Category Archives: Energy

The Really, Really Big Picture

"Steadily rising energy costs and decreasing net energy yields will simply not be able to fund the future economic growth and consumptive lifestyles that developed nations are depending on (and that developing nations are aspiring to). In fact, the persistent global economic weakness we’ve been experiencing over the past years is an expected symptom of the throttling constraint decreasing net energy places on growth." (Source: Peak Prosperity)

Willy De Backer‘s insight:

Chris Martenson’s excellent analysis of why there is not going to be enough net energy for the economic growth we want.

US can become world’s biggest oil producer in a decade, says IEA

“The US could become self-sufficient, while 90% of Middle Eastern oil could go to China, according to new estimates…” (Source: The Guardian)

Yes and pigs CAN fly. I would like to know how much pressure was put on Fatih Birol and his team  to produce this PR report for big oil. Any investigative journalist can go after the real story behind this? And if the figures are correct, get ready for more and faster climate collapse.

Read the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012 pages.

Critical coverage of this report can be found here (more later):

US Elections: what no candidate says about energy and the economy

"What if tools of the past no longer fit the economy of the future? Economic growth, as we have known it, is being constrained by an unprecedented slowing of growth in world oil supply. America’s path to future prosperity needs to recognize and confront this new energy reality, and adapt our economy to run on a lot less oil." (Source: The Hill)

What would you expect as long as “the American Way of Life is non-negotiable”? Americans (as well as Europeans BTW) just “can’t handle the truth”.

IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy

One week after IMF economist Michael Kumhof attracted attention with his remarkable ideas on debt redemption and money creation in the working paper "The Chicago Plan Revisited", here he is again with another remarkable study, on peak oil this time. One scenario in his modelling predicts an 800 percent increase in oil prices in two decades. Anyone for more doom-and-gloom?

Is the IMF becoming revolutionary? And will the media and policymakers read and understand the implications of these excellent papers? I guess at least the Queen will not have to ask questions why nobody warned of this clear and present danger.

Read The Washington Post’s “IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy” and the full working paper “Oil and the World Economy: some possible futures”.

In a Natural Gas Glut, Big Winners and Losers

Low prices for consumers. Big profits for bankers. But the gas glut in the United States has meant much pain for gas exploration companies and their investors.” (Source: NY Times)

Brilliant article on America’s natural gas glut and the influence of financial capitalism on its boom and future bust. Must-read article for European policy-makers who dream of a Golden Age of Gas for Europe.

Like the recent credit bubble, the boom and bust in gas were driven in large part by tens of billions of dollars in creative financing engineered by investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Jefferies & Company.

After the financial crisis, the natural gas rush was one of the few major profit centers for Wall Street deal makers, who found willing takers among energy companies and foreign financial investors.

The global financial crisis and the prospects for ‘Green Growth’

The global financial crisis offers a big opportunity for progressive politicians to reenergise the green agenda.” (Source: Policy Network)

British energy expert Dieter Helm provides a good analysis of why EU climate policy has failed to make a difference but his plea for "green growth" suffers from technology optimism and belief in the overhyped gas eldorado.

From the outset Kyoto made Europe look good¬—and hence could be presented as a political “success”.  But much was “smoke and mirrors”. Europe has been exiting energy intensive industries, and these have moved to developing countries like China. … But sadly reducing carbon production in Europe does not — and has not — made much difference to global emissions. Europe just imports the carbon instead – so carbon consumption replaced carbon production.” …

None of the existing technologies are likely to meet the decarbonisation challenge. There simply is not enough land and shallow water for wind or biofuels to make a difference. Current renewables just can’t do it. So we need future renewables, and the good news is that on the technology front there are lots and lots of opportunities. What Europe should do is take some of the hundreds of billions being spent on current expensive renewables and spend it on the future renewables and technologies — on things like the next generation of solar, on batteries, on smart information systems, electric cars and on a host of new concepts.”

Neoliberalism, Degrowth and the Fate of Health Systems

"Degrowth recognizes that humanity’s access to the earth’s resources and services of the biosphere are constraints upon socioeconomic activity. It also holds that politics and economics cannot trump thermodynamic and ecological realities. It places the limits to growth and ecological overshoot at the center of the predicaments Homo sapiens confront. It connects to culture and political/economy through this root public policy question: How to equitably distribute a shrinking economic pie?" (Source: Health After Oil blog).

Must-read analysis by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis on what "the end of cheap energy and growth" means for Western health systems.

EU Commission study on shale gas raises serious doubts about European "golden age of gas"

A new research report written by the Joint Research Centre of the EU Commission suggests that under a best case scenario, taking into account environmental considerations, future shale gas production in Europe could help the EU maintain its dependency on energy imports at around 50 % of its total energy needs. But the report also reveals the sometimes considerable uncertainty about recoverable volumes, technological developments, public acceptance and access to land and markets.

This courageous JRC study will without doubt lead to furious reactions from the shale gas lobby.

Read the full report ‘Unconvential Gas: Potential Energy Market Impacts in the European Union

See also Reuters: Shale Gas will not cut EU import dependence .

Romney’s energy plan follows the money

Energy analyst Chris Nelder reviews Mitt Romney’s energy plan and finds nothing but an oil and gas industry wish list.” (Source:

How the fossil fuel industry won the energy narrative war and is now buying the next US President.. Get ready for more resource wars and climate collapse.

“… Romney received nearly $10 million from the oil and gas industry just this week. Romney’s chief energy adviser is shale oil baron Harold Hamm, one of his top super PAC donors, who stands to benefit handsomely if Romney takes the reins. Oil and gas employees and their families are the sixth-largest source of donations to the Republican National Committee, as Jim Snyder and Kasia Klimasinska reported for Bloomberg today, and the industry as a whole is the tenth-largest contributor to the Romney campaign. The fossil-fuel tycoon Koch brothers alone have personally contributed over $60 million to Romney’s campaign.”

The Frozen Frontier: Is Shell Ready For The Risks Of Arctic Drilling?

A new report by Ceres shows that oil and gas companies are not doing enough to manage offshore drilling risks and disclose their efforts to investors.” (Source: Forbes)

Forbes is one of the few media paying attention to this interesting new report on offshore and Arctic drilling for oil and gas.

Extract from this must-read article:

A new report by Ceres shows that oil and gas companies—Shell included—are not doing enough to manage offshore drilling risks and disclose their efforts to investors. The report, Sustainable Extraction?, examines risk disclosure in SEC filings submitted in the first quarter of 2011 by 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. It finds that out of 50 deepwater risk disclosure scores on key metrics including spill response procedures and drilling risk management, only four scores were good, and 29 (nearly 60 percent) were poor or no disclosure.

This striking lack of disclosure makes it nearly impossible for investors to understand how companies are managing the range of potential drilling risks.  And investors are already wary.

Lloyd’s, the world’s largest insurance market, cautions that “the Arctic is a frontier unlike any other” that will “remain a complex risk environment.” In its Arctic Opening report, Lloyd’s highlights geographic remoteness, ongoing changes to the environment as a result of climate change and extreme weather as key risk factors of offshore drilling in the Arctic.”


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