The availability of fresh water and the energy use associated with it, particularly in agriculture, is not thought about much in Britain and Ireland. Nevertheless it is a major issue - as a recent paper by two academics at the University of East Anglia demonstrates.
Philip B. Smith & Manfred Max-Neef's Economics Unmasked leans more towards conspiracy than cock-up as it compellingly spells out the disastrous effects of the 'free' market on individuals, communities and the planet.
This week we are publishing two articles from Fleeing Vesuvius which focus on energy supply and use. Chris Vernon's paper explains why, although there is a lot of oil still left in the ground, its supply will contract very rapidly indeed and the world may have run out of oil to burn for energy by 2050. Tom Konrad argues that if a standard assessment tool, the internal rate of return, is used to compare the net energy yield of various projects, it shows which to prioritise for the energy transition.
Jurgen Habermas has an interesting article which has been reprinted in Social Europe. He assesses the problems of the Eurozone and their basis in the top-down administrative approach taken by European unification. The continued kicking of the economic can down the road is mirrored by the haphazard attitude to political integration.
We may rail against the regulators, politicians, and others who failed to understand and manage past risks, but we are just as culpable for our failure to engage with severe, well-signposted, imminent ones.
This week’s newsletter includes discussion of the effects of the Greek government collapse on oil prices, and the ‘deadening bureaucratic complacency’ of the previous UK government with regard to peak oil.