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Energy Bulletin

Will quantum fusion save the day?

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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 …
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Can renewable energy sustain consumer societies?

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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 …
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A History of the World, BRIC by BRIC

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The multitrillion-dollar global question remains: Is the emergence of BRICS a signal that we have truly entered a new multipolar world?
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Seascape with methane plumes

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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 …
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Flex-Fuel Humans

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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 …
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Deepwater what?

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The Deepwater Horizon was all about peak oil. And climate change. And economic collapse. How soon we forget.
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America: The Price of Supremacy

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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 …
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Historic preservation vs. clean energy

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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…
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Easing Off the Gas

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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 …
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Commentary: The world is finite, isn’t it?

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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…
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