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News from February 2015

Saudi King Unleashes a Torrent of Money as Bonuses Flow to the Masses

Saudi King Unleashes a Torrent of Money as Bonuses Flow to the Masses thumbnail

European leaders are still battling over austerity. The United States Congress is gearing up for another fight over the budget. But in Saudi Arabia, there are no such troubles when you are king — and you just dole out billions and billions of dollars to ordinary Saudis by royal decree. Not surprisingly, Saudis are very […]


Robert Hirsch: Déjà Vu With a Twist?

Robert Hirsch: Déjà Vu With a Twist? thumbnail

The recent world oil supply/price decline situation looks very much like what happened in 1985-86, when the Saudis dramatically increased oil production, causing world oil prices to crater.  That Saudi action was the result of their having acted as swing producer in OPEC, which under those circumstances caused a progressive loss of theiroil market share.  […]


Richard Douthwaite – Money Supply in an Energy Scarce World, Peak Oil

Richard Douthwaite – Money Supply in an Energy Scarce World, Peak Oil thumbnail

Peak oil will cause recessions and even a great depression, at least this is the common understanding of peak oil’s impact on the global economy. This means . Economist Richard Douthwaite discusses the impact of peak oil on the world economy. Our current economic model requires sustained growth based on cheap fossi. Richard Douthwaite explains […]


How short-term thinking hampers long-term economic growth

How short-term thinking hampers long-term economic growth thumbnail

An alarming take on global economic growth was issued last month by Mc­Kinsey. In the past 50 years, according to a report by the management consultancy, the world has enjoyed a heady expansion, with the global economy expanding sixfold. But growth will slow dramatically, as the world’s population ages. “Even if productivity were to grow […]


David Suzuki: ‘Young People Have the Power to Rally Others to Create Positive Change’

David Suzuki: ‘Young People Have the Power to Rally Others to Create Positive Change’ thumbnail

When she was just 12 years old, my daughter Severn gave a speech at the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She spoke with such conviction that delegates were moved to tears. It was one of my proudest moments as a father. More than 20 years later, Severn is the mother of […]


Canada’s Oil Industry ‘In Near-Death Condition

Canada’s Oil Industry ‘In Near-Death Condition thumbnail

Russian state-owned energy giant Rosneft is responding to sanctions slapped on it by the Harper government by talking down Canada’s oil industry. “In Canada the [oil] industry is in a near-death condition,” Rosneft spokesperson Mikhail Leontiev told the Russian News Service, as quoted at the Moscow Times. “This was sanctions against the departed, and I […]


Politics, pollution and “overpopulation”

Politics, pollution and “overpopulation” thumbnail

As an Environmental Studies and International Relations (IR) major (probably), I’ve discovered that there are a few topics you’re bound to encounter in almost any class that addresses the politics of the environment. One of these topics is “overpopulation.” In my Introduction to International Relations class last semester, we read one of the articles that helped […]


EIA C+C Data and Jean Laherrere on Reserves

EIA C+C Data and Jean Laherrere on Reserves thumbnail

The EIA just released their International Energy Statistics with world production numbers through October 2014. There were no big surprises in this report. World C+C production was up 731,000 bpd to 78,967,000 bpd. This is a new high. All the gain in the last few years has come from non-OPEC. Non-OPEC production was up 374 kbd […]


A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World

A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World thumbnail

Popular media today, including television and cinema, are rife with examples of what is often referred to as moral relativism — the use of false and fictional moral dilemmas designed to promote the rationalization of an “ends justify the means” narrative. We are also bombarded lately with entertainment depicting an endless array of “anti-heroes,” protagonists […]


The Degrowth Alternative

The Degrowth Alternative thumbnail

Both the name and the theory of degrowth aim explicitly to repoliticize environmentalism. Sustainable development and its more recent reincarnation “green growth” depoliticize genuine political antagonisms between alternative visions for the future. They render environmental problems technical, promising win-win solutions and the impossible goal of perpetuating economic growth without harming the environment. Ecologizing society, degrowthers […]


Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars?

Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars? thumbnail

The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting last month have foreign-exchange traders wondering whether Janet Yellen has joined the currency wars. Policy makers pointed to the dollar’s rising value as “a persistent source of restraint” on exports in a surprisingly dovish set of meeting minutes published Wednesday. The greenback fell against a broad group of […]


Nuclear Energy: The Sixty-Year Pitch

Nuclear Energy: The Sixty-Year Pitch thumbnail

Tony Fischer/flickr Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant From a dancing housewife to Homer Simpson and beyond, here are some memorable moments in the long grind to sell nuclear power to a wary public. Third of three parts. Part 1:Last Tango for nuclear?; Part 2:Atomic Balm. The nuclear power industry has often been its own worst […]


Conflicts in the food, energy, land and water nexus

Conflicts in the food, energy, land and water nexus thumbnail

There is growing concern over future food production and increas­ing competition for resources in the food, energy and water nexus are reflected in a new interest for investment in land and water. “I cannot farm myself out of this water problem,” says Mark Shannon, a farmer who in 2010 had to let his land in […]


The hearty, hardy gas production of the US

The hearty, hardy gas production of the US thumbnail

It seems like only yesterday that big winter storms or other extreme weather events could curtail or shut natural gas production in the US. A winter storm and freezing temperatures in the Northeast or in the Southeast would prompt freeze-offs or shut-ins along pipelines. But perhaps no longer. When I joined Platts as a gas […]


Boom! Why oil trains are dangerous and must be stopped

Boom! Why oil trains are dangerous and must be stopped thumbnail

As the muthafuckin’ resistance has been busy blocking pipelines all across Turtle Island, from the Keystone XL pipeline in the United Snakes, to the Northern Gateway and Pacific Trails pipelines in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, capitalist oil-peddlers have had to find a new way of transporting their precious cargo to refineries across the country. They have […]


What happens if we run out of oil?

What happens if we run out of oil? thumbnail

It took hundreds of millions of years to create the world’s oil reserves. It took less than a century before oil became the commodity on which world power turned. And it was little more than a century before fears were raised that we would run out of oil. Fifty years further on, it’s less clear […]


Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal

Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal thumbnail

In recent weeks, we have been focusing on Greece, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. All are still burning issues. But in every case, readers have called my attention to what they see as an underlying and even defining dimension of all these issues — if not right now, then soon. That dimension is declining population and […]


Peak What?

Peak What? thumbnail

I’ve been maintaining “radio silence” for a while—mostly on account of an overflowing plate and several new new hats I wear. All the while, I have received a steady stream of e-mail thanking me for Do the Math, asking if I’m still alive, and if so: what do I make of the changing oil situation? […]


BP Energy Outlook Shows Renewables Rising, Coal Falling

BP Energy Outlook Shows Renewables Rising, Coal Falling thumbnail

  While the world’s population and wealth grow over the next 20 years, so too does demand for energy. As we might expect, most of the growth comes in emerging economies. Perhaps the surprise is that between 2013 and 2035, global primary energy consumption grows at an annual rate of 1.4%, significantly below the 2.4% […]


Fooling peak oil one more time: can we find new sources of liquid hydrocarbons?

Fooling peak oil one more time: can we find new sources of liquid hydrocarbons? thumbnail

The world peak of conventional oil production took place in 2005-2006, but the supply of combustible liquids did not decline, mainly because of the contribution of the newly developed “shale oil” (or “tight” oil) fields. With the impending worldwide peak of “all liquids” it is likely that the industry will try a new, all out […]


Methane Hydrates are a Promising Energy Resource

Methane Hydrates are a Promising Energy Resource thumbnail

Methane hydrates are getting increased attention as a major new source of clean hydrocarbon energy. These enormous deposits of natural gas have never been developed commercially, but research and development has been promising, and expectations are that the gas could begin coming to market within a decade. Known as flammable ice, methane hydrates are molecules […]


Extinct—Extincter—Extinctest

Extinct—Extincter—Extinctest thumbnail

This blog is dedicated to the idea of presenting the big picture—the biggest possible—of what is going on in the world. The abiding areas of interest that make up the big picture have included the following: 1. The terminal decay and eventual collapse of industrial civilization as the fossil fuels that power it become more […]


A New Global Currency; the Rise of the East; and Peak Oil – Erik Townsend

A New Global Currency; the Rise of the East; and Peak Oil – Erik Townsend thumbnail

Originally Published on Jun 3, 2014 John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York Subscribe to the GoldMoney newsletter at Episode 126: Alasdair Macleod interviews Erik Townsend


Get Ready for $10 Oil

Get Ready for $10 Oil thumbnail

At about $50 a barrel, crude oil prices are down by more than half from their June 2014 peak of $107. They may fall more, perhaps even as low as $10 to $20. Here’s why. U.S. economic growth has averaged 2.3 percent a year since the recovery started in mid-2009. That’s about half the rate […]


Oil Train Derails In Canada, Spills Unknown Amount Of Crude Oil

Oil Train Derails In Canada, Spills Unknown Amount Of Crude Oil thumbnail

A train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario, Canada late Saturday night, spilling oil and causing a fire. Twenty-nine of the 100 cars on the train went off the track near Timmins, Ontario, and seven of those cars were still on fire as of Sunday afternoon. The derailment prompted Canadian National Railway Co. to […]


Kuwait Sees Crude Recovering

Kuwait Sees Crude Recovering thumbnail

The surplus in global crude supply is smaller than the 1.8 million barrels a day Kuwait estimated last month, and prices will continue to recover, Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said. The Persian Gulf state producer plans by next year to add 40 more drilling rigs and raise production capacity to 3.15 million barrels a day, […]


Ukraine has a $1 billion plan to wean itself off Russian gas

Ukraine has a $1 billion plan to wean itself off Russian gas thumbnail

Ukraine announced plans to spend $1 billion to build up a strategic gas reserve in order to reduce its reliance on fuel imports from Russia. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Saturday that the country would borrow the money using government guarantees in order to shift the country to European suppliers of natural gas, according […]


Beyond the Market-State

Beyond the Market-State thumbnail

In an era of politics characterised by unconstrained corporate lobbying, a well-oiled ‘revolving door’ between industry and government, and an endless stream of campaign contributions from dirty oil and other lucrative industries, is the long-championed ideal of a truly democratic state now a lost cause? Should concerned citizens and activists turn their attention instead to […]


Tech Talk – enjoy it while you can

Tech Talk – enjoy it while you can thumbnail

It is perhaps an odd time to be writing about oil shortages. The price of gas in our town has just moved above $2 a gallon up significantly from the $1.64 it was at its recent lowest point, but still very reasonable. Debate still rages as to whether the global price of a barrel of […]


The price of oil reaffirms the lesson of a legendary wager

The price of oil reaffirms the lesson of a legendary wager thumbnail

When you look at a chart of the price of oil during the last six months, it says a lot of things. One of them is that Julian Simon has won again. I’d long known about the legendary Julian Simon-Paul Ehrlich bet, made in the early 1980’s at the tail end of a commodity boom. […]


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