Managing a retreat is the most difficult of all political tasks. It is always easier to offer something new rather than to try to take back an existing benefit. But when it comes to our use of fossil fuels, which have provided huge benefits to our society, it is now time for an organised retreat. We need to retreat because the emissions from burning coal and gas threaten the climate system upon which our lives depend. We also need to do so because we face a peak in global oil production and we have to start changing our food and transport systems to cope with the decline in oil supplies that will follow.
by Richard Douthwaite This book grew out of a conference in 2009 called the New Emergency. What emergency was that? Most people didn't think that there was an emergency then and they don't think there is one now.They know that the world is facing a lot of problems at present but they probably would not elevate any of them even to the status of a crisis, still less an emergency. The world has always had problems, they think, and it always will. Very few of them think that there's anything going on at present that requires Ireland to mobilise all its resources in the way that it did in response to the old Emergency, the Second World War. However, once you recognise that most of the worst problems the world faces have a common cause and that time is running out to solve them, you have an emergency. That's my position.