Category Archives: 1) Decline

Decline will be death by a thousand cuts as too many problems occur and overwhelm societies ability to fix them (i.e. Tainter’s “complexity”). Already our infrastructure (oil and gas pipelines, electric grid, roads, bridges, etc) has a Report Card of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers. All 18 components of essential infrastructure, from the electric grid to the financial system are vulnerable to cyber-attack, The end of growth means bankruptcy for cities, pensions, families, and businesses, and no credit for energy companies to borrow for new projects to obtain oil, coal, and natural gas, the real drivers of the economy (just try putting dollar bills in your gas tank)

The Lights are going out in the Middle East (New Yorker)

Robin Wright. May 20, 2017. The lights are going out in the Middle East.  New Yorker. Six months ago, I was in the National Museum in Beirut, marvelling at two Phoenician sarcophagi among the treasures from ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, … Continue reading

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Richard Heinberg on why low oil prices do not mean there is plenty of oil, EROI, collapse

[ Yet another wise, thoughtful, and wide-ranging essay from my favorite writer of the many facets of a civilization about to decline as it is starved of the fossil fuels that feed it.  Although the topics are quite varied, Heinberg … Continue reading

Posted in Oil, Peter Turchin, Richard Heinberg, Social Disorder | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What can California do about sea level rise?

Projected sea level rise from one meter (dark red) to six meters (light orange) in California’s Bay Area. (Weiss and Overpeck 2011) Preface. Nearly all, if not all, possible solutions to rising sea levels along all the coasts in the … Continue reading

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Automated vehicles will lead to more driving and congestion

Preface. There’s no need to actually worry about how automated vehicles will be used and their potential congestion, energy use, and whether there are enough rare earth minerals to make them possible, because they simply can never be fully automated, … Continue reading

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Hurricanes will lower Gulf and East Coast carrying capacity

Preface. New Orleans and much of the gulf and east coast remain vulnerable to severe weather, and require help from the federal government to recover.  Clearly as climate change worsens this will only become more of a problem in the … Continue reading

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Toxic algae slime spreading quickly across the earth

2017-8-19. Ocean Slime Spreading Quickly Across the Earth. Craig Welch, National Geographic. Toxic algae blooms, perhaps accelerated by ocean warming and other climate shifts, are spreading, poisoning marine life and people. When sea lions suffered seizures and birds and porpoises … Continue reading

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Threats to America’s drinking and sewage treatment infrastructure

[ Here are a few of the points made in this 170 page document about improving the nation’s water system security (excerpts follow): There are many potential threats to water infrastructure, including terrorism, failure of aging infrastructure, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, … Continue reading

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U.S. Senate 2014 Freight rail service: improving the performance of America’s rail system

Preface. This Senate hearing is mainly full of oil and grain industry leaders bashing the rail industry and asking Senators to do something about it. But the railroad industry is four times more energy efficient than trucks, and not guilty … Continue reading

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If we really cared about CO2, we’d reduce car size and weight, not make electric cars

Preface. Since my book “When trucks stop running: Energy and the future of transportation makes the case that it’s trucks that need to be electrified to keep civilization going, since biofuels don’t scale up, natural gas and liquefied coal are … Continue reading

Posted in Automobiles, Electrification | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice”

Preface. I’m sure anyone reading this post knows it is too late to do anything but eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow …  Although this warning was widely published, it was left out of over half of the top … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity Loss, Deforestation, Fisheries, Scientists Warnings to Humanity | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments