"Ireland’s policymakers exist in an insulated bubble; congratulating themselves on reducing the debt-GDP ratio and high employment due to the sleight of hand of low corporate tax rates, " writes Tim Clarke. He argues that Ireland is hugely vulnerable to a global financial crash triggered by net energy decline, coupled with rapidly rising extreme global debts and many other factors: "Talk of a 'Celtic Phoenix' excites dull short memories, and another property bubble is in the making."
Brian Davey draws on German research to argue that the only way that industrialised countries will be able to achieve the transition to 100% renewables is through degrowth. The transition is likely to be easier in low-income countries that use relatively little energy at present.
"Mainstream economists typically concentrate on science, technology and innovation to explain economic growth – but virtually all these new innovations are new ways to use energy and it is the energy of coal, oil and gas that does the work," writes Brian Davey.
Brian Davey argues that it will be difficult to bring a new, renewables-based energy sector into existence when the economy is stagnant and people will struggle to afford expensive innovation. Paradoxically in these circumstances it is likely to be many older technologies that will make sense again - perhaps in a reworked form.
"Transferring resources out of the luxury consumption of the rich is a necessary part of the process of finding the wherewithal for energy conservation work and for developing renewable energy resources," writes Brian Davey in a chapter from Credo that was written in 2014 but is still relevant now.
In this presentation given at the University of Nottingham on April 4, Brian Davey investigates the historical roots of the growth-based economy. He critiques the assumption that renewable energy could take over from fossil fuels while maintaining economic growth, and goes on to discuss some ways forward.