Global Warming/Climate Change, peak oil — by George Monbiot December 16, 2008
For the first time, the International Energy Agency has produced a date for peak oil. And it’s not reassuring.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Can you think of a major threat for which the British government does not prepare? It employs an army of civil servants, spooks and consultants to assess the chances of terrorist attacks, financial collapse, floods, epidemics, even asteroid strikes, and to work out what it should do if they happen. But there is one hazard about which it appears intensely relaxed. It has never conducted its own assessment of the state of global oil supplies and the possibility that one day they might peak and then go into decline.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Comedy Break, peak oil — by Marc Roberts November 19, 2008
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"War-torn" is such a compact description, isn’t it. It leaves out the economics and the politics and the machinations of great powers, and concentrates on the trauma in the here and now, as though it had sprung fully formed upon an innocent world.
So we watch the seizing of an oil tanker by desperate men from a failed state – whose climate and conditions get crueler by the year – and we imagine that it is not a portent of things to come, but an aberration in an otherwise purposeful, perfectible world. We choose not to look down the path from whence this monster came.Comments (0)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 17, 2008
The IEA World Energy Outlook reports get more accurate every year – by 2030 it’ll be spot on.
Disclaimer: As the title should indicate, don’t read this post if you’re of a delicate disposition.
The International Energy Agency has just released the latest incarnation of its annual ‘World Energy Outlook‘ report – the 2008 edition. Please stand for a moment of mock-reverence.
Thank you. Please be seated.
For those not familiar, the IEA releases an annual report, making reasonably detailed projections of expected energy supplies and demands for the nations of the world. It breaks these total energy forecasts down into its various sources (oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, etc.), and looks at expected economic growth trends for different countries and sectors and their impacts on energy consumption. The last several editions have covered the period from publication to the year 2030, and they have also factored in a few different scenarios to roughly cover policy changes that could occur throughout the period to give policymakers an idea of potential outcomes.
It is certainly a worthwhile endeavour – you could say critical, actually. If only they did it well.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 12, 2008
Most underestimate the implications…
Through our Hollywood-tinted glasses we’re accustomed to happy endings. The instinctive “it won’t happen to me” mentality is alive and well, but, whilst perhaps preserving the comfortable status quo (if not our sanity), it does little to promote objectivity. In a world threatened by global warming, potential constructive accomplishments are thus too often hampered and bogged down in the realm of discourse and debate.
In plain English – we need to get real.
On this note, check out the following clip. Richard Heinburg, the author of the book “Powering Down“, has much to say on possible strategies, or failing that, outcomes, for our post peak-oil world. I think it’s time we really examine, not just computer climate models – but societal projections.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 30, 2008
How many of you remember having to share the bath water with your siblings? A few baby boomers may get nostalgic here, but younger ones will laugh, or shreak “eewww!”.
For us in the North, long gone are the days of little Johnny going in last, the days of gathering wood and doing your best to make it last the winter, the days of cold mornings and dimly lit rooms. Frugality has given way to frivolity, conservation to carelessness. For decades our collective psyche has looked to infinity and beyond. We’ve lived lifestyles without limits.
Last century the phrase ‘The Great American Dream’ was coined. Our dream was to live the rags to riches story, to be whatever we wanted to be, to reach for the stars. It was a pleasant fiction, and some of us even got to live it. Just some.Comments (3)
Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Conservation, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 27, 2008
Today I’d like to introduce you to a (well written and beautifully presented) report, titled – ‘The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture‘ (55 page, 2.4mb PDF). The title says it all. Should you be concerned? Yes.
Your concern, however, should not be that the globalised industrial agribusiness model will collapse – this is not only inevitable, but also necessary, and, might I add, desirable – the focus should instead be on when and how it will fall.
Let me explain.
If you were to ask the Average Joe what is the largest contributor to global warming, many will say cars, trucks and aeroplanes – or coal fired power plants. While these are large contributors, they cannot compete with the largest, yet mostly overlooked contribution from our present system of farming and global food trading. Global warming is primarily due to agriculture. Indeed, much of the above-stated contributors are merely essential aspects in maintaining the globalised agricultural model:Comments (0)
Consumerism, peak oil — by Marc Roberts October 22, 2008
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On my way to work this morning I was obliged to abandon the bus in gridlocked traffic and walk the last mile or so. As I passed junction 17 of the M60 I saw a poor deluded soul parading through this belching impromptu car park wearing a sandwich board declaring his opposition to the Manchester congestion charge, and handing out leaflets to the thousands of stranded drivers. I crossed the motorway bridge and looked down on the stalled traffic, breathing in the poison and the frustration, and observed that at least 90% of the vehicles were occupied by single individuals – all ruthlessly enjoying the freedom that personal transport brings.
I must admit that I was temporarily overwhelmed by a combination of pity, despair and contempt that boiled briefly over into loud swearing and gesticulation before collapsing back into the general bewilderment that characterises my working day.
The sad fact is that most people get a car because "it’s what you do, innit?"
We’ll get the future we deserve.Comments (1)
Consumerism, Economics, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 10, 2008
Another set of corporations is pressing for public money. Governments should let them die.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
While all eyes were fixed on the banking bail-out, a bucketload of public money was quietly sloshed into the pockets of another undeserving cause. Last week, George Bush agreed to lend $25bn to US car manufacturers. It’s a soft loan, which will cost the government $7.5bn(1). Few people noticed; fewer fought it. The House of Representatives approved the measure by 370 votes to 58. The great corporate bail-out is spreading like the plague.
It has already crossed the Atlantic. Yesterday European car makers demanded that the EU hand them €40bn ($54bn) in cheap loans to match the US subsidy(2). Where will the public spending spree end?Comments (0)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Biodiversity, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Financial Management, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Ted Trainer October 2, 2008
Editor’s Note: Point one – this article is circa 1998, from the now-ceased publication Permaculture International Journal. Point two – it is now more relevant than ever, so please read and ponder. The article goes a long way towards explaining why I mix articles the way I do – some about Permaculture, some about current events, the global situation, and the desperate need for systemic social, political and economic change.
Ted Trainer argues that although the planet cannot be saved without Permaculture, not enough people in the movement realise where Permaculture fits into the solution.
We are fast approaching a period of enormous and probably chaotic change. Western industrial-affluent-consumer society is unsustainable and is rapidly running into serious difficulties.
Permaculture is a crucial component of the solution to the global predicament. However I want to argue that Permaculture is far from sufficient, and indeed that it can be counter-productive if it is not put in the right context. That is unless we are careful, promoting Permaculture can actually help to reinforce our existing unsustainable society. We must do much more than just contribute to the spread of Permaculture. We must locate Permaculture within a wider campaign of radical social change. Before I try to explain this, I need to outline how I see the global predicament we are in. Whether or not you will agree with my conclusions about what needs to be done and where Permaculture fits in will depend greatly on whether you share my view of the situation we are in.Comments (6)
Economics, Food Shortages, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 24, 2008
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Easter Island has long been looked upon as an historical looking glass, through which we can observe the implications of continued environmental destruction to our planet – the larger island floating in a sea of black. The cries of a people that could clearly see destruction coming, but did little or nothing about it, come hauntingly down to us here in this new millenium. With startling clarity they teach us what happens when immediacy takes precedence over future needs.
If you have a moment to take a trip to another time and place, check out some of the material and links here. No need to dream of going to Easter Island though, as, in many ways, you’re already there….Comments (1)
Conservation, News, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 31, 2008
Cooling off after the first day of the Southern California Permaculture Convergence,
hosted by the Quail Springs Learning Oasis and Permaculture Farm
Yesterday the Southern California Permaculture Convergence got underway. The word ‘convergence’ is the operative word here, and, ironically, to me at least, has a double meaning. Over the last couple of weeks, being here at Quail Springs just reminds me of the convergence of issues we face as a race, just as we ‘converge’ to network, share instruction and ideas, and find new ways to work together to face those same issues.
Let me explain, using an example very close to where we are today.Comments (4)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 25, 2008
Peak Oil and a developing trend to switch international oil trading from the weakening U.S. dollar to the Euro (€) may fuel more oil grabs, economic collapse, and further disregard for climate change
World governments, many of whom currently pay lip service to the present and future problems associated with a warming planet, are eager to add to these woes by arguing (and perhaps soon fighting?) over anticipated new oil discoveries as the arctic ice continues to shrink. We know burning fossil fuels causes global warming, but we are tripping over ourselves to find more to burn. This makes it expedient to review some of the factors involved in our continued free-for-all over oil. Some of what follows may surprise.
It is now generally accepted that the invasion of Iraq was prompted, not by legitimate concerns about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but over a desire to take control over Iraq’s oil reserves (there was never much doubt about this outside the United States). Iraq holds the second largest proven reserves in the world, next to Saudi Arabia. What is not commonly known, however, is that prior to the Iraqi invasion, Saddam Hussein had already used an economic form of WMD on the U.S., and one that set a precedent the superpower could ill-afford to ignore. Hussein’s action is regarded by some as a primary reason for the Iraqi invasion.Comments (7)
Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, Social Gatherings, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 23, 2008
If a Chumash Indian from a few centuries ago was to leap through time to our day, I’m sure he’d break down in tears to see what we’ve done to his world… and demand to be taken back. Actually, I’m confident he’d even make Iron Eyes Cody look apathetic.Comments (4)
peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 16, 2008
A very glum, serious looking energy advisor, Dr. Robert Hirsch, made some alarming statements on CNBC recently — statements you’d be unlikely to spot on Fox News.
It is estimated that by 2025 worldwide demand for oil will increase 50% over 2005 levels — much of this increased demand coming from developing China and India. Dr. Hirsch now says it is “very likely we are at the maximum of world oil production” (that’s 85 million barrels p/day — and worldwide demand is said to be 87 million barrels, and rising). The thought of $13 per gallon fuel is enough to send shivers down any thinking man’s spine. Some now believe we’re heading for $200 p/barrel oil within a year. This will have significant implications for almost everyone, everywhere. And yet, it will only be the beginning.Comments (1)
Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 9, 2008
The era of cheap food is over — this means disaster for millions, and mega-profits for a few. How did we get into this mess?
Most objective observers of the current food crisis are understandably concerned. Around 45% of the world’s population live on two dollars per day or less. Skyrocketing food prices are now bringing stress to two billion people, and despair to millions — around one hundred million, actually. The situation is only expected to further deteriorate as: the price of oil continues to soar; climate change-related disasters increase in frequency and intensity, and as policy decisions such as mandated biofuel quotas in our fuel supply further strengthens the already strong price connection between fuel and food. It is a humanitarian disaster that’s well underway, and one which seriously threatens to destabilize international security. As I’m sure you can appreciate, a hungry man is an angry man.Comments (5)