Month: November 2010

Rescuing Suburbia

Rescuing Suburbia


Posted by jeffvail on October 31, 2010 – 10:52am in The Oil Drum: Campfire

My presentation is about “Rescuing Suburbia.” I thought about putting a question mark after that title, but decided instead to take the position of a cautious advocate for the prospects of suburbia. I’m not even sure that suburbia needs “rescuing.” Instead, I’ll take the radical viewpoint that suburbia’s inherent flaws may turn out to be our civilization’s salvation, though in a rather unexpected way. [NOTE: I love this picture–it’s about as extreme an illustration of the failings of suburbia that I can imagine. In fairness, THIS is the kind of suburbia that I do expect to fail and be abandoned, the following comments notwithstanding……………

Full story and video at


The end of ‘conventional’ growth

While it is true that Economic ‘growth as we have known it is over and done with’ as Richard Heinberg states below, it is important to recognise that in the resource constrained future we face, growth is possible within the limitations of the ‘First Law of Sustainability’ – that – goods and services can only grow at the rate at which their ‘Resource Intensity’ can be reduced beyond that needed to balance the ‘One Planet Equation’; see tab above.

Viewing our position this way gives us a clear focus on the actions we must take

  • Reduce the resource intensity of non-essential processes to zero – eliminate them
  • Work to continually reduce the resource intensity of those essential processes remaining by improving the ‘Quality’ of their creation, use and disposal.


The End of Growth

Posted Nov 12, 2010 by Richard Heinberg

This article is an excerpt from Richard’s new book which has the working title ‘The End of Growth’ and is set for publication in July 2011. Given the urgency and fragility of the global economic crisis, we will be serializing the rough content as Richard writes it. Additionally, Richard will be offering ‘live peeks’ at the events and information that inform his writing process through Facebook and Twitter accounts created expressly for this publication.

The article was originally published as the MuseLetter #222

Introduction: The New Normal

The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: .

The “growth” we are talking about consists of the expansion of the overall size of the economy (with more people being served and more money changing hands) and of the quantities of energy and material goods flowing through it.

The economic crisis that began in 2007-2008 was both foreseeable and inevitable, and it marks a permanent, fundamental break from past decades—a period during which most economists adopted the unrealistic view that perpetual economic growth is necessary and also possible to achieve. There are now fundamental barriers to ongoing economic expansion, and the world is colliding with those barriers…………

Full article

The Jevons Paradox

……………The Jevons Paradox


But there is one aspect of Jevons’s argument—the Jevons Paradox itself—that continues to be considered one of the pioneering insights in ecological economics.8 In chapter 7 of The Coal Question, entitled “Of the Economy of Fuel,” Jevons responded to the common notion that, since “the falling supply of coal will be met by new modes of using it efficiently and economically,” there was no problem of supply, and that, indeed, “the amount of useful work got out of coal may be made to increase manifold, while the amount of coal consumed is stationary or diminishing.” In sharp opposition to this, Jevons contended that increased efficiency in the use of coal as an energy source only generated increased demand for that resource, not decreased demand, as one might expect. This was because improvement in efficiency led to further economic expansion. “It is wholly a confusion of ideas,” he wrote, “to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth. As a rule, new modes of economy will lead to an increase of consumption according to a principle recognised in many parallel instances….The same principles apply, with even greater force and distinctness, to the use of such a general agent as coal. It is the very economy of its use which leads to its extensive consumption.”……………….

The extensive article, worth reading is at

Fears of oil spike if climate pledges fail

Fears of oil spike if climate pledges fail

 By Javier Blas and Sylvia Pfeifer in London: Published: November 3 2010 22:30

The global energy watchdog will next week throw its weight behind calls for governments to implement pledges to fight climate change and cut fossil fuel subsidies, warning that a failure to do so would significantly inflate oil prices………….

Full article at …………….