World energy policy is gripped by a fallacy — the idea that coal is destined to stay cheap for decades to come. This assumption supports investment in ‘clean-coal’ technology and trumps serious efforts to increase energy conservation and develop alternative energy sources. It is an important enough assumption about our energy future that it demands closer examination. [...more]
"For years, 'not in my backyard' has been the battle cry of residents in Cape Cod who stand opposed to an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The giant turbines will forever mar the beauty of the landscape, they say. Energy is ugly. Some forms more so than others, as nuclear near-meltdowns in Japan, the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and deaths in a West Virginia Coal Mine explosion have driven home in the last year. Energy kills plants, plankton, and people. It imperils the environment, poisons the oceans, and is threatening to turn part of Japan, one of the most advanced nations on the planet, into a contaminated zone for decades to come." [...more]
The IEA has known about looming Peak Oil issues for more than a decade and is only now explicitly recognizing the idea in their public documents. People inside and outside of the IEA say that the organization has downplayed both the timing and potential severity of Peak Oil. Peak Conventional Oil has already happened
So what's the biggest time-bomb for Obama, America, capitalism, the world? No, not global warming. Not poverty. Not even peak oil. What is the absolute biggest, one like the trigger mechanism on a nuclear bomb, one that'll throw a wrench in global economic growth, ending capitalism, even destroying modern civilization? [...more]
After considering laughably titled solutions like the top hat (a containment dome), the junk shot (a pressurized blast of golf balls and shredded tires) and worse, British Petroleum has proven one thing above all else: When the fossil fool hits the fan, it simply has no plan. [...more]
The “Peak Oil” concept — that the world’s petroleum-production rate will soon reach its maximum and commence an inevitable decline, with negative economic consequences — has been around in scientifically articulated form at least since 1998; long enough to see it confirmed in significant ways. [...more]
Thirty-three years ago, I watched as a culture that had been sealed off from the rest of the world was suddenly thrown open to economic development. Witnessing the impact of the modern world on an ancient culture gave me insights into how economic globalisation creates feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, particularly in the young, and how those psychological pressures are helping to spread the global consumer culture. Since that time I have been promoting the rebuilding of community and local economies as the foundation of an ‘Economics of Happiness’. [...more]
Silly me. Here I had thought that world leaders would want to keep their nations from collapsing. They must be working hard to prevent currency collapse, financial system collapse, food system collapse, social collapse, environmental collapse, and the onset of general, overwhelming misery—right? But no, that's not what the evidence suggests. Increasingly I am forced to conclude that the object of the game that world leaders are actually playing is not to avoid collapse; it's simply to postpone it a while so as to be the last nation to go down, so yours can have the chance to pick the others' carcasses before it meets the same fate. [...more]
Over the next 18 months Patrick O. Brown, a Stanford University biochemist, will take a break from his normal scientific work (finding out how a small number of genes are translated into a much larger number of proteins) in order to change the way the world farms and eats. He wants to put an end to animal farming, or at least put a significant dent in our global hunger for cows, pigs and chickens. [...more]
The number of hungry people, which was declining for several decades, bottomed out in the mid-1990s at 825 million. It then climbed to 915 million in 2008 and jumped to over 1 billion in 2009. With world food prices projected to continue rising, so too will the number of hungry people, leaving millions of families trying to survive on one meal per day.
“We know from studying earlier civilizations such as the Sumerians, Mayans, and many others,” says Brown, “that more often than not it was food shortages that led to their demise. It now appears that food may be the weak link in our early twenty-first century civilization as well.