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POWERDOWN

by Richard Heinberg

 

Book cover

Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World

 

About the author

Richard Heinberg, a journalist and educator, is a member of the core faculty of New College of California, where he teaches a program on Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community.

 

Reviews

David Room, Post Carbon Institute:
We just got our shipment of Richard Heinberg's latest book, Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World in yesterday. I had been anticipating it for several days as we received quite few advance orders and I was looking forward to reading it myself. Last night, I was up reading to 4am. Powerdown is a brilliant analysis of the options available to a civilization facing resource depletion, biosphere collapse, and financial insolvency. Differentiating his book from the slew of peak oil books that have recently appeared on shelves, he makes a cogent, impassioned proposal for a strategy of self limitation, sharing, and cooperation while preparing for the possibility of collapse. I file Powerdown in the must read category for the “walking worried” – that is, anyone concerned about what is happening and wondering what can be done to avert worst case scenarios.

Julian Darley, Post Carbon Institute:
Powerdown is the only sane response to the world's increasingly grave problems of energy depletion, environmental degradation, and over-population. Richard Heinberg truly understands the nature, scale, and urgency of our global situation. As we briefly rest on the plateau of world oil production peak, Heinberg first outlines the possible unpleasant paths our society may take through energy decline. He then makes it devastatingly clear that a humane post-carbon future depends on urging our governments to powerdown, while we start to relocalise our economies and build community lifeboats.

David Orr, author of Earth in Mind, The Nature of Design and The Last Refuge:
Powerdown is a fearless, no-holds-barred view of our prospects in the post fossil fuel world. Courageous, clear . . . essential reading.

Stephanie Mills, author of Epicurean Simplicity:
Here's a firm, humane, extraordinarily well-written assessment of the likely realities of life after fossil fuels, soon to begin on the planet nearest you. Powerdown is an essential read if you care to understand the deep structure of the coming Dark Age and to choose actions that will become us as a species.

William E. Rees, PhD, author of Our Ecological Footprint:
Richard Heinberg's Powerdown is a balanced hard-headed analysis of the politically unthinkable, the coming implosion of contemporary techno-industrial society. Heinberg's premise is simple: no factor has played a greater role in the explosive development of global civilization since the 19th Century than abundant cheap fossil energy but, while the human enterprise is committed to maintaining to its steep upward trajectory, the rocket is running out of fuel. Powerdown provides a visionary response to the coming energy famine, a clarion call to cooperative solutions based on the conviction that realism must trump self-delusion in matters of cultural survival.

Mike Ruppert, publisher/editor, www.fromthewilderness.com:
Richard Heinberg is that rare combination of scholar and visionary who is intellectually and emotionally unencumbered enough to ask the toughest questions; and to reconcile a truth which no one wants to believe with an emerging world reality only a few are brave enough to see. His compassion for mankind is obvious. Whenever I need a reality check and to calibrate my own compass on what Peak Oil means, I check first with Richard Heinberg.

 

Table of contents

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  INTRODUCTION
1. THE END OF CHEAP ENERGY
 
  1. Recent Confirmations of an Imminent Oil Peak
  2. The Petroleum Plateau and Beyond
  3. Surveying the Plateau
  4. The Natural Gas Quandary
  5. A Perilous Prosperity
2. LAST ONE STANDING: THE WAY OF WAR AND COMPETITION
 
  1. Can the Free Market Prevent Resource Wars?
  2. The Case of Iraq
  3. Just When We Needed Brilliant Leadership
  4. Types of Resource Wars
  5. The Path of Least Resistance
3. POWERDOWN: THE PATH OF SELF-LIMITATION, COOPERATION, AND SHARING
 
  1. Requirements for Powerdown
  2. The Paradox of Scale
  3. Useful Precedents
  4. Assessing the Prospects
4. WAITING FOR THE MAGIC ELIXIR: FALSE HOPES, WISHFUL THINKING, AND DENIAL
 
  1. Unconventional Hydrocarbon Sources
  2. High on Hydrogen
  3. Why Even the Perfect Energy Source Will Not Sustain Growth Indefinitely
5. BUILDING LIFEBOATS: THE PATH OF COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY AND PRESERVATION
 
  1. How Civilizations Collapse
  2. Who Will survive?
  3. Saving What Is Best
6. OUR CHOICE
 
  1. The Choice of the Elites
  2. The Choice of the Movement
  3. The Choice of Us Folks
  4. Looking Ahead
  NOTES
  INDEX
  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

More info

More informations available at http://www.museletter.com/Powerdown.html.