Collapse and Recovery

What’s the relationship between our energy consumption, our material footprint and our economies?

Tim Garrett and I come to refer to these as “the holy trinity”. Tim is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah, and over two years ago, he joined me to discuss the thermodynamics of collapse, where he explained his research into the behaviour of snowflakes and how you could extrapolate the behaviour of economies and civilization using the laws of thermodynamics. He’s back on the show to explain how we use our energy, the necessity of a surplus of energy and how all of this relates to a society’s growth and health.

In this conversation we discuss questions like: Will renewables facilitate an increased consumption of fossil fuels? Can we reduce inequality by reducing energy consumption? How can we organise a wave-like civilisation, which grows and decays within safe boundaries? Can we decline in order to recover before crashing completely?