WATCH: Interactive Interview w/ Author Richard Heinberg: Are We At The End Of Growth?

UPDATE 1/31/2012: We think it went pretty well… despite the interviewer’s audio being a little over modulated; Richard Heinberg sounds great, though!

Please check out the recording below, and comment below or in our forums…

First go to our page featuring much of his book “The End of Growth” for FREE

Then watch it on this page you’re reading now, or use/share this link for the Live Q&A if the embed is broken:

On Monday, January 30th, 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific, Richard Heinberg, author of “The Party’s Over”, “Peak Everything” and “The End of Growth”, the last of which is featured on our Essential Reading List, will be discussing what it means to be living in a growth-based economy on a finite planet.  If it is not sustainable to grow forever, then what sort of demands should Occupy be making of the system?  Do we need fixes, or a complete rethinking of our economy?  Do we search for economic justice now, or prepare for an entirely new game?

photos from (above) and

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  1. BP’s Group Chief Economist Christof Rühl recently stated in BP’s “Energy Outlook 2030″ (Published by online European Energy Review on Jan. 20th), that:

    ‘Never since the industrial revolution’, he writes, ‘has global energy intensity been as low as today and never have differences across countries been so small.’ He claims this is due to market-driven innovations that are spreading across the world thanks to globalization. In other words, the development is a product of markets, supported – but not driven – by regulations that ‘harness’ market forces.
    The gains in energy efficiency that are being made in this way are saving the world, says Rühl: they ensure that there will be enough affordable energy available to support global economic growth. In short, if we leave markets free to work, doomsday is not at hand. ”

    What’s your take on this development?

    • OccupyEducated says:

      great, we’ll get something like that in there.

    • michele says:

      i would say that Jevon’s Paradox would apply; which would call into question that this particular piece of PR has any value at all. Historically speaking, the paradox has proven true: increases in efficiency are accompanied by increases in consumption.
      For more reading on Jevon’s Paradox:

      And thanks so much OccupyEducated for lining up this talk by Richard Heinberg! His books are great, and the lectures/fora/seminars he gives are great too. Hoping i will be able to stay up late/get up early for it:)

    • If we leave the markets free to work, every resource will be consumed as quickly as possible until it’s game over. Oil is an absolutely incredible resource, nothing else like it exists, and nothing can replace it’s energy density and diversity of industrial uses. We are burning it up like there is no tomorrow, mostly wasting it on the most energy ground transportation to support automobile centric urban design, instead of prudently managing this vital one time gift to humanity.

      As pointed out by others, Javons Paradox applies, so technology efficiencies will not save us alone. We need a mechanisms by which to ensure we do not over consume resources. One shortcoming of letting the market decide everything is that the market incentive is for short term profit now for existing shareholders. There is no concept of preservation of resources for the benefit of future generations under a free market. Our children, and their children, will curse the blunder of waste that has characterized our greedy over-consumption of finite resources.

  2. michele says:

    An interesting read that is rather oblique as response..but seems fitting nonetheless.
    Lauderdale’s Paradox posits that there is an inverse relationship between public and private wealth; public wealth being represented by the commons, and well..we all know what private wealth is, don’t we?:)

  3. Ryan says:

    What is it going to take for westerners to realize that the solution is not technological, but a massive reduction in our consumption? Can society be educated into changing? Or will it take the barbaric collapse of society, massive starvation, etc., before change is initiated?

  4. Tony says:

    Energy intensity measurements rely on accurate data. GDP figure have been fiddled for decades. Consequently, energy intensity is almost certainly much greater than BP suggest.


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