purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)
The full book available as a Web site at: http://www.futurescenarios.org/

I would like to start with Holmgren's 'Energy Futures' chapter. I tend to work with 'The Precautionary Principle', which I think is in line with Holmgren's approach when he says,

"We do not have to believe that a particular scenario is likely before making serious preparations. For example most people have fire insurance on their homes, not because they expect their primary asset to be destroyed by fire but because they recognise the severity of this unlikely event." (http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/20/57/)

(Or, because it is a condition of their mortgage lender - because banks do lose houses to fire on a regular basis.)

Holmgren sets out to use 'Scenario Planning' methodology to look at how human society may change in the future:

"In classic corporate scenario planning the two variables might be the growth rate in the wider economy and the regulatory framework that constrains or encourages business." (http://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/26/40/)

"Four broad energy scenarios provide a framework for considering the wide spectrum of culturally imagined, and ecologically likely, futures over the next century or more.
I've labeled these:

  • "Techno-explosion,
  • Techno-stability,
  • Energy Descent and
  • Collapse"

ETA 1: Note - Holmgren's figure encapsulates some of Holmgren's interpretations and motivations, which as I suggest below, might be better left to later discussion. If you assume that the Y-axis refers to Energy, and is intended to evoke best-estimate fossil fuel energy data such as global oil extraction as graphed here:

World Oil Production from the Oil Drum

and that it's a non-linear sketch graph, I still think Holmgrens figure gives a somewhat useful visual guide ...

four futures


So my first question for consideration is:

Do these four energy future scenarios usefully summarise the prospects for which we need to be planning?

ETA 2 These are clearly 'simple' scenarios. I'd envisage that it could be useful to study each of these four - and decide whether one or two more simple scenarios are needed. Only then would we start to look at the complexities of how these scenarios interact, if say Countries or Regions 1 - 4 are each different mixes of Scenarios 1 - 4.

(I was hoping we'd come back to a detailed discussion of Holmgren's own interpretations and motivations quite a lot later down the line ... )
purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (GreenMan)

'This June as part of London Festival of Architecture 2008, City Hall will host a conference to tackle one of the biggest issues we will face in the coming years: Where will London get its food from? ...

'Ben Reynolds, from organisers London Food Link,[2] believes the timing is crucial: "Set against rising food prices and increasing pressures to tackle climate change, London seriously needs to consider putting aside more space for growing food. Not only will this help future-proof against food shortages and preserve the capital’s open space, but it will also educate and improve the health of Londoners and reduce the distance that London’s food has travelled*." ...'

I think that a fundamental motiviation for projects like this is the 'future-proofing' aspect. In uncertain times, you need Plans B, C and D to ensure the population aren't going to go short of food.

* Recent research (Weber and Matthews) in the USA suggests that the final journey to our plates accounts for about 10% of the climate impact of food (although more for air-freight). The climate change impacts of animal farming account for over 50% of the carbon footprint of the typical British diet.
purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)

"In a surprise intervention, [the RAC] said one in five car journeys were under 1.5 miles and therefore unnecessary. 'You could easily walk, cycle, take the bus without putting yourself at any great hardship,' said Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation.
purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)
We are already committed to a 2 deg C increase in global average temperatures. The climate change consequences will include lethal heatwaves, devastating floods and droughts, steady rises in sea levels and disruption to the Gulf Stream. To avoid worse, we immediately need a global energy strategy - otherwise, with technology as the engine, the market as the propellor, but without strategy as a rudder, we might all end up in New Orleans.

An affordable portfolio of possible actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next 50 years, which combine to avert the worst of global climate change:
  • Buildings - increase energy efficiency by 25%
  • Double vehicle fuel efficiency
  • Capture C02 from 800 GW of coal burning power stations
  • Reverse tropical deforestation by 300 Mha
  • 2000 GW of wind power.
  • 150 km2 of solar PV.
  • Biofuels from 200Mha.
(the last three to replace equivalent fossil fuel burning).

Notes from a talk by John Houghton: )


purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)

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