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Richard Heinberg: Talking Energy Transition

This is the second and final part of a recent conversation with Richard Heinberg by Greening the Apocalypse. Greening the Apocalypse is a weekly show on Melbourne’s Triple R 102.7FM.

Listen to the first part here.

10 Comments on "Richard Heinberg: Talking Energy Transition"

  1. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Jul 2017 10:10 pm 

    What’s the ‘plan’ to transition away from plastic? There ain’t one and there was no plan about using it other than more. If the humans are in control then they planned the world the way it is today?

    The world has made more than 9 billion tons of plastic, says new study

    -9 billion tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s.

    -Researchers say it is the first attempt to measure all plastic ever mass produced.

    -Only 9 percent of plastic waste produced ended up recycled.

    “For example, the researchers estimated that the amount of plastic in use now is 30 percent of all the plastic ever produced.

    While that has brought its benefits, such as lower-cost materials or capabilities like water resistance, our love of plastic has also produced a lot of trash. About 7 billion tons of it, by their estimate.

    And as of 2015, only 9 percent of the plastic waste produced ended up recycled, and another 12 percent was incinerated, the researchers found in their report. The remaining 79 percent has built up in landfills or ended up elsewhere in the environment. ”

    The Story Behind the ‘South Pacific Island of Rubbish’
    From pristine paradise to rubbish dump: the same Pacific island, 23 years apart.

    “Then, after our research was published and the world was busy reading about 37 million plastic items washed up on a remote south Pacific island, we received an email from Professor Marshall Weisler from the University of Queensland, who had seen the news and got in touch.

    In 1992, he had done archaeological surveys on Henderson Island. The photos he shared from that expedition provided a rare glimpse into the beginning of this chapter of Henderson Island’s story, before it became known as “garbage island”.”

    “There are only 23 years between these two photos, and the transformation is terrifying — from pristine South Pacific gem to the final resting place for enormous quantities of the world’s waste.

    Remember, this is not waste that was dumped directly by human hands. It was washed here on ocean currents, meaning that this is not just about one beach — it shows how much the pollution problem has grown in the entire ocean system in little more than two decades.”

    Globalization kicked the Cancer into terminal. The only plan there ever was, was MORE and it’s not a plan or a choice, it’s evolutionary.

  2. antaris on Wed, 19th Jul 2017 10:21 pm 

    Ap, 50 years from now they will be mining landfills and burning the plastic to stay warm in the winter.
    Hell, I saw a chart yesterday with a list of LNG terminals in construction and planed for North America. Fighting to to stay warm may come a lot sooner than we think.

  3. Cloggie on Thu, 20th Jul 2017 2:41 am 

    Well, at least Heinberg admits that it is possible to have a 100% renewable energy base, although he still thinks that it is “hard” to get there, a strange remark in the light of renewable energy being world-wide the largest share of new installed energy generation capacity.

    The Paris Accords in combination with ever lower prices for renewable energy and storage approaching $150/kWh will make the energy transition a natural thing, rather than an uphill battle.

    Heinberg has quietly dropped the subject of the non-existing fossil fuel supply bottleneck aka “peak-oil supply”. An ever larger share of renewable energy will ensure that peak-oil demand will kick in at some point, probably in the twenties.

  4. Cloggie on Thu, 20th Jul 2017 4:13 am 

    Dandelion (Google) moving into low depth geothermal energy:

    Google basically acting as a financing company after having developed an installation method first.

  5. dave thompson on Thu, 20th Jul 2017 12:04 pm 

    This is a must read for anyone that believes the myth of renewable energy transition.

  6. GregT on Thu, 20th Jul 2017 1:14 pm 

    Human manufacturied products by industrial processes, using non- renewable naturally occurring ‘resources’, are not renewable. Anyone who believes in this myth has their head firmly embedded in the sand.

  7. dave thompson on Thu, 20th Jul 2017 4:30 pm 

    The latest from the good Dr.

  8. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Jul 2017 4:24 am 

    E-vehicles are rapidly maturing and becoming useful and affordable:

    This is only 2017 and corresponding immature “Apple-II” battery-technology, but already you can drive 520 km on 60 kWh and there is still a lot of room for improvement for reducing the weight of the battery and increasing range, without emissions, without noise, without fine dust and where the entire private car park of a country like the Netherlands can be powered with 2 or 3 of these already implemented Gemini wind parks:

    The energy transition is going to be a “natural thing”.

  9. Cloggie on Fri, 21st Jul 2017 4:44 am 

    Human manufacturied products by industrial processes, using non- renewable naturally occurring ‘resources’, are not renewable. Anyone who believes in this myth has their head firmly embedded in the sand.

    Always firm in your collapsenik beliefs.

    So what do you propose? I know that you have retreated in the Canadian wilderness, waiting for the planet to get rid of 6 billion useless eaters. Davy has a similar attitude.

    It is going to be a long wait, Greg.

  10. Davy on Fri, 21st Jul 2017 5:39 am 

    Part of being a collapsenik is called risk management and honesty to reality. We live in a world of limits that science clearly shows we are bumping up against. This risk management is not defeatism it is part of sound wisdom that is grounded in humility. We do not have all the answers and failure is part of journey. We often learn best from failure. We are increasingly seeing failure and we should be learning from it. Instead techno optimist deny the failure so you deny the solutions we should be learning.

    I think all sides need some sobriety from the hyping of extremism. Excessive techno optimism is no better than being a collapsenik. Yet, collapse is a proven natural result of life’s evolution so it cannot be dismissed. All species face extinction and all previous civilizations have collapsed. Ever expanding techno manifest destiny is clearly a mirage. Techno efforts are vital and we have no choice but to embrace them. To reject them completely is now suicide but we should not make techno optimism into just another blind religion. Techno efforts are too dangerous to elevate to the status of religion.

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