Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Nate Hagens: Things are not going to be as easy over the next 40 years


Recently Karen Rybold-Chin interviewed Nate Hagens, former editor of The Oil Drum and former Lehman Brothers vice president, questioning him about a future economy without growth and an environment suffering climate change. Nate Hagens asks whether ultimately - contrary to our animal nature - we are willing and able to plan for future generations by reducing our own energy consumption and economic growth.

Dr. Hagens' full lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison synthesizes concepts from economics, finance, energy, the environment and human behavior into some first-order principles that apply to our current world situation.

His basic message is that the primary drivers of historical economic growth - the inexpensive substitution of human labor by fossil labor, and recently, the explosion of available monetary credit - are no longer available, and this will spell the end of global growth.

Hagens explains that energy - specifically the cheap energy from the already found and burned fossil fuels – accounts for the majority of our past productivity gains and economic riches. It is thus not our lack of hydrocarbon resources that is the problem, but rising extraction costs – for example, 17 percent higher annually for oil since 2002 - that are making continued global growth from these levels unattainable.

Hagens suggests that a renewables-based economy, as promoted by many in environmental circles, is possible and even desirable, but will require far lower living standards. Ergo, wind and solar are part of the answer, but not to the question of "how can we continue growth."

One way to make things better might be to get corporations to pay their share of taxes. To encourage Exxon Mobile to do so, please join our partners at Roots Action Here.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Editorial Notes: Reprinted with permission. -KS (Photo: BlackRockSolar / Flickr)

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Our Renewable Future   

How we use energy is as important as how we get it.

Peak Oil Notes - Apr 23

Industry leaders are warning that the $114 billion cut in capital …

Climate change: can the Seneca effect save us?

A Seneca shaped production curve would considerably reduce the amount of …

Saudi Arabia’s Oil-Price War Is With Stupid Money

Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price …

Peak Oil Review - Apr 20

Weekly review including Oil and the Global Economy, The Middle East & …

The Great Burning   

What will we do when the Great Burning comes to an end?

The Renewable Revolution

Don’t hold your breath, but future historians may look back on 2015 as …