Inquiry arc: 2017-2020

For the last few years I’ve used Beyond this Brief Anomaly primarily as a platform for announcing work stemming from the inquiry that has been published through other channels, rather than for releasing original content. That’s mainly because the work I’ve been doing has been in collaboration with other people. While I’ve highlighted the two books (three including the German translation of Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future published in September) in particular, and a few spin-off articles and events related to those, there have also been a number of peer-reviewed journal articles that either add directly to the inquiry here, or that address issues that are thematically connected. I’ve been slow off the mark linking these directly here, with the oldest of these going back three years now.

To make the inquiry record as comprehensive as possible, I’ll introduce these papers here in reverse chronological order simply by posting the abstracts, with links to the journal or manuscript versions on my own repository website where relevant. The manuscripts also contain links to the article pages on the journal websites.

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A guide to making sense of the inquiry: Beyond ‘energy futures’

I’ve been invited by Mike McAllum and Marcus Bussey to speak to the University of the Sunshine Coast Futures Collective next week, which was a handy prompt to bring things up to date here on recent work.

Before I get to that in a follow-up post though, I figured this also presented a timely opportunity to situate the inquiry for folks who are more deeply ensconced in the futures and foresight field than readers who arrive here by other paths. In Marcus’s invitation email for the meeting next week, I’m billed as an “Energy Futurist”. I kind of winced and smiled at that simultaneously. I can see how what I’m doing here would naturally be seen in those terms, especially from within the futures field. At the same time, as soon as the energy descriptor gets appended, it feels like it has an unfortunate narrowing effect that the approach I’ve tried to take to this inquiry was intended to head off. An “energy futurist” sounds on face value like a person you might call up when you’re specifically interested the future(s) of [insert here something specifically related to energy supply or use, like PV technology, or oil price, or motor vehicles]. Continue reading