Richard Heinberg

Articles by this author

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Are We Doomed? Let’s Have a Talk.
My most recent essay, in which I discussed a highly publicized controversy over the efficacy of plans for a comprehensive transition to an all-renewable energy future, garnered some strong responses. “If you are right,” one Facebook commenter opined, “we are doomed. Fortunately you are not right...
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Friday, January 20, 2017
A Good Day for a Walk in the Woods
Not since the Civil War has an American presidential Inauguration Day been so fraught with fear and dread (on February 23, 1861, Abraham Lincoln traveled to his inauguration under military guard, arriving in Washington, D.C., in disguise). The incoming president is the most unpopular of any to...
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Thursday, December 08, 2016
Localism in the Age of Trump
2016 will be remembered as the year Donald Trump—a wealthy, narcissistic political novice with a strong authoritarian bent—was elected president of the United States after campaigning against economic globalization. The events are fresh enough in many people’s minds that feelings are still raw and...
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Tuesday, November 08, 2016
The Case of the Vanishing Oil Reserves
Where are Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade when we need them? A crime is in progress, and only a detective who’s unafraid of stepping on powerful people’s toes is likely to get to the bottom of it. Here’s what we know. Someone is stealing the world’s valuable petroleum reserves right from under our...
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Exploring the Gap Between Business-as-Usual and Utter Doom
Predicting the future is a fool’s errand, but everybody does it. As long as we’ve had language—for tens of thousands of years, at last estimate—we’ve been able to formulate the question, “What will tomorrow bring?” The answers have ranged from idyllic to hellish, though the reality has been, more...
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Tuesday, August 02, 2016
“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”
Movie buffs will recognize this title as the most memorable line from “A Few Good Men” (1992), spoken by the character Colonel Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson (“You can’t handle the truth!” is #29 in the American Film Institute’s list of 100 top movie quotes). I hereby propose it as the subtext of...
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Tiptoeing Through the Renewable Energy Minefield
I spent the last year working with co-author David Fridley and Post Carbon Institute staff on a just-published book, Our Renewable Future . The process was a pleasure: everyone involved (including the twenty or so experts we interviewed or consulted) was delightful to work with, and I personally...
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016
100% Renewable Energy: What We Can Do in 10 Years
If our transition to renewable energy is successful, we will achieve savings in the ongoing energy expenditures needed for economic production. We will be rewarded with a quality of life that is acceptable—and, perhaps, preferable to our current one (even though, for most Americans, material...
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Thursday, February 04, 2016
Carbon Tax: The Low Oil Price Opportunity
Carbon taxes constitute a widely discussed policy tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing humanity’s headlong rush toward catastrophic climate change. Taxing energy from fossil fuels makes that energy more expensive, thereby making renewable energy comparatively cheaper. There are...
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Can We Have Our Climate and Eat It, Too?
As much as world leaders would like to focus attention on their economies, terrorism, or winning the next election, the heat is rising. Each new release of data on melting glaciers and extreme weather seems more dire than the last, and each governmental COP meeting organized to come up with an...
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