Richard Douthwaite

Richard Douthwaite (1942-2011) Richard Douthwaite was an economist and writer with a special interest in climate and energy issues and local economic development.  His first book, The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet was published in 1992 and was re-issued in an extended and up-dated second edition in 1999. It explores why the present economic system is dependent on economic growth and the effects that the resulting pursuit of growth has had on the environment and society. His other major book, Short Circuit (1996) gives dozens of examples of currency, banking, energy and food production systems which communities can use to make themselves less dependent on an increasingly unstable world economy. His The Ecology of Money (1999) calls for different currencies for different purposes and for changes in the way money is put into circulation so that a stable, sustainable economy can be achieved. He edited Before the Wells Run Dry (2003), a study of the transition to renewable energy in the light of climate change and oil and gas depletion and To Catch the Wind, (2004), a report on how communities can invest in wind energy. He was a co-founder of Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, the Dublin-based international network of people who believe that the world's sustainability problems are due to the use of dysfunctional systems and are trying to develop better ones. He was co-editor of the Feasta Review, which carries cutting-edge thinking on sustainability issues.  He led a recently-completed research project which was commissioned from Feasta by the Irish Government’s Environmental Protection Agency into the effects that very much higher energy prices might have on the various sectors of Irish life. In spring 2006 he co-wrote a report for the South African Department of Agriculture on the ways in which biofuel production might affect the two farming sectors in that country – the commercial farms and the subsistence producers. The report recommended a development strategy designed to maximise the benefits accruing in the rural areas. He acted as economic adviser to the Global Commons Institute (London) from 1993 to 2005 during which time GCI developed the Contraction and Convergence approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions which has now been backed by many countries. He subsequently helped Feasta devise the Cap and Share framework for emissions reduction. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of Plymouth and contributed the economic content to the Master’s course in Theology and the Environment at Dalgan Park, Navan. He contributed lectures to courses at four parts of the National University of Ireland (Dublin, Maynooth, Cork and Galway) and at the universities of London (Goldsmiths and LSE), Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Leicester, Newcastle, Manchester, Uppsala, Malardalen, Stockholm (KTH) and Budapest.

Government Economic Ignorance

Landowners & Cement Producers Gain, Homebuyers & Taxpayers Suffer. By Richard Douthwaite

Sustainable Sewage

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There’s rather more to designing a sustainable building than specifying low-embodied energy materials and making sure it will require little energy and maintenance in use. Low water demand and the ability to get the nutrients discharged in the sewage back to the land are important too.

Minimising Development Risk

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In an increasingly risky property market Richard Douthwaite looks at what developers can do to protect their investment.

Building a low carb future

The need to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption from buildings has never been more immediate. There is a growing consensus that we must reduce our dependence on rapidly depleting, carbon intensive fossil fuels, which, amongst other things, will involve overhauling how buildings are designed, constructed and used.
The need to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption from buildings has never been more immediate. There is a growing consensus that we must reduce our dependence on rapidly depleting, carbon intensive fossil fuels, which, amongst other things, will involve overhauling how buildings are designed, constructed and used.

New Power Generation

Richard Douthwaite explains how inadequate conventional energy generation is and reveals the potential that combined heat and power & energy service companies can offer.
Richard Douthwaite explains how inadequate conventional energy generation is and reveals the potential that combined heat and power & energy service companies can offer.

Papered Over

Richard Douthwaite reveals that oil and gas peak are barely mentioned in the Government's recent energy Green Paper.
Richard Douthwaite reveals that oil and gas peak are barely mentioned in the Government's recent energy Green Paper.

Geo Dynamics

Geothermal Heat Pumps
Richard Douthwaite looks at the viability of heat pumps, and the factors that could determine their future role in a changing energy landscape.

From recession to renewables

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The notion that curbing CO2 emissions would damage economic growth has been used as an excuse from developed countries such as the USA not to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, as Richard Douthwaite reveals, the people of Austrian town Güssing are discovering firsthand that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

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