The Environment

Richard Heinberg: Peak Oil and the Globe’s Limitations

Richard Heinberg: Peak Oil and the Globe’s Limitations

In the second video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth productions, Richard Heinberg, senior fellow with the Post Carbon Institute, discusses how depleting oil supplies threaten the future of global economic growth. According to Heinberg, historically there has been a close correlation between increased energy consumption and economic growth. If the economy starts to recover after the financial crisis and there is an increased demand for oil but not enough supply to keep up with that demand, we may hit a ceiling on what the economy can do.

“What politician is going to be able to standup in front of the American people and tell them the truth?”  Heinberg asks. “Every politician is going to want to promise more economic growth and blame the lack of growth on the other political party…. The whole political system starts to get more and more polarized and more and more radical until it just comes apart at the seams.”

For Heinberg, however, there is still hope: alternative energy sources, though difficult to implement on a large scale, do exist, and a grassroots movement is strongly advocating for new thinking about our energy consumption.

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Nicole Foss: We Need Freedom of Action To Confront Peak Oil
The Nation and On The Earth Productions
January 19, 2011

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In the third video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth productions, co-editor of The Automatic Earth, Nicole M. Foss, explains how energy relates to the economy and what our impending energy crisis will look like. Foss discusses the issues associated with peak oil in financial rather than environmental terms, because she finds that peak oil has much more to do with finance than it does with climate change.

Foss talks about what she calls a “false positive feedback loop,” which involves optimism leading to “caution being thrown to the wind.” When this happens, Foss believes that people become angry. Succumbing to fear and anger might lead to engagement in destructive behavior, which would make it harder for society to confront peak oil and climate change.

Reacting to former vice president Dick Cheney, who once said “the American way of life is not negotiable,” Foss says, “That’s true because reality is not going to negotiate with you.”

Go here to learn more about “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate,” and to see the other videos in the series.

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About Kim Martindale

Mother of two, wife of one, home manager, gardener, student of health and wellness, world traveler, nature lover, researcher, Jesus follower, community builder. I'm seeking to become resilient and to live sustainably. I desire to give back and share what I'm learning with others.

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