Competing mobility paradigms. Energy return on investment. Deconstructing economic mythologies. Be warned: some of these posts raise the Wonkometer Alert needle.
On this site:
- Journeys in a Green Frog Skin World
As a university student in the 1970s, I first tried to make sense of economics. I’m a slow learner but over the years I found clues in some unexpected places.
- Transition to a Low-Energy Future
My writings frequently concern the intersection between energy and economics. I was honoured and grateful, therefore, to be asked to serve as guest editor of an issue of The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
- Climate change, citizenship, and the global caste system
Our descendants may shudder to realize their own grandparents accepted, perhaps even praised, a caste system that offered rich opportunities to a minority while consigning the majority to a brutal struggle for mere existence..
- Energy Storage and our unpredictable future
Graham Palmer and Joshua Floyd explain why coping with variable energy flows is one of the key challenges for human civilizations.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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