Richard Heinberg is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. A journalist, educator, editor, lecturer, and a Core Faculty member of New College of California where he teaches a program on "Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community, he is the author of six previous books including The Party's Over and Powerdown.
The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societiesby Richard Heinberg
The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from
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The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.
In The Party’s Over, Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the United States—the world’s foremost oil consumer—is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a “managed collapse” that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.
More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications and recommendations for personal, community, national and global action, Heinberg’s updated book is a riveting wake-up call for human-kind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current US foreign policy.
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In Richard Heinberg¿s book ¿The Party¿s Over,¿ he writes in a way that is effortless to comprehend and easy to follow. I have not read many books on oil consumption or enough to compare this book to another, but as a first time reader I found it very enjoyable. In the first chapter he takes the time to explain the evolution of oil and energy. He steps back to the beginning and carefully explains the key concepts which will be helpful throughout the book. The quotes he uses at the beginning of each chapter give you a deep insight about the pages to come. You find yourself anticipating each and every chapter. A lot of terms I was unfamiliar with were defined through examples. Heinberg¿s organization of the book is easy to follow he uses his chapters as stepping stones, with points flowing clearly and objectively. Having done a little bit of my own research, I agree with the claims he makes and his objectives. The author explains why the use of oil is becoming an abundant issue. A timeline helps him best illustrate exactly what he is referring to, I found that very helpful for me. The graphs he uses are very dynamic, some a bit confusing, for first time readers, others very easy to follow. The way he compares countries to each other as well as oil production flows very well. The points he makes throughout the entire book are clear and precise. Heinberg does an exceptional job with helping his audience realize the amount of energy we use on a daily basis, not to mention the trend that has developed with growing industries and population. He touches back on medieval Europe while comparing that of Americans today. I found it appealing how he correlated the leisure time of medieval Europe and civilians today. For example, back in medieval Europe civilians used wood, or animal dung for light, civilians also used animals to plow their fields. When comparing medieval Europe to today¿s tactics we find that civilians today use electric for light and gas for tractors. The way the author links the information from centuries ago to the present day helps the reader understand the distinct difference. Heinberg lacks detail about energy sources which are readily available now instead he tends to focus a lot on the fact that oil has become a crisis. Many of us know that our supply of oil is becoming less and less, but what we don¿t know is what else is out there now? What predictions or options will be available to us in the near future? These are questions that Heinberg fails to answer throughout his book. I will play devils advocate for a moment and say that all of chapter four is based on possible energy sources. The author covers sources ranging from coal to fusion, he explains the pros and cons of each, while going into specific detail on the sources he finds most useful, but none of which are practical for long term use. The sources of information that the author uses, I found to be realistic. For example throughout the entire book Heinberg addresses several other books to make his point plausible. For example, ¿Energy, and the U.S Economy: A Biophysical Perspective¿ written by C.J. Cleveland, R. Costanza, C.A.S. Hall, and R. Kaufmann and also ¿Environmental Accounting, Energy and Decision Making¿ written by Howard T. Odum. The author uses these two books as a reference for net-energy figures. Another book he addresses is ¿High Noon for Natural Gas: The New Energy Crisis¿ written by Julian Darley. The way he incorporates these books is an excellent method for allowing his audience to gain their own opinion on whether or not the sources are credible. I have read the reviews to Darley¿s book and found that I would not rely on the information based on its reviews (like I said, these are only a few of the books he makes reference too.) Another form of information he provides us with are the vast amount of statistics scattered throughout each chapter. I was amazed at the amount of statisti