So let us imagine that in fact, such a limitless source of energy does exist. Does it actually solve all our energy problems? Because this is a real and interesting and important question – and one many people believe to be the case. In fact, I would argue that the reason we need to talk about this is that the assumption that something being possible solves the problem is incredibly pervasive even among well educated people who ought to know … More »
A new report has just been published which ought to provoke a Copernican revolution in dominant conceptions of renewable energy and of sustainability more generally. The message may not be one that environmentalists want to hear, but it is one that we … More »
The multitrillion-dollar global question remains: Is the emergence of BRICS a signal that we have truly entered a new multipolar world?
read more More »
In the wake of last week’s post, I’d meant to plunge straight into the next part of this sequence of posts and talk about the unraveling of American politics. Still, it’s worth remembering that the twilight of America’s global empire is merely … More »
If you’re one of those humans who actually eats food, like I am, then a non-negligible part of your energy allocation goes into food production. As an approximate rule-of-thumb, each kilocalorie ingested by Americans consumes 10 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy to plant, fertilize, harvest, transport, and prepare….But much like household energy, we control what we stick in our mouths, and can make energy-conscious choices that result in substantial reductions of energy consumption. I now call myself a flexitarian, a … More »
The Deepwater Horizon was all about peak oil. And climate change. And economic collapse. How soon we forget.
read more More »
A complex and self-justifying mythology has grown up around the process by which, during and after the Second World War, the United States made the transition from regional power to global empire. That sort of thing is common enough that it probably belongs on the short list of imperial obsessions—Rome had its imperial myth, as did Spain, Britain, and just about any other empire you care to think of—but the American version of it deserves close attention, because it obscures … More »
Now, living with a family in my own house-castle, the only limitation to delving into energy efficiency is our budget (and of course, the kid’s willingness to turn off the lights. Except that our Edwardian townhouse also happens to be located in an off… More »
The Do the Math blog series has built the case that physical growth cannot continue indefinitely; that fossil fuel availability will commence a decline this century—starting with petroleum; that alternative energy schemes constitute imperfect substitutes for fossil fuels; and has concluded that a very smart strategy for us to adopt is to slow down while we sort out the biggest transition humans have ever faced. The idea is to relieve pressure on the system, avoid the Energy Trap, and give … More »
Yesterday I gave a presentation to a group of distinguished business leaders. In my presentation, I tried to show that the global rate of production of petroleum and the associated lease condensate is at an all-time high or a “peak” that at a greatly e… More »
Gas prices are on the rise again, which means the “man on the street” will complain to local news reporters about greedy oil companies and foreign cartels, and energy-illiterate pundits and politicians will cry for domestic drilling with wild aband… More »
Like all other human activities, warfare depends on energy sources, and the Second World War was the first major war in history in which victory depended on access to petroleum, and in which the possibilities opened up by petroleum-burning internal combustion engines were exploited to the full. It could as well be called the Gasoline War — and its aftermath saw global power transferred to the United States, at that time the world’s largest producer of petroleum. How that happened, … More »