Systemic global risks of oil supply, climate shock and financial collapse threaten tomorrow's economies and mean businesses and policy makers face huge challenges in fuelling tomorrow’s world.
Jeremy Leggett gives a personal testimony of the dangers often ignored and incompletely understood - a journey through the human mind, the institutionalization of denial, and the reasons civilizations fail. It is also an account of tantalizing hope, because mobilizing renewables and redeploying energy funding can soften the crash of modern capitalism and set us on a road to renaissance.
Table of Contents
About the author Publisher’s note about the author’s credentials and motivations Acknowledgements Note on sources and style Prologue PART 1: A HISTORY 1. Lies, scaremongering, and affordable oil 2. Under the volcano 3. Doomed to failure 4. Not our responsibility 5. The risk of contingency 6. The small print 7. When the dancing stops 8. This House Believes 9. They will blame us forever 10. As bad as the credit crunch 11. You are the flip side of austerity 12. Houston, it’s just possible we have a problem 13. The anti Oil Shock Response Plan plan 14. A bollocks subject 15. To the point of being suicidal 16. A new era of fossil fuels 17. More unhinged by the week PART 2: A FUTURE 18. What next: the anatomy of the biggest crash 19. The power of context: energy and security 20. The choice of roads: people and systems Notes and references
Jeremy Leggett is a social entrepreneur and author. He has been an Entrepreneur of the Year at the NewEnergy Awards, a CNN Principal Voice, and is founder and chairman of renewable energy company Solarcentury, and SolarAid. He chairs the financial think tank CarbonTracker, contributes to the Guardian and the Financial Times, and is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.
"[Leggett's] insider perspective on the energy business leaves him ideally placed to narrate with authority the story of an industry hurtling towards crisis — and the refusal of its leaders to acknowledge it... The Energy of Nations reads like a thriller." - Helen Massy-Beresford, Oxford Today
“A story very well told. As far as I am aware there is no one on this planet who has a comparable all-encompassing, multi-disciplinary view and understanding of these issues to Leggett's.” – Stephan Schmidheiny, founder, World Council for Sustainable Development
“It really is a terrific read - very unveiling of our human struggle between greed and legacy.” – Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director, Vantage Point Capital Partners.
“I was so captivated by it. The narrative device of running the years and the oil price gives it power and tension. The inter-weaving of account and candid diary makes one feel one has a front-row seat at the places where things almost happen.” – Adam Poole, Analyst, Buro-Happold
“I was hooked within the first few pages.” – Pamela Hartigan, Director, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, University of Oxford
“The narrative flows compellingly, filmically, almost like an airport thriller.” – Mark Prain, Executive Director, Hillary Institute of International Leadership
“At a time when most people view tomorrow's energy prospects through dark lenses of coal, oil, fracked gas or even methane hydrates, Jeremy Leggett shines a brilliant light on the path towards low or zero carbon energy. Illuminating. And a joy to read.” – John Elkington, cofounder of ENDS, SustainAbility and Volans.
"Brilliant–a real roadmap to the future. And a perfect reminder of why we must leave most fossil fuel safely in the ground." – Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org
"Jeremy Leggett is one of great entrepreneurs of the emerging solar era, a man driven by his passion for the environment and for social justice in the developing world to set up a new business (and a new charity) to give expression to those ideas. ‘ The Energy of Nations’ tells it as it needs to be heard, with new – and genuinely sustainable – business models at the heart of today’s transformation going on today in the global economy" – Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future
"To understand what is going on you need to be a polymath who has worked at the highest levels on all sides. Jeremy Leggett is that person, and he provides clarity of thinking in a consistently delightful written style." – Paul Dickinson, Chairman, Carbon Disclosure Project.
"Leggett’s The Energy of Nations is the key to the "next big thing" for investors and asset managers worldwide." – Hazel Henderson, Seeking Alpha
"The Energy of Nations is a stimulatingpolemic that paints the ongoing drive to move away from carbon-based fossil fuels as a titanic struggle in which mankind struggles to overcome its darker instincts – greed and denial – in order to ensure the future survival of the human race." – Real Power
"By focusing throughout on risks and opportunities, Leggett avoids the mistakes of those who offer fixed forecasts of almost unavoidable extinction, instead setting out an analysis of global trends and what's driving them. […]Leggett's reserved optimism speaks to the real possibility of a rocky transition to a post-capitalist, post-materialist global society that transcends the crisis-generating dynamics of industrial civilisation as we know it." – Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
"A stimulating polemic that paints the ongoing drive to move away from carbon-based fossil fuels" – RenewableUK