This book studies the limits imposed by the depletion of fossil fuels and the requirements of climate stabilization on economic growth with a focus on China. The book intends to examine the potentials of various energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and other renewables, as well as energy efficiency. Unlike many other books on the subject, this book intends to argue that, despite the large potentials of renewable energies and energy efficiency, economic growth eventually will have to be brought to an end as China and the world undertake the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter. Their energy consumption is dominated by coal and China now accounts for one quarter of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, China is set to become the world’s largest oil importer in the next decade.
This book will consider energy development in the broader context of economic and social changes, especially the historical dynamics of the capitalist world system. Historical lessons of capitalism and socialism will be discussed. The book will evaluate the implications of ecological limits to growth on the economic system and argue that the existing capitalist system is fundamentally incompatible with ecological sustainability.
1. Introduction 2. China and Global Capitalism 3. Energy and Economic Growth 4. Peak Oil and the Limits to Economic Growth 5. End of Economic Growth or Climate Catastrophes? 6. Projecting China’s Energy Future 7. Capitalism, Socialism, and the Future of Humanity