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energy descent

Can we live without progress?

Kurt Cobb writes: The idea of progress is embedded in the socio-economic system, and we cannot attack carbon emissions without attacking the idea of progress itself. If the progress we’ve made since the beginning of industrial civilization only leads to a complete reversal of all our supposed gains, can we really call what’s happening progress?

Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries

Jason Hickel writes: Growth isn’t an option any more–we’ve already grown too much. Scientists are now telling us that we’re blowing past planetary boundaries at breakneck speed. The hard truth is that this global crisis is due almost entirely to overconsumption in rich countries. Rich countries must “catch down” to more appropriate levels of development.

Red alert: A timeline for global collapse

This review by Alice Friedmann of Nafeez Ahmed’s new book has 3 parts: 1) Why states collapse for reasons other than economic and political 2) How Bio-Physical factors contribute to systemic collapse in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria 3) Predictions of when collapse will begin in Middle-East, India, China, Europe, Russia, North America

Gail Tverberg: Twelve reasons why globalisation is a huge problem

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we’re setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary. Here’s why globalization is, in fact, a very major problem.

Information theory pioneer John Scales Avery on the planet’s converging crises

From Countercurrents.org: Human cultural evolution can be regarded as an enormous success in many respects. However, thoughtful observers agree that civilization is entering a period of crisis. As all curves move exponentially upward: population, production, consumption, etc, one can observe signs of increasing environmental stress, while the existence of nuclear weapons threaten civilization with destruction.

How renewable energy advocates are hurting the climate cause

Paul McDivitt writes: Making wind and solar seem like they’re doing better than they really are could come back to bite proponents —and the climate. If people think we are about to replace fossil fuels with renewables, they will be less likely to demand new policies and take actions to lower their own carbon footprints.

10 years of Transition Network: A look back at the early days

The Transition movement refers to grassroot community projects that aim to increase self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of energy depletion, climate destruction, and economic instability. The UK-based Transition Network, founded in 2006, inspired the creation of many of the projects. Here, Rob Hopkins, one of its founders, looks back to when it all began.

Gail Tverberg: The “wind and solar will save us” delusion

Somehow, most people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. Given climate change, this short list cannot include fossil fuels, but we believe Wind and Solar can save us. Unfortunately, a transition to such alternative fuels can’t really work. Here’s why.

Brace for the coming oil, food and financial crash

Nafeez Ahmed writes: A new research study by HSBC on global oil supply shows that the bulk of the world’s oil production has peaked and is now in decline. Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by our ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil — unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

Richard Heinberg: The Peak Oil President?

The final stages of capitalism, Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. These assaults would destroy the host. This final stage of capitalism is what Trump represents.

2017: The year when the world economy starts coming apart

Gail Tverberg writes: Underlying problems are sufficiently severe that we seem to be headed for a crisis far worse than 2008. Our fundamental problem is that neither high nor low energy prices are now able to keep the world economy operating as we’d like it to. Increased debt can’t seem to fix the problem either.

Gail Tverberg: The energy problem behind Trump’s election

To try to solve the energy problem, we use approaches that involve increasing complexity, including new technology and globalization. As we add more and more complexity, these approaches tend to work less and less well. In fact, become problems themselves, tending to redistribute wealth toward the top, increasing “overhead” for the economy as a whole.

The mineral pie is shrinking, and most of what’s left is in the sky

Ugo Bardi writes on Cassandra’s Legacy: The essence of propaganda, as it is well-known, is not so much telling lies, but presenting only one aspect of the truth. That’s true also for the depletion debate. Saying that a certain resource will last decades, centuries, or more is not a lie, but not the truth, either.

Gail Tverberg: How Peak Oil was misunderstood

Instead of the scenario envisioned by many Peak Oilers, it’s likely that we will in the very near future hit a limit similar to the collapse scenarios that many early civilizations encountered when they hit resource limits. We don’t think about our situation as being similar, but we too are reaching decreasing resources per capita.

Why the world’s fossil fuel output will peak by 2025

Dennis Coyne writes: I expect World Fossil fuel output to peak in 2025. If the World economy continues to grow, a gap between Energy produced (including non-fossil fuels) and the demand for Energy will grow. If the gap is not filled by growth in non-fossil fuel energy demand will reduce due to reduced economic growth.

Oil price and economic growth get married

Kurt Cobb writes: It used to be that oil prices and economic growth were somewhat like distant cousins who disliked each other rather than a happily married couple always seen nuzzling together in public. Nowadays, as the oil price dips into the low $40 range again and global economic growth weakens simultaneously, we must re-evaluate.

Who was M. King Hubbert and what was his prediction about the future of oil?

Kurt Cobb writes: Hubbert is much maligned and much praised these days. But he is perhaps not well understood. Mason Inman’s compelling biography gives us all a chance finally to understand this scientific giant and the context within which he spawned insights on the future of energy that continue to be central to our lives.

How industrial civilisation is (literally) built on a foundation with an expiry date

Chris Martenson writes: The main issue is simple: putting in steel reinforcing bars lowers the cost and weight of installing reinforced concrete, but at the severe expense of reducing its lifespan. In other words, literally everything you see today that’s made of concrete will need to be replaced within a hundred years of its installation.

The Peak Oil dilemma

David Blittersdorf writes: Our industrial society can handle about a 10% voluntary energy reduction across the board, doing things like walking more and carpooling. To get to the necessary level (which, by some estimations, will be about a 60-80% decrease in energy usage), will be impossible unless we change the way we think about things.

Debt: The key factor connecting energy and the economy

Gail Tverberg writes: Growth in energy consumption is dependent on the growth of debt. Both energy and debt have characteristics that are close to “magic” when it comes to economic growth, which can only take place when debt (or a close substitute, such as company stock) is available to enable the use of energy products.

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