Design In The Light of Dark Energy
“Crescita, crescita, crescita….e…….crescita, crescita, crescita”
February 11, 2012 Design In The Light of Dark Energy [ This text is a shortened version of my talk at last month’s conference in Philadelphia on Architecture & Energy; proceedings of that event will be published as a book later this year. Whilst preparing the talk, and this text, I also prepared this Reading List for Mr Monti. ]
When the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, gave his acceptance speech to the Italian Senate before Christmas, he used the word “growth” 28 times and the word “energy” – well, zero times.
Why would this supposed technocrat neglect even to mention the biophysical basis of the world’s economy? Energy, after all, is at the heart of industrial growth society: industrial production, our cities, our transport systems, our buildings and infrastructure, food and water flows, the internet – they all critically depend on oil and gas.
Mr Monti is not the only politician promoting growth over common sense and the laws of physics. They’e all at it. President Obama, in his State of the Union message, stated soothingly that “we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.” Mr Obama was not lying, because a choice has already been made. ‘We’ have chosen the protection of business-as-usual over any pretense that we will leave the world better for our children.
Mr Obama, for his part, has in fact committed to leave the world a much worse place. Asserting that the US needs to develop “every available source of energy” – including oil and gas – he then announced that he will “sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects”. Frack, Baby, Frack.
Mr Monti and Mr Obama are better described as theocrats, than technocrats. Their principal job is to keep us in thrall to a myth: an economy that expands to infinity in a finite world.