sector, and retail sector have been massively disrupted and diminished by the free sharing of music, YouTube videos, e-books, social media, Wikipedia, and Massive Open Online Courses at near Zero Marginal Cost. Millions of people are also producing renewable energy at near Zero Marginal Cost, car sharing and home sharing at low marginal cost, producing 3D printed products at low marginal cost, and increasingly transferring their shopping to virtual retail. At the same time, while traditional industries have declined, thousands of new entrepreneurial enterprises — some profit driven, others nonprofit — have arisen. These new enterprises are harnessing the productivity potential of the digital revolution by creating the digital platforms, algorithms, apps, and interconnections, speeding humanity into the digital era and a Third Industrial Revolution.

Still, despite the fact that for several decades now, the introduction and spread of digital technology and accompanying networks across sector after sector has gone hand-in-hand with exponential curves whose velocity, scope, and systems impact has been massively disruptive and forced a wholesale rethinking of the way we do business, Professor Schwab argues that “the speed of current breakthroughs has no historic precedent.” Quite the contrary.

Nor are exponential curves and velocity, scope, and systems impact only unique to the digital revolution. Consider, for example, the exponential curves and the velocity, scope, and systems impact that accompanied the First Industrial Revolution as society was forced to make a wholesale transformation from a largely agricultural society to an industrial economy in less than four decades. Would Professor Schwab have said that the dramatic change in velocity, scope, and systems impact during the First Industrial Revolution justify naming it a Second Industrial Revolution at some point, even though the defining technologies of the First Industrial Revolution were still operational and not yet replaced by the Second Industrial Revolution technologies and infrastructure? Doubtful!”

What makes a break between Industrial Revolutions os not a quantitative change in pace and velocity of the defining technologies, but a quality change in those technologies. This happens, (explains Rifkin), when three defining technologies emerge and converge to create what we call in engineering, a general purpose technology platform that fundamentally changes the way we manage, power, and move economic activity: new communication technologies to more efficiently manage economic activity; new sources of energy to more efficiently power economic activity; and new modes of transportation to more efficiently move economic activity.
For example, in the 19th century, steam-powered printing and the telegraph, abundant coal, and locomotives on national rail systems gave rise to the First Industrial Revolution. In the 20th Century, centralized electricity, the telephone, radio and television, cheap oil, and internal combustion vehicles on national road systems converged to create an infrastructure for the Second Industrial Revolution.

These are not simple quantitative changes of the technologies velocity and pace! These are quality indications of an historic great economic paradigm shift!
That’s what qualifies as a new industrial revolution and not a simple modulation of intensity of the same industrial revolution.

This is where Mt Schwaub theory falls to its epic fail!

As Jeremy Rifkin concludes, ” The Third Industrial Revolution — the digital revolution — has yet to reach its vast potential, making it far too early to declare it over and done. It is possible that a new technology revolution, as powerful, expansive, and far-reaching in its impact on society as digitalization, will come along in the near or distant future, at which time we might affix the label “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Until then, we can safely mantain that the Fourth Industrial Revolution does not exist!


After spending €587 million, EU has zero CO2 storage plants


The following investigation was published on the EU Observer last September 25th and we decided to re publish it in view of its translation that we are taking care of on the Italian Page of the TIRES-CETRI web site, to spread information and sparkle a debate on how badly EU tax payers money is wasted just to permit the fossil industry to survive a few more years. In fact what we learn from this investigation is that, like in the Wolkswagen diesel scum two years ago, there is NO clean way to make energy from fossil fuels. And all attempts to establish that,  resulted, results and will result in an intolerable waste of public resources and a diversion of public funds from much more needed clean and zero marginal cost Third Industrial revolution solar energy technologies. The only sustainable economic plans are decarbonized economic plans. All the rest is a travesty and should be banned immediately for a fast transition to a post carbon, T.I.R. society.

Angelo Consoli
President of the Third Industrial Revolution European Society (T.I.R.E.S.)

Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, a major risk for banks, as well as for the environment

A new analysis warns that TAP could be a blood bath for the financial institutions even before being an environmental hazard. The Third Industrial Revolution SOciety is proud of having been the engine of the opposition to this useless, harmful project since day one.

NO COAL Brindisi with CETRI-TIRES’ President Angelo Consoli, at the NO TAP march on 20th of September 2014

An analysis published today by the finance watchdog groups Counter Balance and BankTrack has warned potential commercial bank investors to steer clear of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) owing to the project’s non-compliance with the Equator Principles, a set of risk management guidelines for project finance adopted by 89 commercial banks around the world. [1]

Based on a range of evidence from Albania and Greece, where TAP construction is under way and posing threats to numerous communities, and Italy, where the €5 billion gas pipeline’s construction is stalled due to extensive local and regional opposition as well as ongoing legal challenges, the new analysis comes a day ahead of the latest high-level Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council meeting in Azerbaijan which will involve representation from the corridor’s transit countries, the European Commission, the USA and international public development banks. [2]

According to the TAP company, the 879 kilometre pipeline project will affect approximately 19,060 plots of land and approximately 45,000 land owners and users in Albania, Greece and Italy. At least 13 complaints from affected individuals and stakeholder groups about the TAP company’s implementation of the project in Albania, Greece and Italy have already been submitted to the European Investment Bank, which has been considering the TAP project for finance since August 2015.

Reflecting these complaints, the NGO analysis identifies problematic issues related to compensation for land owners, the TAP company’s heavy-handed approach to land acquisition and pipeline routing, and – in Italy – the project’s fundamental lack of preparedness which has resulted in a string of legal disputes still awaiting verdicts in the Italian courts.

Xavier Sol, director of Counter Balance, said:

“The European Commission’s alarming cosying up to the hardline Azerbaijan regime for more fossil fuels which Europe doesn’t need is now resulting in serious, direct headaches for Europeans, as our new analysis of the TAP project reveals. The likes of the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which are considering finance for TAP should be aware of these ongoing failures in the project construction. If they should choose to rubber stamp TAP in its current state, it would not give the project a clean bill of health for private banks to enter into the financing.”

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy campaign coordinator at BankTrack, said:

“Private banks need to be aware about the shoddy way in which the TAP project is proceeding on the ground, far removed from the public relations fanfare ringing out from the governments involved. Serious impacts to communities and the environment are cropping up and not getting resolved. For banks which have signed up to the Equator Principles, this has to mean that TAP is a no-go investment. The reputation of the Equator Principles has suffered recently from the Dakota Access Pipeline debacle in the US, and banks need to make sure these lessons are learned when it comes to TAP.”


Read the full report here.

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