The Lean Economy Connection
Henri Rousseau, 1892 - Le centenaire de l'independance

Selected articles and lectures by The Lean Economy Connection

Articles in Prospect magazine (1999-2005)
- David Fleming

The Lean Economy - A Vision of Civility for a World in Trouble (2001)
- David Fleming

Building a Lean Economy for a fuel-poor future (2003)
- David Fleming

Community Powerdown Conference: The Community Lecture (2007)
- David Fleming

The Transition to Sustainable Resilience (2007)
- David Fleming and Lawrence Woodward

Wild Economics, Wolves, Resilience and Spirit - a study in interdependence (Transition Conference 2009) - David Fleming

Dark Optimism
- Shaun Chamberlin
(all aspects of Shaun's wider work)


Peak Oil links:

Richard Heinberg on One World TV (video) A 7 minute interview extract in which Heinberg outlines the basics of Peak Oil. If you want a little more of the detail behind this see his article 'The View from Oil's Peak'. Heinberg's books The Party's Over and Powerdown have justifiably become the classic Peak Oil texts. Anyone wishing to begin understanding the subject should consult them.

Simmons and Kilduff on CNBC (video) American news network CNBC present a 7-minute report in March 2007 on the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report into Peak Oil. This video clearly highlights many of the basic issues.

Introduction to Peak Oil (pdf) A clearly written introduction to the science of peak oil, building up from the basics. From Gail Tverberg of the Oil Drum.

David Strahan Strahan is a journalist and documentary film-maker, and his book The Last Oil Shock - focusing on the UK - is by far the most readable guide to our Peak Oil predicament. Thoroughly recommended reading for beginners and Peak Oil experts alike.

The Hirsch Report (pdf) A 2005 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (full title: Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management) which concludes that "the peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem", that without timely mitigation the economic, social and political impacts will be abrupt, revolutionary and permanent, and that mitigation "must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking". Hirsch produced a brief update in 2007.

Rob Newman's History of Oil (video) Ready for some light relief? Rob Newman is a renowned stand-up comedian who shows in this brilliant performance that he understands the problems we face. For more peak oil-related entertainment we also recommend the free (and quick) online game Oiligarchy.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas This group, founded in June 2007, is made up of MPs and Lords from the UK Government. They are discussing and investigating the debate regarding the date of global peak oil production and looking at the range of possible impacts, mitigations and solutions.

Energy Bulletin An outstanding clearinghouse for current information news and events regarding the peak in global energy supply, climate change and related topics.

The Oil Drum publishes carefully thought-out articles discussing energy and our future in a serious manner. It attracts many of the best-informed observers. They have a Europe-focused site available at:

ASPO ASPO, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, was founded by Dr. Colin Campbell and has been key in raising awareness of Peak Oil. ASPO publishes a clear and informative monthly e-newsletter, free of charge.

PowerSwitch British site with lots of information on the subject and several good primers for those new to these issues. Also the host for the Lean Economy Connection's forums.

Peakoil Films Links to the various Peak Oil films, documentaries and features available online.

Peak Oil Blues All a bit too much? This excellent and friendly site is run by professionally trained psychotherapists to help those trying to come to terms with Peak Oil and its impact on their life and plans.


Climate Change links (the problem):

Bexbroke - Oxford University A clear presentation on the basics of climate prediction.

Times interview with Mark Lynas Mark Lynas explaining in March 2007 why if we don't drastically reduce global emissions by 2015, it may well be too late to avoid catastrophe.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) The UN's conservative and consensus-driven IPCC supports Mark Lynas' analysis in its Working Group II Fourth Assessment report (Sept 2007), saying that "if warming is not kept below 2 degrees C, which will require the strongest of mitigation efforts, and currently looks very unlikely to be achieved, then substantial global impacts will occur, such as: species extinctions and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger and flooding, etc." Press release available here. Full report here. A June 2009 update on climate science developments *since* the IPCC report can be found here (pdf).

Climate Code Red (pdf) A critically important 2008 report from the excellent Carbon Equity group in Australia, which shows that climate change impacts are happening far more quickly than projected by the IPCC and others, argues convincingly that 'business as usual' is irrelevant as we need to recognise a planetary state of emergency, and suggests solutions.

Geoffrey Lean of the Independent Geoffrey Lean explains that areas of the Amazon Rainforest are already catching fire due to drought, and warns of mega-fires which could release the 90 billion tonnes of carbon contained by the drying forest.

Wake Up, Freak Out, then Get a Grip An ingeniously clear and engaging 11 minute animation explaining why the next few years are the most important humanity has ever faced, or will ever face. We who are lucky enough to be alive now are effectively the most powerful people who will ever live, and future generations are breathlessly watching our every choice.

The Climate Science Translation Guide Our own Shaun Chamberlin has produced a brief guide cutting through the confusion around CO2, CO2equivalent, parts per million and other terms, and clearly explaining the present situation.

How to answer climate change sceptics There are still some arguments out there to the effect that man is not really causing severe climate change. Unfortunately the evidence clearly shows that that's not true - here are the answers to the common contrarian arguments. Also take a look at this outstanding slide show (pdf).

Real Climate A climate change site run by climate scientists. If you're confused by some of the more complex aspects of climate change, this is the site that knows the answers.

On death and hopelessness A man who has met the death of hope in the most direct way tells us what he learnt there.


Climate Change links (the solutions):

Contraction and Convergence The Global Commons Institute proposes an international framework which would allow developing countries to slightly increase per capita emissions until these converged with the emissions levels of the developed countries. All countries globally would then contract their emissions levels from this point. Unfortunately their website design is not so elegant.

Zero Carbon Britain This perceptive report was published by the Centre for Alternative Technology in July 2007, laying out the challenges we face and presenting a bold, radical vision of how Britain could eliminate carbon emissions altogether within 20 years. The suggested policy framework is built around Contraction and Convergence at the international level and TEQs at the national.

AMEE AMEE is an acronym for the Avoidance of Mass Extinctions Engine, and is a hugely ambitious project aiming to measure and track all the energy data in the world by collating all the available data streams. This is a far more significant project than its website probably shows, and having met the people behind it, it is intensely ethical in its practices. An international campaign aiming to use beautiful, creative and unstoppable methods to spread the idea that 350 is the most important number on the planet. We need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to at most 350ppm to avoid huge and irreversible damage to life on Earth. They need our ideas and inspiration to spread the word as far as possible and thus move the international negotiations in that direction.

The Apollo-Gaia Project David Wasdell, an expert on climate feedbacks, outlines the type and scale of programme required to quantify and respond to our current global situation. The Apollo-Gaia Project now has its own dedicated website at

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) This is NOT photovoltaic solar panels, but rather the simple use of mirrors to focus solar heat on pipes filled with water. This generates steam which turns turbines to generate electricity. A simple concept that has been operating a 165 MW power plant in California for over 20 years and has the wonderful property of scalability.

Painting the Town Green (pdf) A report by Green Engage Communications investigating how we communicate climate change, and why we so often fail to prompt any behavioural change in those we talk to. This is crucial information for all of us, as MPs still claim that the popular support is not there for realistic action on climate change, and this must change. Chapters 6 + 10 especially recommended.

Carbon Trading - A Critique (pdf) An excellent and very readable exploration of some of the shortcomings of our current systems of international carbon trading, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Edited by Larry Lohmann.

Carbon offsetting? or If you're considering using a carbon offsetting service, why not donate to one of these charities instead? There is justifiably much controversy surrounding carbon offsetting, but these charities were carefully planting trees where they would be most beneficial long before offsetting became fashionable (and profitable). Just don't buy the myth that donating money gives you any ethical right to emit more carbon!


Lean Energy links:

Transition Culture Blog site by Rob Hopkins, founder of the rapidly spreading
Transition Towns movement, which is mobilising localities to prepare for the future. We would highly recommend both Hopkins' book, The Transition Handbook, and our own Shaun Chamberlin's followup, The Transition Timeline, to everyone grappling with the issues of our time.

A Farm for the Future (video) A beautiful and fascinating 50 minute documentary from the BBC's Natural World series (2009), exploring the future for British farming in a world of peak oil and climate change. Watching it requires QuickTime or the VLC Media Player, which can be downloaded free here.

Sustrans The UK's leading sustainable transport charity, working on practical, imaginative ways of dealing with the transport challenges that affect us all.

The Man in Seat Sixty-One An extremely useful site for those of us who have decided not to fly (for whatever reason). This site gives detailed, friendly, first-hand information on how to get almost anywhere in the world by surface-based transportation.

Green Alliance report on 'Grid 2.0' (pdf) The Green Alliance have produced a clear and compelling piece of work on the new thinking that is needed for electricity distribution and the National Grid.

Permaculture Principles Permaculture is often termed a design system. It is that, but it is also an entire way of seeing life, based around the principles of Care for the Earth, Care for People and Fair Shares. It is one of those beautiful ideas that get deeper the more you explore them, and this site is a lovely introduction.

Online energy conversion tool Confused by BTUs, petajoules, gallons, kilowatt hours and megacalories? This conversion tool is invaluable.


Economics links:

Dr. M. King Hubbert A short extract from an interview with Dr. Hubbert, in which he outlines the clash between our understanding of Physics and our monetary culture.

Money as Debt (video) An astonishingly clear and engaging explanation of the little-understood reality behind our existing monetary system, presented as a video animation.

Dr. Albert Bartlett Dr. Bartlett applies the arithmetic of steady growth to populations and to fossil fuels. Essential, a lot more interesting than it might sound, and available here as video, audio or text.

The Endangered US Dollar In this perceptive article from 2004 Richard Heinberg looks to history to find the roots of our present global economic position.

The Crash Course (video) Chris Martenson undertakes the daunting task of presenting the overarching interplay of economics, energy and environment examined in all the links above. He not only pulls it off, but does so in easily digestible videos from 2-15 minutes long. Watching them all would take 3 hours 23 minutes.

Prosperity Without Growth Professor Tim Jackson of the Sustainable Development Commission has produced this outstanding report which looks into the connections and conflicts between sustainability, growth, and wellbeing, and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in line with evidence about what actually contributes to people's wellbeing.

The International Forum on Globalisation A research and educational institution composed of leading activists, economists, scholars, and researchers. They provide analyses and critiques on the cultural, social, political, and environmental impacts of economic globalisation and stimulate new thinking, joint activity and public education with regard to the neoliberal free-market economic paradigm.

New Economics Foundation A UK organisation proposing alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm. Practising economics as if people and planet mattered.

The Ecologist Dr. Stephan Harding's article in The Ecologist magazine on economic growth and TEQs. Harding's book Animate Earth also receives our highest recommendation, with its beautiful ability to open readers' eyes to a new dimension regarding nature and climate change.


Other links:

truthout An independent online news source, supported solely by donations from readers.

Avaaz An inspiring international organisation using the Internet to ensure that the views and values of the world's people are heard in key global decisions. Sign up to their mailing list - their judgment is generally unerring.

Write To The very easiest way to write to your MP or other political representatives, even if you don't know who they are (UK residents only).

On biodiversity and extinction (video) This watchable 9 minute video outlines the mass extinction event occurring now on our planet. For media coverage of the UN announcement that: "If things continue, in as little as 35 years half of all species of life will be extinct" click here.

Human population John Feeney's site is an important source of understanding regarding the critical debate over sustainable human population levels.

Big Big Picture TV streams free video clips of leading experts, thinkers and activists in environmental and social sustainability, including scientists, journalists, economists, businessmen, designers and politicians.

Resurgence Over 40 years after it was first published Resurgence magazine continues to publish articles on the cutting edge of current thinking. Resurgence not only offers penetrative critique of the old paradigm, it gives working models for an emerging new paradigm and is full of positive ideas about the theory and practice of good living, including spirituality, permaculture, community supported agriculture, local economics, creativity, ecological building, art in the environment, small schools and deep ecology.

Schumacher College A truly transformative place where space and time is given for learning, reflection and the exchange of ideas and experiences. Much of its unique character comes from the way the College community creates an expression of a sustainable lifestyle, with participants sharing in essential activities including cooking, housekeeping and gardening. If you have a chance to study there do not fail to take it.


If you know of an organisation that you feel should be listed on this page, please contact the webmaster.

TEQs links:

UK Government pre-feasibility study into Personal Carbon Trading Having commissioned the Centre for Sustainable Energy's scoping study (Nov 2006), the UK Government conducted this pre-feasibility study into the TEQs concept (May 2008).

Responses to the pre-feasibility study Critical responses from The Lean Economy Connection (pdf) and the Centre for Sustainable Energy, as well as the IPPR's parallel research and the BBC's coverage of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee's full response. The Government's response to the EAC's comments (October 2008) can be found here.

All Party Parliamentary Group report The UK Government's All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas published this report into TEQs with The Lean Economy Connection in January 2011. It details the features and benefits of a TEQs system and draws on the research linked above to argue that implementation is an urgent priority.

Plan B? The prospects for personal carbon trading The Institute for Public Policy Research produced this report in September 2009, examining the case for and against TEQs, and concluding that Government should prepare the ground for possible future implementation.

BBC Radio 4 (audio) In this 12 minute discussion of Peak Oil from BBC Radio 4's "You and Yours" programme (September 2008), John Hemming MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas explains why TEQs are the only just option for the UK Government.

Newsnight (video) David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock and TEQs advocate, is interviewed on the BBC's "Newsnight" programme (May 2008). Discussion of TEQs from the two-minute mark. A previous Newsnight discussion on TEQs can be seen here (March 2008).

Climate Policy special issue Yael Parag and Tina Fawcett edit a special Sept 2010 issue of the Climate Policy journal, looking exclusively at 'personal carbon trading', including TEQs and PCAs.

History and Policy paper Historian Dr Mark Roodhouse of the University of York examines the example of wartime rationing and concludes that "the use of taxes alone to control consumption was rejected in the World Wars, and they would not achieve the quick, dramatic cut in carbon consumption that we need now to avert environmental disaster. Tradable carbon rations would have a real impact".

Zero Carbon Britain This report was published by the Centre for Alternative Technology in 2007, laying out the challenges we face and presenting a bold, radical vision of how Britain could eliminate carbon emissions altogether within 20 years. The suggested policy framework is built around Contraction and Convergence at the international level and TEQs at the national.

Resurgence article - Shaun Chamberlin Our own Shaun Chamberlin writes on the need for a framework to encourage local-level solutions to our energy/emissions crisis (April 2009).

The Times article The Chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith of Finsbury, states in November 2009 that "rationing is the fairest and most effective way of meeting Britain's legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions".

Guardian article - Polly Toynbee Following Colin Challen MP's June 2008 letter to the paper arguing that the rapid behavioural change necessitated by climate change means that we must implement carbon rationing, Polly Toynbee's article derides the delay in implementing an idea described by DEFRA as "ahead of its time".

New Statesman articles Rowena Macdonald reports from the 2008 Climate Camp at Kingsnorth, and points Gordon Brown towards TEQs, while Peter Wilby comments on the moral challenges inherent in addressing climate change.

Sharon Astyk on energy rationing 2010 article in which Astyk considers whether energy rationing could be made politically palatable.

David Boyle article David Boyle looks back from 2021 to the day when TEQs were implemented in 2011!

The Ecologist Dr. Stephan Harding's article addresses economic growth and the potential impact of TEQs on the global economy. Mark Jansen's 2010 article provides an update.

Policy Studies Institute (pdf) Simon Dresner and Paul Ekins compare the impacts of various proposed policies for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from transportation (including TEQs/DTQs), focusing on whether they are likely to benefit higher-income or lower-income households.

Australia - Ian Dunlop (pdf) A submission to the Australian Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading by a former CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and former chair of both the Australian Coal Association and the Australian Greenhouse Office Experts Group on Emissions Trading.

Green Party of England and Wales (pdf) A briefing from the Green Party of England and Wales on their endorsement of the TEQs scheme, which is advocated in their 'Manifesto for a Sustainable Society'.

Carbon Reduction Action Groups (CRAGs) CRAGs are growing networks of people trying to implement TEQs-type schemes voluntarily at the community level, without waiting for Government implementation.


Nuclear Energy links:

David Fleming on The Oil Drum David Fleming summarises the findings of The Lean Guide to Nuclear Energy on The Oil Drum:Europe.

Storm Van Leeuwen and Smith Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and the late Philip Smith have produced an outstanding work of analysis on all stages of the nuclear life cycle. Also see Storm van Leeuewen's readable summary of the nuclear life-cycle (pdf), published by the Oxford Research Group.

The Red Book The "Red Book" is widely regarded as the most authoritative source on the quantity and quality of the remaining uranium ore, and of future prospects for production. It is prepared by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the 2005 edition was published in June 2006.

University of Sydney (pdf) A detailed report on the "Life-Cycle Energy Balance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Nuclear Energy in Australia" prepared for the Australian Government.

Rocky Mountain Institute (pdf) http://www.rmi.orh/.../ A 2009 paper in which Amory Lovins debunks the latest arguments in favour of nuclear energy.

A little makes a lot? A brief article by John Busby examining the claim that a relatively tiny amount of uranium generates as much electricity as a huge amount of coal. Also see his insightful longer article explaining why nuclear power is not a sustainable source of low carbon energy.

Dr. Helen Caldicott Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), headquartered in Washington DC. NPRI's mission is to facilitate a far-reaching, effective, ongoing public education campaign in the mainstream media about the often-underestimated dangers of nuclear weapons and power programs and policies.

Europe's radioactive secret A Greenpeace report exposing illegal European exports of radioactive waste to some of Russia's most contaminated sites, with the waste being transported on non-purpose-built general cargo ships.

The Convenient Solution (video) A 9 minute video from Greenpeace UK highlighting the more sensible alternatives to building nuclear power stations in the UK.


GRIN (Genetic, Robotic, Information and Nano-technology) links:

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Like any powerful technology, nanotechnology has potential for both benefit and harm. The CRN believes that a stance of cautious optimism is called for. Caution demands that we understand the capabilities of advanced nanotechnology before it arrives, and work to prepare for the changes it will bring.

DEFRA on Nanotechnology The UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working to promote the responsible development and use of nano-scale materials, and hoping to manage any potential risks to the environment while maximising the benefits of nanotechnologies.

Organic farming could feed the world A July 2007 article in New Scientist on findings that a switch to organic farming would not reduce the world's food supply and could also increase food security in developing countries.

The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm works to develop and support sustainable land-use, agriculture and food systems, primarily within local economies, which build on organic principles to ensure the health and well-being of soil, plant, animal, man and the environment.

The Soil Association The UK's leading campaigning and certification organisation for organic food and farming.


If you know of an organisation that you feel should be listed on this page, please contact the webmaster.