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Mr Lars Josefsson of Vattenfall AB, Berlin
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The below message was sent to one person, more or less by chance. But similar advice must be given to most opinion leaders.
This is the transcript of an email sent 24.1.2008
To: Prof Lars Goeran Josefsson, Vorsitzender Präsident und Chief Executive Officer (CEO) von Vattenfall AB" <<>
Re: Interview Lars Josefsson mit Frau Susanne Brunner in Davos am 23.1.2007
Cc: [hidden]

Dear Mr Josefsson,

Ms Susanne Brunner [of Swiss National Radio, DRS] asked the right questions. Excellent!

You gave some answers that are questionable at least.
Let me explain.

1. You claim that there is enough energy.
1.1 If we want to maintain our present energy consumption level, we will be facing increasing energy shortages because of population increase, economic development and diminishing fossil energy reserves. Renewable energies cannot replace oil and gas and it's highly questionable whether there's sufficient potential [for renewables production].
1.2 If we consider sustainability as being the main issue and problem of our time and day, then this is the result of the enormous amounts of cheap (=abundant) fossil fuels, which allowed humanity to reach the present level of overpopulation and exorbitant luxuries and resource wastages. These are at the origin of all environmental problems: biodiversity, pollution (including air pollution by greenhouse gases), erosion, water shortages, etc. From this point of view we have too much fossil energy.
1.3. Peak oil is expected any time soon now. Even the IEA [International Energy Agency] admitted this in their last outlook of November 2007. After the onset of Peak Oil, we will face increasing scarcities of liquid and gaseous fuels, which fuel around 80 per cent of our lives and for which there is NO alternative. Virtually everything we produce and use is dependent on OIL: machinery, medicine, transportation and distribution, agriculture. Declining oil availability means shortages in all areas.

2. You claim that we can continue to grow economically and simultaneously fight climate change.
2.1 Climate change is a result of our economic hyperactivity and growth means more greenhouse gas emissions.
2.2 Growth means higher consumption rates for all raw materials, including fossil energy, and the day will come that some resources reach their rock-bottom level, where extraction costs will be higher than the advantage we get from them. Slavery was abolished after keeping slaves got more expensive than using machines. The same with horses. The opposite development will happen with the extraction of fossil fuels.
2.3 It is a dangerous illusion to believe that we could maintain our present-day level of exorbitant resource consumption. Because resources are dwindling and on the other hand the population doesn't stop rising. 8.5 billion people are expected to live in 2050, compared to 6.6 billion today. Which resources will they still have?
2.4 The earth has overshot its carrying capacity by far and we must expect fights and wars between people and peoples before long. That is not pessimism, Mr Josefsson, but simple realistic extrapolation of very physical and non-ideological trends. If one uses limited non-renewable resources at an increassing speed even a child can understand that one day one will run out of them. And this day is much closer than many people think and/or are willing to admit.

3. You claim that we have enough time till 2060 (fifty years) and that technology will provide the solution.
3.1 This is no more than hope. Because there's is no guarantee at all that we will find the miracle technolgies for all problems and that it will be affordable when needed.
Ms Brunner correctly questioned the prospects of Carbon Capping and Storage, a technology that is very costly of which the feasibility is still debated. Moreover it would only apply to electricty production [and oil drilling].
3.2 Technology factually increases the environmental problems because it is increasing resource depletion rates. 3.3 It is not a question of ingenuity or research. The problems we are facing now must necessarily be countered with the methods we know now.
3.4 In 50 years time we may have entered the phase of final resources wars, aggravated by the effects of climate change: droughts, floods, crops' failures, food shortages, drinking water shortages, collapse of our techological society. So we do NOT have time. We must act now, reduce consumption, stop population growth, contract the economy by relocalisation, speed reduction and increasing longevity of our products. Only then can we hope for humanity to survive. Economic growth is the opposite of what humanity needs - because the earth cannot sustain it.

4. You may consult our page regarding the Bali "Results".

Your expectations and assertions, Mr Josefsson, do not line up with your statement that Vattenfall has a task to perform for society. Of course society is asking for the energy. But opinion leaders should tell the people the facts that are true and correct. The present and the future are built upon physical realities, not on illusionary dreams.

Dear Mr Josefsson, I will be pleased to explain environmental facts in more detail, should you wish so.

I thank you for your attention and I'm interested in receiving your personal reaction to the above.

With kind regards,

Helmut Lubbers

-- Helmut Lubbers, BE MSocSc DipEcol
ecoglobe - ecology discovery foundation
+41 22 3212320

Our Shrinking Planet Earth

Compare: "time-growth scenarios"

  • Limits to Growth, 1972, compare ecostory 17-2004
  • Millennium Goals
  • "A world bursting at the seams" - Jeffrey Sachs
  • sustainability
  • stop growth letters
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