Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Our goals for the next 15 years

The current state of the world makes it sometimes hard to be very optimistic about our future. Climate crisis, terrorism, geopolitical tension and economic turmoil all seem to make our outlook dimmer rather than lighter. It is easy enough to either give up hope or to completely ignore these challenges by assuming the future will be like our past.

Or we could set ourselves meaningful goals for all of humanity and get to work! This is in essence the approach the UN sustainable development goals for 2030 have taken. Broken down into 17 distinct categories, the UN and all world leaders have defined clear goals and some metrics for all of us to achieve. We are aiming at no less than to "end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all". Wow!

But how realistic is all this in the face of our potentially gloomy future prospects? How meaningful is it, if the UN declares some lofty goals?

Maybe more than you think. First, let's listen to Hans Rosling explain how we were able to  reach the 8 millenuim goals set forth by the UN in the 1990s. Due to the incredible economic rise of nations like China and India, we managed to half the world's poverty in the last 25 years. Not bad when we think back of how the chances of this were back then.

But it sure came at an incredible cost to our planetary resources, to equality and sustainability. This is why the next goals not only speak to developing countries, but all countries. Michael Green from the Social Progress Index explains how this could be done  in reality.

Our leaders have actually set out and defined a better future in terms of concrete goals and measures. It is up to us to hold them accountable for delivering on it by using our citizens right to vote for governments that make the most progress towards a better future. 

If we are looking for meaningful activities to focus on, let's start rowing in the direction of the Global Goals. It might just save us...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

To engage or not to engage

[I have not been active on this blog for a while since I have started a new effort to support in the refugee crisis. It is called lale.help, go take a look at what we are up to...]

With COP21 coming up in Paris this week, expectations of decisive and meaningful climate action are high among those that haven't given up on the political process altogether. In fact, signs going into the week are more positive than in prior years, after broad statements have been made during the G7 summit in Germany earlier this year, promising to phase out all fossil fuels by the end of the century. 

While political direction will be of immense importance for our future, our personal actions continue to be the key element in my view. We have to continue to find meaning and will to contribute to solutions for a more sustainable live. The lack of action is often rooted in a sense of overwhelm and insecurity about our future. We do the best to distract us from future scenarios that are plausibly outlined thought leaders of the post carbon society

At other times, we seek peace with the way the world is by transcending its problems and hiding in a place of spiritual contentment. After all, the world as we perceive it is an illusion in spiritual terms so if we practice non-attachment, we are doing the right thing. A recent article at Lions Roar provides a helpful explanation of why we must engage actively in the process of doing ecological good rather than detaching from the coming bad. While focusing on self improvement, we must still engage with the world for social change. In Buddhist terms, this is the way of the boddhisattva and it applies to ecological challenges as well.

In the 50s this was succinctly put by Erick K√§stner when he said 'Es gibt nichts Gutes, ausser man tut es' (there is nothing good unless you do it). 

Let's all, including the delegates at COP21, heed his moral advice.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sustainism as a cultural direction

Thinking about sustainability can take many different forms. I mostly approach it as a purely scientific or technological exercise and try to find ways how existing processes can be transitioned into a more efficient and sustainable state. We can also view this as a moral or philosophical, even spiritual topic to ponder.  In a recent post I pointed out Rifkin's thoughts towards an empathic society.

But another angle is the how sustainability is represented in arts and our cultural interactions. In an interesting art publication Schwarz and Elffers have coined the term Sustainism as a sequitur to modernism in order to bring together the various elements. Sustainism is both global and local. It is also digital, connected, networked. It is community minded, transparent, equitable and diverse. It is both high tech and low tech. It realizes that things are interconnected and interdependent.  It is cyclical, seasonal, low-energy, minimal-resource, long-term. Do more with less, as Bucky Fuller would say. Sustainism transcends and includes modernism. Sustainist are participants in all aspects of sustainism.

While we can argue about the immediate value of such an approach of cultural framing, I often feel the context of Sustain-"ability" is to narrow in a sense that it mainly aims to minimize the consequences of today's economic models. It is also not forward looking enough. We need a new cultural paradigm, not just a small infusion of adjusted values into the existing modernist machine. Sustainism tries to establish that new paradigm. I would consider myself a sustainist for sure.

Music also tackles sustainability. Often in a less positive, yet not unsubstantiated way. Take a look at Muse's "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable". Awesome!

"The 2nd Law: Unsustainable"

All natural and technological
Processes proceed in such
a way that the availability of the
remaining energy decreases

In all energy exchanges, if no energy
enters or leaves an isolated system
the entropy of that system increases

Energy continuously flows from being
concentrated to becoming dispersed
spread out, wasted and useless

New energy cannot be
created and high-grade
energy is being destroyed

An economy based on endless
growth is unsustainable


The fundamental laws of
thermodynamics will place fixed
limits on technological innovation
and human advancement

In an isolated system, the entropy
can only increase
A species set on endless
growth is unsustainable


Logo taken from Michiel Schwarz & Joost Elffers, Sustainism Is the New Modernism, 2010 /www.sustainism.com.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It takes a village to prosper

As I am immersing myself more into the concepts of a Collaborative Economy, I come across various attempts at defining and measuring how acting together rather than against each other increases our happiness and is more in tune with who we are as a species (or thrive towards at least).

Today we mainly measure prosperity in terms of GDP, in terms of  'more stuff'. Economic productivity is already widely and rightfully criticized as a measure of prosperity and I highly recommend reading Tim Jackson's excellent book 'Prosperity without growth' on the topic (you can start with the PDF, I ended up ordering it anyways). But there are also frequent references to the quality of social interaction and lived morals in a society to determine true prosperity. More stuff doesn't create better lives, but more meaningful engagement with fellow humans does, it seems.

I recently had a few first hand experiences that drove home the point for me. A few weeks back, I was in a department store in Ireland with my 4 year old son. As he had a particularly reasonable and grown-up morning that day, I considered his request to browse the nearby toy section by himself while I looked at kitchen supplies. He was going to check back with me and I would wander over within five minutes anyways. As it happened, he got excited about a toy and could not wait to carry it to the car. So he looked for me briefly and then simply ran out of the store into the car park to secure his new priced possession in our trunk like a natural born consumer. Luckily a shop clerk saw it, chased him down and brought him back to me safely. The staff were concerned about his well being, not the toy. I needed their help in looking out for my son, I needed the collaborative effort of society.

Today, I went for a run alongside the river Isar in Munich. As I was trotting down the path in the beautiful English Gardens, another four year old came running by and swiftly turned towards the bushes near the river with an excited skip in his step. I looked around and could see no adult nearby, but the gap between water and the boy getting smaller. Instinctively I dashed after him, grabbed his arm in time and lifted him up. Within seconds, I could see his father looking for him fifty meters away calling his name. I went over and handed him the boy, just like I had gotten mine handed by the Irish clerk not long ago. More impressively, another jogger saw me, a random adult, running after a blond little boy and snatching him up. He sprinted towards me to check that nothing improper was going on and only let me go when the real dad cleared it up. The jogger also was looking out for the boy, from a different but equally real risk.

These interactions reminded me how interdependent we all are in our society. I am sure everyone has similar experiences in their lives, but it left me with a strong feeling of meaning and moral integrity. It takes a village to raise children, but it also takes a village to work together as adults in a fair and sustainable way. Whatever our instinct is to look out for an innocent child is the very instinct we need to protect and grow when it comes to a broader interactions in the economy. It is in us, we need to give it its rightful room to unfold. We need to help each other to be successful and be able to make meaningful contributions to society.

How can we measure this form of quality in behavior? What increases it, and what diminishes it? Is it solely the role of religious institutions to promote morals or is our our joint obligation? Which forms of economic behavior support this and which ingredients need to be there for it to unfold? What kind of system would leave us with the same feeling of meaningful contribution? These are important questions when trying to undo the rigid cage of consumerism we are trapped in today.

Understand that we are all interconnected and interdependent. Receive kindness, do good and pay it forward. That might be a start to turn our lives into a direction of prosperity beyond stuff.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

OuiShare Fest coverage - day2

A rare occurence, I was interviewed along many other OuiShare attendees to share my thoughts on the conference in Paris. Everyone is trying to get from 'lost in transition' to the new model....

Monday, May 25, 2015

OuiShare Fest 2015

Last week, I spend 3 days at OuiShare Fest 2015 in Paris. The third annual gathering of its kind, it brings together players of the Collaborative Economy movement. The event was subtitled 'Lost in transition?' and did the important work of evaluating where the different strands of this new economy actually stand.

It was my first contact with OuiShare and many of the key topics. I have to say I was really impressed by the three days. The location at Cabaret Sauvage was the perfect setting to both attend talks and constantly connect with people in between. I cannot recall a conference where attendees where in fact this collaborative and it was easy to make connections and learn from all the folks there. A warm Thanks to the OuiShare team for putting all this together.

The conference tracks explored the key topics of Collaborative Consumption (fka 'sharing stuff'), Crowdfunding (and cryptoequity), OpenSource and the commons, Makers and distributed manufacturing, future of work, horizontal governance, etc. While all tracks were pretty well curated, I was particularly interested in Sharing, Makers, Funding and OpenSource business.

Here are some notes, in no particular order:

1. It is all about the BlockChain. If you haven't geeked up on bitcoin, etherium, smart contracts and the blockchain, do so now (start here and here!). The promise of a trustless system to store any data is huge in a decentralized world. In fact, Lisa Gansky of MeshLabs referred to the blockchain as the next huge transformative force of the digital age. Personally, I still struggle with some technical scalability aspects of the hash game of the blockchain, but smart minds are fully enchanted so I'll go with it for now.
2. It is all about access capacity: Robin Chase's new book 'Peers Inc' lays out the concept where we can tap into the excess capacity by peers networking through professional platforms (the Inc). This is our path to higher utilization and a shot at a sustainable economic activity. I very much liked her approach and recommend the book.
3. Where is the money? There is an inherent conflict with the sharing economy's lateral approach and the predominant innovation funding model of VCs. While there are many crowdfunding platforms supporting many efforts, the largest players in the space are still traditionally backed startups with massive evaluations (the 1% owns the sharing economy, like it or not). A new approach pioneered by thinkers like Matan Field of Backfeed (and LaZooz) or Swarm or Koinify are cryptocurrencies and a decentralized participation model of cryptoequity. Very interesting trend there for decentralized collaborative organisations (DCOs). Essentially any contribution to an organisation can afford a share in the virtual worth in form of tokens, as long as the group itself defines the value.
4. The collaborative economy is spreading: Jeremy Owyang of Crowdcompanies presented his updated version of the 'honeycomb 2.0' to map out the rapidly expanding scope of how access capacity is used by sharing. Existing companies will quickly need to consider a strategy to play in this interconnected world as business moves laterally.
5. Makers between tinkerers and innovators: The maker movement sometimes gets trapped in the chasm between the personal creativity of FabLabs and the commercial interest in crowd innovation. Existing players try to tap into the maker movement with co-owned maker spaces, but there is no seamless and financially viable paths yet to go from individual creator to a scalable business. Both funding and intellectual property rights pose hurdles here.
6. We need to change our mindset: Apart from all the exciting possibilities of the new collaborative economy, there is a deep rooted understanding that we as individuals need to rewrite the narrative about our most fundamental beliefs. We are not simply consumers, we are creators, community members, collaborators and even giver of gifts - we have just forgotten it. Unless the mental process of our daily behavior is reformed to include the broader 'We', a transition to a robust new model seems implausible. This dimension must not be forgotten and might prove the hardest of them all.

See much more on OSFESt at #osfest15. Looking forward to next year already...

Monday, May 4, 2015

An empathic civilization

[note by author: I have been abstinent from posting to this blog in the last months. This is because I started to work on a book project and all my writing energy goes towards this goal. I will, however, periodically post some of my writings to Sustain3 and would be grateful for any feedback on my ideas.]

Much of the existential crisis humanity is facing in the coming century requires a radical shift in our behavior. We need to act differently in order to sustain life for coming generations, let alone live in prosperity while increasing our planet's population. Bringing about this type of behavioral change will be next to impossible without a change in our intrinsic motivation. By laying down regulations and curtailing freedoms, we will at best minimize the negative consequences of our consumer lives. In order to bring about a robust and reliable change, we need to also change the narrative we have of ourselves. Maybe we are not intrinsically selfish and competitive? Maybe we are much more geared towards collaboration and altruism, as Yoshai Benkler proposes in his recent book 'the penguin and the leviathan'?

Noted economist and author Jeremy Rifkin suggests that we are on an evolutionary path towards collaboration by the emergence of an empathic society. Can homo empathicus develop a shared consciousness with all sentient being and the biosphere as a whole? Can we extend the scope of our empathy beyond the fiction of our tribal blood ties, religious affiliations or nation states, but instead consider the whole humans race and biosphere as our concern? Modern technology is rapidly changing who we interact with and how we empathize. Many new paths to altruistic acts are now being offered by online emergency aid, donations or micro loans. People, in fact, like to help other people. We should recognize and encourage this as we see it manifesting all around us, it might be just what saves us in the end.

'The Empathic Civilization' - by Jeremy Rifkin

Friday, February 20, 2015

Circular economy in a finite world

With an increasing world population and a desire for prosperity for all, it becomes ever more clear that not only primary energy sources such as oil are in decline, but that we are likely moving towards a 'peak everything' scenario as GMO's Grantham pointed out in 2011. Whether we agree with the data points and time lines in the scenario or not, we must confess that there are clear limits of the linear consumption flow of 'take - make - dispose'. Not only are we rapidly exploiting natural resources for short-lived consumer goods, we also do not have any answer to their final destination but the landfill. This is bad news on both ends: the sourcing and the disposition.

We clearly need a new model. Not only is this environmentally mandated, but also makes economic sense. Here is where the concept of a circular economy comes in. Certainly not a new idea, it seems to now gain some real momentum as companies realize that rising resource prices and possible disruptions of the supply chain can pose direct risk to their bottom line. The amount of embedded energy, labor and material cost in each product is simply too high to discard in the linear flow. And that does not even consider the externalized environmental cost (GHG emissions, waste, etc.).

The circular model has recently been formalized by the Ellen MacArthur foundation. Former global solo sailor MacArthur has united the forces of many large multinationals to define and put in practice the concept of a circular economy. The foundation provides a solid set of research documents and case studies and brings together professionals to jointly work towards this model. Even the 2015 world economic forum in Davos had a dedicated track for the circular economy with William McDonough leading the program.

So, what is this about? While this is a much deeper topic, I will try to give a high-level overview.

As defined by Braungart / McDonough the cradle-to-cradle design philosophy distinguishes between products of consumption (such as shampoo, cleaning products, etc.) and products of service (such as cars, phones, printers, etc.). For the latter, the circular model differentiates between biological and technical product components. Focusing on the technical 'nutrients', products should be designed with the following goals:

  • we are users, not consumers: instead of acquiring a product from a vendor, we only get the right to use for its useful life. This shift in ownership ensures that the technical nutrients are entirely returned to the manufacturer for upcycling.
  • the principle of circularity: products should be able to be first repaired by the user, then maintained by a service provider, then reused or redistributed by the product manufacturer and finally refurbished or recycled by the parts manufacturer.
  • cascading use: products and components or materials should be designed to be able to function in various stages of their life. Today's cell phone processor could be a control unit in tomorrow's dishwasher.
  • modularity: to maximize the reclaim rate on recycling, products must use no blended or toxic materials. Period. And they must maximize modularity to support reuse and repair. 

The concept of a circular economy is also met with the growing support for an access economy. Many of the things we source new today are already available, although not owned by the person in (temporary) need of the product. If we only had convenient and reliable access to a product for use, we would not need to buy it. This is also the driving concept behind all forms of the sharing economy that is taking off  in many industries from ride/car sharing to couch surfing to sharing anything on snapgoods/simplist.

If these concepts have been around for a while, why is it now making a difference? Here are some reasons:

  • I believe the increasing resource scarcity will force consumer goods companies to look at their supply chains for circular potential. According to MacArthur research, this is an almost unprecedented savings opportunity.
  • IT systems can now trace materials through the supply chain and optimize their use efficiently. This also leads to new accounting models tracking circularity (such as material flow cost accounting).
  • The next generation of consumers will question the very assumption of consumption and qualify themselves as users in a sharing economy. Although psychologically not intuitive, there is no implicit reduction in prosperity when sharing.
  • Social media can advocate circular products much faster and compete with traditional linear product marketing which silences all negative consumption consequences.
These factors will make for a very interesting decade where new circular products will emerge and challenge the status quo of our wasteful linear flow.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A sustainable future

In a very worthwhile recent essay on our post-carbon future, Richard Heinberg discusses the various aspects of our transition to a society, and specifically economy, that is not powered by carbon-based fuels. Often this discussion is approached from two opposing view points. On the one hand we have the belief that there is abundant renewable energy provided by sun and wind and that mankind will undoubtedly overcome any technological hurdle that keeps us from a sustainable future. On the other, there are plenty of doomsday scenarios on how our current growth driven consumer society is about to collapse in a world of finite resources (arguably there is also a third view that neither peak oil nor climate crisis are real and we can just continue the party as before, but we can safely dismiss this in my view). The correct approach might lie, as often, in the middle way and only a sober, fact based analysis will show us a meaningful course of action.

To distill his detailed essay, the most interesting points for me were as follows:

Usage of primary energy

We often analyze the use of renewables only in the context of electricity generation (wind, PV, hydro, etc.). However, only about 40% of all primary energy is consumed for power generation. The rest is required for transportation, heating, manufacturing, agriculture, etc. A complete strategy for a sustainable future will need to provide strategies to eliminate the carbon energy in the 60% as well. This means that above the need for renewable power generation we need to think about the use of energy in all other sectors. Radical efficiency and wise use of primary energy will be the hallmark of such strategies.

(source: EIA)

The intermittancy challenge

The effectiveness of renewable sources to replace carbon-based sources has to factor in the intermittancy of generation. Wind and solar are erratic and produce sometimes a lot, some not enough energy. Once renewable sources reach a certain percentage of the overall grid mix, further investments are required in storage capacity, grid upgrades for power distribution as well as to handle a more decentralized production of electricity. According to a recent study by Weissbach, renewable systems might not be able to provide a positive EROI if all the costs are factored in.

Embodied energy and distribution energy

Renewable energy sources cannot only be measured by their direct generation cost. While the lack of input materials such as coal, gas, etc. makes renewables by now cost efficient in their kWh prices of generation (leaving the complex topic of subsidies for all energy sources aside), we also have to account for the energy required to produce things like solar panels, to distribute and assemble them. This is all only possible with carbon energy today and it is unclear how a self-propelled replacement strategy could look (e.g. solar breeders, etc.). In any case, if accessible carbon-based energy will dramatically decline in the next decades, it must not be squandered but primarily be used to drive the transition to renewable energy. This must be a major focus of policy.

Energy density drives energy use

Carbon fuels, specifically oil, have an incredible energy density for weight or volume. It is an energy store created by nature over millions of years using plants, sun light, pressure and heat. Today's renewable adhoc conversion of sun (and the resulting wind) energy plus its storage cannot come close to this level of energy density. Certain energy uses, like aviation, are hard to imagine without such a high density. Global transportation of goods in a global trade economy becomes doubtful. We must look for opportunities to replace carbon energy with renewables where it is easy for us to do. We must consider more localized economies. We cannot waste the remaining energy on useless goods or low-value uses. Analysis has to focus on where we can live with a lower density and replace those uses first.


Mankind has in the past switched energy sources from wood to coal to oil to nuclear. But those transitions have been additive in order to satisfy the rapidly increasing demand for energy to support our wealthy lifestyles and global population growth. The next century will pose the challenge not to add, but replace these sources with renewable ones.

(source: David Hughes)

The right questions

Using Google's RE<C project as an example, we need to review if we are asking the right questions of renewables. It seems very clear by now that they cannot in any form uphold the existing growth-based, resource-depleting consumer society model (which is independent of energy discussions an absurd model in a finite world). The more relevant questions center around how an economy and society will function given the natural constraints of a sustainable system and, equally important, how we most expediently transition to that state.

Overall, I believe Heinberg's essay rightly points us to not falling into the opposing camps of the Cornucopians or Doomers. We need to rationally work out what is realistically possible and how to get there. We need to focus on energy generation and energy use. We need to work out transition strategies for all sectors. Our work is cut out for us.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Renewable electricity on a good trend in Germany

Despite the mostly bleak news on energy globally, the German 2014 energy data gives grounds for optimism. Renewables have delivered 27.3% of electricity in Germany, topping even lignite (brown coal) as a source. The continued rise compensates mostly for the phase out of nuclear energy, but it also starts to replace hard coal simply by price. The reduction in hard coal has also led to an overall reduction in CO2 emissions.

More importantly, whilst the economy grew in 2014 and electricity prices dropped, the amount of electricity consumed went down by 3.8%. This shows that the correlation of electricity consumption, CO2 emissions and economic growth can be decoupled by clean sources and efficient use.

Lastly, the report shows that the grid can be capable of handling the fluctuations of renewable energy production. In 2014, while more wind and solar energy was produced overall, less conventional power plants had to be activated to balance peak times. With more storage capacity becoming available, this can further improve.

There is a lot more to do for the "Energiewende", but some fundamental trends are beginning to emerge on price, emission and reliability of renewable electricity. This should serve as a blue print for other regions to transition their electricity system to become sustainable. After all, it is not a question of "if" you transition, but "how".

Friday, January 2, 2015

Why renewable EROI matters

Somewhat naively, I used to think that the only thing that mattered for a sustainable future was the price point of energy from renewable sources. With rising prices for fossil fuels (primarily oil) and falling prices for renewable energy (due to efficiency improvements) it was only a question of time before the big switch was coming. In fact, recent news of Germany's energy giant EON retiring its conventional energy business to focus on renewables and power distribution seemed to be a clear indicator of this mechanism at play.

However, there is more to this story. In a recent quarterly newsletter, GMO's Jeremy Grantham discusses the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel revolution (starting page 12 in the Q3-2014 issue). I am a big fan of Grantham's data driven and common sense review of market mechanisms. Despite the recent price drop due to short lived US fracking sources and OPEC response to it, the times of cheaply available oil are over. The debate about peak oil, the point at which maximum possible oil extraction is reached, and oil subsequent depletion, at which oil reserves are used up faster than new ones are discovered, seems to have been settled in recent years. It is mostly the point in time for the peak to occur that seems debatable, but even that is generally placed within a decade or so. I recommend a look at part one of the transition handbook or the Post Carbon Institute to get a deeper understanding of the details.

So why does this matter so much? Can't we just switch over to eternally affordable renewables if we need to? Here is where EROI  (also often called EROEI) comes in. The "energy return on investment" is crucial to our current lifestyles. In the early oil days, an investment of $1 would have returned $100 worth of energy (an EROI of 100). In recent years, this has steadily declined as oil is much harder to come by. In some scenarios, we are reaching almost negligible ROI on oil extraction.

More so, if energy was once available at, say, $10, and the value it created was about $200 (a low boundary in Grantham's research), then our society benefited from an energy surplus worth $190 on each barrel extracted! It is this surplus that fueled our growth oriented, wealthy lifestyle. All sorts of convenient uses of oil were possible due to this surplus.

The second key element here is what we do with this value. If we use a barrel of oil as fuel to operate heavy machinery, one man can do the work of hundreds hence adding significantly to our level of prosperity. If, however, the same barrel is going to low value uses (e.g. throw away plastic wrappings, unnecessary transportation of goods, inefficient energy use, etc.), it does not add to our level of prosperity. One could argue that continued reduction in EROI will eliminate low level uses of energy sources.

Now, back to renewables. The question is not whether we can replace our conventional energy sources with renewable ones in a short enough time frame. This switch has to happen for climate reasons alone and will be one of the largest challenges mankind has faced so far. And, according to David MacKay's research "Sustainable energy - without the hot air" , a quiet improbable undertaking in itself.

But even if we pull it off, renewables as it stands have a radically different EROI than fossil fuels in their hayday. It takes quite some energy to produce solar panels, so their return is maybe 7:1 (outside of the interesting concept of "solar breeders"). Hydro is the strongest contender, but even the best estimates do not go over 40:1 and it comes with limited scalability of hydro locations. Wind energy might lie somewhere between that with 18:1. Given that our growth based economies fundamentally depend on high EROI and that the return for fossil fuels is not only dwindling but the resource itself is rapidly depleting, we have to seriously think about the implications for our global economic system and our consequently our daily life styles.

In summary, instead of just looking at how we can quickly increase our percentage of renewable energy sources as part of our overall usage, we need to aggressively become more efficient in all forms of energy use and eliminate low-value uses to preserve the crucial high-value uses that support our quality of living. It is very questionable to me if our current consumer societies can be sustained with quickly dwindling fossil resources. That party is simply over.

Some reading material: