New scientific research is quietly rewriting the fundamentals of economics, showing decisively that the age of endlessly growing industrial capitalism, premised on abundant fossil fuel supplies, is over. The long-decline of capitalism-as-we-know-it, the new science conclusively shows, began some decades ago, and is on track to accelerate well before the end of the 21st century.
Even when we question the personal impacts of modern technology, how many of us consider how our dependence on technology might be harming us? Or question the belief that technological advances will save us from our most pressing environmental and societal challenges? Richard Heinberg tackles this thorny issue in this brilliant essay and animation feature.
We should expect financial collapse quite soon – perhaps as soon as the next few months. Our problem is energy related, but not in the way most experts have claimed. It’s much more related to the election of President Trump and to the Brexit vote. Most people don’t understand how interconnected the world economy is.
Ecologise has consistently driven home that humanity needs to prepare for unprecedented environmental, economic and socio-political upheaval and uncertainty in the 21st century. In this new series, we showcase free short-duration online courses that focus on these various emerging crises and possible responses. Created by the world’s leading universities, they offer a good starting point to explore these complex challenges.
Bart Hawkins Kreps writes: Will we have plenty of affordable energy to power communications among trillions of internet-connected sensors in the “Internet of Things”? Will our new fleet of self-driving cars have plenty of fuel to keep us moving en masse? The uncertainty of our long-term energy supply is not even mentioned in this book.
From The Wall Street Journal: While most big oil companies foresee a day when the world will need less crude, timing peak oil demand has proven controversial. Most Big European producers predict that a peak could emerge as soon as 2025 or 2030, and are overhauling long-term investment plans to diversify away from crude oil.
From Deccan Herald: There’s a great deal of disagreement between those who predict the end of oil era and those who believe in the need to look for more oil reserves. Since India’s ready to invest a huge amount in transforming its economy, there’s an urgent need to find out which scenario will pan out.
From The Conversation: This latest study looked at the trends driving decarbonisation in three key sectors of the global energy system – power, transportation and buildings. It found that, in these fields, it has taken only a few players to set in motion the kind of transformations necessary to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s targets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As 2017 dawns, in a great many ways, modern industrial civilization has flung itself forward into a darkness where no stars offer guidance and no echoes tell what lies ahead… We’re not discussing the end of the world; events like those that can be found repeated many times in the histories of other failing civilizations.
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.
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.
The revised version of a talk given by Soujanya Mantravadi at the Future of Energy for Hyderabad workshop held at La Makaan, Hyderabad on 24. 07. 2016, organized by Ecologise Hyderabad. It explores the implications of the end of the fossil fuel era and ways in which residents of Hyderabad can start preparing for it.
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.
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.