Year In Review 2008

So in what is now the third (previous 06 and 07) year we have come to the 2008 year in review. Every year around this time I like to review the year, and make prediction in my crystal ball about the future.

So lets look back to last year and what I predicted. (this is the part where the picture goes wavy and the “going back in time” music plays).

My predictions were:

  1. Look for 2008 to be the year that world governments start to pass serious carbon laws. Look for cap and trade, carbon taxation, and global treaties dealing with emissions reduction.
  2. A Democrat will win the presidency.
  3. Feedback loops and continued warming will make 2008 the worst year for arctic and antarctic melting on record.
  4. Continued droughts and water shortages will bring dramatic lifestyle changes to people in the south west and south east.
  5. At least one major car company will produce an electric or plug-in hybrid model.
  6. Look for oil to top 120 dollars a barrel at least once in 2008.
  7. 2008 will be the year of the green consumer, look for a flood of eco-friendly products and services to take over the market. The second part of this prediction is that we will see massive greenwashing campaigns by companies hoping to cash in on this trend without really doing much in the way of making their products greener.
  8. I am going to once again predict that renewable energy will explode in 2008, look for 30-50% growth in the solar and wind industry world wide.
  9. Cape Wind will be approved and perhaps even start construction in 2008.

So how did I do?

1. I am sad to say but I got this one pretty wrong. The world government’s saw the economy fall apart and basically threw climate change under the bus. There is however some hope that these sort of carbon reduction treaties will get passed once the biggest road block to them (the stupid American president and his short sighted administration) are out of office.

2. Got this one 100% right! Hurray for my mad predictive skillz!

3. Sadly I got this one right as well. The arctic and antarctic got hammered this year. With dire predictions for the year to come. (see here here here here and here)

4. Sadly this turned out to be true as well this year, as the strange climate changed the south east and southwest of America suffered some serious drought this year. Luckily near the end of this year they got a little rain, but not nearly enough to make up for the severe lack. This is what global warming looks like. (see here and here)

5. Well for all the talk of the Chevy Volt, and the “new” Prius, I got this one pretty wrong. There was a couple of electric cars made this year, but they didn’t get rolled out the way I had hopped. I am going to go with 30% right on this one…which is another way of saying I got it wrong.

6. Ohh man when I predicted that oil would top $120 in 2007 I though that I was talking crazy…Little did I know it would eventually almost hit $150! The resulting global freak out that ensued was, how to put it mildly, not good. This lead to a massive reduction in miles driven, a huge resurgence in biking, and overall a lot more talk about renewable energy, that is until the economy fell apart, the world oil market crashed and the price of oil dropped like a stone. All of this in the long run indicated we are in a post peak oil scenario that will be characterized by massive volatility and a nightmare for long term planners. (see here here here here and here)

7. Green products, and green washing were the rage in 2008. I would say humbly that I got this one so right it hurts. You can hardly throw a rock now without hitting some locally grown, bamboo, free trade, shade grown, solar powered, carbon neutral, BPA free, biodegradable this or that. No one has chronicled the rise of green washing better than Keith over at The Unsitablog.

8. The renewable energy industry didn’t let me down this year. They once again had amazing growth in the ranges I specified. Hurray for renewable energy. The sad fact is however the Oil companies also had bumper years making more profit in a single year than any companies in all of HUMAN HISTORY. (see here here, here, and here)

9. Oh Cape Wind, how silly is your story. I was so close to getting this right. The Minerals Management people, the ones in charge of giving the thumbs up to Cape Wind, nearly did so this year. But then a bunch of dumb ass NIMBY politicians (I am pointing the finger at you Ted Kennedy!) decided the view from their beach front mansion was more important than fighting global warming.

So there you have it, 6 out of 9, not really that bad. I should start charging for this service.

So what are my predictions for next year?

1. Cape Wind will get approved. Seriously 2009 is the year. They are so damn close I can taste it.

2. The horrible economy will affect the growth of the renewable energy market. Look for a slowdown in wind and solar.

3. The price of oil will rocket right back up in the summer of 09, look for it to once again top $150 dollars a barrel.

4. The pace of global warming will began to accelerate as feedback loops intensify. The arctic will be ice free this summer, or damn close. The northwest passage should once again open next summer.

5. Obama will (hopefully) make renewable energy and efficiency infrastructure projects a major component of his stimulus package.

6. Troops will start to come home from Iraq in large numbers before the end of 2009.

7. The financial turmoil will continue leading to millions of people loosing their jobs, massive downturns in global production, deaths, famines, and increased problems world wide. I predict 2009 to be a very not happy year for a large number of people.

8. Look for major legal action to be taken against prominent Bush administration people. If we are really lucky, Bush or Cheney might even be included in the mess.

9. Look for major breakthroughs in efficiency technology when it comes to lighting and solar panels. Specifically solar panels that produce energy cheaper than coal, oil, or wind. Look for LED technology to slowly start replacing CFL technology.

10. I build my first bicycle.

So there you have it, my hat is in the future prediction arena. I hope all you have a wonderful 08 and that 09 is even better for you. Sadly a lot of my predictions for the future are bad ones. Take good care of your family and friends, and just between you and me, start planning to revamp your life to get ready for some hard times. I am not suggesting you go live in a bunker, but you know, get your financial house in order, start using less energy, ride your bike, get ready for some lean times.

We are all going to have to live on a smaller scale in 09 (and the foreseeable future). This is not a bad thing! Humanity has been living outside it’s means for a long time, and faster we switch over to a 0% growth system the happier and healthier we will all be.

Happy new year everyone!

11 thoughts on “Year In Review 2008”

  1. I’m really curious to know what you mean in your last paragraph by “live on a smaller scale” and “a 0% growth system.


  2. Wait, why are you calling me an idiot? I just asked a question. I truly don’t understand what you mean.

    Now I’m really confused because I don’t know how that article on Sea Ice answers my question.

    Would you care to explain further or are you only able to call people names?


  3. The Naib is the idiot,

    His “predictions” are a joke.

    He said, “the arctic and antarctic got hammered this year.”

    He is seriously misinformed.

  4. Oh, sorry. I thought you were calling me an idiot. I thought The Naib’s predictions are pretty good.

    Anyway, If the author of this article notices our comments I would appreciate an answer to my original question.


  5. Hi Brandon:

    What I meant by live on a smaller scale is literally use less stuff, have less people, consume less food, have smaller homes, less cars, use less energy, all of it. And by zero growth I mean literally we should strive for 0% growth year over year. Companies should be rewarded for staying exactly the same size. Our entire economic system should be based on the idea of staying the same size, or even shrinking.

    The reason why I say this is because a system that values eternal growth overlooks some very real problems. Most resources on this planet are finite, we will run out of coal, we will run out of oil, we will run out of natural gas. We will run out of usable uranium. If it takes 100 years, or 500 years it will happen. And frankly we should be thinking long term, 10,000 years long term, or at least 1000 years long term. So placing value on having a sustainable and 0% growth system will make companies that have the most non-growth the ones worth the most. For instance if company A could figure out a way to recycle 100% of it’s products, and stay the same size year over year, it would be worth more than company B that only recycles 50% of it’s products and grew 10% this year.

    This would throw our entire economic system on it’s head. But the alternative is the extinction of the human race, or at least the loss of any kind of ecosystem any of us would want to live in (think mad max, think tribal nomads wandering the waste lands).

    So thats what I meant by that.

    As to “me” and his oh so eloquent speaking style let me say this:

    1. calling someone an idiot is not a good way to get them to talk to you
    2. the arctic and antarctic did have a horrible melt this year, your article points out that the ice refroze in the arctic at a very fast rate. But the melting was still very bad and for the first time in a long long time the northwest passage was actually open this year. You will also notice that no similar re-freezing has happened to glaciers, or the antarctic…

    Something to take into account, if this thrashing from mega melt to mega freeze continues one possibility is that it will swing really far one way or the other, most likely towards the melting side.

  6. Ok, yeah, that makes sense and I completely agree. Thanks for elaborating. That’s what I thought you meant, but I wanted to be sure. I think we definitely need to be thinking long term. Our children and their children are the ones who will eventually suffer for our lack of action now. We as a society have become so selfish (at least in the US where I’m from) only thinking of the here and now – how much money can we make – at the expense of our world.

    I’m not sure I agree with the “have less people” part. That seems scary to me. The only two ways to have less people are to either euthanize those who are already alive or keep people from having more children (or perhaps there is another way that I haven’t thought of?). I don’t like either of those prospects. China already has a 1 child per couple law and it seems so sad to me. I’m interested in your thoughts on this piece of the puzzle.

    I think the world can sustain the current growth rate especially if we start taking care of the earth and using less and finding renewable energy sources. I think if we are responsible the “having less people” won’t be necessary. The US has roughly 305 million people and there are over 2,425,600,000 square acres in the US. That’s enough for each person to have almost 8 acres each (if I did my math correctly).

    If you have time, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the “having less people” part. I need to think about that one more and see different sides of that argument.

    This is a great site. Keep up the good work!!!

  7. Hello Brandon:

    I see nothing wrong with encouraging birth control, but I wouldn’t support mandatory limits on children. And I certainly wouldn’t want to kill anyone currently living.

    However we certainly shouldn’t be encouraging people to have lots and lots of babies.

    You math is correct, but remember a lot of those acres are worthless for living on (tops of mountains, deserts, bottoms of lakes, etc), and it is not really a space issue. We are not going to run out of space if we have too many people, we are going to run out of land to grow food, and other needed resources. Try watching these video’s they will give you a good idea of why we should be shooting for negative population growth.

    What we could be doing is simply offering tax cuts to people who have two or less children, and offer to everyone condoms, sex ed, and birth control. None of these things stop people from having lots of kids, but it does educate them as to how to control the size of the family and gives them a little nudge to not have as many kids.

    thanks for the kind words about the site, we try :)

  8. Ah, less “accidental” births would certainly help. Better sex education, better access to birth control. Certainly…

    I was thinking, I live on a 1/4 acre lot in my neighborhood and I could easily provide food for my family of four by growing fruit and veggies in my own yard. If I could have a small hen house and a goat I could have milk and eggs too. I have a hard time seeing that we would run out of land to grow food.

    I think that the problem isn’t land to grow food, it’s the “I need what I want and want what I need and I want it 10 minutes ago” attitude (again, I’m thinking western culture now) that lessens the likely hood that people will do the work necessary to provide for their own needs.

    Add to that the risk of theft of my crops that I worked so hard for and government regulation that prevent me from farming and owing live stock in my community and we get what we have now.

    I think we are putting the cart before the horse. We need to be tougher on crime, lessen the restrictions on what I can do with my land, decrease the power people with large amounts of wealth have, and increase a sense of community by working together and sharing resources. This will lead to a domino effect where there is less reliance on other people doing work for me which would use less resources and increase citizen productivity.

    People in charge of these large companies that are helping to ruin our world aren’t going to give up their paychecks. So we also need to reduce the drive for great amounts of wealth. Kinda like a Star Trek utopia where there is no need for money, no poverty, etc. I know that’s far fetched and I would have no idea how it would work, but that’s only because our monetary system is all I’ve ever known.

    I’m rambling now but just wanted to share some thoughts. Look forward to feedback and continued discussion.

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