Monbiot on Astyk in The Guardian

by: Heather on 11/28/2008
Posted in: Peak Oil

George Monbiot is the author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning and one of the planet's most well-known and influential advocates for solutions to climate change. His Guardian columns are internationally syndicated and read by hundreds of thousands of readers each week.

In this week's Guardian column focusing on energy renewal, Monbiot references Sharon Astyk, author of Depletion and Abundance, in terms of her focus on the need to voluntarily reduce our energy consumption. While Monbiot appears to agree that there are risks to a technological "green new deal", he cautions against the wishful thinking he sees as inherent in relying on voluntary abstinence.

From Sharon's excellent response:

After being so flattered I could die, I suffered the irresistible desire to argue back, and I'm going to. But I don't want to understate how pleased I am to encounter Monbiot's critique. After all, we named "The Riot for Austerity" for him, from a passage in his remarkable _Heat_. I'm particularly grateful that he takes seriously the real question of what the climate impact a massive build out might actually be - this is a drum I keep beating, not because I wish to undermine efforts to expand renewable energy, but because I think living in a 5 degree warmer world with wind turbines will be small, sad consolation.

I'm also grateful that Monbiot's analysis begins from the hard truths. The drum I keep beating is that we cannot simply rely on IPCC analysis, which was already outdated when it was released, and which understates the truth. The sum of the data that has come in over the last two years suggests that whatever we do, we must do it quite rapidly. This is not a problem that can be put off for our kids, to the next administration, or even until we are done with the economic crisis. On this, Monbiot and I have absolutely no disagreements. He has done more than anyone in the world to raise awareness not only of climate change, but of its immediacy.

To read the rest of Sharon's response, see her blog entry, and once reading that has whetted your appetite for her refreshing and coherent approach to the mess we find ourselves in, check out Depletion and Abundance.

Thoughts on the differences (or similarities) between the approaches favored by George Monbiot and Sharon Astyk? Leave them in the comments section below.

Depletion and Abundance

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