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General Ideas

Peak Oil: Thinking Ahead

There's likely to be little disagreement that for most of us, the current economic, social, and political issues and conflicts we've been mired in for the past six or seven years are the most challenging set of conditions we've ever encountered. Even those relatively untouched by the hardships (are there any such people?) are no doubt weary of the trials and tribulations of our economy and the nonsense emanating from Congress (read: Republican Party). It's safe to assume that almost no one is looking for more calamities. Doom and gloom prophecies aren't likely to captivate many followers. Climate change heaped atop all of the financial stresses is bad enough. We should also recognize that there is a broad gulf between conditions today and what we'll all be facing in the years to come. That applies to all of the challenges, including what ...

Why doesn’t the ‘long emergency’ feel like an emergency? thumbnail

Why doesn’t the ‘long emergency’ feel like an emergency?

In 2006 when James Howard Kunstler published his breakthrough book The Long Emergency, the next two years seemed to vindicate his warning that the oil age was coming to an end with perilous consequences. Oil soared to $147 a barrel in mid-2008. A few analysts suggested that it was headed for $200; but that was not to be. By autumn the stock market had collapsed and with it the world economy. Oil, too, then collapsed, trading in the mid-$30 range by December as demand for oil fell off a cliff with the economy. It seemed for months that the world was headed for an economic depression. But extraordinary stimulative spending by governments around the world and emergency measures by central banks reversed the trend and led to a weak, but extended recovery of sorts that lasts to this day (though not ...

Oil Market Weighs Fear and Reality thumbnail

Oil Market Weighs Fear and Reality

Earlier this week the wise oil-market watchers at PVM, a brokerage and consultancy, summed up the state of the market. “Not a day goes by without a political, economic, international or data event that adds further color and often confusion to an already very complex scene,” said analyst David Hufton. “Who needs the distraction of fiction when real life constantly throws up twists and turns that would stretch credibility if written in any novel?” [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="262"] Iraqi security forces are on high alert as the country braces for more violence in Baghdad.Reuters[/caption] Too true. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it. Investors in oil must have their wits about them in these fractious times if they are to avoid being burned. Half an eye is being kept on Iraq, where the Sunni ...

Solar, peak oil and net energy thumbnail

Solar, peak oil and net energy

Solar and renewables are being touted as the energy sources of the future, but will they provide enough power relative to the energy that must be invested in them? Engineer Graham Palmer argues there’s no easy solution to the fact that we’re running out of fossil fuels. Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan once quipped that the last thing a fish would notice is the water. You could almost draw a parallel to the essential role energy plays in modern society—cheap accessible energy is now so ubiquitous that we barely notice the importance of it to modern living, nor the astonishing wealth it has brought. Just one litre of petrol provides the equivalent of a week or more of pre-industrial human labour. Having achieved this miraculous transformation, it is not likely that societies will voluntarily turn back. According to Joseph Tainter’s thesis, societies ...

Public Policy

‘NYT’ Op-Ed Militates for Higher Oil Prices and Fewer American Jobs

The NYTimes Op-Ed Militates For Higher Oil Prices and Fewer American Jobs in Thursday's NYTimes Op-Ed "Let Our Oil and Gas Go" Mr. Steven Rattner demonstrates that he lives in an oil industry induced fantasy whose preachments have seduced the public, our government, our press in the misguided belief that the price we are paying for oil through such oil based commodities as gasoline, diesel, heating oil and on, is a market derived price reflective of actual supply and demand. Nothing could be further from the truth and Mr. Rattner's musings go far enough to earn him an honorary membership in the American Petroleum Institute or a seat of honor at the next convening of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) or a seat on the board of one of our Commodity Exchanges or one of their kindred institutions. Absent from ...


Pemex Predicts Lowest Production in More Than Two Decades

Petroleos Mexicanos cut its output forecast to the lowest in at least 24 years as mature fields are shrinking faster than it had previously expected. The forecast was lowered to 2.41 million barrels of oil a day from a prior projection of 2.5 million, said Gustavo Hernandez, Pemex’s head of exploration and production. This will be the Mexico City-based company’s lowest annual output since at least 1990, when it produced 2.55 million barrels a day, according to the oldest available government output data. “We have been working to review the declines of each of our fields that contribute to national production,” Hernandez said today on an earnings call. “In the recent review, we obtained a better idea of the declines of the fields and have adjusted the production expectation downward.” Pemex is counting on a landmark law enacted last year that opens Mexico’s ...

One Hundred Thirty Nine Square Miles of Sand, Part II: The Road to Zion thumbnail

One Hundred Thirty Nine Square Miles of Sand, Part II: The Road to Zion

" Gaza is the largest and oldest contiguous Arab enclave in Palestine, but it has become a concentration camp — 139 square miles of sand — where 1.8 million Palestinians have been herded into a cul de sac to make way for Zion." Buchenwald survivors arrive in Haifa, 1946 (source: Life) “If a path to the better there be, it begins with a look at the worst.” — Thomas Hardy In the months leading up to the end of British rule, in a phase of the three-way civil war known as "The Battle of [the] Roads," the Arab Liberation Army fired at buses and blocked major roads in an effort to isolate the Jewish communities from each other. Parenthetically, this is an actual definition of “terrorism,” not the bland and overbroad definition used by Homeland Security (“the use of force or violence against persons ...

New study looks at the role plastic films play in global food production thumbnail

New study looks at the role plastic films play in global food production

In order to feed a global population, which is expected to top nine billion people by 2050, the world must reduce food waste and the distribution of food needs to be improved and food production increased. At the same time, agriculture faces challenges due to changing economic and environmental trends including climate change, biofuel expansion, slowing agricultural yields, rising meat demand and ever increasing calorie intake from a growing global middle class. It is estimated that by 2050, about 70% of the global population will be urban, compared to 50% today. As a result, AMI Consulting took a closer look at the European agriculture sector in a new market report. The agricultural sector is forced to produce more food of increasing quality on less land within a shorter space of time using less resources, while generating minimum waste. Extending the growing ...

Escaping The Rat-Race thumbnail

Escaping The Rat-Race

The changing nature of work doesn’t just matter to new graduates seeking their first career-track job—it’s equally important to experienced workers seeking to escape the corporate rat-race or build a new career after a layoff. Those who understand these changes will be able to successfully adapt. Those who don’t, won’t. The Disruptive Forces Transforming the Economy There are three fundamental forces disrupting the conventional order, and everyone with their eyes open sees them at work every day: 1.  Essential resources are becoming more expensive. 2.  The system of expanding credit/debt to fund more consumption (i.e. “growth”) has reached marginal returns and is failing. 3.  Networked software, automation and robotics are reducing the need for human labor on a global scale. As a result of these three structural forces, economic instability is not going to go away any time soon.  Technology leapfrogs the obsolete and inefficient; no wonder ...

Public Policy

Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas and Natural Gas

Natural gas is falsely promoted by the Obama Administration and energy corporations as a “bridge fuel” that will allow American society to continue to use fossil energy over the coming decades while emitting fewer greenhouse gases than from using other fossil fuels such as coal and oil. On this basis, President Obama is providing total support to a massive expansion of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas within the U.S. He seeks sufficient quantities to last for many decades, allowing the U.S. to export liquefied natural gas and oil throughout the world. Counting on lower greenhouse pollution from the use of natural gas, Obama has also instituted a major campaign to greatly increase the amount of crude oil extracted from within the U.S., in good part from fracking. In mid-July the AP reported: “The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to ...

Anticipating the Peak of World Oil Production thumbnail Anticipating the Peak of World Oil Production
These are indeed good times to be a Peak Oiler. All the  peak oil ...
What Peak Oil? thumbnail What Peak Oil?
Saw a graph containing production of oil and gas in the U.S. since 1950. ...
Iran Working on Large-Scale Plans to Export Gas to Europe thumbnail Iran Working on Large-Scale Plans to Export Gas to Europe
The Iranian oil ministry has large-scale programs underway to export natural Gas to European ...
Coal Company Pain Accelerates as Bankruptcy Cases Rise thumbnail Coal Company Pain Accelerates as Bankruptcy Cases Rise
The coal business, after fueling the Industrial Revolution and powering U.S. growth for much ...

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