Energy Transitions- Learning from the Great Depression

Dr. Chris Kennedy

Professor, Director of Industrial Ecology Program
May 17 | 7:00 pm | Engineering & Computer Science Building, room 123, UVic

As societies wrestle with an energy transition to a low carbon future, this presentation looks back for lessons from Great Depression of the 1930s.  Using new methods of biophysical economics, we can understand the Depression as a painful episode in the socio-technological transition from a coal/railroad regime to one based on hydrocarbons, motor vehicles and electricity. The beginning –  the Great Crash of October 1929 – corresponded with drastic cuts in oil prices and announcement of oil supply certainty, following discovery of huge oilfields in the US Southwest. The Depression principally centred on a change from railroads to motor-vehicle based transportation, but was long and drawn-out due to the hegemonic power that the railroads held over the US economy.

Chris Kennedy is the Director of the Industrial Ecology program at UVic. He has 25 years of experience working on greenhouse gas accounting and abatement strategies for global cities, national governments and multi-national institutions. Chris is a member of UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering; and a former President of the International Society for Industrial Ecology.

This is a free, public lecture- no registration required. | 250-721-8931 |