9780865715103

Powerdown : Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780865715103

  • ISBN10:

    0865715106

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-08-15
  • Publisher: Consortium Book Sales & Dist

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Summary

If the US continues with its current policies, the next decades will be marked by war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe. Resource depletion and population pressures are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation and have in mind a punishing game of "Last One Standing." The alternative is "Powerdown," a strategy that will require tremendous effort and economic sacrifice in order to reduce per-capita resource usage in wealthy countries, develop alternative energy sources, distribute resources more equitably, and reduce the human population humanely but systematically over time. While civil society organizations push for a mild version of this, the vast majority of the world's people are in the dark, not understanding the challenges ahead, nor the options realistically available. Powerdown speaks frankly to these dilemmas. Avoiding cynicism and despair, it begins with an overview of the likely impacts of oil and natural gas depletion and then outlines four options for industrial societies during the next decades: Last One Standing: the path of competition for remaining resources; Powerdown: the path of cooperation, conservation and sharing; Waiting for a Magic Elixir: wishful thinking, false hopes, and denial; Building Lifeboats: the path of community solidarity and preservation. Finally, the book explores how three important groups within global society-the power elites, the opposition to the elites (the antiwar and antiglobalization movements, et al: the "Other Superpower"), and ordinary people-are likely to respond to these four options. Timely, accessible and eloquent, Powerdown is crucial reading for our times. Richard Heinberg is an award-winning author of five previous books, including The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies. A member of the Core Faculty of New College of California, he lives in Santa Rosa, California.

Author Biography

Richard Heinberg is an award-winning author of five previous books

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1(16)
The End of Cheap Energy
17(38)
Recent Confirmations of an Imminent Oil Peak
23(11)
The Petroleum Plateau and Beyond
34(3)
Surveying the Plateau
37(8)
The Natural Gas Quandary
45(6)
A Perilous Prosperity
51(4)
Last One Standing: The Way of War and Competition
55(32)
Can the Free Market Prevent Resource Wars?
58(4)
The Case of Iraq
62(5)
Just When We Needed Brilliant Leadership
67(11)
Types of Resource Wars
78(3)
The Path of Least Resistance
81(6)
Powerdown: The Path of Self-Limitation, Cooperation, and Sharing
87(30)
Requirements for Powerdown
93(9)
The Paradox of Scale
102(2)
Useful Precedents
104(4)
Assessing the Prospects
108(9)
Waiting for the Magic Elixir: False Hopes, Wishful Thinking, and Denial
117(22)
Unconventional Hydrocarbon Sources
119(5)
High on Hydrogen
124(5)
Why Even the Perfect Energy Source Will Not Sustain Growth Indefinitely
129(10)
Building Lifeboats: The Path of Community Solidarity and Preservation
139(24)
How Civilizations Collapse
141(9)
Who Will survive?
150(3)
Saving What Is Best
153(10)
Our Choice
163(24)
The Choice of the Elites
167(5)
The Choice of the Movement
172(7)
The Choice of Us Folks
179(5)
Looking Ahead
184(3)
Notes 187(10)
Index 197(12)
About the Author 209

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