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How to create an efficient fossil-fuel-free economy
Jon Rynn, Sanders Research Associates
Sooner or later, the global economy will have to survive without fossil fuels. Worldwide, societies will have to become much more efficient than they currently are in order to survive.
Does this mean that industrial society will collapse at the same time that oil field yields collapse? Not necessarily, because rather ironically, manufacturing is not particularly dependent on oil — manufacturing is dependent on electricity. Many of the writers who warn about the dependence of society on fossil fuels, such as James Howard Kunstler and Richard Heinberg, seem to think that the decline of oil will lead to the decline of manufacturing. Civilization as we know it would certainly disappear without manufacturing, but manufacturing would get along fine without oil.
The best way to be efficient about transportation is to require less of it, and the easiest way to be efficient about food is to require less of it to be transported. Even manufacturing would gain greatly in efficiency by needing less transport Heinberg, and others thus call for a “localizing” of economies, but this often leads to a vague call for a return to a preindustrial lifestyle. Not only would a preindustrial economy lead to the starvation of billions of people, with most of the remaining billions in abject poverty, localizing an economy does not necessarily mean a preindustrial one. Quite the opposite. ..
Once we attain the “ecoregionalization” of food and manufacture, we need to regionalize energy production. ..
References at link
(5 Feb 2007)
Well worth the read, should help flesh out the visions of anyone not quite ready for the caves. –LJ
Sustainability Network newsletter (PDF)
Elizabeth Heij editor, CSIRO (Australia)
- The biology of global warming and its profitable mitigation;
- The only ‘just’ war:
- What we must do to head off the ecological crisis;
- Domestic energy use;
- Language as an environmental exploitation tool;
- Hope for the future from grass-roots action;
- Why “Earth stewardship” may not be such a good place to end up;
- Extending biomimicry to “geomimicry”;
- Fighting planned obsolescence; and more.
(15 Feb 2007)
Australia to ban incandescent bulbs
MSNBC News Services
Global warming plan would phase them out by 2009
SYDNEY, Australia – Australia will be the world’s first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs in a bid to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying on Tuesday they would be phased out within three years and replaced by compact fluorescent lighting.
By 2009, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull told local radio, “you simply won’t be able to buy incandescent lightbulbs, because they won’t meet the energy standard.”
Legislation to gradually restrict the sale of the old-style bulbs could reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons by 2012 and cut household power bills by up to 66 percent, said Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
(20 Feb 2007)
IT goes green
Brad Howarth, Sydney Morning Herald
As the climate debate heats up IT finds itself part of the problem … and part of the solution.
THE inconvenient truth about IT can be found in a simple equation: at the heart of every computer is a machine that sucks in power, and creates information plus heat.
The more IT there is in the world, the more power is consumed and heat expelled. It’s a basic law of physics.
But in a world suddenly hyper-aware of global warming, a spotlight is turning on the IT world as a significant – and growing – part of the problem. And as business and governments try to balance growth with climate science, technology is being harnessed to find short and long-term solutions.
Australian IT companies and researchers stand at the forefront of new products and services designed to reduce our reliance on carbon-producing energy sources. Australian industry has been lucky so far. Energy is relatively cheap, so they have added computing resources without worrying too much about the energy cost. But that cheap electricity has been mostly derived from one of the dirtiest forms of generation – burning of brown coal.
(20 Feb 2007)