Facebook post from 13 September

It’s been quite a week. Started off last Friday with 2 talks at the Reframing Economics conference at Wits – one on the green transition and the other on non-equilibrium Economics. On Tuesday i did a keynote at Africa Powerweek in Sandton on investment trends in the African power sector. Then on Wednesday I spoke on a panel at the Financing the Future conference at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (amazing group from 40 countries, mainly activists and progressive finance people) during the day, and then that night a talk to an activist audience at AIDC on SA’s energy transition. Last night my men’s group met and we had an amazingly intimate 3 hour session facing – in Sandile’s words – “our collective shadow” at a time when men are destroying all around us almost everything that is precious. Such a privilege being with such a diverse group of men who trust one another and are prepared to be vulnerable with each other. Deeply, deeply moving. And so transformative.

President’s message to the UN Climate Summit in 2019

(This is the version that was online on 23 September 2019 – the next day an edited version appeared.)

The President has just sent this message to the UN Secretary General – the clearest commitment ever made to the South African energy transition. I’m blown away! Next step is to remove the constraints on renewables in the IRP in line with what the recent National Treasury Economic Strategy recommended.

Statement of H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa handed to the United Nations Secretary-General on the occasion of the Climate Summit, 23 September 2019

Mr Secretary-General, Excellencies

South Africa shares the sense of urgency expressed by you, Secretary General, for addressing the climate emergency, and welcomes this great initiative to gather the world’s leaders in New York. This ahead of the UNFCCC meeting in Chile this year and looking forward to 2020, the year in which all of us are expected to enhance the ambition of our Nationally Determined Contributions, and communicate long-term low emissions development plans to put the world on a path to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Although they have historically contributed the least to global emissions, developing countries are and will continue to be most affected by climate change and its impacts.

The world depends on us. We have seen the disastrous effects of climate change across the globe in the increased incidence and severity of extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts.

In fact, the recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C has identified southern Africa as a climate change hot spot. Our region is likely to become drier and drastically warmer even under 1.5 or 2 °C of global warming.

Moreover, recent events have clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the region to extreme weather. In March 2019, more than 1000 people died across four Southern African countries in the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Idai. This is the worst flood disaster in the recorded history of the region, and the second worst in history in the Southern Hemisphere. Also still fresh in the minds of South Africans is the Cape Town drought of 2015-2017, which brought the city to the verge of an unprecedented water crisis.

Climate change science is clear that the risk for flooding originating from intense land falling tropical cyclones and for prolonged drought in Southern Africa is increasing under continued global warming. Extensive research is ongoing in South Africa to quantify the likelihood of major climate change impacts occurring in the region over the next several decades, including multi-year droughts that compromise water security and heat-waves impacting on human health, livestock production and crop yield.

The view of South Africa and Africa, as developing countries and as global citizens, is that the climate crisis cannot be solved outside of a development context. We see the crisis as an opportunity to strengthen global governance and that in addressing the crisis, we can meet the aspirations of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 identifies poverty, inequality and unemployment as our most serious national development challenges. Overcoming these triple challenges fundamentally informs our approach to addressing climate change.

Building resilience must strengthen development. In shifting to a low-carbon, inclusive, climate change resilient development path and embracing the global energy transition, we must ensure that we leave no-one behind. At the same time, we must create new opportunities for all in our economy.

South Africa considers itself a good global citizen and our National Climate Change Response Policy requires us to make a fair contribution to the global effort in the context of our national development priorities. This is what informs our Nationally Determined Contribution.

South Africa places a high priority on the role of all countries to enable and support adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change, and build economic and social resilience to these impacts, particularly for those most vulnerable.

The mitigation challenge posed to South Africa is considerable. About 80% of our emissions are from our energy sector.

Like all countries of the world, we recognize the urgency with which we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a carbon-neutral future.

The rapid fall in prices of renewable energy technologies, coupled with our immense renewable energy resources, has created a massive opportunity for us to make this shift.

We are already doing so. South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) is considered one of the world’s leading Renewable Energy programmes.

South Africa’s blueprint for energy security, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will soon be finalized. It calls for an energy mix that includes a significantly increased component of energy from renewable sources, as well as from traditional sources that includes coal, natural gas and nuclear energy.

As many other countries around the world including developed countries are experiencing, we have to minimize the impact of such a transition on workers, communities and our economies as a whole.

As part of ensuring a just transition we will need to put measures in place that plan for workforce reskilling and job absorption, social protection and livelihood creation, incentivising new green sectors, diversifying coal dependent regional economies, and developing labour and social plans as and when ageing coal-fired power plants are decommissioned.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, it is clear that strong and durable social compacts will need to be forged between government, labour, business and civil Society.

Your Excellencies, South Africa has already done much to address the challenge of climate change. So far, we have introduced a Carbon Tax and have implemented voluntary carbon budgets systems for large emitters.

We have also finalised a Green Transport Strategy and are implementing a national Green Economy strategy and an Energy Efficiency in Industry Strategy.

As of end of March 2019 we have procured 6 422 Megawatts of electricity from 112 renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects including from wind, solar PV, concentrated solar power, landfill gas, hydro and biomass.

We are also pursuing a largescale energy and climate change research and development programme geared towards mitigation solutions such as the use of fuel cells, using South Africa’s abundant platinum resources.

In addition to these and up to the end of 2020, we will be completing a number of key national processes:

Our National Planning Commission will update our National Development Plan (which was adopted in 2012 before the Paris Agreement), providing an integrated basis for our shift to a low-carbon economy, climate-resilient society;
We will also be finalising our Just Transition Plan, including defining a vision compatible with the 1.5 degree Paris temperature goal;
We are currently in the process of finalising our long-term low emissions development strategy, which will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2020;
We will be finalising our Climate Change Bill, which will provide a legislative basis for comprehensive climate action, provide for the updating of our long-term national emissions trajectory, the allocation of sectoral emissions targets, and the regulation of large emitters;
South Africa’s land sector is a net emissions sink, and we are currently developing programmes to enhance this, including through the restoration of subtropical thicket and grasslands, expanding forestry and reduced tillage.
We will also publish the final National Adaptation Strategy to assist all provinces, towns and cities to face adaptation challenges ahead.
Using own domestic resources, we have already implemented measures to help us cope with extreme weather. These include; the working for water programme, the working for fire programme and the restoration of wetlands.
In 2020, South Africa will be updating its adaptation NDC in 2020, to reflect national progress on implementing a comprehensive adaptation response, and updating international support requirements.

South Africa remains committed to meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement, under the UN Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Excellencies, having heeded the warnings of the IPCC, considered the current inadequacy of international mitigation efforts and the urgency of further emissions reductions by 2030, having heard the pleas of citizens and in response to the urging of the Secretary General, we are announcing the concrete actions as South Africa.

We will be enhancing our current mitigation NDC by the end of 2020. Additional mitigation ambition by 2030 will require a bold programme which targets our key emissions source, the electricity sector, and goes beyond current plans to invest further in renewable energy.

To this end, a proposed 11 Billion US dollar Just Transition Transaction is being developed under the auspices of the Eskom Sustainability Task Team. The 11 billion dollars would consist of a blended finance facility and would be the largest climate finance transaction to date, having a significant emissions impact.

The plan we will develop will focus on the next decade.

It will include the process of decommissioning old coal powered plants. South Africa’s national power utility Eskom is already implementing a decommissioning plan for plants over 50 years old.

We will continue with this process in consultation with various social partners and importantly, at a pace that allows us to still meet our key development goals. It will also be taking place in the context of the problems currently besetting our electricity sector.

It will furthermore include adding significant additional renewable energy capacity, the funding of large-scale regional programmes to offset adverse impacts on workforces through economic development, and the financial stabilisation of our electricity sector.

South Africa’s reserves of platinum, manganese, chromium, nickel, vanadium, titanium, gold, fluorite are amongst the best in the world, with sizeable reserves of cobalt and copper. Our focus will also be on recirculation technologies for these minerals towards minimising the costs and environmental impacts of mining.

Mr Secretary General, we cannot overemphasise your call that this transition should not lead to winners and losers, and deepen global inequalities amongst and within states.

To ensure equity in the energy transition, we call upon you to champion initiatives that ensure not only that investment in renewable energy technologies is fast-tracked in developing countries, but that a large share of the value chain is located in these countries to support national development objectives. Especially in Africa, which is endowed with mineral resources critical to the production of renewable energy technologies. In addition, consideration should be given to the consideration of a global regime for investment in relevant patent pools – technology buy-outs for the global common good.

Meeting these commitments will be very challenging for South Africa. We need our partners in developed countries to step up and do their fair share by enhancing their NDC’s in line with the 1.5 degree Paris temperature goal.

They will also need to fulfil their obligations to provide the Means of Implementation for developing countries to enhance their climate actions through technology and skills transfer, financing and others.

They have an immediate opportunity to do so by committing to double their contributions in the second round of replenishment of the Green Climate Fund that is currently underway.

To conclude, let me emphasise that South Africa stands ready to contribute to the global climate change effort, and being a developing country, reiterates the importance of multilateralism and of global cooperation and support as we contribute our fair share.

I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

Elected by the Board as Deputy Chairperson of the DBSA

This is my sixth year on the DBSA Board, serving as Chair of the Board from Jan to Sept 2019. At the AGM last Friday my position as Deputy Chair for the next three years was confirmed. I will also be the Chairperson of the Infrastructure Delivery and Knowledge Committee (IDKC) of the Board. The DBSA has traditionally played a major role in development finance in general, but infrastructure funding in particular. It came through the state capture years unscathed, with clean audits every year and no reports of wasteful or unwarranted expenditure. It has R90 billion worth of assets, and it lends around R15 billion per annum. In 2018/2019 we disbursed R9 billion, which is low because of adverse economic conditions. At its AGM on Friday 27th we announced a net profit of R3.1 billion (which we re-invest in development projects) and a pipeline of approved projects of R39 billion for the forthcoming year. We employ about 600 staff, and our cost to income ratio is a remarkable 23% (which is way below a commercial bank). My personal agenda has been to promote green investments and the adoption of what we now call our “development position”. With regard to the former, we now have nearly R20 billion invested in renewable energy and we have become a designated agency of the Global Climate Facility that has made available $100 million for green investments, which we have matched. With regard to our newly adopted ‘development position’, DBSA has shifted from being a purely infrastructure investment bank to a proper development bank, i.e. the ‘D’ in DBSA is no longer a small ‘d’. To this end we have established an Angel Investment Fund to make high risk low interest investments in SMMEs, in particular women-owned businesses; as well as a Social Impact Fund for generating social and environmental returns on financial investments. We are also seeding a new generation of local “D-Labs”, i.e. innovative development labs for promoting entrepreneurship and employment in poor rural and urban areas. We are managing the National Infrastructure Fund announced by the President, starting off with a R400 million project preparation facility provided by National Treasury. This is a strategically important initiative because it is a blended finance vehicle whereby private sector funding is attracted into infrastructure investments by public sector investments that take on more risk and require lower rates of return on investment. As Deputy Chair I will have more time to focus on the strategic guidance of these new green and developmental activities via the appropriate board committees (in particular the IDKC), with less time spent on the wider stakeholder management that is the responsibility of the Chairperson.

Debating economic policy

On Thursday I was invited by the Economics Department at Stellenbosch University to come discuss my controversial article in Daily Maverick on macro-economic policy (see link below).

Needless to say, they did not agree with my critique of ‘expansionary contraction’ (i.e. austerity) and conservative monetary policy. I summed up the consequences of their position as follows: a well-managed retarded collapse, that in the end triggers a massive deficit as the government spends more to stave off a revolution. Come on, when push comes to shove, do you honestly think an ANC Government would choose a low deficit before a revolution? Oh yes, I forgot – maybe it is assumed that the revolution can be headed off my repressing it with force. Is that good for growth? Well, it can be – after all, Pinochet pulled it off. (Maybe that is what was meant by countering the ‘threat of populist demands’. Well, not by intent, but that would be the consequence.) But in today’s world? Really? I doubt it. But then I got sent this article from the FT on South Korea’s expansionary fiscal policy. Worth considering. Never thought I would see the FT punting support for economic heterodoxy.

South Korea’s fiscal boost is a model for others

How should an export-driven economy with a strong attachment to fiscal discipline, an ageing population and a bitter dispute with an island trading partner react when it is under economic pressure? As regional industrial powerhouses, South Korea and Germany both face similar challenges from the tensions in the global trading system: growth has collapsed, inflation is well below target and monetary policy has already done what it can.
Yet there is one important difference. Despite ample space for easing in both countries, only South Korea has broken with orthodoxy and delivered a radically expansionary budget to boost its flagging economy. Germany, which is set to make a big announcement on how to tackle climate change this Friday, might take note of the speed with which South Korean leaders have been able to adapt to new economic realities.
Seoul’s longstanding commitment to fiscal discipline could put even Berlin to shame. The overall budget for South Korea has been in surplus for more than 20 years. Loosening during the financial crisis was not large enough to tip the government into the red. No other major economy has such a lengthy record of
prudence. Though Germany has been consistently in the black since 2014, its deficit exceeded 3 per cent of national income in seven out of the 10 years from 2001 to 2010.
Now both countries face similar problems. German industry specialises in automobiles, South Korea’s in smartphones and semiconductors. Both these sectors face structural shifts as drivers look to electric cars and phone users fail to find newer models such a draw. The two countries are likewise both at the sharp end of the trade war between the US and China, as well as more localised disputes with Japan in the case of South Korea and the turmoil over Brexit for Germany. They may avoid a recession, but both countries are certainly heading for a
slowdown. Low consumer confidence and falling investment have prompted economists to forecast the slowest rate of growth in South Korea for a decade. Germany, meanwhile, is expected to register its most sluggish pace of expansion for six years because of falling export orders and a construction sector that is
stagnating. In response to the deteriorating economic outlook, Germany has begun to flirt with a more expansionary stance but is yet to commit. Last week, finance minister Olaf Scholz said that if an economic crisis breaks out “thanks to our sound finances we will be able to counter it with many, many billions”. Yet the planned 1 per cent increase in spending still appears lacklustre compared with the action taken elsewhere. In Seoul, fiscal conservatism has come to a decisive end. South Korea has planned increases related to job creation, welfare payments and research and development. Spending is being increased by 8 per cent — on top of a supplementary budget passed in August — despite sluggish tax receipts. This South Korea’s fiscal boost is a model for others means government borrowing is expected to reach a record high. An overall deficit next year, which includes the social security fund, would mark a big shift from a 2018 surplus of 2.8 per cent of national income.Fiscal easing will take longer to transmit to the real economy than monetary policy, but that does not make it any less important. The effects on business and consumer confidence may be meaningful as companies look to a new source of orders. Expectations for inflation and economic growth could improve. South Korea is right to act swiftly before the outlook deteriorates further. The global backdrop has changed: Berlin can learn from Seoul’s willingness to change, too.

20 year anniversary of the Sustainability Institute

It is really hard to believe that it was twenty years ago that a small group of us started dreaming and imagining what eventually emerged as the Lynedoch EcoVillage and the Sustainability Institute. It always amuses me when people assume there was some sort of grand vision or plan at the start. Herewith two videos that capture the origins beautifully:

Looking back on a roller-coaster ride over the past few weeks…..

Whew, these past weeks have been a roller-coaster ride of note. They started with co-teaching the Globalization, Governance and Development module with Prof Gael Giraud, from Paris. Gael is an extra-ordinary mix: up until a few weeks ago he was Chief Economist of the French Development Bank, he is a University Professor and CNRS Senior Researcher, and he is also an active Jesuit Priest who lives in a Jesuit community in Paris. He has a PhD in Mathematics and he has just completed another PhD in Theology focused on the commons. Although we have very different intellectual histories, we share so much in common when it comes to economic theory, sustainability, climate change, transition, spirituality and many other issues. We had tremendous fun co-teaching the module, which covered a huge canvas from the global financial crisis, to long-wave theory, governance, the commons, the problems with macro-economic theory, and many other issues. The large class of 45 students gave very positive feedback. The following week I taught the Applied Economics module, which is a weird name for a course that focuses on the political economy of South Africa from colonization to ‘Ramaphoria’ via state capture. After spending the whole of the first day on the evolution of the South African political economy based on the article by Hart and Padayachee, we had four sessions with four extra-ordinary women: on Tuesday morning Dr. Vuyo Mahlati (Chair of the panel on land appointed by Ramaphosa) did a morning on why rural development has been a failure since 1994; on Tuesday afternoon Tash Ismael-Saville, Director of the Youth Employment Service (YES), spoke about youth unemployment, entrepreneurship and the role of YES;  on Thursday (morning and afternoon) Dr. Nthabiseng Moleko (lecturer at Stellenbosch Business School, Commissioner on the Commission of Gender Equality, and poet) provided a grand overview of the nature and structure of the South African economy and the challenges we face; and on Friday morning Amanda Gcanga (PhD researcher at CST) shared her research on water governance with a case study of Cape Town. With a small class of 17, we could have rich wide-ranging discussions, including a session I facilitated on toxic masculinity based on Chapter 9 of my new book Age of Sustainability. Student feedback was fantastic, and most rewarding. I must say, I have taught this course for a few years now, but this was the first time I felt it delivered on my own expectations. Then the following Monday and Tuesday, I facilitated a gathering of 20 researchers who are contributing chapters to a new publication called Anatomy of State Capture (not the final title, I hope). Hopefully this will be published later this year. It will bring together detailed case studies of each of the institutions that were fundamentally harmed by the corrupt practices of a wide range of elites in the public and private sectors. The publication will include chapters on state capture during the apartheid era, plus chapters on what happened to key SOEs like ESKOM, DENEL, TRANSNET etc, plus the hollowing out of institutions like SARS, security agencies, NPA, local government, etc. Furthermore, there will be several chapters on how elites subverted major private sector institutions, including Steinhof, KPMG, Bain and Net1/CPS. Such exciting stuff, and we generated new thinking about the nature of state capture and the struggle for democracy. Somehow I made it through the rest of the week, including delivering on Thursday a public lecture at the Sociology Department at Stellenbosch University based on my new book Age of Sustainability – and then that night I left for for the Limpopo Province. The plan was to go with Mamphela Ramphele who is playing a leading role in strategising how to develop around 2000 hectares of land that her community won back via the land reform process. She was so excited to be returning to where she grew up before her community was forcibly removed. Unfortunately, she fell ill and I had to go alone. I met the reps of the Community Property Association in the foothills of the grand Soutpansberg mountains, west of Louis Trichardt. Sad and exciting: sad to see how challenging it is to make land reform work; exciting because there are so many possibilities!! I stayed the night at Lishiba, the stunningly beautiful piece of paradise on top of the Soutpansberg mountain owned by John Rosmarin – I have been there often, and it was a deeply moving experience to return to the place where my family was together during many very happy moments.

Co-teaching the Globalization and Development module with Gael Giraud

I am excited this year to be co-teaching the upcoming Globalization and Development module (that is part of Masters Programme) with Prof Gaël Giraud, former Chief Economist of Agence Française de Développement (French Development Bank); Professor at Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC)/LISIS; Senior researcher at CNRS; Professor of Energy and Prosperity; and member of the Steering Committee of Campus de la Transition. Besides holding a Phd in Mathematics and practicing as an economist, he is also an ordained Jesuit Priest and lives in a Jesuit community in Paris. He has just completed his Phd in Theology on the potential of a transition to a commons-based economy. He will deliver a Soil, Soul and Society seminar on Thursday 25th July at 17.30 at the Sustainability Institute. The provisional topic is: Towards a New Commons-based Economy: Concepts, Applications and Potential. Gael arrives this week, and we plan to spend the rest of the month together talking and teaching, with a view to fusing together our respective knowledge fields into what hopefully could be a really meaningful journal article that could firmly link together what currently remains very disconnected, namely solutions to the global economic crisis, new theories of governance, sustainability transitions and the new literature on commons-based economies.

Passing of Peter Hudson

I have just come across Raymond Suttner‘s obituary for my former teacher Peter Hudson. I had no idea he had passed away. He taught me during my Honours in Political Studies in 1981! I was the only student who took his course on Marxist theory. We used to meet at his flat which I think was in Hillbrow. It was rigorous and intense. That was the start of my journey in search of a non-reductionist social theory, which eventually led me into systems thinking and then into critical complexity theory (influenced by Paul Cilliers here at Stellenbosch). Paul and Peter are so similar in many different ways. I am saddened by this loss. Peter wove a thread into South Africa’s rich intellectual life that was significant in may different ways, but the most important was the value of theoretical rigor informed my an ethical commitment to critical thinking. Thanks Raymond for this beautifully written piece. And thanks Peter for the foundations that you laid for my subsequent intellectual journey. What a place the Politics Department was in those years: Peter Hudson, Tom Lodge and Michael Nupen. And a few doors down the corridor, David Webster in the Social Anthropology Department.

Herewith the LINK to Raymond Suttner’s article

Travels through Europe….

From FB post dated 18 May:

Yho, two weeks of extra-ordinary interactions, learnings, debates and explorations – and now parking off in a French Chateau just south of Paris which is the home-base of a new initiative called the Transition Campus – a new Sustainability Institute-cum-Schumacher College type experiment by an amazing group of progressive academics, activists, nuns and Jesuits! But before I say more about that as I gaze out onto the lush green French countryside, let me share the lead up to this. This two week helter-skelter of amazing interactions started Monday before last – 6th May. That was the first day of the Design for Transformation course that was run and facilitated this year by Dr. Keneilwe Munyai. Keneilwe’s speciality is ‘design thinking’ and she ran this week-long module (that is part of our Masters Programme) as a facilitated process of self-learning and co-creation. The class was covered in bright colourful post-its. Each group had to work on how to set up entrepreneurship hubs that really work! The next day I was in Johannesburg talking at a morning workshop on the Just Transition co-hosted by EE Publications (Chris Yelland) and Nedbank. I shared the platform with Zwelenzima Vavi and Mike Levington. Great discussion – I floated our ideas about municipal ownership of renewable energy IPPs. When the panel was asked what is the single biggest obstacle to a just transition, I replied it was the belief that ESKOM could be saved (note: I said belief because that is the problem – the problem is not that it cant be saved, because its death-spiral is in fact unstoppable: the end result of believing it is stoppable is an IMF bailout). And then on Friday 10th the CST hosted an all-day workshop on complexity theory with keynote talks by renowned complexity economics guru Brian Arthur, complexity theorist of organizational and cultural change Jean Bolton, systems biologist Jannie Hofmeyr and myself. I’ll post my talk, but I tried to share my thoughts on Ukama (Sub-Saharan African philosophy of relatedness) and how the recent Western post-humanist turn is about the west catching up with long traditions of African thinking. On Monday 13th I was back at the Sustainability Institute to support Megan Davies start the Renewable Energy Policy module – this was her first-ever module that she has designed and coordinated on her own (and yet another graduate who has morphed into a great teacher, following the likes of Jess Schulschenk, Josephine Musango and Candice Kelly!). With 60 students, including many engineers, it has been a great success! (Well done Megan!). The next day (Tues 14th), I found myself at the 19th African Utility Week conference at CTICC. ESKOM CEO Phakamani Hadebe and Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe were opening speakers. Hadebe was brutally honest, especially when speaking off script. He simply said if you want more coal mines, no-one will fund them! (Anyone in the ANC listening to him?) Hence, he said, the transition to renewables is inevitable and necessary. Radebe sang a different tune – what I would call the ‘diversification blues’, including ‘clean coal’ (that ingenius piece of nonsense invented by the coal lobby!) But at least Radebe reiterated his commitment to embedded generation and a new role for municipalities as deliverers of renewable energy! Exciting stuff. I spoke at the next session which was a panel on climate change – to put it mildly, it was a disastrous session that lacked any coherence, with an American from PowerAfrica ending it with a long boast about the great work Americans are doing for Africans (his financial contribution must have had conditions). On Wed 15th I gave a talk on Megan’s course on the global energy revolution which was similar to my Soul Soil and Society talk earlier this year. And that afternoon I caught a flight to Johannesburg to attend a DBSA Board meeting on Thursday. That afternoon I left for Paris. And here I am at the Transition Campus, invited here by my new friend Prof Gael Giraud (CNRS Professor, Chief Economist of the French Develoment Bank [AFD] and Jesuit Priest!) Gael also arranged for me to meet with his colleagues at AFD in my capacity as Chair of the DBSA Board earlier in the day – AFD is a major partner of the DBSA’s, and recently co-funded the CPI Report on South Africa’s ‘stranded assets’ caused by the global decarbonisation processes. I’m on the Scientific Committee of the Transition Campus – an extra-ordinarily exciting endeavour, and I hope to do some teaching here. With 40 rooms and 9 classrooms on a 12 hectare property with its own indigenous forest, this incredible donation from the Catholic Church to this group opens up many opportunities for us to partner with yet another SI-cum-Schumacher College type initiative that seem to mushrooming around the world in response to the demand for an alternative pedagogy that is appropriate for the present polycrisis. The Chair of the Scientific Committee, a Professor, said they have tried to initiate alternatives within French Universities like what we have at Stellenbosch, and they failed. So they have to make it work outside the Universities. This really stunned me. After all, we were sitting in a meeting room in an institution where Jacque Derrida used to teach – the famous Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales! Amazing that even there, alternatives are not possible! Tomorrow I head for Freiburg to meet with a team that Maarten Hajer and I are leading to formulate a research proposal on how the global renewable energy revolution could catalyse a just transition (for submission to the VW Foundation). After Freiburg I head back to Utrecht University to spend time with Maarten and his colleagues, and in mid-June I head to Tunis for discussions about research on democratic governance. So grateful to be living my life to the full – challenging, exhilarating, somewhat exhausting and, I hope, impactful. So grateful.

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Revisiting Vauban….

Re-visiting Vauban – the famous eco-Neighborhood in Freiburg! Still looks amazing. Complete with a pic of my hero Varoufakis and a Green Party election poster that proclaims the market has failed!!

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