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Limits to growth

Trump or no, climate change action will take a beating from long-term economic forces anyway

Nagraj Adve writes: In any economy primed to continuously expand, technological improvements alone can only help so much. While being stunned by Trump’s victory, let’s neither underestimate  nor render invisible the inherent, long-term economic tendencies that prevent greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide from declining as the science demands they should. In fact, they may well rise again.

Gail Tverberg: How Peak Oil was misunderstood

Instead of the scenario envisioned by many Peak Oilers, it’s likely that we will in the very near future hit a limit similar to the collapse scenarios that many early civilizations encountered when they hit resource limits. We don’t think about our situation as being similar, but we too are reaching decreasing resources per capita.

Who was M. King Hubbert and what was his prediction about the future of oil?

Kurt Cobb writes: Hubbert is much maligned and much praised these days. But he is perhaps not well understood. Mason Inman’s compelling biography gives us all a chance finally to understand this scientific giant and the context within which he spawned insights on the future of energy that continue to be central to our lives.

Debt: The key factor connecting energy and the economy

Gail Tverberg writes: Growth in energy consumption is dependent on the growth of debt. Both energy and debt have characteristics that are close to “magic” when it comes to economic growth, which can only take place when debt (or a close substitute, such as company stock) is available to enable the use of energy products.

Gail Tverberg: Energy limits – what most researchers have missed

The common assumption has been that the world will eventually “run out” of oil and other non-renewable resources. Instead, we seem to be running into energy surpluses and low prices. The real situation is that as prices rise, supply tends to rise as well, because new sources of production become available at the higher price.

Bookshelf: The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist’s Quest for a Sustainable Future

The focal point of The Oracle of Oil, the first biography of King Hubbert, is his distinction as the first person to recognize the phenomenon of peak oil. Hubbert spent decades studying petroleum and natural gas reserves data, hypothesizing that output from large regions—such as the United States, or the whole world—would tend to follow a bell-shaped curve.

Connecting the rise of Donald Trump with global resource depletion

Ugo Bardi writes: Something like Trump was unavoidable. He is best defined as the visible effect of the ongoing social phase transition. A symptom of the ongoing breakdown of the social pact in the West. A discrete change in our path in the direction of collapse, in turn precipitated by depletion of resources, especially energy.

Gail Tverberg: Globalization is reaching its limits; here’s why

We have identified two different limits to globalization. One has to do with limits on the amount of goods and services that developed countries can absorb before those imports unduly disrupt local economies. The other occurs because of the sensitivity of many developing nations to low commodity prices, because they are exporters of these commodities.

Gail Tverberg: We are at Peak Oil now; we need very low-cost energy to fix it

We are hitting something similar to “Peak Oil” right now, but the major symptoms are unexpected. There is a glut of supply, and prices are far below the cost of production. Perhaps we should call it “Limits to Growth,” rather than “Peak Oil,” because it is a different type of problem than most people expected.

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