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Posts Tagged ‘Growth

Richard Heinberg: the end of growth, and the natural gas controversy

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Post Carbon Institute                June, 2011

Last weekend, the New York Times published a series of articles that — through leaks from EIA officials and natural gas industry insiders — corroborated the findings of our landmark report, Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?: Don’t believe the hype about plentiful U.S. natural gas supplies.

Of course, the controversy over natural gas is far from over, and PCI continues to provide energy realism and literacy to the debate. This week, PCI Fellow David Hughes published an analysis of two contradictory studies assessing the greenhouse gas emissions of shale gas vs. coal. The conclusion? Shale gas is worse for the climate over a 30-50 year timeframe.

From hot air to deflating (economic) balloons… We were blown away to receive nearly 600 orders in the span of 12 hours for Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg’s newest book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. In the video above, Richard Heinberg, author of “The Party’s Over” and leading peak oil educator, talks about the future of our ‘growth’ society.

United States of Ecocide: Spilling and Consuming Way to Oblivion

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May 29, 2009  By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

A great, free nation remains immobilized in the face of ecological collapse

The United States of America is an epic experiment, as despite great accomplishments and numerous imperfections, we share a long history of constantly striving to improve our union. As Americans settle in for Memorial Day to remember veterans of all stripes – from great wars of world defense to more recent military adventurism – it is appropriate to consider what the current Gulf Oil Spill says about the American way of life. Plainly, our addiction to oil and consumption in general threatens to destroy regional and global ecosystems – the water, air, land and oceans –upon which Americans, humanity and all species depend upon for habitat and life.

America is truly exceptional. Yet it is not because of our materially excessive lifestyles, as best demonstrated by our wide girths and ample posteriors. There is more to America than consumption. Our greatness is primarily due to our wavering, imperfect yet unique commitment to freedom and liberty. Over two hundred years ago a just revolution was fought asserting individual liberties from monarchial authoritarianism. The principles of freedom and liberty were a gift to the world. This is what truly has set us apart. And despite two decades of consistent roll-backs in civil and human rights, Americans remain for now free peoples to prosper or expire.

America has and continues to face many challenges – repudiating slavery, enfranchising most, world wars – and most recently the inevitable slowdown of economic growth as speculative, industrial capitalism runs its course. America has enjoyed for awhile super-sized living and grown to be what it is based upon liquidating ecosystems. We have progressed to the point where regional ecosystems are collapsing – most obviously in the Gulf Coast, but throughout the vast country as ecosystems are dying. America now faces our most difficult and profound test ever, coming to terms with our deeply ecologically unsustainable lifestyles, and committing to national and global ecological sustainability.

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History’s greatest Ponzi scheme

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scavengerPost Carbon Institute’s Richard Heinberg writes about our ailing economy and alternative solutions in this article: Temporary Recession or the End of Growth?

“…Given that growth cannot continue on a finite planet, this wager, and its embodiment in the institutions of finance, can be said to constitute history’s greatest Ponzi scheme.

 We have justified present borrowing with the irrational belief that perpetual growth is possible, necessary, and inevitable. In effect we have borrowed from future generations so that we could gamble away their capital today.

Until recently, the Peak Oil argument has been framed as a forecast: the inevitable decline in world petroleum production, whenever it occurs, will kill growth. But here is where forecast becomes diagnosis: during the period from 2005 to 2008, energy stopped growing and oil prices rose to record levels. By July of 2008, the price of a barrel of oil was nudging close to $150—half again higher than any previous petroleum price in inflation-adjusted terms—and the global economy was beginning to topple……

……..a good argument can be made that speculation in oil futures was merely magnifying price moves that were inevitable on the basis of the fundamentals of supply and demand……

About 85 percent of our current energy is derived from three primary sources—oil, natural gas, and coal—that are non-renewable, whose price is likely to trend sharply higher over the next years and decades leading to severe shortages, and whose environmental impacts are unacceptable. While these sources historically have had very high economic value, we cannot rely on them in the future; indeed, the longer the transition to alternative energy sources is delayed, the more difficult that transition will be unless some practical mix of alternative energy systems can be identified that will have superior economic and environmental characteristics.”