‘Peak Oil’ author returns to Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

‘Peak Oil’ author returns to Grass Valley

The last time Richard Heinberg came to Grass Valley to talk about the global energy crisis, gasoline cost around $3 a gallon.

In September 2005, the author of “Peak Oil” said the world had reached the point at which it was consuming more fossil fuels than it was finding and refining. He then predicted gasoline prices would continue to rise.

Today, $4-a-gallon gas is practically considered a steal, and Heinberg is back to discuss his latest book, “Peak Everything,” which paints a bleak picture of the planet’s future unless significant changes occur.

“After 200 years of having an industrial economy, we’re quite literally facing a dead end,” he said in a telephone interview this week. “If we keep going this way, we will be dead.”

Heinberg says rising energy prices are just part of a larger problem with more serious consequences.

“We are now basically drawing down the earth’s resources,” said Heinberg, pointing to shortages in metals like copper, minerals, fresh water, fish and oil, coal and natural gas. “The whole game has to be changed. We can’t sustain our growth.”

Heinberg, a senior fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute in Sebastopol, said the oil-driven industrial age and the wealth it has provided has accelerated the world’s consumption of natural resources far beyond anything seen before.

“We’ve had this long, unbroken period of economic growth where we think this is normal,” he said. “We are handicapped to the extent that our hard times are so far in the past.”

The short-term solution, he said, is to begin a massive conservation program while embarking on a path toward alternative energy and reinventing an economy that is less energy intensive.

“If you look at economic life as we know it, it looks bleak,” Heinberg said. “But if you start locally and start thinking out-of-the-box there is hope.”

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail pbutler@theunion.com or call 477-4239.

Know & Go

n What: Richard Heinberg speaking about his new book

n When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

n Where: Don Baggett Theatre, Nevada Union High School

n Ticket information: $5 for children, $10 for seniors and students, $15 general. Available at Briar Patch, Yabodo, Bookseller or at the door.

n Contact: 470-8642, info@apple-nc.or,


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