Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth - Too optimistic

I saw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" tonight.

I want to make three comment about it.

Firstly, it was very informative. Lots of new information tidbit I've not heard before, like the first Hurricane/Cyclone in the South Atlantic.

Secondly, I think it was to optimistic. Particularly about the amount of carbon emission's that can be cut (on both the supply & demand sides) while NOT having a large reduction in the standard of living/quality of life/complexity (in the developed countries) AND enabling the rest of the world to catch up.

Lastly, I think that 'we' only looked at the tail end of the problem. The (main) symptom, not the cause. We looked at three main graphs in "Truth". These being Atmospheric CO2, Global Temperature and Global Population, but these are all lagging graphs. There is a four graph, a leading graph, that most people don't think about at the same time. It comes in two closely related forms, Global Energy Use and its biggest sub component, Global Oil (and Gas) Use (Peak Oil).

Five hundred years ago, reason thinking developed, replacing symbolic thinking. This resulted in new ideas, constant change and new technologies. 250 year ago, we started accessing fossil fuels (Coal). Over the last 100 year or so, we have been accessing Oil (and Gas), we have been in top drive! This effectively removed energy as being a limiting factor in the resource mix that we have had at our disposal. All the other graphs are the result (directly or indirectly) of this fundamental change.

Ultimately we need to end up back where we were 250 years ago, operating within the Annual Solar Input Basis. The question is how much scale & complexity will we be able to maintain? Me thinks a lot less than the popular media & progressive governments think/promote. How long will the fall take?

Go see it!


and speak of the devil, Cameron has been on the same subject
backlink (blog): Exxon funds "misleading" climate change lobby groups
backlink (blog): TPN promoting "An Inconvenient Truth"
backlink (blog): Tread Lightly... and carry a big microphone
backlink (podcast): the "Treading Lightly" podcast 3

The Branson Trigger!

This is a stub, for the moment!

Stay tuned.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Peak Oil & Permaculture

Currently Authors Richard Heinberg & David Holmgren are on an Australian Tour. Last Thursday I left work early and drove up to the Kuringai Town Hall, 1186 Pacific Highway, Pymble (Sydney).
I got their a bit late.

I saw the end of Richard's talk. Very interesting, he was talking about the Oil Depletion Protocol.

David Holmgren's talk start with the history and stages of permaculture over the late 30 years. He then covered the history of energy/resource use, population and pollution and how their trends & magnitude parallel each other. He then outline 4 possible future scenarios: Techno-Explosion, Green-Tech Stability, Earth Stewardship/Creative Descent & Atlantis (Collapse). David stated why he think Creative Descent is the most likely outcome.

David listed some aspects and (permaculture) practices that Creative Descent would incorporate. Then the seven domains of permaculture action where covered.

We then, being in Sydney, look at Peak Oil and Creative Descent applied in suburbia. The example used was a 4 house street, starting in the 1950s. David followed its changes & total population (thus population density) over the late 50 years. He then outline measures that would lead to lower energy/recourse use and greater population density (the holy grail of town planners for the last 20+ years).

There was also a Q&A session. Didn't get a chance to ask my question. I asked David, privately, afterward. I'll write up the a post, and get David's ok to post it.

Then a long drive home, but I did bus it to work for most of the week.

first half slides (6.7MB PDF)
CSIRO article with figures of the model 4 house street