Erik Curren wrote about a book that details our options in a post-carbon world in the Augusta Free Press, and that's where I first learned about Power Down, Richard Heinberg's 2004 book on the world after we run out of easy sources of carbon-based energy. Curren spoke with Heinberg recently and discovered that the author doubts that clean and renewable energy sources are "beefy enough" to power our industrial lifestyles.
"The people who talk about climate change in my experience tend not to have much understanding of energy issues," Heinberg told Curren. "You have to spend energy to get energy. Most of the alternatives we're talking about, like biofuels, offer a low net-energy impact. What's allowed us to build our enormous industrial infrastructure has been the enormous payback from fossil fuels. To say we can replace this with lower energy sources is unsupportable from a chemistry and physics point of view alone."

Curren isn't totally correct when he says that the only current environmental message is all that clean energy is more important than reducing energy use (see, for example, my favorite gas saving tip from the Government of Australia: Drive Less), but I agree that the old "Reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra is worthy of a comeback.

[Source: Augusts (Virginia) Free Press]


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