Archive for the month “April, 2014”

The Third Curve: Book excerpt and TEDx video

An excerpt from Peak Oil India member Mansoor Khan’s new book The Third Curve: The End of Growth. As we know it! as well as a link to a TEDx talk he gave at the KCG College of Technology, Chennai.

The Third Curve
A New Lens to Understand our New Economic Reality

Financial markets are under threat. Growth rates are dropping.
The age-old remedies prescribed to boost economic growth are proving ineffective, if not outright dangerous.
Five years after the 2008 global financial crash, nothing seems to work as per projections.
But what if the rules of the game have inverted?
What if economic growth is eluding us for a reason that we have discounted all this while?
What if there are indeed limits to growth?
Yes, the Modern Industrial World stands at a crucial and unavoidable turning point. The sacrosanct paradigm of modern economics, namely perpetual growth, is in the process of ending. Our economic growth model makes 2 simple yet amazingly unreasonable assumptions:
1. That money is the currency that runs the world. In fact it is energy.
2. That we have limitless energy & other resources on a finite planet.
These assumptions appeared to hold true for the last 150 years – the first half of oil reserves. But now we are about to begin the second half of the story of oil. This half-way point of oil is an unprecedented point in history and is called Peak Oil. Peak Oil is not an ideology but an aspect of geology – the point of maximum oil extraction from the earth.
This geological limit is what defines what will be economically possible in the future starting right now. The global economic collapse of 2008 was the advent of this turning point because past the peak we get only less oil. Therefore less industrial and economic growth. This spells doom to the religion of perpetual economic growth.
This book is NOT directly about morality, justice, equity, environmental consciousness and other noble human values. It is about the head-on collision between:
* Our total acceptance of an infinite economic growth model which is not possible.
* Our total denial of the finiteness of the earth which is evident.

We need a new lens to understand this inversion of economic reality. The Third Curve provides us that lens.
It identifies the root cause of the malady by reminding us of the forgotten relationships between money and energy, capital and resources, concept and reality. Read more…

Book review: The Crisis of Capitalism

Review of Saral Sarkar’s The Crisis of Capitalism, from Frontier Weekly
Saral Sarkar has been writing for many years on his favourite subject, eco-system. He is an eco-socialist par excellence. This encyclopaedic *work of his has encompassed a wide range of subjects, and pressed into service an astonishingly large number of facts and theories, and the opinions of different schools of economists at different phases of the history of the capitalist world since the early twentieth century. This book may be called a history of capitalism and economic theories in the twentieth century. Hence it can be safely argued that it is essential reading to all those interested in the subject. Read the review


News update

Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind – IPCC report
The report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change concluded that climate change was already having effects in real time – melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters. And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC. Visit the IPCC website to download the report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability
From The Guardian

UN: 13 of 14 warmest years on record were in 21st century
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has revealed that 2001-2010 was the warmest decade on record, while 13 of the 14 warmest years in recorded history have occurred in the 21st century.

European activists call for law on ecocide
Until we have a law to prosecute those who destroy the planet, corporations will never be called to account for their crimes. ‘End Ecocide in Europe’ is a European Citizens’ Initiative aimed at establishing a new crime within the European Union and beyond: Ecocide. Ecocide is defined as the “extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory”. Their objective is to raise awareness on the law of ecocide and collect at least 1 million signatures in support of the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘End Ecocide in Europe’ (website).
From The Guardian

Global market shock” from “oil crash” could hit in 2018
In a new book, former oil geologist and government adviser on renewable energy, Dr. Jeremy Leggett, identifies five “global systemic risks directly connected to energy” which, he says, together “threaten capital markets and hence the global economy” in a way that could trigger a global crash sometime between 2018 and 2020. According to Leggett, a wide range of experts and insiders “from diverse sectors spanning academia, industry, the military and the oil industry itself, including until recently the International Energy Agency or, at least, key individuals or factions therein” are expecting an oil crunch “within a few years,” most likely “within a window from 2018 to 2020.”
From The Guardian

Iraq invasion was about oil
Maximising Persian Gulf oil flows to avert a potential global energy crisis motivated Iraq War planners – not WMD or democracy. We passed the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War – yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion.
From The Guardian

A Star In A Bottle
Years from now, the most complex machine ever built will be switched on in an Alpine forest in the South of France. The machine, called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, will stand a hundred feet tall, and it will weigh twenty-three thousand tons—more than twice the weight of the Eiffel Tower. Thirty-five countries, representing more than half the world’s population, are invested in the project. Stefano Chiocchio, head of design integration—its chief puzzle master-who effectively runs the project, had started his career in nuclear fission, his interest emerging out of dire predictions about peak oil. “There was this story of limited growth, how the planet would be affected by its lack of resources, and I thought nuclear energy would help solve this.” His audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out.
From The New Yorker

Fisheries and Aquaculture Fact Sheet
Seafood plays a vital role in world food security. Roughly 3 billion people get about 20 percent of their animal protein from fishery products. The world fish catch is a measure of the productivity and health of the oceanic ecosystem that covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface. The extent to which world demand for seafood is outrunning the sustainable yield of fisheries can be seen in shrinking fish stocks, declining catches, and collapsing fisheries.
From Earth Policy Institute


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