Systemic global risks of oil supply, climate shock and financial collapse threaten tomorrow's economies and mean businesses and policy makers face huge challenges in fuelling tomorrow’s world. Jeremy Leggett gives a personal testimony of the dangers often ignored and incompletely understood - a journey through the human mind, the institutionalization of denial, and the reasons civilizations fail. It is also an account of tantalizing hope, because mobilizing renewables and redeploying energy funding can soften the crash of modern capitalism and set us on a road to renaissance.
By the winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world's most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery's ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion. What we need, Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale.
For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this “perpetual motion” of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, and as energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption become major issues on the world stage, this exemption appears illusory at best. In Energy and the Wealth of Nations, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our “petroleum economy.” Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the EROI for finding and exploiting new oil fields, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run our society as we know it. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors’ own, on the role of energy in society.
Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century
Author: Michael Harrison Smith
Category: Business & Economics
This book is more than just a 'palliative care' guide for the planet - it is about innovation, solutions, competitiveness and profitability. At work, at home and as members of society, our generation has an opportunity - to be part of the obligation - and an exciting solution in restoring the balance. The authors present a bold vision for the future and demonstrate how we can get there, drawing on lessons of competitive advantage theory and the latest in sustainability, economics, innovation, business and governance theory and practice. The result is nothing less than the most authoritative and comprehensive guide to date, to building the new ecologically sustainable economy. For further information about The Natural Edge Project and to view the book's online companion, visit www.naturaledgeproject.net.
With chapters on food, water, energy, the politics of consumption and redefining the good life, Worldwatch’s award-winning research team asks whether a less-consumptive society is possible—and then argues that it is essential.
Issued annually since 1946/47, the "Yearbook" is the principal reference work of the United Nations, providing a comprehensive, one-volume account of the Organization's work. It includes details of United Nations activities concerning trade, industrial development, natural resources, food, science and technology, social development, polulation, environment, human settlement, children and legal questions, along with information on the work of each specialized agency in the United Nations family.