Tag Archives: Energy
A safer future for all means a better future for most
This article appeared in the Irish Times in early May, based around an intriguing paper published in the journal ‘Global Environmental Change’, titled “Providing decent living with minimum energy: A global scenario”. As the abstract begins: “It is increasingly clear … Continue reading
Myths and mischief-making in renewable energy reporting
I couldn’t have claimed to be Ireland’s greatest fan of wind energy. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea – it is – but rather, my concern is whether it will ever be deployed on a scale sufficient … Continue reading
Fukushima a godsend for anti-nuclear bandwagon
I’ve been following the unfolding nuclear “crisis” in Japan with growing alarm. People who call themselves environmentalists have been jumping up and down with thinly disguised glee, pointing and waving and saying: “there, we warned you, nuclear is GONNA KILL … Continue reading
Energy constraints will collapse global economic recovery
We may rail against the regulators, politicians, and others who failed to understand and manage past risks, but we are just as culpable for our failure to engage with severe, well-signposted, imminent ones. Impassioned arguments over bank nationalisation, the austerity-stimulus … Continue reading
Next stop: make up our mind time
In the last post Paddy Morris noted that we need a vision and implementation strategy along the lines of the Marshall Plan to shield us from the worst of the energy and climate crises. He’s right. Avoiding oil consumption and … Continue reading
Peak oil – what happens next?
Wednesday night last saw an interesting session to kick off several days of the 15th Convergence Sustainable Living Festival, organised by Cultivate. The two-hour session was entitled: ‘Planning our retreat from fossil fuels: exploring the ramifications of Peak Oil’ and … Continue reading
Can industrial civilisation and the biosphere both be saved?
Even when you don’t agree with him, Monbiot remains essential reading. Whether you regard the Dark Mountain Project as a bunch of dystopian doomers, or simply realists probably depends on how you feel about peak oil (in the shorter term) … Continue reading
Argument versus Proselytising: Developing and defending a rational debate on energy and survival.
The debate on climate change faces a number of inherent handicaps. Human nature is perhaps the most important. At our best, we deal reasonably well with the present and the immediate future. If next Christmas seems remote, our abilities to … Continue reading
Ireland among most vulnerable to peak oil
HERE’S A conundrum: restarting global economic growth will, by definition, push up energy costs. Rising energy costs will in turn choke off that economic recovery, leading to a fall in energy prices. Try to restart growth again, and the brick … Continue reading
Attack on climate science has its OJ Simpson moment
Bill McKibben has been at the forefront of efforts to alert the public to the dangers of climate change for more than two decades. Today he fronts 350.org, a website dedicated to setting a global CO2 ceiling of 350ppm. Below, … Continue reading
Do you believe in miracles?
Bill Gates is for many the Dr Evil of the corporate world. His Microsoft behemoth has had a stranglehold on the world’s personal computer market for the last two decades, and wrung hundreds of billions out of users in the … Continue reading
21st Century Swords to Plowshares: From Megatons to Megawatts
Currently, hydropower provides 6% of the USA’s electrical power, and solar, biomass, wind and geothermal combined provide 3%. Dismantled nuclear weapons provide 10%. The ‘Megatons to Megawatts’ programme was instituted in the 1990s as a means to secure the weapons … Continue reading
To the last drop?
Take a minute or two to study the chart below. It is just issued by the International Energy Agency, an industry-centric organisation not prone to engaging in eco-alarmism. But this is alarming, truly shocking in fact. The dark blue chart … Continue reading
There (still) is no plan B
One of my earliest posts on this blog, on December 12, 2007, was headed ‘There is no Plan B‘. The headline was taken from a quote from the then new Australian PM, Kevin Rudd to delegates at the UN climate … Continue reading
Challenging the infallible economist
Colm McCarthy chaired the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes, better known as An Bord Snip Nua. It issued its various prescription for what ails us in July, and much of the national discussion since then has … Continue reading