4.3 Four Descent Scenarios

The Four Energy Descent and Climate Scenarios

Four Energy Descent scenarios are considered, each emerging from a combination of either fast of slow oil decline and either mild or severe climate change over the next 10-30 years.

  • Brown Tech: (slow oil decline, fast climate change)
  • Green Tech: (slow oil decline, slow climate change)
  • Earth Steward: (fast oil decline, slow climate change)
  • Lifeboats: (fast oil decline , fast climate change)
The Four Global Climate Change & Energy Descent Scenarios

While the characterisation of the four scenarios is difficult and inevitably speculative, they do provide a framework for considering how Peak Oil and Climate Change could interact to reshape global and local energy resources, settlement patterns, economy and governance. They also provide some insight into what could be effective responses for aware activists to secure their own and family’s future while contributing to society in a positive way. Those responses might include potentially effective policies that could be adopted by relevant forms of government that might be functional in each of these scenarios.41It may be unrealistic to expect any open acknowledgement by governments and institutions of the severity of the challenges posed by these scenarios without major crisis that breaks the paradigm of continuous economic growth.

Finally they clarify the relevance of permaculture principles in a world of energy descent and focus our attention on the strengths and weaknesses of various strategies in adapting to the differing scenarios.

The next section considers the first scenario, Brown Tech.