Article on Chris By The Globe And Mail

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 - 1:04pm

Fast on the heels of the PBS Newshour segment, another mainstream media vehicle has conducted a profile interview of Chris.

Today, Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, ran a piece on Chris' energy views written by national affairs columnist Gary Mason:

What happens when fossil fuels run out?


The Globe and Mail

Friday, Jan. 31 2014, 7:17 AM EST

The foundation of the world economy is built on energy. And if you believe that the economy is structured in such a way that it needs to grow continually in order to survive, then it will take an endless supply of energy to feed it.

But what happens to that equation when the net amount of energy we extract from the earth is shrinking? How, then, does an economy grow exponentially forever if the one element it needs more than anything to flourish is contracting with time?

Well, in the mind of Chris Martenson, it creates a moment when it’s vital to challenge existing orthodoxies about the way the economy, debt and capital markets work, and to think about how wealth is accumulated, more generally.

Mr. Martenson is a trained neuroscientist who in recent years has turned his attention to the economy, particularly as it relates to dwindling energy resources and growing debt. His view of the future isn’t particularly rosy. Once a young, rich executive of a Fortune 300 company, Mr. Martenson divested himself of most of the trappings associated with success in the U.S., moved to the country and started growing his own food.

He also got rid of most any equity stocks and put his money in gold and silver. He has been labelled a prophet of doom and a survivalist, by some. But more recently, his views have been receiving wider and more serious attention. He has been to Canada to talk to oil and gas investors, of all people. That’s incongruous given his view that we’re pillaging the Earth of its energy resources in the most inefficient and wasteful ways possible.

And this is not a good thing, considering there is not an infinite supply of that energy we’re ripping from the ground. At some point the unsustainable hits the moment of won’t. Mr. Martenson’s case is compelling and, as you’d expect of a scientist, based on mounds of data.

Click here to read the article in full.

We're encouraged to see that more mainstream channels are beginning to cover our message, and doing so in a more open and objective light than in years past.


shastatodd's picture
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they still have no clue

when i see a comment like this:

"Meantime, we’re ignoring obvious ways to conserve energy – solar panels, anyone? – "

i realize they still have no clue.


i have been designing, installing and maintaining solar pv systems since 1985. what is happening now in the solar industry is more of the same, old-school thinking. there is no free lunch - solar takes lots of carbon based resources to manufacture. installing them to "conserve energy" (more likely to compensate for waste and unconscious consumption) is more old paradigm thinking. "conserving" means using LESS, not more to compensate for waste and excessive consumption.


solar powering waste is surely not "green". job one is reducing consumption. every potential client gets an energy audit and suggestions to improve efficiency and conserve (yes i know that's a bad word) before we even talk about solar.



but most people dont want to reduce consumption... and i think we all know where that road leads.








Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Just Plain Stumped.

What strikes me time and again is that when people understand that things like solar panels are no substitute for fossil fuels they just freeze.

According to Persig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, IQ of 1 in 100,000.) those moments when you are just plain stumped are valuable. They are the moment of the great ah ha!

OK. So we now know that fossil fuels, solar panels, wind energy, ethanol in its various manifestations, plain vanilla nuclear etc are just not going to keep us alive. So where are we? Stumped.

So what to do? Roll over and die? Hey, if that works for you!

But for the tiny minority who have any sort of survival instinct at all, surely you would begin to cast about in dark corners for anything that might help extricate oneself from this lethal trap?

But no. The Ego prohibits any discussion about things we do not understand. (The dark corners). We just go round and round like rats trapped in a maze, unable to climb over the wall and escape. Dr Iain McGilchrist's description of the model making left brain is on the money. It is all about more about what we know, about what we know.   .   .   .

See: Why I think differently.

The Master and his Emissary. Video.

Thetallestmanonearth's picture
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Posts: 325
Roll out the welcome mats

Sure people in the main stream just starting to grapple with these thoughts are going to have a learning curve to catch up with our community.  We have a head start....let's roll out the welcome mat and engage them in conversation as much as possible.  We need more people discussing our global predicament.  Maybe one of them will come with an idea that makes the future just a little more comfortable for all of us.

Congrats on getting a little more main stream press PP.  Keep it up!!!

Also, to any new comers, feel free to ask questions and engage in conversation. The topics of energy the environment and the economy are huge macro issues that affect each of us. We're all in this together.

Phaedrus the younger's picture
Phaedrus the younger
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Posts: 69
Well done Chris, Adam

Great to see the coverage, and that Mr Mason presented a serious perspective on the issue - even more so than the recent PBS piece that had an undertone of 'fringe'.  I would consider that a significant step in the right direction.  

Have you considered connecting with Neil Young?  Bit of a gamble but there's an accomplished warrior of the 60's protest movement who's never given up.

cmartenson's picture
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About Solar...
shastatodd wrote:

when i see a comment like this:

"Meantime, we’re ignoring obvious ways to conserve energy – solar panels, anyone? – "

i realize they still have no clue.


It got dropped, but my main point to Gary was about solar thermal panels...somehow, whenever one mentions solar anything, it gets shortened to 'solar panels," and that becomes 'solar PV' in everyone's minds.

I am not a huge fan of solar PV at current economics, but I might be if a proper EROEI told me that the full life-cycle return was 10:1 or better.  And by 'full life-cycle' I include everything from the initial mining of the raw resources to the lunches grown and eaten by the workers at the plant, to the roads and vehicles used in the construction, installation and maintenance, and eventual recycling.

But solar thermal?  There the energetics, economics, and environmental benefits are a slam-dunk, no brainer.

Solar thermal is a big theme of mine, because if we can't even rally around something so obvious, then what's the point of trying for more clever or subtle things? 

Jim H's picture
Jim H
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Posts: 2391
Solar/Thermal theme

Thank you Chris for being more specific on this question regarding solar energy... it brings me to another question;  what do you think of the idea of using a thermal/sun energy concentrator in conjunction with a special solar cell or solar cells.. there are many different types being looked at.  This would seem to be the best of both worlds... a hybrid of sorts.... getting lots of sun onto a small area, thus making the (expensive) solar cell itself a smaller part of the overall EROIE equation?

Absolicon can produce electricity using photovoltaic cells with concentrated light. The PV cells are focused and generate 10 times more electricity than normal cells, thanks to the concentrated light. The electricity is converted to 230 V AC and fed into the electrical power grid.


Christopher H's picture
Christopher H
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Posts: 148
Hall/Prieto study of Spain's solar PV


Have you looked at the recent study of Spain's massive solar PV build-out conducted by Charles Hall and Pedro Prieto?  John Michael Greer referenced it in one of his more recent blog posts.  In the study, Hall and Prieto applied the kind of full-trail analysis of Spain's PV industry, and their ultimate conclusion was that the ERoEI was around 2.5, far below the range of 8-12 needed to support industrial civilization.

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