After years of stagnant growth in conventional oil extraction rates, ignorance of Hubbert’s Curve has peaked. Now that the mainstream can’t dismiss the issue, public conversations proclaim an exuberant belief in marginal reserves as our savior. Claims of American energy independence have fueled a dialogue that threatens to drive the US economy towards a fiscal and energy cliff. Can we look toward renewables to meet our energy needs for the future? Is it possible to start telling a new story about our energy future?
In Extraenvironmentalist #47 we discuss the global energy picture with Chris Nelder as he describes the energy stories we tell ourselves and explains exactly how many natural gas wells it will take for the United States to gain energy independence. We ask Chris about the complexity of our international energy markets and why we shouldn’t give up on renewable energy even if it doesn’t fit the power grid of today. Then, we speak with Gregor MacDonald about the recent blackout in India that cut electricity to 10% of Earth’s population. Gregor tells us about the process of normal accidents and why the risk we’ve offloaded might be trickling back into our energy infrastructure. Last of all, we speculate about the future of capitalism as growth ends. Will we look back on these years of corporate rule as the golden age before serfdom?