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The Mythology of Overconsumption

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As a species, our lives have been made better throughout the ages because we have consistently consumed more. If we were to reverse our consumption habits, which is not possible, humankind would not flourish. Life would not get better for anyone if we suddenly consumed less. Nor should we expect the ecology to be magically […]

How do we feed the world without destroying the planet?

How do we feed the world without destroying the planet? thumbnail

Hunger is the most awful and profound expression of poverty. It exists in every country. It is something that most people can identify with on some perhaps primordial level. The fear of hunger is etched into our DNA, passed down the generations from hungry, scared ancestors. It is in our bones. It is in my […]

IEA Cuts Oil Demand Forecast as Economy Eclipses Saudi Attack

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The International Energy Agency cut forecasts for growth in global oil demand, noting that fears of an economic slowdown are overshadowing the loss of supply during last month’s attack on Saudi Arabia. The strike on the kingdom’s production facilities caused the biggest disruption in modern history, halting about 6% of world oil supply, the agency […]

The Baby Bust and the Global Economy


Growth has been slowing around the developed world — not just in recent months but for decades. One potential reason is that women are having fewer babies. On this week’s Stephanomics, reporter Jeannette Neumann visits a region in Spain with the lowest fertility rate in Europe to find out why this is happening and what it […]

China’s Worrying Oil Vulnerability


1. China’s Middle East vulnerability – China is the largest oil importer in the world and its vulnerability lies in its dependence on oil flows from the Middle East. China’s oil imports from the region have surged from 0.33 mb/d in 1998 to 4 mb/d in 2018. – The Abqaiq attack highlighted the stakes. “With […]

Peak energy, peak oil, and the rise of renewables: An executive’s guide to the global energy system


The McKinsey Podcast Global energy demand is headed toward a plateau over the next ten to 20 years, as the world focuses on electrification, energy efficiency, and more service-driven economic growth.

China’s development, governance set model for world


China’s remarkable political and socioeconomic achievements have created a development model illuminating to the whole world, said a Cypriot senior politician. “Despite the huge size of the country and its people, it has managed to improve the living conditions of its citizens to a very high degree,” Antros Kyprianou, secretary general of the AKEL, the […]

Peak oil demand is now

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The theory of “peak oil demand” was a techno-utopian response to the supposed debunking of the peak oil theory first set out by M. King Hubbert in the 1950s.  Hubbert’s simple observation was that oil fields tend to reach peak production roughly 40 years after they are discovered.  Since most of the oil in the […]

The Delusion and Danger of Infinite Economic Growth

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“Fairytales of eternal economic growth.” That’s how climate activist Greta Thunberg depicted the dominant mindset at the United Nations last week. “How dare you,” she said, admonishing them for “empty words” instead of concrete actions to preserve the planet. She’s right. One of the reasons nations fail to address climate change is the belief that […]

Oil and Gas is Here to Stay


OPEC’s research shows that oil and gas, and this industry as a whole, is here to stay. That’s what OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo revealed in a speech at the 12th Kazenergy Eurasian Forum on September 26. “The fact is, all forms of energy will be required to meet future demand,” Barkindo said in the speech. “It […]

How Many Humans Could the Moon Support?

How Many Humans Could the Moon Support? thumbnail

It’s the year 3000. Having used up all of Earth’s natural resources, humans have become a spacefaring race and established colonies on the moon. Vast, sealed domes cluster across its surface, housing cities populated by hundreds of thousands of people. This cold, gray rock has somehow become humanity’s new home. Of course, this is pure […]

The Paradox of Growth


Credit: Princeton University Press Fifty years ago, shortly after we arrived in Pennsylvania from Europe, I came across D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s classic On Growth and Form (originally published in 1917, with a revised edition published in 1942), which looks at the role of mathematics in biology. I almost immediately thought about writing a similarly systematic […]

Food Security Becoming One Of Our Biggest Challenges For Humankind’s Survival

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Biotechnology woman engineer with a clipboard and pen examining a plant for disease! Getty Food security is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing as we move further into this century. Changing climate, pests, stress on water and land are all limiting our ability to produce sufficient amounts of food. making food production an issue. […]

We just learned how easy it is to upend the oil market — and we’re going to pay for it

We just learned how easy it is to upend the oil market — and we’re going to pay for it thumbnail

The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities have done more than knock out some 5 per cent of global crude supplies, they have provided a myriad of lessons for all involved. There is still a high level of uncertainty as to who, what and how exactly Saturday’s attacks were carried out on Saudi Aramco’s facilities, […]

Our Energy and Debt Predicament in 2019

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Many people are concerned that we have an oil problem. Or they are concerned about recession and the need to lower interest rates. As I see the situation, we have a problem of a networked economy that is not functioning well. A big part of this problem is energy-related. Strange as it may seem, energy […]

Debunking ‘Lower Oil Supply Will Raise Prices’


We often hear the statement, “When oil supply is lower, oil prices will rise because of scarcity.” Now, we are getting to see firsthand whether oil prices really do rise, as oil supplies become more scarce. Figure 1. Figure from the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report for August 2019 showing world and OPEC oil production by […]

Attacks in Saudi Arabia Are a Test of How Much the World Still Needs Its Oil


How dependent is the world on Saudi Arabian oil? That’s one of the many questions global oil markets are asking on Monday, after Saturday’s attacks on the Abqaiq oil refinery and the Khurais oilfield, the heart of the Kingdom’s crude production. The attacks highlight not just the rising tensions in the region, but serve as […]

Peak Oil Uncertainty: Crude’s Record-Setting Jump Roils Global Markets—and the Worst May Be Yet to Come


Crude oil prices soared and markets fell on Monday, and now there’s talk of what seemed impossible just last week—oil prices topping $75 a barrel. Nobody knows for sure how bad the prospect of suddenly expensive crude could get for a global economy that was already sputtering. That’s the upshot from this weekend’s drone attack […]

Yergin: Expect Extreme Volatility In Oil Markets


Rising pipeline takeaway capacity in the Permian and global oil demand growth at its weakest in a decade are set to lead to more volatility in oil prices in the near term, a prominent energy expert said, joining a growing number of analysts who see prices further depressed by slowing economies and crude demand. “The […]

Gas to Become Primary Energy Source in 2026


DNV GL sees global gas demand overtaking demand for oil in 2026 to become the world’s primary energy source. That’s according to the company’s latest Energy Transition Outlook report, which predicts that global oil demand will peak in the mid-2020s and gas demand will keep rising to 2033. Gas demand is then anticipated to plateau […]

OPEC Cuts 2020 Oil Demand Forecast


OPEC on Wednesday cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2020 due to an economic slowdown, an outlook the producer group said highlighted the need for ongoing efforts to prevent a new glut of crude. In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said oil demand worldwide would expand […]

Review: Growth by Vaclav Smil

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Vaclav Smil’s latest book explores growth in nature and society. It examines the rules and patterns of growth in four key domains, those of the living world; human energy consumption; human artifacts; and human populations, societies and economies. The author is a passionate advocate of quantitative analysis, and thus Growth is filled with numbers, graphs […]

Oil plummets as Trump signals thaw in Iranian sanctions deadlock


Oil dropped to a one-week low as U.S. President Donald Trump considered easing sanctions on Iran that severely restricted the OPEC member’s ability to export crude. Futures declined more than 2% in New York and London on Wednesday. Trump is preparing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later this month, according to people familiar […]

Chris Nelder interviews Colin Campbell: A Return to Regionalism


SPOTIFY ITUNES Is “peak oil” still something to be concerned about, and if so, what does depletion of conventional oil supply suggest about our future? Our guest in this episode certainly thinks peak oil will be a key factor in the decades ahead, and he foresees a future in which humanity must downsize significantly, both […]

Why a Hipster, Vegan, Green Start-up Service Economy Lifestyle cannot be Sustainable

Why a Hipster, Vegan, Green Start-up Service Economy Lifestyle cannot be Sustainable thumbnail

On the borderlands of Montreal’s well-to-do Outremont district and the ultra-hipsterized Mile End district lies an expanse of land near the Canadian-Pacific Railroad line. This space separates these two districts from Parc-Extension (Parc-Ex for short). One of Canada’s poorest and most densely populated neighbourhoods, Parc-Ex is a port of call for many newly arrived immigrants. […]

Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil

Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil thumbnail

Dow Inc. is partnering with the Dutch developer of a method for turning plastic trash back into oil as the global chemical powerhouse seeks to expand recycling amid rising alarm over pollution. Fuenix Ecogy Group has created a method for breaking down plastic into a form that can be used in a fresh round of […]

Why Humans are Unfit to Live on This Planet


Cassandra’s legacy Let it be known that you are lofty as the heavens! Let it be known that you are broad as the earth! Let it be known that you destroy the rebel lands! Let it be known that you roar at the foreign lands! Let it be known that you crush heads! Let it […]

Heinberg: Two Arguments for Localism

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Dear faithful readers, My essay this month was written in response to a piece by Brian Tokar on the subject of local-versus-global action. Great Transition Network, which invited these essays, also published contributions from Helena Norberg Hodge, David Bollier and others. You can read the whole discussion here. Meanwhile, my book project is advancing by […]

Trying to get a grip on actual oil demand

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The current quarter will be key in shaping the oil supply-demand balances for 2019, according to the latest outlooks from the world’s three major oil-forecasting agencies. If the big inventory draws they expect fail to materialise, Opec’s goal of pulling down excess stockpiles will be delayed again. The International Energy Agency, the US Energy Information […]

China’s Very Ambitious Transportation Revolution


The proverb goes that when China coughs, the world catches the flu. The unprecedented economic development of the world’s most populous country has led to a steep increase in national and personal wealth. An obvious beneficiary of economic growth is the automotive industry. Car ownership has grown to almost 58 per 1000 citizens and, currently, […]

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