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CACOR Zoom | Dr. William Rees | On the Virtues of Self-delusion–or maybe not! | 2021-12-01

December 1 @ 13:30 - 15:00

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Title: On the Virtues of Self-delusion—or maybe not!

Time: 2021 December 01, 13:30 Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 822 0845 1290

Passcode: 670508

Speaker: Dr. William Rees


Climate-change and other environmental organizations urge governments to act decisively/rapidly to decarbonize the economy and halt further development of fossil fuel reserves.  These demands arguably betray: ignorance of the role of energy in the modern economy; ill-justified confidence in society’s ability to transition to 100% green renewable energy; no appreciation of the ecological consequences of attempting to do so and; little understanding of the social implications.  Without questioning the need to abandon fossil fuels, I will argue that the dream of a smooth energy transition is little more than a comforting shared illusion.  Moreover, even if it were possible it would not solve climate change and would exacerbate the real existential threat facing society, namely overshoot.  I then explore some of the consequences and implications of (the necessary) abandonment of fossil fuels in the absence of adequate substitutes, and how governments and MTI society should be responding to these unspoken biophysical realities.


Dr. William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus, and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning.  His academic research focuses on the biophysical prerequisites for sustainability.  This focus led to co-development (with his graduate students) of ecological footprint analysis, a quantitative tool that shows definitively that the human enterprise is in dysfunctional overshoot.  (We would need five Earth-like planets to support just the present world population sustainably with existing technologies at North American material standards.) Frustrated by political unresponsiveness to worsening indicators, Dr. Rees also studies the biological and psycho-cognitive barriers to environmentally rational behavior and policies.  He has authored hundreds of peer reviewed and popular articles on these topics.  Dr. Rees is a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada and also a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute; a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the OneEarth Initiative; and a Director of The Real Green New Deal.  He was a full member of the Club of Rome from 2013 until 2018.  His international awards include the Boulding Memorial Award in Ecological Economics, the Herman Daly Award in Ecological Economics and a Blue Planet Prize (jointly with his former student, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel).


–  The CACOR Sponsor is Ruben Nelson.

–  Please invite friends and colleagues.

–  Please enter in the chat one brief question at a time.   Others are waiting.

–  DO NOT post these Zoom credentials on social media.

– Suggestions for future speakers are solicited.  Wednesdays in and after May 2022 are available.

Planned CACOR Zoom meetings:

1-Dec-21 Dr. William Rees On the virtues of self-delusion–or maybe not!
8-Dec-21 Dr. Paul Beckwith COP26 results from a participant’s perspective
15-Dec-21 Dr. Ian Burton Q&A forum on COP26 proceedings by a participant
20-Dec-21 CACOR Values Committee People and Nature over Profit
22-Dec-21 closed Christmas break
29-Dec-21 closed New Year’s break
5-Jan-22 Dr. Pierre Mineau More powerful insecticides, declining insect populations, and bats. What could go wrong?
12-Jan-22 Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon World 3 at 50: What it got right, and what it got wrong
19-Jan-22 Rick Lindgren Climate Change and the Law: Issues and Opportunities
26-Jan-22 Dr. Geoff Strong Climate Crisis––Net-Zero Emissions Deceptions
2-Feb-22 Dr. Meg Sears Science for Public Health and Effective Environmental Law
9-Feb-22 David Miller Cities and Climate Change
16-Feb-22 Dr. Jack Alpert Renewables and civilization viability
23-Feb-22 Tzeporah Berman International Cooperation to Align Fossil Fuel Production with Paris Goals: A Bold New Idea
2-Mar-22 Raymond Murphy A Social Science Analysis of the Fossil-Fuelled Climate Crisis
9-Mar-22 Peter MacKinnon Smart Cities: What are they?
16-Mar-22 Brian Kelly Personal Journey to Zero
23-Mar-22 Dr. Jennifer Purdy Health Impacts of Climate Change
30-Mar-22 Darrin Qualman Climate, farms, food, emissions, and solutions
6-Apr-22 Dr. Sailesh Rao Climate Healers:  Food is Climate (Cow in the Room)
13-Apr-22 Frank de Jong Henry George Economics: For a Just, Green, and Prosperous Society
20-Apr-22 Anders Hayden TBD
27-Apr-22 Ruben Nelson TBD
4-May-22 John Meyer Globalism, Localism, Nationalism; Stepping stones and obstacles to sustainability


December 1
13:30 - 15:00
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