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Introduction Print E-mail
peak oil and climate change logo

The simultaneous onset of climate change and the peaking of global oil supply represent unprecedented challenges for human civilisation.

Global oil peak has the potential to shake if not destroy the foundations of global industrial economy and culture. Climate change has the potential to rearrange the biosphere more radically than the last ice age. Each limits the effective options for responses to the other.

The strategies for mitigating the adverse effects and/or adapting to the consequences of Climate Change have mostly been considered and discussed in isolation from those relevant to Peak Oil. While awareness of Peak Oil, or at least energy crisis, is increasing, understanding of how these two problems might interact to generate quite different futures, is still at an early state.

presents an integrated approach to understanding the potential interaction between Climate Change and Peak Oil using a scenario planning model. In the process I introduce permaculture as a design system specifically evolved over the last 30 years to creatively respond to futures that involve progressively less and less available energy.

– David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept. May 2008

cuban sunset
Sunset in Cuba silhouetting powerlines and oilfired power station smokestack in a country still recovering from thefuel and electricity shortages
Click photos on this site for larger versions and descriptions.

How to use this site 

This site is arranged as a long essay broken into micro-chapters. Ideally you'd read it in order, navigating via the left hand menu. If you'd prefer to read the content in book form, it is now available, see below.

The gallery contains extensive photographs and commentary which illustrate various aspects of the four energy descent scenarios.

Please leave your comments in the guestbook.


[News 15 Dec 10] The book of Future Scenarios: How Communities can adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change is now available in Japanese, from the Book Sniper website, at http://www.book-sniper.net/book/product/3359256. (English version still available from the Publications page of the Holmgren Design Services website.)

[News 26 Oct 10] David Holmgren's much requested Future Scenarios presentation is now available for download from the Writings page of the Holmgren Design Services website. David runs half day and full day Future Scenarios workshops for councils, community groups and others, by request.

[News 1 Sep 10] A new essay by David entitled "Money vs Fossil Energy: the battle for control of the world" is available for download from the Holmgren Design Services website. Excerpts from the essay are also published on the Energy Bulletin site. This essay brings fresh insights for empowering environmental and social activism in an age of climate change, peak oil and economic crisis.

[Review 18 May 09] "Fossil fuels can’t last forever. A new book plans for a world without them." In These Times has published a thoughtful review by Mike Lynn.

[Review 20 Apr 09] John-Paul Flintoff has written an excellent review of Future Scenarios for the Times Online.  Read here


 [News 21 Mar 09] Future Scenarios: How Communities can adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change, a book version of the content on this website with a new foreword is now available through Chelsea Green in the US and is soon to be released by Green Books in the UK.  Australian customers will be able to buy the title shortly through the Holmgren Design Services website.

[News 13 Aug 08] A two hour interview with David by Jason Bradford on the future scenarios is now available in two parts at Global Public Media: part one | part two

[Site updates 13 Aug 08] A new page explores how one scenario is likely to lead to another in a stepwise transition. Due to all the new pages, we've split off Reactions to the Scenarios into a new section.

[Major update 31 Jul 08] The site now has five new pages in the Descent Scenarios section, including much content which was left out inadvertently from the original version of the site. Also a new menu item on the top right 'print' allows you to read and print the entire main content of the site.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 February 2011 )

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