25 Jan 2006
Plan B revisited – now with added Peak Oil!
**Lester Brown** is one of the most influential environmental analysts around, and founded the Earth Policy Institute. He has written many books, generally packed with information and detail, and rarely containing much information that would send you skipping and dancing in the street. His latest book, Plan B – rescuing a planet under stress and a civilisation in trouble, was his attempt at an emergency plan for saving the world. While it is insightful and excellent, I found it rather frustrating in that what I would regard as the single biggest challenge, i.e. peak oil, wasn’t mentioned once. It is interesting to observe that Brown has now carried out a major rewrite of Plan B, and a new edition has just be published called Plan B 2.0, which has now taken peak oil to heart.
You can read the chapter on peak oil here, it is a very good overview of the arguments and different schools of thought. He has in fact put the whole book online, which is great for us but I can’t imagine does a great deal for book sales. He is to be applauded for his flexibility and openness – the end result looks like a far better book than the one I read.
25 Jan 6:43pm
I scanned the chapter on peak oil and like what he says about nuclear power – essentially that is it too expensive (and risky in terms of terrorism) to even be a runner as an
alternative to fossil fuels.
The end of cheap flights, the end of suburbia, more locally produced food – all the usual predictable stuff and frankly the more of this that gets published the more that people – and hopefully governments – will sit up and take notice.
‘Countries that fail to plan ahead, that lag in investing in more oil-efficient technologies and new energy sources, may experience a decline in living standards. The inability of national governments to manage the energy transition could lead to a failure of confidence in leaders and to failed states.’ An important wake up call to our leaders is well overdue. Where did I read that the irony of all this is that the country that is most prepared for all this is…Cuba!? With the US embargo, they’ve been forced to become a self-sustaining economy, cutting back on all unneccessary goods, growing their own food – even planting vegetables on any available patch of land in cities. Viva Cuba!