Archive for the tag “collapse”

Video: The Shit Hits The Fan discussion series at the Doomstead Diner

Doomstead Diner

Doomstead Diner Discussions on The Shit Hits The Fan (TSHTF) Three Recordings on Aug. 23, 2015. 

At the Doomstead Diner, we investigate, discuss and debate the ramifications of the Economic Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  Often referred to in shorthand as TEOTWAWKI.  The End of the World as We Know It.

Energy Discussion (Part 1)
With Gail Tverberg, Nicole Fosse, Steve Ludlum, Tom Lewis, Norman Pagett, Ugo Bardi, Reverse Engineer, and Monsta. Vist the Collapse Cafe discussions home page for more videos

News update

Bad loans will worsen if economy falters: RBI
Indian Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that the asset quality of scheduled commercial banks may worsen from the current level if the macroeconomic conditions deteriorate drastically. The central bank’s latest Financial Stability Report has also raised red flag on connected banks triggering a contagion and sought more disclosures and accountability in big-ticket corporate debt restructuring (CDR).

Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad
Andrew Higgins, New York Times
A plunge in oil prices has sent tremors through the global political and economic order, setting off an abrupt shift in fortunes that has bolstered the interests of the United States and pushed several big oil-exporting nations — particularly those hostile to the West, like Russia, Iran and Venezuela — to the brink of financial crisis.

Five energy surprises for 2015
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
The coming year is likely to be as full of surprises in the field of energy as 2014 was. We just dont know which surprises! I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, and they will be surprises to most people if they do. But, I think there is an outside chance that one or more will occur, and this would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.=

Weve Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century
Matt Novak, Paleofuture
The authors lists a number of failed predictions about oil depletion and argues that the idea of peak oil has contributed to climate change more than any other meme of the 20th century. Rather than making the case for alternative energy sources, too many people believed that it would be a problem that eventually sorted itself, which it wont. Also read the lively debate triggered by the article, in the comments section.

A Roadmap to Global Burning: Notes for Understanding the Lima Outcome
Pablo Solón, Common Dreams
The “Lima call for climate action” which came out of the recent UN climate talks, establishes a roadmap to a post-2020 agreement that will be weaker than the ongoing Cancun Agreement (for 2012-2020), and it lays a foundation for an even worse agreement in Paris in 2015, says Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations.

What climate change asks of us
Margaret Klein, The Climate Psychologist
Climate change is a crisis, and crises alter morality. Climate change is on track to cause the extinction of half the species on earth and, through a combination of droughts, famines, displaced people, and failed states and pandemics, the collapse of civilization within this century. This is an unprecedented moral responsibility, and we are by and large failing to meet it.

Review: The Great Transition The New Paradigm
Nafeez Ahmed, Degrowth 2014 blog
Worried about the shit hitting the fan on climate change and other major crises? Good. Because those crises prove that civilization is in the midst of a phase shift to new forms – and we’ve got the opportunity, right now, to ride the wave of five interlinked revolutions in information, food, energy, finance and ethics, to co-create a new way of being that works for everyone. (This is a review of University of Turin economist Prof Mauro Bonaiutis new book, The Great Transition. Read Part 1 of the review: The End of Growth?)

Leading archaeologist says world civilization approaching collapse
PBS Hews Hour
Arthur Demarest, one of the world’s leading archaeologists, studies the collapse of ancient civilizations, from Greece and Rome to the Maya and Aztecs. In this interview with Ted Fischer, a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, he says I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization, and gives detailed reasons why.

Peak Complexity, Peak Ignorance and Peak Selfishness

By Johnson Dantis, POI member

I have been reading many posts on the Peak Oil India website about various events related to environment, sustainability, climate change, energy etc. I often find that such conferences and seminars do not have the seriousness these issues deserve. I sometimes visualize the importance of these as a sort of kitty party-like events, where most attendees do another kind of window shopping and socialising.

Forums and similar events are a necessary part of the process for change, but when they become a mere platform for awards, demonstration of personal skills, casual get-togethers and publicity-mongeirng with little focus on the severity of the issue, then they lose all meaning. As Einstein said, doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is nothing but insanity. In many of these events, we see the same drama playing out in full force.

All sources of energy generate heat. When 10 people generate heat there is only a minimum effect, usually unnoticed by the individuals or the community, but when 7 billion does the same and in rising quantities, it obviously will have a proportional effect somewhere. So, scale matters in whatever we do and innovation does not come in time for rescue. To take an example, if you invite 100 people for a wedding and 1000 turn up, you can understand the chaos and drama that would unfold.

Whether we call this “climate change” or something else does not make any difference to the outcome. What we are realizing now is that this planet was never designed for such intense energy consumption and for so many people to live at the same time and aspire for a high standard of living. The problem simply cannot be solved unless you reduce energy use per capita or population or both in equal proportion and stay within earth’s carrying capacity. As for breaking peoples habits and demanding sacrifices of them, it is near impossible to do in the democratic world we inhabit. So there are no choices before us, and the whole debate will eventually be settled by nature (floods, droughts, desertification, diseases, famine etc) and also by human conflict (war) arising from resource depletion and environmental damage. Read more…

All Well Aboard The Titanic

POI member Johnson Dantis on the multiple crises that threatens industrial civilisation, and the many handicaps that prevents us from dealing with them effectively. The piece is also in part a response to articles by T. Vijayendra and George Monbiot that were recently posted on Peakoilindia.org.

Let me give you my own idea of hope in life. Hope propels change and change is constant. But the pace with which nature changes, the change often looks static in ones lifetime and even over generations. So change happens all the time, but we do not experience it on a daily basis. Mankind has gone from the simplicity of its early days to the complexity of today mainly to solve the problems of population pressure and resource depletion we encountered along the way, which is behind the cycling loop of complexity throughout history.

So I don’t understand why we should be excessively concerned about it today. The way I see it, we will solve the energy issues of the future by using thorium-based reactors or fusion reactors or some other technology. It is my hope that we will one day colonize other planets, extract metals and this historical process of complexity will continue. But the question is whether it will happen on time current data indicates otherwise, but this may change anytime with new discoveries and inventions (I am hopeful).

We are not good at going back and reducing complexity and if even we attempted that, the Dark Ages stands as an example on what might happen. So if the solutions do not come on time and we enter a new Dark Age, we are guaranteed to lose 99% of the knowledge we have accumulated, and question of its recreation is something I will leave to your imagination. This cycle of growth and collapse is nothing new, and has happened several times in history – but this time the impact will felt across globe and recovery may take many centuries (that is, if it doesn’t lead to the extinction of the human species).

Hope should be based on facts and reality, or else it is mere self-deception. I think the time for advertising false information for personal leverage is ending and the time for facing reality is here. As someone said, you cannot negotiate with nature when it dictates reality. I find everywhere the same false hope and the advertising of it, but the reality is its exact opposite. Our situation resembles that of the carefree passengers of the Titanic, our time spent in merrymaking and playing musical chairs. We forget that even the winner of music chairs has to finally fight for a lifeboat.
Read more…

News update

Iraq crisis: India braces for Rs 20,000 cr hole in budget as oil could rise to $120 per barrel
From Firtsbiz.com
Indias government sees oil prices going as high as $120 per barrel for three to four months because of fighting in Iraq, potentially driving a hole of at least Rs 20,000 crore ($3.4 billion) in the budget, two government sources told Reuters. If the oil prices remain high even for 3-4 months around $120 a barrel, it could have a significant impact on the fiscal deficit and economic growth, a senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

International Energy Agency Says the Party’s Over
By Richard Heinberg, Postcarbon.org
The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits—if they are willing to read between the lines and view the report in the context of current financial and geopolitical trends. (Editors Note: Other reports, especially in the mainstream business press, have claimed the same IEA report as hailing a new era of oil abundance (see link below for an example). Such extremely contradictory views are typical when it comes to the future of oil, and reflect the high stakes involved).

IEA sees shale oil boom spread beyond N.America
By G. Chandrashekhar, The Hindu BusinessLine
Over the next five years, global oil demand growth will slow, OPEC capacity growth will face headwinds and regional imbalances in gasoline and diesel markets will widen, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its annual five-year oil market outlook report released today in Paris. Forecasting that the unconventional supply revolution in the form of shale oil boom currently sweeping North America will expand to other region before the end of the decade, IEA said that in five years, North America will have the capacity to become a net exporter of oil liquids.

A Closer Look at Saudi Arabia
By Ron Patterson, Peakoilbarrel.com
Approximately 60–65% of all Saudi oil produced between 1948 and 2000 came from the Ghawar oil field. Cumulative production until April 2010 has exceeded 65 billion barrels. It was estimated that Ghawar produced about 5 million barrels of oil a day (6.25% of global production) in 2009. Ghawar also produces approximately 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. After 60 years of production, the field is depleted, and so are other leading Saudi oil fields.

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel empire
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
Since 2000, the oil industrys investments have risen by 180% a threefold increase but this has translated into a global oil supply increase of just 14%. Two-thirds of this increase has been made-up by unconventional oil and gas. In other words, the primary driver of the cost explosion is the shift to expensive and difficult-to-extract unconventionals due to the peak and plateau in conventional oil production since 2005.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD Minerva Research Initiative is a multi-million dollar programme designed to develop immediate and long-term warfighter-relevant insights for senior officials and decision makers in the defense policy community, and to inform policy implemented by combatant commands.

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013
By J. Matthew Roney,  Earth Policy Institute
China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over. Between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly ninefold to 7,000 megawatts. Then in 2013, China added at least 11,300 megawatts, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year. With 18,300 megawatts, China now trails only Germany (at 36,000 megawatts) in overall capacity.

Want to Change the World? Read This First
by Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources). If you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

George Monbiot: The Impossibility of Growth

POI Editors Note: This piece by environmental writer and The Guardian columnist George Monbiot eloquently sums up our present predicament the converging catastrophes of climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil. Monbiot also looks at why we are unable to deal with, or even discuss its possibility. We thought it worth reproducing in full on the POI website, considering how in India too, now Economic Growth is considered not only desirable and inevitable, but has transcended ideology to almost take on the status of national religion. Do visit the original Guardian web page where its edited version was published, to view readers comments and a discussion provoked by the article.

Its simple. If we cant change our economic system, our numbers up
Its the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanitys undoing

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 28th May 2014

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1).

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems(2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse. Read more…

News update

India’s growth model is a disaster
Sam Tranum wears many hats. He is a journalist, novelist and teacher. He is an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago and has spent time in India, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and many other parts of the globe teaching, working and researching on energy issues. His latest work, Powerless: India’s Energy Shortage and Its Impact (Sage Publications), paints a frightening picture of the country’s energy ecosystem. In a chat with Business Line, Tranum talks about the book, what’s wrong with India’s energy policies, and more.
From The Hindu Business Line

Can India Go 100 Percent Renewable by 2050?
By Darshan Goswami
In the coming years, India will face seemingly insurmountable challenges to its economy, environment and energy security. To overcome these challenges, India needs to shift to non-polluting sources of energy.

Why the Uttarakhand floods happened
A recent landmark report by an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), set up under the direction of the Supreme Court, makes the connection the mushrooming of hundreds of hydroelectric projects (HEPs) in Uttarakhand, and the devastating floods last year that killed thousands. It is the first independent ‘official’ report acknowledging the destructive nature of hydropower projects and linking them to the floods that raged through Uttarakhand last year. In its report, ‘Assessment of Environmental Degradation and Impact of Hydroelectric Projects during the June 2013 Disaster in Uttarakhand’, the committee recommends the rejection of 23 HEPs in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand.
From Yahoo India

It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine
New York Times profile of Paul Kingsnorth, founder of The Dark Mountain Project

The Dark Mountain Project was founded in 2009. From the start, it has been difficult to pin down — even for its members. If you ask a representative of the Sierra Club to describe his organization, he will say that it promotes responsible use of the earth’s resources. When you ask Kingsnorth about Dark Mountain, he speaks of mourning, grief and despair. We are living, he says, through the “age of ecocide,” and like a long-dazed widower, we are finally becoming sensible to the magnitude of our loss, which it is our duty to face. Kingsnorth himself arrived at this point about six years ago, after nearly two decades of devoted activism.

Five Questions for IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri
This April, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report on steps the world can take to avoid the worst impacts of future climate change. The report by the panel’s Working Group III was the final interim report before the IPCC’s major Fifth Assessment Report due to be released in October. Yale Environment 360 asked Rajendra K. Pachauri, who has served as IPCC chairman since 2002, five questions about the latest report and about the prospects that the international community will finally take decisive action to address climate change.
From Yale Environment 360

What Does It Mean To “Do Something” About Climate Change?
By Carolyn Baker
When I speak about catastrophic climate change and the likelihood of near-term human extinction, I am often accused to “giving up” or choosing to “do nothing” about climate change. Even more charged for some is the notion of “living in hospice” which I argue is now the unequivocal predicament of our species. The typical rebuttal goes something like, “Instead of contemplating our navels or rolling over and preparing for death, we have to do something about climate change!” Thus, I feel compelled to genuinely ask: What does it mean to actually “do something”?

Let This Earth Day Be The Last
By Wen Stephenson
Fuck Earth Day. No, really. Fuck Earth Day. Not the first one, forty-four years ago, the one of sepia-hued nostalgia, but everything the day has since come to be: the darkest, cruelest, most brutally self-satirizing spectacle of the year. Fuck it. Let it end here. End the dishonesty, the deception. Stop lying to yourselves, and to your children. Stop pretending that the crisis can be “solved,” that the planet can be “saved,” that business more-or-less as usual—what progressives and environmentalists have been doing for forty-odd years and more—is morally or intellectually tenable. Let go of the pretense that “environmentalism” as we know it—virtuous green consumerism, affluent low-carbon localism, head-in-the-sand conservationism, feel-good greenwashed capitalism—comes anywhere near the radical response our situation requires. So, yeah, I’ve had it with Earth Day—and the culture of progressive green denial it represents.
From The Nation

Want to reboot civilization? The knowledge, tools, and seeds we’ll want if disaster strikes
By Annalee Newitz 
When you’re looking down the barrel of a civilization-erasing event, you have to plan for a world where
humanity has lost everything. Canned goods might be nice, but you’d better have brought along a can opener—or know how to make one. In the event that life as we know it is truly upended, the survivors will have to rebuild our civilization. Given everything humanity has learned over the past hundred thousand years, what information should we leave them? And how do we store it so they can actually make use of it? “The apocalypse is just a starting point,” said Lewis Dartnell, an astrophysicist and author of a new book on the subject, “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch.” “It is going to be a brutal and hard life where everything will be difficult. The question is how to take an optimal route back, without stumbling around in the dark.”
From The Boston Globe

 

 

News update

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse?
A new study sponsored by Nasas Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of collapse are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history. Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to precipitous collapse often lasting centuries have been quite common.

Download a copy (pdf file) of the study: A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction, authored by Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas and Eugenia Kalnay.
From The Guardian

 Global riot epidemic due to demise of cheap fossil fuels
If anyone had hoped that the Arab Spring and Occupy protests a few years back were one-off episodes that would soon give way to more stability, they have another thing coming. The hope was that ongoing economic recovery would return to pre-crash levels of growth, alleviating the grievances fueling the fires of civil unrest, stoked by years of recession. But this hasnt happened. And it wont. Instead the post-2008 crash era, including 2013 and early 2014, has seen a persistence and proliferation of civil unrest on a scale that has never been seen before in human history.
From The Guardian

Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, has released a stark report on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.
From the New York Times

Warm, too warm, and warmer still: The climate movement must face up to its colossal failure
There is no disputing the climate movement’s breadth, depth, diligence, passion or commitment. Crucially, it’s also right, fighting for nothing less than the future of our civilisation. But playing out in slow motion in front of our eyes, we are witnessing its complete collapse. Sustainability conferences hijacked by oil officials and sponsored by Big Oil are but symptoms of a deeper malaise.
From www.eco-business.com

Where Does the Flatness of Oil Production Come From?
For CONVENTIONAL oil, the peak annual global production was about 30 billion barrels (in 2010), but it is now down by about 10%. The TOTAL of global oil production, however, has been more or less flat since about 2002. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the grand total includes UNCONVENTIONAL oil (shale oil, tar-sands oil, natural-gas-liquids, etc.). Mysteriously, the decrease in conventional oil and the increase in unconventional oil balance each other out almost perfectly. But this doesnt make sense. How is it possible that the rise in unconventional oil and the decline in conventional oil and almost exactly cancel each other out, keeping the grand total of annual oil production continuing flat year after year?
By Peter Goodchild

The Crocodiles of Reality
Ive suggested in several previous posts that the peak oil debate may be approaching a turning point—one of those shifts in the collective conversation in which topics that have been shut out for years or decades finally succeed in crashing the party, and other topics that have gotten more than their quota of attention during that time get put out to pasture or sent to the glue factory. I’d like to talk for a moment about some of the reasons I think that’s about to happen, and in the process, give a name to one of the common but generally unmentionable features of contemporary economic life.
By John Michael Greer

Video: Agriculture in a Changing World
Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem, the Land Institutes Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change. Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agricultures insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.
From www.postcarbon.org

Peak Oil Review Mar 17
by Tom Whipple, originally published by ASPO-USA
From www.resilience.org

 

 

Talk: Civilizational Collapses Causes Consequences

Cerana Foundation recently hosted “Civilizational Collapses Causes & Consequences”, a talk by Vidyadhar Gadgil on Saturday, 15 March, 2014. This is part of a dialogue they have been having on questions related to Peak Oil, (un)sustainable development and the future of human society. Gadgil is a graduate of TISS, Mumbai, and has worked as a journalist and university teacher.

Synopsis: We are in the era of Peak oil.  Reduction of global energy could well cause a financial meltdown leading to a civilizational collapse.  Such collapses have happened in the past but were confined to one civilization. In the globalized world that we are today, an energy shrink could well result in the collapse of entire human society as we know it today.  The consequences of such a collapse may lead to a mass hunger and disease, a drastic reduction in human population, lawlessness, etc.  What can we learn from civilizational collapses that have occurred in the past that can help us avert the most serious consequences of such a collapse if one were to occur now.

Download a PowerPoint slideshow covering important points of the talk.

Talk: Civilizational Collapses Causes & Consequences

Cerana Foundation recently hosted “Civilizational Collapses Causes & Consequences”, a talk by Vidyadhar Gadgil on Saturday, 15 March, 2014. This is part of a dialogue they have been having on questions related to Peak Oil, (un)sustainable development and the future of human society. Gadgil is a graduate of TISS, Mumbai, and has worked as a journalist and university teacher.

Synopsis: We are in the era of Peak oil.  Reduction of global energy could well cause a financial meltdown leading to a civilizational collapse.  Such collapses have happened in the past but were confined to one civilization. In the globalized world that we are today, an energy shrink could well result in the collapse of entire human society as we know it today.  The consequences of such a collapse may lead to a mass hunger and disease, a drastic reduction in human population, lawlessness, etc.  What can we learn from civilizational collapses that have occurred in the past that can help us avert the most serious consequences of such a collapse if one were to occur now.

Download a PowerPoint slideshow covering important points of the talk.

Post Navigation