What could be more satisfying than a good read on complexity theory, land-use planning, energy return on investment, or competing economic paradigms? Warning: some of these posts raise the Wonkometer Alert needle.
On this site:
- New Dark Age – a ‘cloud of unknowing’ for the 21st century
James Bridle’s New Dark Age is a deeply researched plea to move beyond computational thinking. He says learning to code doesn’t prepare us to understand the internet age, any more than learning plumbing skills will give us an understanding of the ways a municipal utility is shaped by hydrology, infrastructure, and sociopolitical policies.
- Quantifying climate hypocrisy – the Canada file
Look behind the mismatch between Canada’s professed climate goals and its actual policy, and you find the lack of a global agreement on a fair way to allocate the remaining carbon emissions budget.
- The mobility maze
Why transportation planning dedicated to mobility can make it hard to get anywhere
- First principles for sustainable and equitable transportation
A review of Beyond Mobility, which emphasizes that walking is and should remain the world’s most important transportation method
- Energy: A Human History – a slim slice of history and science
Richard Rhodes writes engagingly about key developments in energy science, but omits one of the most important concepts: Energy Return on Investment.
- When boom is bust: the shale oil bonanza as a symptom of economic crisis
Unconventional oil developments only made sense in a Zero Interest Rate Policy context, says a Cambridge economist
- S-curves and other paths
Must economic growth continue up, level off, or drop down? A review of Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth
- Guns money and oil
A three-part series on Empire and Energy
- Energy And Civilization: a review
Vaclav Smil’s latest book chronicles the role of changing energy technologies through history
- Fake News, Failing States, and Official Policy
Part One and Part Two of a look at Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence
- More than one way to fall off a cliff.
The Energy Cliff is an important concept in ecological economics. Should it be read as a historical phenemonon as well as a simple mathematical function?
- A renewable energy economy will create more jobs. Is that a good thing?
The 20th century fossil-fueled economic growth spurt happened not because the energy industry created many jobs, but because it created very few jobs.
- Accounting For Energy
A four-part series on the work of Vaclav Smil.
- Freight expectations
Neither dwindling oil reserves nor renewable energies will power our transportation system indefinitely. Does that mean a crisis is just around the corner?
- Does your city have a future?
In the past, as in the future, local ecosystem resources were the key to the economies of cities. A review of America’s Most Sustainable Cities & Regions.
Some favourite sites:
- Strong Towns
A superb resource and organization, with daily posts on walkable and bikeable towns, genuinely conservative zoning codes, and development policies that won’t bankrupt the next generation.
A digest of articles on Energy, Economy, Environment, Food & Water, Society and Resources. A program of the Post-Carbon Institute.
- Low-Tech Magazine
Lucid discussion of technologies both old and new.
- The full text of Ivan Illich’s pioneering 1973 work Energy & Equity, which explains why high-speed transportation never lives up to its promise.
The per capita wattage that is critical for social well-being lies within an order of magnitude which is far above the horsepower known to four-fifths of humanity and far below the power commanded by any Volkswagen driver.” – Ivan Illich