Posted by: Adrian Colston | June 6, 2010

The Party’s over Richard Heinberg

The Party’s over – oil, war and the fate of industrial nations
In essence the book warns that oil production is about to peak and as a result massive changes will reverberate throughout the world. Indeed the future of industrialisation and globalisation is unsustainable.

The book is divided into 6 chapters.

Chapter 1 reviews the laws of physics, energy in ecology and the role of energy in former dominant civilisations. The key point in the latter example is that that former civilisations (e.g. Myas, Minoans, Greeks & Romans) collapsed because their energy budgets collapsed.

Chapter 2 looks at the rise of energy use from medieval times to the present – the rise of wood through coal to oil.

Chapter 3 describes the concept of peak oil – i.e. oil is a non –renewable resource . It details the work of Hubbert and describes why his work is so important.

Chapter 4 assesses whether renewable sources of energy can replace the oil based alternatives – they can’t and the book describes why.

Chapter 5 entitled “A banquet of consequences” describes what the impacts on modern society of the peaking of oil. It is profoundly and deeply worrying.

Chapter 6 is a much more positive piece of writing giving hope of what can be done at the individual, community and national levels in preparing for the transition from oil to renewables and a different lifestyle.

The book is a really important contribution to the changes society needs to make in the light of diminishing oil resources. It is a useful additional information source to the bulk of climate change literature. It makes it plain that climate change policy cannot be seen in isolation from peak oil issues.

This book is in no large part responsible for the Transition Movement in the UK which started in Totnes, Devon earlier this century.

The book is a brilliant analysis of politics, geopolitics, geology, sociology, ecology and economics. Essential reading – I urge you to read it and get your elected politicians and senior managers to do the same.


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