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Page added on April 17, 2015

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Heinberg: The Great Burning

In this short video, Richard Heinberg explores why The Great Burning — the combustion of oil, coal, and natural gas — must come to an end during the next few decades. If the twentieth century was all about increasing our burn rate year after blazing year, the dominant trend of twenty-first century will be a gradual flame-out.

This video is the second in a four-part series by Richard Heinberg and Post Carbon Institute. The themes covered in these videos are much more thoroughly explored in Heinberg’s latest book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels.

Thank you to our partners New Society Publishers. Buy the book (use coupon code PCI2015 for a 20% discount through June 14, 2015)

17 Comments on "Heinberg: The Great Burning"

  1. BobInget on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 10:21 am 

    Who should do the ‘chilling out’ first?

    If the link between feeding the world and burning fossil fuels is broken, ‘chilling’
    will be just another term for mass die-off.

    This leaves us with no alternatives other then geo- engineering.



  2. apneaman on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 12:55 pm 

    Heinberg means well, but it’s too late for hopey changy. We have already triggered about 3 dozen unstoppable feedback loops and we are only at .85 of a degree above base line. There never was any scientific work that showed 2 degrees was safe or survivable. That came from econo-preist Bill Nordhaus on behalf of his corporate masters and everyone played along. Not going beyond 1 degree was the original scientific recommendation back in 1990. Look at what is happening at .85 degree – glaciers and ice sheets in irreversible melt down. Climate change is non linear and many models were off on the time line – underestimated. Read this reporter, Cory Morningstar’s, work and decide for yourself if you have been mislead.

    [Part 1] Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

    Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

  3. apneaman on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 6:10 pm 

    Thus a new chapter in “Disaster Capitalism” begins

    Long-anticipated bulk water exports from Sitka to start this summer, businessman says

    “While initial shipments will be to California, markets could expand, he said in the email. “The company has been in discussion with many of the water-stressed countries around the world and expects to begin international shipments in the near future as well,” he said.”

  4. apneaman on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 7:07 pm 

    “The Dry Land Burned Like Grass” — Siberia’s Road to a Permaburn Hell

  5. Makati1 on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 7:22 pm 

    Apneaman, I agree. We are too far down the road to turn around or even slow our rush to the end. We have tripped so many feedback loops that, even if we shut down ALL combustion today around the world, climate change would continue to grow. The dying of the Amazon rain forest, the dying of the oceans, the desertification of the western Us, central Australia, and western China are all negatives. But, methane hydrate is likely to be the final blow to our existence. We shall see.

  6. apneaman on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 8:50 pm 

    No doubt about it, Mak. We would have to go carbon negative yesterday to have a chance. Even if we stopped all emissions today it would take millennia for the levels to go back naturally and neither scenario can stop the ice sheets melting down and sea level rise. I do not think people really understand the forces we have unleashed. What are the chances that we will shut it all down except for what we need to suck up all the CO2 and store it? Of course we also would need to cull 90% or more of the population as well.

  7. Nony on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 8:52 pm 

    Heinberg has a huge history of being wrong, plus he doesn’t know supply and demand basics, plus he is a follower of nutty Venus collision cosmology theories.

  8. apneaman on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 8:59 pm 

    But at least he doesn’t pretend to be two different people.

  9. Davy on Fri, 17th Apr 2015 10:11 pm 

    NOo, can’t argue with Heinberg so he tries to belittle him. That is the first sign of being beaten at the game.

  10. Northwest Resident on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 1:26 am 

    Nony has a huge history of being wrong, of breaking news year’s promises, plus he thinks that today’s oil cost/supply issues can be explained by simple supply and demand basics but he is dead wrong, plus he is a nutty denier of reality, an overtly argumentative sort, and worst of all, a denouncer of hippies.

  11. Nony on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 6:11 am 

    At least I’m not a Seahawks fan though. (That’s the worst.) 😉

  12. JuanP on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 10:32 am 

    Mak “The dying of the Amazon rain forest, the dying of the oceans…” I agree we are past the point of no return. I believe what little of the Amazon jungle doesn’t get chopped up, will die out and burn on its own before this century is over. This will likely turn most of South America, including my country, Uruguay, into a desert. I don’t see many people living in South America 100 years from today. The rest of the world is more or less the same, no place will be spared.

  13. Robert Callaghan on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 3:14 pm 

    Get your Collapse Data Cheat Sheet here:

  14. apneaman on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 3:29 pm 

    RC on OMG MoFo!

  15. Northwest Resident on Sat, 18th Apr 2015 5:29 pm 

    Robert — Nothing to worry about. Mother Nature and physical reality are riding to the rescue. The fungus infection plaguing planet earth will be running out of energy soon enough — as soon as it burns what little accessible amount of energy is remaining, which it surely will. No big deal. Planet earth is ancient. The human plague is just a blip in time, barely measurable in the grand scheme of things. Not even a flash in the pan. It won’t be long now and Mother Nature will have plenty of time to recuperate from the nasty itch that was the human race.

  16. jedrider on Mon, 20th Apr 2015 12:16 pm 

    Most depressing thread I’ve read in a while and I’ve been looking 😉

    Anyway, clearly Intelligence was not a smart move for Evolution. Back to the drawing board.

  17. JR on Mon, 20th Apr 2015 10:15 pm 

    “the combustion of oil, coal, and natural gas — must come to an end during the next few decades.”

    As already noted, Heinberg is decades late. Which simply makes him wrong, again.

    2C is ‘catastrophic’. And it will be reached if we shut down all of civilization / fossil fuel burning LAST YEAR.

    The fact that the luminaries of the ‘movement’ in peak oil and climate change are STILL behind the state-of-the-art assessments and news has always been disconcerting.

    But at just 1/3 of the way through 2015 with Antarctica now in ‘irreversible melt’ and Greenland also dumping absolute massive levels of water into the ocean, the Arctic breaking all records, Siberia reporting massive fires 100 days early and many other very important data points being reported daily – why are these same people so FAR BEHIND in their so-called ‘expert’ assessments?

    With all the connedspiracy b.s. that gets flung around, even on climate change topics, you’d think that this would be prime ground for another connedspiracy theory to be making the rounds in the denialsphere – the ‘denial’ of the ‘experts’ on how serious it already is.

    But you’d be wrong (connedspiracy theorists aren’t that bright). It’s not a connedspiracy, it’s just simple reticence to go out on a limb and tell it like it really is to the rest of the world. Nobody wants to hear it, even if true.

    So where does that leave us when the ‘experts’ themselves don’t get it?

    It leaves us in the same place as our politicians who are stupidly voting to deny words like ‘climate change’. It leaves us empty handed with virtually no possibility of doing anything effective in time. In other words, it’s still business as usual, just another spin on the record, playing the same tune as ever.

    If anyone has done a serious look around, it’s very evident that there is virtually NO effective leadership in the climate change movement. While this might make the denier fools happy to see such lack of organization and leadership, they’ll come to regret it as much as the rest of us already are.

    We are fucked, through and through. Our own experts are still spouting out nonsense statistics and predictions which do not match up with the observable data.

    While I still prefer to stay informed and read what is being authored by the ‘experts’, it has become increasingly pointless when you realize that they’re still failing us miserably. They’re not leaders, obviously.

    Because they themselves have yet to truly grasp ALL the data points converging into this perfect storm of cascading dominoes, ANY of which would wreck civilization all by itself, listening to ‘experts’ is now just another form of infotainment, as useful now as watching another StupidBowl.

    And perhaps, that is how it should be when you really dive down the rabbit hole on this topic. If it really is too late – then it is too late and there is really no point to agonizing over it any further.

    Let them try (as they should) and come to grips with what more and more of us already know. Between now and our extinction, we have to try and keep from going nuts over the knowledge that we did this to ourselves, right up to the very end.

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