By Richard Heinberg

Weather swap, besides the depletion of oil, coal, and fuel, dictate that we'll unavoidably circulation clear of our profound societal reliance on fossil fuels; yet simply how great a change will this be? whereas many policy-makers imagine that renewable strength assets will offer a simple "plug-and-play" resolution, writer Richard Heinberg indicates as an alternative that we're in for a wild trip; a "civilization reboot" on a scale just like the rural and business revolutions.

Afterburn contains fifteen essays exploring numerous facets of the twenty-first century migration clear of fossil fuels including:

Short-term political and fiscal elements that bog down broad-scale, geared up efforts to adapt
The starting place of longer-term traits (such as consumerism), that experience created a life-style that turns out "normal" to such a lot americans, yet is basically unheard of, hugely fragile, and unsustainable
Potential possibilities and assets of clash which are prone to emerge
From the inevitability and desirability of extra in the neighborhood geared up economies to the pressing have to shield our contemporary cultural achievements and the futility of pursuing fiscal development peculiarly, Afterburn deals state-of-the-art views and insights that problem traditional brooding about our current, our destiny, and the alternatives in our hands.

Richard Heinberg is a senior fellow of the submit Carbon Institute, the writer of 11 past books together with The Party's Over and the top of progress. he's generally considered as one of many world's top-rated communicators of the pressing have to transition clear of fossil fuels.

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Extra info for Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels

Sample text

But the situation is actually a bit more complicated, because it takes energy to get energy. It takes diesel fuel to drill oil wells; it takes electricity to build solar panels. The energy that’s left over — ​once we’ve fueled production of energy — ​makes possible all the things people want and need to do. It’s net energy, not gross energy, that does society’s work. Before the advent of fossil fuels, agriculture was our main energy source, and the average net gain from the work of energy production was minimal.

However, politics and cultural bias can and do muddy the process and results of scientific research. All of this is inevitable; it’s human nature. We’ll sort through the confusion, given time and the hard knocks that inevitably come when preconceptions veer too far from the facts. However, if the more worri­some implications of climate science are right, we may not have a lot of time for sorting, and our knocks may be very hard indeed. 52 AFTER BUR N Here’s a corollary to my thesis: Political prejudices tend to blind us to facts that fail to fit any conventional political agendas.

Indeed, wind and solar energy are often touted as job creators,21 employing more people than the coal and oil industries put together (even though they produce far less energy for society). Yes, jobs are good. But what would happen if we went all the way back to the average energy returns-on-investment of agrarian times? There’d certainly be plenty of work needing to be done. But we would be living in a society very different from the one we’re accustomed to, one in which most people are full-time energy producers and society is able to support relatively few specialists in other activities.

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