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News from December 2017

Why the prospect of ‘Peak Oil’ is hotly debated

Why the prospect of ‘Peak Oil’ is hotly debated thumbnail

The world is turning its back on oil. But how quickly? Technological advances driven by the threat of climate change could mean the world’s thirst for petroleum tops out sooner than companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. or giant producers like Saudi Arabia are banking on. “Peak oil” has been debated for decades, but today […]


Kunstler: 2017 Year in Review

Kunstler: 2017 Year in Review thumbnail

2017 was the kind of year when no amount of showers could wash off the feeling of existential yeccchhhhh that crept over you day after day like jungle rot. You needed to go through the carwash without your car… or maybe an acid bath would get the stink off. Cinematically, if 2016 was like The […]


Canada’s Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Oil Production Drops

Canada’s Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Oil Production Drops thumbnail

Canada’s economy unexpectedly stalled in October on a decline in oil output, a disappointing kickoff to the final quarter of 2017. Gross domestic product was unchanged from September, Statistics Canada reported Friday in Ottawa, weighed down by a 3.5 percent drop in production by oil sands companies. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast a […]


Is Aramco Shopping For US Shale?

Is Aramco Shopping For US Shale? thumbnail

Saudi Aramco has held early talks to buy a stake in a U.S. company and has inquired about potentially acquiring assets in the two biggest U.S. oil and gas shale basins, the Permian and the Eagle Ford, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. While the Saudi state-held oil […]


An Introduction to Political Economy

An Introduction to Political Economy thumbnail

Last month, when I looked across the vast gray wasteland of the calendar page ahead and noted that there were five Wednesdays in November, I asked readers—in keeping with a newly minted but entertaining tradition here on Ecosophia—to suggest a theme for the fifth Wednesday post. This blog being the eccentric phenomenon that it is, […]


What Happened to Peak Oil?

What Happened to Peak Oil? thumbnail

I was first introduced to the concept of “peak oil” 15 years ago. It was a simple theory: Oil is a finite resource. At some point in time, the world’s ability to increase oil production would ultimately “peak.” And this peak would be followed by a terminal decline in global output. The theory has been around […]


Why water will become the world’s most important asset

Why water will become the world’s most important asset thumbnail

“Water will eventually become the single most important physical commodity-based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals”. That was economist and ex-Bank of England MPC member Willem Buiter more than six years ago. You could say he was a bit early in his forecast. While water is vital for life, it hasn’t […]


Oil and gold looking a little bit more “normal” as 2017 draws to a close

Oil and gold looking a little bit more “normal” as 2017 draws to a close thumbnail

A few weeks ago in London, at a pre-conference dinner before the Platts Digital Commodities Summit, the conversation naturally turned to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and the rejection – and disdain – that many supporters of the entire crypto movement have for what are known as “fiat currencies.” Most people know fiat currencies as everything […]


ITER Nuclear Fusion Plant Is Halfway Finished

ITER Nuclear Fusion Plant Is Halfway Finished thumbnail

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor plant in Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance, France, is 50 percent complete. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images The sprawling landscape of construction cranes and partially completed buildings, along with a massive metal-and-steel ring, was described as looking like a “modern-day Stonehenge” by The New York Times in March 2017. It’s been a decade since construction began […]


Sanctions-Proof Oil Rig Thwarts US Policy From Cuba to Russia

Sanctions-Proof Oil Rig Thwarts US Policy From Cuba to Russia thumbnail

The oil rig was built mostly in China and drilled its first well in Cuba. Now it’s delivering a victory for Russia in its fight against U.S. sanctions. Italian oil giant Eni SpA and Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft PJSC are using the Scarabeo 9 ultra-deepwater rig to drill in water more than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) […]


Putin’s Mr. OPEC Becomes an Oil Market Player

Putin’s Mr. OPEC Becomes an Oil Market Player thumbnail

When they meet, they often drive in the same car. When they make a visit together, they tweet the world smiling selfies. And when Alexander Novak, the Russian energy minister, and Khalid Al-Falih, his Saudi counterpart, speak they exchange so many pleasantries that oil investors talk about a “bromance.” While neither man is the ultimate arbiter […]


Venezuela Is Living a Hyperinflation Nightmare

Venezuela Is Living a Hyperinflation Nightmare thumbnail

The human toll. Photographer: Roman Camacho/NurPhoto/Getty Images In most macroeconomic models, the economy is a staid and stately thing, where prices, output and other economic variables wiggle up and down by small amounts but ultimately return to their long-term trends. And for much of the time — excluding the occasional Great Depression or Great Recession […]


What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?

What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse? thumbnail

Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome. For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a […]


Ballistic missile intercepted over Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh

Ballistic missile intercepted over Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh thumbnail

A MISSILE fired at Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh was shot down moments before it hit a royal palace today. Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the city, Saudi-owned channel al-Arabiya reported in a news flash quoting a Saudi-led military coalition official. twitter 7 The aftermath of the blast seen in the skies […]


Limits to Economic Growth

Limits to Economic Growth thumbnail

These are notes from a short lecture given at Nottingham University on 28th November 2017. 1 Production Increase During the 17th and 18th centuries the rise of mercantile power, colonialism and a slave economy was associated with the development of the idea that “improvement” meant production growth and was an indicator of a new idea […]


Peak Oil – Club Of Rome – Ian Dunlop

Peak Oil – Club Of Rome – Ian Dunlop thumbnail

Ian Dunlop is Deputy Convener of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil. Working with the Club of Rome, Ian wrote and helped produce this presentation on Peak Oil, also available as a Flash application here (Mac Only): http://sydneypeakoil.com/downloads/CO…


Fancy Having Your Own Power Plant? “Fuel Cell Micro-Cogeneration is Market-Ready”

Fancy Having Your Own Power Plant? “Fuel Cell Micro-Cogeneration is Market-Ready” thumbnail

SolidPower’s BlueGen fuel cell unit. More than 1,000 fuel cell micro-cogeneration units have been installed in homes and business in ten countries over the last several years by the ene.field project. Its successor, the PACE project, aims at bringing costs further down, although manufacturers and users say the technology is market-ready. “I thought it would be nice to have my own […]


A Matter of Degree

A Matter of Degree thumbnail

“Did we really imagine people would feel threatened by the number 2?“ USAnians are a very strange lot, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed on his road trip with Gustave de Baumont in 1831. The Bible-thumping, coon-skinned, populist utopians fascinated him. Tocqueville blithely compared the young country’s despotic democratic government, then hip-deep in the ethnic cleansing […]


Population Controls Are Ill-Advised and Inhumane

Population Controls Are Ill-Advised and Inhumane thumbnail

For thousands of years, population control meant violence. War, famine, disease, and genocide served as the primary powers that nature and the state could wield to limit the expansion of the world’s human footprint. However, medical and cultural advances, such as readily available birth control and women’s liberation significantly changed the conversation around not only […]


The myth of a fossil fuel phase-out

The myth of a fossil fuel phase-out thumbnail

How the world uses energy is a hot topic for a warming planet, and fears of pollution and resource strain have produced a virtual arms race of energy-efficiency strategies. From the European Union to China, economies are vowing to reduce their energy intensity with the help of technological innovations and legislative changes. Yet, despite these […]


Chris Martenson: The Great Oil Swindle

Chris Martenson: The Great Oil Swindle thumbnail

When it comes to the story we’re being told about America’s rosy oil prospects, we’re being swindled. At its core, the swindle is this: The shale industry’s oil production forecasts are vastly overstated. Swindle:  Noun  – A fraudulent scheme or action. And the swindle is not just affecting the US.  It’s badly distorted everything from current […]


Lies, Bad Lies And Natural Gas Statistics

Lies, Bad Lies And Natural Gas Statistics thumbnail

Summary Emotions running high after recent pricing volatility. Future production fundamentals leaning strong bearish. Wait for big trader “Elephant Tracks” before wading into the pool. Emotions are running high for natural gas traders after the fireworks of the past six weeks. I’m currently on the sidelines, and, while I’m long term bearish, nothing goes up […]


Mysterious militants raise new fears of insurgency

Mysterious militants raise new fears of insurgency thumbnail

A new armed group has appeared in northern Iraq, causing locals to fear that IS is regrouping and re-branding for guerrilla warfare. Iraqi soldiers gather near their vehicles as smoke rises from oil wells in the Hamrin field east of the city of Tikrit in Salahaddin province, March 4, 2015. (MAHMOUD RAOUF/Reuters) By Araz Mohammed, […]


Kuntler: Taking Liberty

Kuntler: Taking Liberty thumbnail

You can see where this has been going. The wholesale un-personing of “powerful men” in the arts, media, and politics for sex “crimes” ranging from rape to stealing a kiss communicates a hunt up the food-chain that leads to the Golden Golem of Greatness tweeting his wicked id out in his White House lair. The […]


Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Oil Has Cursed Venezuela thumbnail

Most Venezuelans have a love-hate relationship with oil. I personally was never one of the haters—I was one of the lovers. When I was very young, I would go after school to my mother’s office at Meneven, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, where I was fascinated by the processes of production and refinement, […]


Twilight years: is the UK entering its last decade of oil and gas production?

Twilight years: is the UK entering its last decade of oil and gas production? thumbnail

Controversial research by the University of Edinburgh suggests UK oil and gas industries are entering the last decade of production. Julian Turner talks to the author of the report, Prof. Roy Thompson, about resource depletion, hard data vs industry optimism, and the transition to the clean economy. The Edinburgh Geological Society was formed in 1834 […]


It’s Final — Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use

It’s Final — Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use thumbnail

OK, can we please stop pretending biofuel made from corn is helping the planet and the environment? The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion of biofuels has ignited a fierce debate as to whether they’re […]


Collapse Step by Step, Part 8 — The Bumpy Road Down

Collapse Step by Step, Part 8 — The Bumpy Road Down thumbnail

The Bumpy Road Down, Part 1 The term “bumpy road down” refers to the cyclic pattern of crash and partial recovery that I believe will characterize the rest of the age of scarcity and make for a slow step by step collapse, rather than a single hard and fast crash. Indeed, that is where the […]


Fracking drives US oil exports to record high

Fracking drives US oil exports to record high thumbnail

The world’s largest oil consumer exported more hydrocarbons than ever before in 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down. You name it – crude oil, gasoline, diesel, propane and even liquefied natural gas – all were shipped abroad by the US at a record pace. While the surge comes many years after the shale […]


Exxon To Disclose The Real Risk Of Climate Change

Exxon To Disclose The Real Risk Of Climate Change thumbnail

According to a new filing by Exxon to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Exxon said that its board “has reconsidered the proposal requesting a report on impacts of climate change policies” by major shareholders at its annual meeting earlier this year. The company will disclose more information regarding “energy demand sensitivities, implications of two degree […]


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