Civilisation sustainability

2011 Feb

Energy return on investment, peak oil, and the end of economic growth.

Economic growth over the past 40 years has used increasing quantities of fossil energy, and most importantly oil. Yet, our ability to increase the global supply of conventional crude oil much beyond current levels is doubtful, which may pose a problem for continued economic growth.

18th April 2017

How Western civilisation could collapse

Some possible precipitating factors are already in place. How the West reacts to them will determine the world’s future, says Rachel Nuwer.


Energy Returns and The Long-run Growth of Global Industrial Society

The extreme interconnectedness of energy and economic systems will tend to confound any attempt to estimate the energy return on investment at anything other than the global scale. Here, I apply a very simple model of global energy use to specify the dynamic characteristics of global-scale Energy Returns On Investment (EROIG). This suggests that the observed long-run relative growth rate of ~2.5% yr−1 in global primary energy use is associated with an equilibrium return from infrastructure investments of 2:1, with returns accruing with a time constant of 40 years.


19th February 2019

Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?

Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.