It’s now well over a year since Beyond this Brief Anomaly went into one of its periodic and not exactly planned hibernations. If your are still sufficiently tuned in to be reading this, well thanks for hanging in there. A quick explanatory note, and a primer for some upcoming posts, is due.
The good news is, the inquiry is still very much alive and well, it has just been happening in other places. Shortly after the last post, the work that happens behind the scenes in order to feed (what I hope readers find to be) quality content here required a deeper dive for a while. Then, around February this year, life circumstances took a rather tumultuous turn (or rather, three of them almost simultaneously), and any prospects of keeping things current here crashed. It’s only in the past week or so that conditions have settled sufficiently to give attention to dusting off Beyond this Brief Anomaly.
Over the next few weeks, I anticipate putting up three short post that will link to the background work I’ve been doing and provide more detail:
- The most significant of these is a short book titled Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future: Life Beyond this Brief Anomaly, co-authored with Sam Alexander. The book cuts across much of the territory explored here over the years, but expands in particular on the ideas discussed in the last post—my contribution to a symposium run by Nafeez Ahmed, Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy. The book is aimed at what I’d describe as an engaged lay audience i.e. people tuned into energy- and sustainability-transitions discourse but who don’t necessarily have a technical or professional involvement in these areas (though it should also have plenty of relevance for people who do).
- An article in the journal Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality seeking to make sense of the apparent divergence in findings on PV energy return on investment, co-authored with Graham Palmer. This project arose out of a post here from a couple of years back in which I took a more forensic look at the basis for PV energy inputs used in the modelling initiative documented in detail here during 2015-16. I’ll explain a bit more about the background to the article in the related post.
- An article in the journal Ecological Economics, that critiques the reporting of findings from the CSIRO’s Australian National Outlook study published in late 2015. This was co-authored with Sam Alexander and Jonathan Rutherford. (The ANO study findings were reported as inferring that Australia can continue to experience economic growth in terms of GDP, out to 2050, while reducing the severity of a range of environmental impacts, if it ‘chooses to do so’—and that the measures envisaged could make ‘a sustainable Australia’ possible).
In a world of Twitter-length attention spans, the last of these may amuse readers. The idea that I’d bother posting on something that relates to study findings published three years ago may seem rather quaint. The conversation of which that is all part remains as relevant as ever though, and the ways in which these things unfold does seem to involve uncanny timing more often than might be expected. This is no exception: with the announcement of the IPCC’s latest findings this week, the ground covered in both Carbon Civlisation and in the Ecological Economics article has now been thrust from the periphery to the centre of public attention.
The order in which I get these three posts out may shift around a bit, but that’s the general plan (life permitting).
By the way, you may have spotted that I’ve added a ‘donate’ button to the homepage. Any contributions that readers feel inclined to make there will be very warmly received, greatly appreciated, and will help to keep the inquiry rolling.