Richard Heinberg

Articles by this author

Barn raising in Lansing (now North York City Centre). Toronto, Canada.Ca 1900-1919 Views
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Coronavirus, Economic Networks, and Social Fabric
The COVID-19 pandemic offers intriguing insights into how networked our modern world has become, and how we’ve traded resilience for economic efficiency. Case in point: someone gets sick in China in December of 2019, and by March of 2020 the US shale oil industry is teetering on the brink. What’s...
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A sign for Transition Linlithgow in Scotland Views
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Two Arguments for Localism
Argument 1: Localism is inevitable. Globalization was made possible by long-distance transport, communications, and capital flows. It fits with widespread assumptions about progress and economic growth leading to a better future. But there are good reasons to think that our current bout of...
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Thursday, January 17, 2019
Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?
The idea is infectious. Could a big government jobs and spending program succeed in kicking into gear the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and ultimately save us from catastrophic climate change? The energy transition is currently going way too slowly; it needs money and policy...
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If we’re asleep at the wheel, the likelihood of calamity skyrockets.(Photo: Screenshot) Views
Thursday, October 18, 2018
When It Comes to Sustainability, We’re a Society of Distracted Drivers
Driving is dangerous. In fact, it’s about the riskiest activity most of us engage in routinely. It requires one’s full attention—and even then, things can sometimes go horribly awry. The brakes fail. Weather turns roads to ice. A driver in the oncoming lane falls asleep. Tragedy ensues. But if we’...
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U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the Oval Office at the White House, March 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Views
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Saudis and Trump: Gambling Bigly
“My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.” – Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, first Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates Try this simple mental exercise. Imagine a hypothetical...
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Disaster in Puerto Rico a Chance to Build Back Sustainably and With Resilience
News reports tell of the devastation left by a direct hit from Category 4 Hurricane Maria. Puerto Ricans already coping with damage from Hurricane Irma, which grazed the island just days before, were slammed with an even stronger storm on September 20, bringing more than a foot of rain and maximum...
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A GOES satellite image showing Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, September 5, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Released) Views
Saturday, September 09, 2017
Watching the Hurricane’s Path
It’s an eerie experience. You’ve just heard that another hurricane has formed in the Atlantic, and that it’s headed toward land. You search for NOAA’s National Hurricane Center website so you can see the forecast path for the storm. You’re horrified at the implications, and you bookmark the site...
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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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