Crash on Demand? A Response to David Holmgren

10 01 2014

My recent post on David Holmgren’s long essay regarding his belief we are in for a prolonged “Brown Tech” phase before collapse occurs has been well read according to the stats WordPress give me as part of the service they offer bloggers….  Nicole Foss, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting in late 2012, has just written another great article as a response to David’s work…….  It is well worth the read.

I’m reblogging it here for your convenience, without all the introductory stuff that has already been well covered

Nicole Foss

Nicole Foss

here.  To read it in its entirety, go here.

Nicole’s website is ALWAYS worth a visit, full of fascinating links that will keep you away from doing work in the garden for hours…!


In his recent essay, Holmgren says that he had initially been expecting a more rapid contraction in available energy, and with it a substantial fall in greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, new forms of unconventional fossil fuels have been exploited, sustaining supply for the time being, but at the cost of raising emissions, since these fuels are far more carbon intensive to produce. Holmgren understands perfectly well that unconventional fossil fuels are no answer to peak oil, given the terribly low energy profit ratio, but the temporary boost to supply has postponed the rapid contraction he, and others, had initially predicted. In addition, demand has been falling in major consuming countries as a result of the impact of financial crisis on the real economy since 2008, further easing energy supply concerns. For this reason, the Green Tech and Brown Tech scenarios, based on modest energy decline, appear more plausible to him than the Earth Steward and Lifeboat scenarios predicated upon rapid energy supply collapse. However, Green Tech would have required a major renewable energy boom sufficient to revitalize rural economies, and he recognizes that there appears to be no time for that to occur. Nor is there the collective political will to take actions to power-down or reduce emissions.

He concludes that the Brown Tech scenario appears by far the most likely, and is, in fact, already emerging. Rather than geological, biological, energetic or climate limits striking first, he suggests, in line with our view at TAE, that perturbations in the highly complex global financial system are likely to shape the future in the shorter term. As such he has become far more interested in finance, recognizing that the world has been pushed further into overshoot by throwing money at the banks, while transferring risk to the public on a massive scale, which is setting us up for a major financial reset. In combination with the climate chaos Holmgren anticipates that governments will need to assume control, moving from a market to a command economy.

Finance, Energy and Complexity

There is much I agree with here, most notably the primacy of financial collapse as a driver of short term change. The situation we find ourselves in is at such an extreme in terms of comparing the enormous overhang of virtual wealth in the form of IOUs with the actual underlying collateral that the reset could be both rapid and devastating. This could produce a number of cascading impacts on supply chains in a short space of time, as Holmgren acknowledges in citing David Korowicz’s excellent essay on the subject – Trade Off. This is likely to make governments choose to take control, but also likely to make that very difficult, and therefore very unpleasant. In some places control may win out, leading to a Brown Tech type of outcome after the dust has settled, and in others a more chaotic state may dominate, leading to more of a Lifeboat scenario. The difference may not hinge on energy supply alone, although this may well be a significant factor in some places.

It is our view at TAE that for a time energy limits are not likely to manifest, as lack of money will be the limiting factor in a major financial crisis. At the present time, with modestly increasing energy supply, the delusion of far greater increases to come, and falling demand, energy is already ceasing to be a pressing concern. As liquidity dries up, and demand falls much further as a result of both lack of purchasing power and plummeting economic activity, this will be even more the case. The perception of glut lowers prices, and this will hit the energy industry very hard due to its rapidly increasing cost base, and therefore its dependency on high prices. As prices fall and the business case disappears, much of the expensive supply will dry up, including most, if not all, of the unconventional fossil fuels currently touted as the solution.

Prices are likely to fall faster than the cost of production, leaving profit margins fatally squeezed. While money remains the limiting factor, few may worry about the energy future, but the demand collapse will lead to a supply collapse in the future due to lack of investment for a long time, the concurrent decay of existing infrastructure no one can afford to maintain, transport disruption due to a lack of letters of credit, and the impact of intentional damage inflicted by angry people. Financial crisis takes the pressure off temporarily, but a the cost of aggravating the energy shortfall, and the impact of that shortfall, in the longer term.

Producing energy from “low energy profit ratio” energy sources requires a financial system capable of providing copious amounts of affordable capital, and is dependent on the availability of cheap conventional fossil fuels in order to supply the up-front energy necessary for what are highly energy intensive processes. In energy terms, low energy profit ratio energy sources are nothing more than an extension of the current high energy profit ratio conventional fossil fuel era, which is what sustains the current level of socioeconomic complexity. The financial system is one of its most complex manifestations, and therefore one of its most vulnerable.

Once the financial system has the accident that is clearly coming, we will be looking at a substantial fall in societal complexity, but that fall in complexity will eliminate the possibility of engaging in such highly complex activities as fracking, horizontal drilling, exploiting the deep offshore or producing solar photovoltaic panels and inverters. “Low energy profit ratio” energy sources cannot by themselves maintain a level of socioeconomic complexity necessary to produce them, hence they will never be a meaningful energy source.

This is true of both unconventional fossil fuels and renewable power generation. The development of low energy profit ratio energy sources rests largely on Ponzi dynamics, and Ponzi schemes tend to come to an abrupt end.

Once this becomes clear, the gradual fall in supply is likely to morph into a rapid one. As the ability to project power at a distance depends on energy supply, and that may be compromised, perhaps within a decade, maintaining any kind of large scale command economy may not be possible for that long. However, consolidating access to a falling energy supply at the political centre under a command scenario, at the expense of the population at large, may sustain that centre for somewhat longer.

Seen through an energy profit ratio and complexity lens, a Green Tech scenario appears increasingly implausible. Green Tech – the use of technology to capture renewable energy and convert it into a concentrated form capable of doing work – is critically dependent on the fossil fuel economy to build and maintain its infrastructure, and also to maintain the level of socioeconomic complexity necessary for it, and the machinery it is meant to run, to function. A renewable energy distant future is certainly likely, but not a technological one. One can have green or tech, but ultimately not both.

Scale, Hierarchy and ‘Functional Stupidity’:

A substantial point of agreement between Holmgren’s work and ours here at TAE is that the scale Brown Tech would operate on in a constrained future would be national rather than international. There are many who worry about One World Government under a fascist model. This may have been the trajectory we have been on taken to its logical conclusion, but if crisis is indeed proximate, then we are very unlikely to reach this point. We have likened layers of political control to trophic levels in an ecosystem, as all political structures concentrate wealth at the centre at the expense of the periphery which they ‘feed upon’:

The number of levels of predation a natural system can support depends essentially on the amount of energy available at the level of primary production and the amount of energy required to harvest it. More richly endowed areas will be able to support -more- complex food webs with many levels of predation. The ocean has been able to support more levels of predation than the land, as it requires less energy to cover large distances, and primary production has been plentiful. A predator such as the tuna fish is the equivalent, in food chain terms, of a hypothetical land predator that would have eaten primarily lions. On land, ecosystems cannot support that high a level predator, as much more energy is required to harvest less plentiful energy sources.

If one thinks of political structures in similar terms, one can see that the available energy, in many forms, is a key driver of how complex and wide-ranging spheres of political control can become. Ancient imperiums achieved a great deal with energy in the forms of wood, grain and slaves from their respective peripheries. Today, we have achieved a much more all-encompassing degree of global integration thanks to the energy subsidy inherent in fossil fuels. Without this supply of energy (in fact without being able to constantly increase this supply to match population growth), the structures we have built cannot be maintained.

The international level of governance is comparable to a top level predator. When the energy supply at the base of the pyramid is reduced, and the energy required to obtain it increases, as will inevitably be the case in this era of sharply falling energy profit ratios, the system will lose the ability to support as many layers of ‘predation’. We are very likely to lose at least the top level, if not more levels on the way down as energy descent continues. A national level of Brown Tech may last for a while, but as energy descent continues, so will the diminution of the scale and complexity at which society can operate.

Living on an energy income, supplemented with limited storage in the form of grain or firewood or water stored high in the landscape, and also limited ability to physically leverage effort with slavery or the use of draft animals, does not provide the same range of possibilities as living on our energy inheritance has done. Without fossil fuels, the technology of the ancient world (Rome for instance) is probably the most that an imperial degree of energy concentration can provide. Greater concentration is possible when a wide geographical area comes under a single political hegemony and feeds a single political centre at a high level of political organization. Lower levels of political organization (ie during the inter-regnem in between successive imperiums) would provide for less resource concentration and therefore would sustain a lower level of socioeconomic complexity and ‘technology’.

Energy is not the only factor determining effective organizational scale, however. The functionality of the financial system is a major determinant of the integrity of supply chains, and hence social stability. Societal trust is vital, and can be extremely ephemeral. The more disruptive a future of limits to growth, across a range of parameters, the further downward through Holmgren’s nested scenarios we are likely to go.

In building scenarios, I would add rapid versus gradual financial crisis as a separate parameter. Personally, I believe a rapid financial crash combined with an initially slow, but then increasingly rapid fall in energy supply is the most likely scenario. Financial crisis can cause many of the effects Holmgren discusses in his scenario work in relation to energy and climate impacts.




23 responses

10 01 2014

More or less outlining Dmitry Orlov’s 5 stages of collapse (well, the first couple anyway.)

11 01 2014
Eclipse Now

“Holmgren anticipates that governments will need to assume control, moving from a market to a command economy.”
If that actually happens, then we’d probably see *factories* set up to mass produce nukes.

“By the 2030s, China will likely have built out hundreds of nuclear reactors. They will also have factory mass produced one piece reactors like their 200 MWe HTR-PM (High temperature pebble bed reactor). Those reactors could be built in Chinese factories and shipped for installation overseas. This would enable the China price for nuclear power which is currently about $1.5 to 2 billion per GWe. This is 2-3 times cheaper than current prices in the US and Europe. Each nuclear reactor module would likely be buildable in 2 years or so by that the 2030s.”

Even today’s AP1000’s are being modularised and put on the production line to slash costs. Even America is getting in on the act, with it being the first Gen3.5 reactor being approved.

Tomorrow’s IFR’s (like GE’s S-PRISM) will be mass produced, bringing the capital cost of nuclear *way* down AND solving the nuclear waste problem permanently. Remember, as all good permaculture people say, waste = food. This could not be more true than with nuclear ‘waste’, which we should start calling ‘once through fuel’. This new *resource* is not a problem to be stored for 100,000 years, which would be as mad as refining your best sweet crude into jet fuel just to try and bury it forever! Instead, in a few decades all our ‘waste’ will into highly secured nuclear energy parks where today’s waste alone will be converted into 500 years worth of energy for the whole planet. After going through the breeding cycle dozens of times, the final waste is stored in a concrete bunker for 300 years and then is safe enough to let your children play with it. One golf ball of uranium would power a whole human life, cradle to grave, including all transport and agricultural fuel costs as well. One golf ball weighs 1kg. With today’s technologies we can extract 1kg of uranium from seawater for $300. That’s a lifetime of FUEL (not the capital costs behind all this infrastructure) for just $300.

1. I fully support new city plans that don’t require as much driving in the first place. See

2. But for those people and industries that *do* require cars, a command economy could legislate for all electric vehicles for domestic driving, and / or rechargeable boron or hydrogen for larger vehicles like trucking, construction, mining, farming, etc. Boron can even be used for car-hire clubs for various fuel dependent 4WD holidays or long road trips where an EV just will not cut it. See the book James Hansen’s Science Council recommends for more on boron.
Just as we have a mix of gas, petroleum, and diesel in today’s garages, tomorrow could see a mix of electric vehicle quick-charge with boron and hydrogen pumps as well.

If the Sulphur Shield does indeed prove to be too risky, then there’s always massive biochar schemes, and growing our food in seawater greenhouses in a desert which has already proved financially viable.
Then there’s the Olivine solution, which would cost $200 billion annually to negate ALL our CO2 emissions.

But, obviously, that money would be better spent on prevention, rather than this last-minute ‘cure’. As Engineer Poet says:
“Investing €200 billion per year in nuclear powerplants would produce 100 GW of new plants per year, which would cut emissions by about 790 million tons/yr each year. Ten years into a construction program at this pace, the net CO2 emissions from coal combustion would be cut by about 7.9 billion tons per year, roughly 1/3 of the total human emissions of 26.4 GT/yr.”

Maybe we’ll leave weaning off fossil fuels so late that we have to use Olivine AND a command economy deployment of all energy solutions? The global economy has a $70 trillion budget. Allocating $400 billion to fast deploy both nukes and olivine would only use 0.57% of the world economy. So let’s double it, and completely mop up this energy and climate crisis in a few decades, while cleaning up our cities with New Urbanism, trains, trams, and intercity fast rail, and also using the latest in robot-cars to gradually wean the population off having to own their individual family car.

11 01 2014

Nukes scare the shit out of me, because post economic collapse, NOBODY will decommission them properly, and every single one will be a ticking timebomb….

12 01 2014

Eclipse now
So you think we can achieve mastery over nature. Our current predicament is the result of many people who have thought the same way. To borrow a saying from someone with a better turn of phrase than myself “Nature bats last”. Dream on.

12 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Sorry Don, but unless you can propose a *specific* mechanism through which ‘nature bats last’ about some specific point, then you’re just repeating an ideology. If Greening the Deserts ($2 Trillion dollars a year) can suck ALL our CO2 out of the atmosphere, why not do it? (Leaving aside some deserts for natural desert ecosystems and biodiversity, of course). Because it’s too expensive? Think of all the spin off industries in timber and fibre and fuel! Desalinated water really *could* remove all our annual CO2 emissions as we gradually shift over to nukes and renewables.
But, sadly, our world leaders don’t have that kind of vision.
So *when* we run into a climate catastrophe, the Sulfur Shield will be tried first. It’s only $50 billion a year. Cheap as chips. Sadly. And the side effects could be devastating for some of those countries ‘over there’ (from America’s point of view).
The in between method of removing CO2 is Olivine. I propose the land distribution model, as idiocracy has already pointed out some of the problems with the ocean. It’s $200 billion a year, which by then will be an even smaller part of the world’s GDP.

12 01 2014

You can’t be serious……. Greening the desert? Mark Cochrane, our resident Climate Scientist, said on the Chris Martenson site last year that it was IMPOSSIBLE to “suck out CO2” at any sort of realistic rate by planting forests, because we would have to plant an entire new Amazon every seventeen years, just to keep up with annual emissions, let alone reduce them…..

Like most people on this poor planet, you have no grasp of the enormity of the problem at hand….. even building nukes would ADD to the problem. Just like building new renewables. TOO LITTLE TOO LATE…… Total reduction in consumption is the only answer.

We must live more simply so we may simply live. End of story. The looming collapse will see to that, it’s just a matter of time.

Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick………………………….

12 01 2014

Mass produced sodium cooled reactors, what could possibly go wrong…

And yes, let’s mine another mineral to quick-fix the consequences of our fossil fueled addictions, that’ll work…

We need to stop engineering band-aid’s to hide/sustain our unsustainable ways. The fact that the term “geo-engineering” even exists, goes to show just how big those band-aid’s are getting! Ultimately, it will end in a bigger mess then what we started with (quantitative easing anybody!?).

Coming back to David’s essay, this is essentially his point. Humanity actually needs; “bioregional economies based on frugal rural agrarian living, assisted by resources salvaged from the collapsed global economy and the defunct national governments”. As opposed to kicking the can down the road with more intensive industry for multinational corporations to monopolise (with the help of some very desperate and grubby politicians no doubt), propping up the Matrix for another X decade’s, while racking up an even greater ecological bill for future generations to foot…

12 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Hi Idiocracy,
While there’s much about David’s proposed bioregional rural lifestyle that I admire, society won’t adopt it. The 1970’s hippies tried a free love revolution and communes, and thought they could spread it throughout society. They didn’t. ‘Defunct national governments’… ? I don’t see them going out of business any time soon, as much as I might want complete Constitutional reform!
(Awesome podcast on that here)

China has no doubt studied the Monju debacle in an effort to not repeat that mistake. Nuclear power corporations have designed the AP1000 so that they don’t repeat the Fukushima type of mistake. Indeed, if Fukushima had been AP1000’s, *nothing* would have happened. Nothing. You’re banning aviation because of the Hindenburg, my friend. It’s time to move on. It’s time to accept the limits of renewable energy, accept that society will not voluntarily return to a 3rd world standard of living, and accept that somewhere around half of our energy will have to come from nuclear, to keep the grid stable. Maybe more. You’re banning the solution, and by doing so, making geo-engineering solutions only more probable. Modern nukes eat nuclear waste, provide *abundant* RENEWABLE energy (because continental erosion keeps topping up the uranium supply in the oceans) that is BASELOAD, cyclone resistant (being in a concrete bunker), terrorist resistant (being in a concrete bunker that is guarded by a police station or military base on site), able to be mass-produced on an assembly line and deployed by airship to remote locations, if needed.

Renewable Solar PV’s and wind turbines will be destroyed by our increasing number of super-storms, are intermittent, and cannot meet the needs of the society we actually live in (not the one we dream of living in, and will never eventuate). When it becomes clear that the wealth of a stratified society cannot be maintained by renewable energy, Austrlians will vote for nuclear power, not some Amish Powerdown lifestyle. Romantic ruralists are simply doing damage to the environmental movement. It won’t happen, unless there’s a nuclear war or meteor strike or super-virus, it’s simply won’t happen.

FACT: More people die EVERY WEEK from coal than from the WHOLE HISTORY of nuclear power. Coal is destroying the climate our civilisation thrives in. Nuclear is the base load, reliable, abundant, SAFE, cheap alternative. I simply don’t know what all the fuss is about, or why people have bought into Caldicott’s hysterical anti-science memes.

I also propose the land Olivine solution, which can help save the PLANET from extreme climate change with only marginal *local* repercussions. It’s a quick fix for getting CO2 out of the atmosphere, but at $200 billion a year, OF COURSE I’d rather see that money go straight into prevention (through SAFE IFR’s) than the ‘chemotherapy cure’ of geo-engineering. But as an emergency option, it’s worth talking about.

12 01 2014

TODAY, is not 1970………

12 01 2014

Eclipse – In my view we have a defunct national government TODAY, and yes they are very much in-business! Therein partly lies the problem, as they increasingly struggle to maintain the status quo of an unsustainable and indeed grossly wasteful culture dependent upon exponential growth (population/economic) and a ponzi scheme of a financial system.

I’m sure you’re familiar with god-fearing Abbott’s many “achievements”… dropped the Science Minister, established ‘closed book’ asylum seeker policy, is driving complete anti-environment and climate denialist policies, AND NOW they want to push religion back into schools… such progress! Good luck with that Constitutional reform!

So I agree present day society will not just accept an Earth Stewardship pathway. I very much expect some form/degree of societal collapse will be a necessary prerequisite.

What I struggle with in your perspective is the desire to similarly prop-up/sustain the societal status quo – “live roughly how they are now”. What’s the point of apparently abundant/renewable (lets not forget SAFE!) nuclear energy in an unsustainable system? The end result will ultimately be the same, albeit somewhat delayed (or possibly sped up due to a paradoxical effect?) – societal collapse! It’s happened many a time before, and will happen again. As Mike points out, as the economic collapse continues, who can guarantee AP1000’s will be kept SAFE?! I think with Nuclear its just as much a fear of the profit driven corporations/bean counters “responsible” for maintaining that technology.

And finally to your point of “You’re banning aviation because of the Hindenburg, my friend.”… have you seen many blimp’s lately?

12 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Hi Mike,
1. How on earth is building the *only* clean, reliable, cheap-enough power source that can run this industrial system virtually forever going to make the situation worse? Is this because it doesn’t conform to some morbid dieoff presupposition you have that includes the ‘solution’ being 5 billion of us starving to death?

2. The IPCC says it can be done. They didn’t give an actual price: I had to do the calculations on that, and if we’re talking ALL today’s CO2 emissions, then that’s probably around $3.5 trillion a year. (I forgot that my figure above already included some nuclear reductions on CO2.)

It’s *expensive*. But *if* we had the willpower, imagine the sheer timber and food and fibre and fuel and medicine and herbs and wildlife and insects and bees we would have from such an enormous new area of trees? After getting established, they’d even generate *some* of their own rain!

Anyway, the IPCC says it’s doable.

Nabuurs, G.J., O. Masera, K. Andrasko, P. Benitez-Ponce, R. Boer, M. Dutschke, E. Elsiddig, J. Ford-Robertson, P. Frumhoff, T. Karjalainen, O. Krankina, W.A. Kurz, M. Matsumoto, W. Oyhantcabal, N.H. Ravindranath, M.J. Sanz Sanchez, X. Zhang, 2007: Forestry. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

“Bottom-up regional studies show that forestry mitigation options have the economic potential at costs up to 100 US$/ tCO2-eq to contribute 1.3-4.2 GtCO2-eq/yr (average 2.7 GtCO2- eq/yr) in 2030. About 50% can be achieved at a cost under 20 US$/tCO2-eq (around 1.6 GtCO2/yr) with large differences between regions. Global top-down models predict far higher mitigation potentials of 13.8 GtCO2-eq/yr in 2030 at carbon prices less than or equal to 100 US$/tCO2-eq. Regional studies tend to use more detailed data and a wider range of mitigation options are reviewed, Thus, these studies may more accurately reflect regional circumstances and constraints than simpler, more aggregate global models. However, regional studies vary in model structure, coverage, analytical approach, and assumptions (including baseline assumptions). In the sectoral comparison in Section 11.3, the more conservative estimate from regional studies is used. ”

So it’s doable. It’s just vast, and requires more international co-operation than anything we’ve done so far. It’s like making a 100% renewable energy grid baseload: technically feasible, but economically impossible. It’s not going to happen.

But if you can dream about a world where everyone lives in earth ships, living an almost subsistence, ecovillage lifestyle, I’m allowed to dream about a worldwide tax that let’s people continue to live roughly how they are now but greens our deserts, provides all the food and fibre we could want, and even creates new industrial timber parks and tourism opportunities. (And takes the biofuel pressure off wild life hot-spots: eg: Palm oil and Orangutans).

But where there are sound economic reasons to do so, Greening the Desert *is* already happening (but on a tiny scale. For now. Everything has to start somewhere).

Adelaide is growing food in the desert, from seawater greenhouses.
Woolworth’s signed a large contract with Sundrop farms to expand their pilot project to 8 hectares. Renewable energy + desert + seawater = food. Cool hey? Watch Catalyst.

There are political dreamers just trying to prevent desertification in the Sahara, which could grow into something bigger.

James Hansen warned us about global warming, and yet recommends nukes.
The IPCC warned us about global warning, and yet discusses green deserts.

Who are you do turn up your nose at these people?

12 01 2014

To start with nukes are NOT clean. They require mining, end of story. probably can’t even be done without burning oil and coal. Squillions of tonnes of concrete too. And then the energy will be used to do unsustainable things…….

5 billion of us starving to death? No mate, ALL seven billion of us will die. No ifs no buts. if you know a way out of that, let me know, OK? Besides, I can’t see ways of growing food for an eternally growing population using nukes. You’re dreaming.

Who are you do turn up your nose at these people? ME…… I no longer give a shit. It’s too late. NOTHING I do will make any difference, just like nothing you do will either.

The IPCC says it can be done. REALLY? Got a link for that? AFAIK, the IPCC only concerns itself with emissions and modelling….. never knew they involved themselves with ‘solutions’.

It’s *expensive*. YEP. And the system can’t make more debts to pay for your techno dreams already. CURRENT nukes are falling to bits. and NOBODY’s got the money to fix it, let alone build new ones.

20 01 2014

I think Eclipse is suffering from Techno-Narcissism.

12 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Or try this paper:

“Abstract Each year, irrigated Saharan- and Australian-desert forests could se- quester amounts of atmospheric CO2 at least equal to that from burning fossil fuels. Without any rain, to capture CO2 produced from gasoline requires adding about $1 to the per-gallon pump-price to cover irrigation costs, using reverse osmosis (RO), desalinated, sea water. Such mature technology is economically competitive with the currently favored, untested, power-plant Carbon Capture (and deep underground, or under-ocean) Sequestration (CCS). Afforestation sequesters CO2, mostly as easily”

12 01 2014
Eclipse Now

” Pronutria offers a scalable solution to the rising economic, human, and environmental cost of food. Our Nutriculture™ technology is so efficient at producing pure nutrients, it could satisfy the global demand for protein ingredients in a land area smaller than New York City and meet the daily protein requirements for a billion people in a land area no bigger than Rhode Island.

The Pronutria process is radically more efficient than current agriculture and livestock cultivation, and produces pure nutrition up to 1,000 times more efficiently, with minimal environmental impact and maximal nutrition quality.”

But I think introducing more seawater greenhouses and insects into our diet would be a good start, and could feed us all from the world’s *deserts!* if we were bold enough to imagine it and fund it.

13 01 2014

Eclipse Now
Your optimism appears boundless and also the sites you have indicated. To get your feet back on the ground, a visit to the site below would certainly be of advantage to you. In an attempt to help my children avoid being suckered, I have always admonished them as they grew up – always do the maths, all of the maths, not just the parts that give you the the answers you want.

13 01 2014

I was going to suggest exactly the same, for exactly the same reasons…..

13 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Hi Don,
I’m sorry, but where specifically does that website disprove the *fact* that today’s nuclear ‘waste’ could run a world of Integral Fast Reactors (like GE’s S-PRISM, designed but just awaiting commercial deployment) for 500 years? Where does that website disprove electric vehicle’s increasing range, and that they could already do about 90% of our driving for us, and mostly (70-80%) be charged by electricity at night without adding any new power stations? Where does it disprove the flexibility of the marketplace that can create other solutions, like boron-recharging stations (already approved by the laws of physics!) that could do the 10% domestic driving EV’s cannot do? Going on a road trip? Just hire a boron-car. Where does it disprove that boron and hydrogen could run all our larger vehicles, from harvesters to iron ore mining? Where does it disprove the fact that enough energy can achieve amazing things, like greening the deserts and feeding us from seawater greenhouses in those deserts?

Answer: it doesn’t. Yes, we could nuke ourselves back to the stone-age or a meteor could hit us. But denying the *reality* of certain technologies is just another form of denialism.

13 01 2014

Eclipse Now
The sites you use for your point of view have only done the part of the maths that gives the answer their optomistic bent requires (and maybe their economic interests)

15 01 2014

Eclipse now,
Having read the “About” section on your site I can now understand how you believe all the wonderful things you believe in can happen. You believe in miracles. For too long people have believed nothing needed to be done and now nothing can be done. We have wasted too much time and now we don’t have the decades necessary to do the simplest thing in your list, to say nothing about the lack of resources.

16 01 2014
Eclipse Now

Hi Don,
your reply is called a Bulverism. You must first prove *that* I’m wrong, rather than just *assume* it and then get busy psychoanalysing how I became so silly.

Please demonstrate your claims about a lack of resources with empirical data in the face of abundant, cheap, clean electricity that will soon be rolling off the production line and can fix nearly any problem you care to name. With enough energy we can desalinate seawater, green deserts, and suck all the resources we need out of rock and sea, giving everyone everything they need and creating a worldwide demographic transition that will stabilise the population. My metaphysical worldview has nothing to do with thinking we just *might* get through this: it’s all to do with accepting physics of Breeder Reactors demonstrated over the last 50 years.

13 01 2014
3 02 2014
stefan geyer

Here’s David Holmgren talking about his essay on the ’21st Century Permaculture’ radio show

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