Entropy Now

In 1990, I took my first class about solar electricity. The first lesson was to reduce consumption, which is important on the societal level, too.

350Eugene’s Deb McGee and Jim Neu wrote letters (Nov. 21) claiming that the obstacle to ending fossil fuel use is political corruption and we just need a positive attitude. I wish I agreed, but using solar panels and studying how concentrated energy runs industrial civilization taught me the obstacle is physics.

McGee and Neu quote Peter DeFazio as saying fossil fuel use will not end in the next decade. I oppose DeFazio’s promotion of highway expansions, clearcuts on federal forests, burning trees for electricity and the NuScale nuclear power startup in Corvallis. But here, DeFazio is correct.

The reason we use fossil energy: It is more concentrated than living on our solar budget, especially this time of year.

Finite concentrated fossil carbon fueled our population increase from under a billion (before fossil) to approaching 8 billion today. Using remaining fossils to re-localize food production might ensure social cohesion on the energy downslope. Logistics matter more than protests, Eugene’s law to buy “carbon credits” or lawsuits seeking governmental plans.

Post Carbon Institute in Corvallis (in DeFazio’s district) is the leading group in the country integrating concerns about ecology and climate with the facts of peak everything and the limits to exponential growth on a round, abundant, finite planet. Their sites include postcarbon.org and resilience.org.

Entropy is not a good idea; it’s the law!

Mark Robinowitz