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Richard Heinberg published his excellent and influential book, The Party’s Over, the same year as The Long Emergency and we met many times since then on the conference circuit. Richard is Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. He’s the author of 13 award-winning books, including six on the subject of fossil fuel depletion. He has written for Nature, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and The Christian Science Monitor among other publications, and has delivered hundreds of lectures on energy and climate issues to audiences around the world. You may be interested in his latest essay at the Post Carbon Inst website: There’s No App for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss. His latest books are: Our Renewable Future (with David Fridley) Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels.

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About James Howard Kunstler

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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

10 Responses to “KunstlerCast 294 — “There’s No App for That” — Richard Heinberg”

  1. Happy In The Negev August 31, 2017 at 6:59 am #

    Thanks, Jim. Great to be reminded of why I began to tune Richard out. Even though I don’t reach your same conclusions 100% of the time, I love to read your blogs and books and I’m one of your Patreon supporters because you DO commerce in real facts instead of “accepted facts,” as Richard prefers. What is an “accepted fact” BTW, but another name for groupspeak propaganda? At some point, Richard Heinberg just lost all impartial credibility. Now, it takes too much effort and time to parse his writings and speeches as to which parts are really true and which parts are his personal hallucinations.

  2. andeee August 31, 2017 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks again James for another excellent presentation. I’ll be listening to this podcast a second time and sharing with as many of the uncomfortable curious as possible. However, when factoring in the runaway military security complex, world wide political corruption, climate change and the ever increasing nuclear threat, I believe Richard’s best case scenario is highly unlikely and his worst case scenario is highly optimistic, nevertheless a great introduction to reality for the uninformed.
    Keep up the good work James.

  3. chipshot August 31, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

    Considering these are two of the most insightful, well informed individuals regarding the predicaments facing humanity and civilization,
    it’s disappointing two things were not addressed.
    1) the potential for the climate to spiral out of control and what that
    could mean for our ability to feed ourselves in the coming decade or two
    2) how the masses will react to sudden and severe upheaval in their lives, whether triggered by financial, economic, climate, or environmental collapse.

    At least in the US, people are already angry, divided, living on the edge, and heavily armed. Sure, there is tons of co-operation currently in Houston, but if the whole population were to be plunged into a depression like scenario, I don’t think we’ll see such neighborly behavior. Quite the contrary.

    Even so, I will continue to respect, read and listen to both of these guys.

  4. Walter B August 31, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Another excellent conversation my host, thank you for sharing. Though I must say that your closing remark that people can only listen for so long does not apply to those of us who have no use or connection to television. Your podcasts are far superior to anything that the TV had years ago when I disconnected it.

    I must applaud you for defending the result of the last national election for its pathetic lack of alternatives. Indeed there has been very little in the way of choice for a very long time now.

    Your conversation touched upon Climate Change as did Too Much Magic as well. I respect your views on the issue, though personally I blame an awful lot on the changes that have taken place in the changes in our Sun and the decimation that these have inflicted upon the Earth’s Magnetosphere:


    Do we humans do very bad things to the atmosphere by the garbage that we burn in our internal combustion engines? Absolutely! Does it have very bad ecological effects to our planet? No doubt! But an astrophysics professor I had long ago once taught us that “as goes the Sun, so goes the Earth”. In any case, those who profit from carbon based fuels and the electricity they produce have acquired far too much power (profit) to ever be significantly altered in their ways. Use less energy? Count me in and I do a bang up job of doing exactly that, but people like me are not only few and far between, we are considered loonies by the Common American Idiots.

    There is another element in the bizarre nature of the weather patterns that we have all been seeing for the last decade and that is direct interference by man, especially the military. The military brass has long been aware that adverse weather conditions severely affect the abilities of any armed forces to conduct even the simplest acts of war. World War was a prime example and it was during the second World War that the lesson was not only best learned but the absolute lust to do something about it first came into play. There have been countless efforts, funding and scientific efforts put forth by militaries around the world to control the weather. You do not really need an army at all if you can make it rain on your enemies homeland for forty days and forty nights. Heck you can even bring in your own military as a relief effort afterwards and take over to the cheers of the survivors as the clouds all clear. I do not know how far they have progressed in this ability but I know how much effort we put into it during my time of service. Methinks they have made progress and perhaps, added to the problems.

    In any case, well done and thank you once again. I appreciate all the work you do to bring us these distractions from our toils and insights into the future.

  5. 100th Avatar September 1, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    I have to give a hand to Mr. Kunstler for keeping this episode from falling into the tired partisan trap. He was quick to remind Heinberg, well on his way to a rant about Faux News and the brainwashing of conservative rubes (in typical leftist elitist fashion) that the New York Times (and WaPo) does the same with its followers.

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    • Walter B September 1, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      Yes he was outstanding. There is no left nor right in the political game anymore, there is only Them. As long as the minions continue to choose either side of the same they will be easily controlled and it is ALL about control.

      • seawolf77 September 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

        So true. Divide and conquer. The Venetians perfected it.

        • grochef September 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

          I must chime in, James, and thank you for quickly melting Richard’s snowflake commentary at the start of the Podcast. It was your and Richard’s books that lit the fire in my life to become more self sufficient. I was raised as a city boy, in Minneapolis and now live in the Northwest with my wonderful wife and we have a small farm with chickens, sheep, a huge garden and a wood burning stove. When our US society goes Medieval, we will be much better off than we would have been if not for your work.

          Keep up the great work, sir!

  6. Merle September 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    Thanks for a very interesting podcast.

    Heinberg mentions that population may need to be significantly decreased in the future. Worst case this happens by war, famine, and pestilence. Best case, er, uh, how does it happen?

    I would like to ask the questions I have asked several times in the peak oil/environmentalist community, and never felt were adequately answered:

    1) What population do you think the earth will be able to sustain comfortably 50 years from now, when most of the oil is gone? My hunch is that the answer is somewhere around 2 billion, which is a sharp decline from 7 billion.

    2) How would you accomplish that peacefully? My back of the napkin calculation says that even if all couples limited themselves to one child, that only brings us down to 4 to 5 billion people in 50 years. Declining willingly at that rate seems impossible, and asking to decline more rapidly would have enormous consequences, even if we could all agree to do it.

    So it seems to me that we are in a predicament. Nobody can seem to think of a way to peacefully get the population down where it may need to be, and there may be enormous consequences if we don’t.

    I would love to hear if either of you have thought about that, and what you conclude.

  7. St. Roy September 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm #


    Great podcast! Really enjoyed listening to two icons of collapse blogosphere. Well done.