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    1. I’m trying to organize a series of statements which reflect the primary pressures pushing civilization towards collapse. Ideally, I could be as concise as possible and provide additional resources...

      I’m trying to organize a series of statements which reflect the primary pressures pushing civilization towards collapse. Ideally, I could be as concise as possible and provide additional resources for understanding and sources in defense of each. Any feedback would be helpful, as I would like to incorporate them into a general guide for better understanding collapse.

      We are overwhelmingly dependent on finite resources.

      Fossil fuels account for 87% of the world’s total energy consumption. 1 2 3

      Economic pressures will manifest well before reserves are actually depleted as more energy is required to extract the same amount of resources over time (or as the steepness of the EROEI cliff intensifies). 1 2

      We are transitioning to renewables very slowly.

      Renewables have had an average growth rate of 5.4% over the past decade. 1 2 3 4

      Renewables are not taking off any faster than coal or oil once did and there is no technical or financial reason to believe they will rise any quicker, in part because energy demand is soaring globally, making it hard for natural gas, much less renewables, to just keep up. 1

      Total world energy consumption increased 15% from 2009 to 2016. New renewables powered less than 30% of the growth in demand during that period. 1

      Transitioning to renewables too quickly would disrupt the global economy.

      A rush to build an new global infrastructure based on renewables would require an enormous amount resources and produce massive amounts of pollution. 1 2

      Current renewables are ineffective replacements for fossil fuels.

      Energy can only be substituted by other energy. Conventional economic thinking on most depletable resources considers substitution possibilities as essentially infinite. But not all joules perform equally. There is a large difference between potential and kinetic energy. Energy properties such as: intermittence, variability, energy density, power density, spatial distribution, energy return on energy invested, scalability, transportability, etc. make energy substitution a complex prospect. The ability of a technology to provide ‘joules’ is different than its ability to contribute to ‘work’ for society. All joules do not contribute equally to human economies. 1 2 3

      Best-case energy transition scenarios will still result in severe climate change.

      Even if every renewable energy technology advanced as quickly as imagined and they were all applied globally, atmospheric CO2 levels wouldn’t just remain above 350 ppm; they would continue to rise exponentially due to continued fossil fuel use. So our best-case scenario, which was based on our most optimistic forecasts for renewable energy, would still result in severe climate change, with all its dire consequences: shifting climatic zones, freshwater shortages, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, among others. Our reckoning showed that reversing the trend would require both radical technological advances in cheap zero-carbon energy, as well as a method of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering the carbon. 1

      The speed and scale of transitions and of technological change required to limit warming to 1.5°C has been observed in the past within specific sectors and technologies {}. But the geographical and economic scales at which the required rates of change in the energy, land, urban, infrastructure and industrial systems would need to take place, are larger and have no documented historic precedent. 1

      Global economic growth peaked forty years ago.

      Global economic growth peaked forty years ago and is projected to settle at 3.7% in 2018. 1 2 3

      The increased price of energy, agricultural stress, energy demand, and declining EROEI suggest the energy-surplus economy already peaked in the early 20th century. 1 2

      The size of the global economy is still projected to double within the next 25 years. 1

      Our institutions and financial systems are based on expectations of continued GDP growth perpetually into the future. Current OECD (2015) forecasts are for more than a tripling of the physical size of the world economy by 2050. No serious government or institution entity forecasts the end of growth this century (at least not publicly). 1

      Global energy demand is increasing.

      Global energy demand has increased 0.5-2% per year from 2011-2017, despite increases in efficiency. 1 2 3

      Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use. 1 2 3 4

      World population is increasing.

      World population is growing at a rate of around 1.09% per year (2018, down from 1.12% in 2017 and 1.14% in 2016. The current average population increase is estimated at 83 million people per year. The annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at around 2%. The rate of increase has nearly halved since then, and will continue to decline in the coming years. 1 2

      Our supplies of food and water are diminishing.

      Global crop yields are expected to fall by 10% on average over the next 30 years as a result of land degradation and climate change. 1

      An estimated 38% of the world’s cropland has been degraded or reduced water and nutrient availability. 1 2

      Two-thirds of the world (4.0 billion people) lives under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month per year. 1

      Climate change is rapidly destabilizing our environment.

      An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree humans are the primary cause of climate change. 1

      A comparison of past IPCC predictions against 22 years of weather data and the latest climate science find the IPCC has consistently underplayed the intensity of climate change in each of its four major reports released since 1990. 1

      15,000 scientists, the most to ever cosign and formally support a published journal article, recently called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” 1

      Emissions are still rising globally and far from enabling us to stay under two degrees of global average warming. 1 2

      Climate feedback loops could exponentially accelerate climate change.

      In addition to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, many disrupted systems can trigger various positive or negative feedbacks within the larger system. 1 2 3 4 5

      Biodiversity is falling rapidly.

      The current species extinction rate is 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than the natural background rate. 1 2

      World wildlife populations have declined by an average 58% in the past four decades. 1

      The marginal utility of societal complexity is declining.

      Civilization solves problems via increased societal complexity (e.g. specialization, political organization, technology, economic relationships). However, each increase in complexity has a declining marginal utility to overall society, until it eventually becomes negative. At such a point, complexity would decrease and a process of collapse or decline would begin, since it becomes more useful to decrease societal complexity than it would be to increase it. 1 2 3

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