The recognition that these two transformations, the outer and the inner, work in parallel and have to be carried out together is the missing piece that the sustainability movements of the Seventies never quite caught.
On December 15, 2010, in the GEAB N°50, LEAP/E2020 anticipated the explosion of Western government debt (1) in the second half of 2011. We were then describing a process that would start with the European government debt crisis and then set fire to the heart of the global financial system, namely US federal debt (2). And here we are with this issue at the start of the second half of 2011, with a global economy in complete disarray (3), an increasingly unstable global monetary system (4) and financial centres in desperate straits (5), all this despite the thousands of billions of public money invested to avoid precisely this type of situation. The insolvency of the global financial system, and of the Western financial system in the first place, returns again to the front of the stage after just over a year of political cosmetics aimed at burying this fundamental problem under truckloads of cash.
The Global Energy Crisis Deepens: Three Energy Developments That Are Changing Your Life, By Michael Klare
As for the bad news: the world faces an array of intractable energy problems that, if anything, have only worsened in recent weeks. These problems are multiplying on either side of energy’s key geological divide: below ground, once-abundant reserves of easy-to-get “conventional” oil, natural gas, and coal are drying up; above ground, human miscalculation and geopolitics are limiting the production and availability of specific energy supplies. With troubles mounting in both arenas, our energy prospects are only growing dimmer.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA invited Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, to give the commencement speech at its 2011 graduation ceremonies on May 14. When students heard this, many were surprised and upset. As Linnea Palmer Paton of Students for a Just and Stable Future put it in a letter to the college president, “[W]e, as conscientious members of the WPI community and proud members of the Class of 2011, will not give [the Exxon CEO] the honor of imparting … his well-wishes … for our futures … when he is largely responsible for undermining them.” The students then invited Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute, to give an alternative commencement speech. After a few days of negotiations, the college administration agreed to give Heinberg the podium immediately after the main ceremony. Many students chose to walk out during Tillerson’s address. This is what Richard Heinberg had to say.
The existential crisis for the world’s nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world’s oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict. Even if the world navigates today’s crisis without an energy shock, a more intractable long-term crisis is brewing.
The tragedy of Fukushima is a tragedy for all mankind. We do not yet see it, but this event will be remembered as a turning point in the development of humanity. From this point forward, if nothing else, Fukushima will give pause to every politician, or technocrat in the future who holds up the torch of “nuclear power” as the great hope for our energy-starved planet.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses pressure blasts to release natural gas but leaves highly toxic waste water