The Renewable Energy Transition is Failing

The Renewable Energy Transition Is Failing

This reinforces my view that we should switch spending from producing renewables to preparing for global warming.

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Our busy website

Just to let you know now has 1,086 subscribers and about 1,000 visitors to the site each week.

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Heading towards the end of our industrial economy

To put it in terms that even an economist might grasp, all energetic systems – including industrial economies – eventually burn themselves out.  Ours is no different.

That is how Tim Watkin’s latest post finishes.  Which set me thinking afresh about the future.

Maybe we should think about the end of our industrial economy.  Rather than saving the planet.

As the economy shrinks conventional unemployment will increase.

Discretionary businesses and employment will decline. To how it was in the immediate post-WW2 era.

Employment in essential markets will decline, as a result of increasing energy costs.

Total energy use will decline.  As a result of the decline, and associated emissions, the prospect of global disaster will become less threatening.

There will then be mass unemployment, declining prosperity and increasing food poverty.

The issue will then be what to do about unemployment

Eventually, the Government will become aware that the shrinking economy is unstoppable.

The time will then have come to switch the emphasis from saving the plant to saving the people.

It will be time for a paradigm change.

To what Nate Hagens has called “The Great Simplification”.

Attempts to reverse the growth-oriented industrial economy will be seen to be wasteful spending.  It is already shrinking.

Large-scale industrial agriculture will be in decline.   Related debt repayments will force landowners to sell their land.

Imagine if

  • To deal with increasing food poverty, the Government introduces policies which support small-scale farming and smallholding. Using minimal fossil fuel-based processes.
  • Redundant employees in shrinking discretionary markets switch to food growing, processing and marketing,
  • Redundant urban land is taken over by food businesses.
  • Local food economies develop, with associated support services.

A paradigm switch from the present industrial system to an agrarian system.  Taking years to evolve.  Maybe not so long?

I can imagine how employment will switch to the new paradigm.  But the rest of the paradigm is unimaginable.

With hindsight, I could not have imagined the future, back in the 1950s, when I had neither central heating,  a car, a TV nor a telephone.   It just happened.

The future will just happen.   There’s no point in thinking about it being at all like how things are now.

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We must use less energy

Beware the vampires. Energy vampires are sneaky power-suckers that utilize energy even when you think they’re not. …

The future must be less complicated. 

Nate Hagens’s excellent podcast The Great Simplicatiion says it all.  

It is:

…..a podcast that explores the systems science underpinning the human predicament. Conversation topics will span human behaviour, monetary/economic systems, energy, ecology, geopolitics and the environment.  The goal of the show is to inform more humans about the path ahead and inspire people to play a role in our collective future. Guests will be from a wide range of scientists, leaders, activists, thinkers, and doers.

We have spent the last century harnessing enormous amounts of fossil energy to build a world of complexity like nothing seen before. In the coming century, humanity will experience A Great Simplification, beginning with the onset of financial and economic turbulence, followed by contraction. The ensuing simplification will be among the most significant events ever experienced by our species.

Those who look through a systems lens can serve as early visionaries of a simpler life with new ways of relating to technology, to consumption, to each other and to Earth’s ecosystems.

Our system –  and the components, processes and interactions that comprise it  – is incredibly complex. On this podcast, we will try to ‘simplify’ the ‘great’ issues of our time to expand the number of people making sense of our reality.

In looking for ways forward we have ignored the need to simplify.  Today’s supposed solutions are more complicated than what they replace.

Let’s cut to the chase.

Cut through all the jargon and clever ideas, which aim to save the world and painlessly maintain our present luxurious lifestyle.

The world consumes too much energy.

It is quite simple.  We must reduce the amount of energy we use.   Throughout the world and as individuals.

For example, we must aim to stop:

  • Building and installing photovoltaic devices to catch energy from the sun.   Their construction and maintenance use fossil fuel energy and save none. We may save money buying PVs, but don’t kid ourselves that we are saving the world.
  • Building and maintaining wind turbines and wind farms for the same reason.
  • Any kind of construction which directly or indirectly uses energy.
  • Using technology.  Computers, TVs, washing machines, cars, et al.
  • Traveling on machine-driven vehicles, locally and long-haul.
  • Buying mass-produced food.
  • Throwing things away

Please note that I said, “aim to stop”.    Which is a process.  Not an ending.

Everything we do involves using energy. 

With these aims in mind, each time we make a decision we should think outside our digital boxes.

We must start thinking of the future as an evolving process. Towards ends which may never be reached.  That doesn’t matter.  The path we are on is all important.

If we are to survive we must use less energy.

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The economic driver of the industrial era – the supply of low-cost energy from oil, natural gas and coal – is winding down, and there is no assured replacement at hand.

The title of this piece is taken from Tim Morgan’s latest blog.

This is an important piece, which should be circulated widely.   Not necessarily to be believed that this is how things are, but rather to rise awareness that this view exists.

Whether you agree or not with the information presented in the piece, depends on your mindset and vested interests.

Tim Morgan writes:

The true cause of inflation is the worsening disequilibrium between the ‘real’ economy of products and services and the ‘financial’ economy of money and credit. The only way to tame inflation is to eliminate the anomaly of negative real costs of capital. Combined with deterioration in material prosperity, this points towards a fundamental re-pricing of the economy.


The underlying dynamic is that the economic driver of the industrial era – the supply of low-cost energy from oil, natural gas and coal – is winding down, and there is no assured replacement at hand. Transition to renewables is imperative, but there’s no guarantee that an economy based on wind-turbines, solar panels and batteries can be as large as the fossil-based economy of today. The probabilities are that it will be smaller.

Examples of the implications of this in relation to the UK are:

  • The real economy is shrinking and will continue to do so irrespective of Government attempts to create growth. GDP may increase and will be said to be a sign of economic growth.
  • Prosperity is declining and will continue to do so.  Wages will not keep up with inflation.
  • There will be a sharp fall in discretionary (non-essential) spending.  On things like the purchase and use of cars, up-market food and clothes, restaurant meals, expensive holidays, private healthcare and so on.  Employment in these markets will decrease.
  • Those with access to their own gardens will grow and process their own food and sell and barter their surpluses.

The public/private sector  establishments will be unwilling to see these changes as a portent of endless economic shrinkage and no growth.  Politically this view will be seen negatively.

All of these changes will come about because, as Tim Morgan explains:

“…..  if we consume less energy, the economy gets smaller. Likewise, if we use less energy per capita, the average person gets poorer.”

Party political acceptance that is how things are and will be would lead to a fundamental rethink of what should be done.

A pdf copy of Tim Morgan’s piece can be downloaded here.


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Religion, Ecology, and the Future

Another interview by Nate Hagans in his wonderful series entitled “The Great Simplification”:

Religious scholar Mary Evelyn Tucker unpacks the entanglement of religion and ecology from an academic perspective. She and Nate discuss what the roots of environmental ethics in religions all over the world look like and how they’ve been evolving in the face of a climate and biodiversity crisis. Could we learn and leverage the uniting power of religion to help us organize and mobilize against impending global crises?


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Permaculture and three sisters gardening

Vanishing crop varieties, permaculture and food forestry benefits, and three sisters gardening

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Creatures United

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The latest by Tim Morgan

Will growth be possible?

#240: Trussed for the block?

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Toryism at its worst – help the greedy, do nothing for the needy.

I think we need to be clear about what we know, what we can contribute to the debate, and where our focus needs to be. We need to concentrate on deteriorating prosperity, rises in the real cost of essentials, discretionary compression and soaring financial risk.

The UK is taking extreme risks. Truss was chosen by a tiny sliver of the population – and even they might, given the choice, have preferred Johnson. She was not Tory MPs’ first choice. She has inherited an economy that’s falling to pieces. She is staking everything on a bizarre idea of how to generate “growth”. She seems to be in conflict with everyone from Joe Biden and the EU to the experts in her own country. Her policies are Toryism at its worst – help the greedy, do nothing for the needy.

The FX markets will pass the decisive verdict on this desperate gamble.

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