by Richard HeinbergAnother grumpy pastoralist who wants us all to "return to the farm" where we'll find satisfaction in folk guitar music and lentil-based entrees. Heinberg rings all the proper alarm bells (oil depletion + climate change +garbage + population = major bummer for life on Earth) but swerves into tedious maunderings about how much he despises Modernist art (the cruel and lifeless streamlining of the Machine Age!) and how his generation — the Baby Boomers, *of course* — will be remembered as the generation whose greedy consumption toppled humanity into a New Post-Carbon Dark Age. (More likely they'll be remembered for their generational vanity.)
Even so, if you want to skim past the "musings' and just read the Grim Facts, this book offers manyuseful jolts of terror. Modern agriculture requires petroleum: when that's gone, Heinberg says, the human population will starve back from 8 billion to less than one billion in the coming century, with all the chaos and bloodshed that you'd expect from such a massive "dieback." Heinberg's most cogent point concerns the "free market correction" theory of energy transition, which states that as oil grows scarcer and more expensive, alternate forms of energy will become increasingly more viable. Heinberg points out that (a) a new energy infrastructure will require decades to ramp up, and (b) by the time oil scarcity is signaled through dramatic price rises, we won't have decades, only a matter of years. He wrote this in 2007; events in the financial markets since then should shake any sane person's confidence in the foresight and wisdom ofcorporations to avert a global catastrophe.
Heinberg's thesis boils down to: "Science got us into this mess, therefore we can't expect science to get us out of this mess." Maybe so, but I suspect most of us would rather give solar grids andthorium reactors a chance before we voluntarily unplug the Internet and beg the Amish to be our life coaches.
(Recommended alternate reading:J.G. Ballard's novella "The Ultimate City.")
|eBook format||ebook, (torrent)|
|Publisher||New Society Publishers|
|File size||1.5 Mb|
|Book rating||4.56 (243 votes)