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Energy crisis

Nafeez Ahmed: This is how UN scientists are preparing for capitalism’s demise

From The Independent: Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN secretary general. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources and the shift to less efficient energy sources.

Nafeez Ahmed: Inside capitalism’s slow-burn energy collapse

New scientific research is quietly rewriting the fundamentals of economics, showing decisively that the age of endlessly growing industrial capitalism, premised on abundant fossil fuel supplies, is over. The long-decline of capitalism-as-we-know-it, the new science conclusively shows, began some decades ago, and is on track to accelerate well before the end of the 21st century.

Red alert: A timeline for global collapse

This review by Alice Friedmann of Nafeez Ahmed’s new book has 3 parts: 1) Why states collapse for reasons other than economic and political 2) How Bio-Physical factors contribute to systemic collapse in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria 3) Predictions of when collapse will begin in Middle-East, India, China, Europe, Russia, North America

Information theory pioneer John Scales Avery on the planet’s converging crises

From Countercurrents.org: Human cultural evolution can be regarded as an enormous success in many respects. However, thoughtful observers agree that civilization is entering a period of crisis. As all curves move exponentially upward: population, production, consumption, etc, one can observe signs of increasing environmental stress, while the existence of nuclear weapons threaten civilization with destruction.

Brace for the coming oil, food and financial crash

Nafeez Ahmed writes: A new research study by HSBC on global oil supply shows that the bulk of the world’s oil production has peaked and is now in decline. Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by our ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil — unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

The mineral pie is shrinking, and most of what’s left is in the sky

Ugo Bardi writes on Cassandra’s Legacy: The essence of propaganda, as it is well-known, is not so much telling lies, but presenting only one aspect of the truth. That’s true also for the depletion debate. Saying that a certain resource will last decades, centuries, or more is not a lie, but not the truth, either.

Why the world’s fossil fuel output will peak by 2025

Dennis Coyne writes: I expect World Fossil fuel output to peak in 2025. If the World economy continues to grow, a gap between Energy produced (including non-fossil fuels) and the demand for Energy will grow. If the gap is not filled by growth in non-fossil fuel energy demand will reduce due to reduced economic growth.

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.

The Peak Oil dilemma

David Blittersdorf writes: Our industrial society can handle about a 10% voluntary energy reduction across the board, doing things like walking more and carpooling. To get to the necessary level (which, by some estimations, will be about a 60-80% decrease in energy usage), will be impossible unless we change the way we think about things.

Peak Oil returns to haunt the global economy

It is a peculiar combination of technological, economic and geopolitical factors that has led to the present crash in oil prices, lulling many observers into dismissing peak oil. Through it all, the fact remains that the production of ‘conventional oil’, drawn mostly from established oil wells, has not gone up since its peak in 2008.

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.

Bookshelf: When trucks stop running, so does civilization

Virtually everything in our homes, everything in our stores, got there on a truck. Prior to that, 90 percent of those items were transported on a ship and/or a train. If trucks, trains, and ships stopped running, our global economy and way of life would stop too. Alice Friedemann’s new book examines precisely this prospect.

Whatever happened to Peak Oil?

John Michael Greer writes: While the standard peak oil scenario did not happen, quite a bit of the economic, political, and social turmoil we’ve seen since 2005 or so was in fact driven by the impact of peak oil—but that impact didn’t follow the linear model that most peak oil writers expected it to follow.

Tverberg: A market collapse is on the horizon

Gail Tverberg writes: We are about to see a substantial disruption to the economy, as oil limits, as well as other energy limits, cause the economic supercycle to contract. Whether its Peak Oil, the Limits to Growth, or the Debt Supercycle, the underlying problem is the same – we’re reaching the limits of a finite world.

Fifteen experts on the hidden consequences of the oil crash

Oil prices drive not just economics, but geopolitics. Alliances rise and fall over petroleum. For these reasons and more, the collapsing value of oil will have profound consequences, with the potential to destabilize regimes, remake regions and alter the global economy in lasting and unforeseen ways. Fifteen experts tell Politico what that means for the world.

Tverberg: Something Has Got To Break

Gail Tverberg explains the correlation between rates of GDP growth and growth in energy supply. For decades, energy has been becoming more costly to obtain, but instead of accepting lower GDP growth, we have been using debt to fund further energy extraction. That strategy has diminishing returns, and we are close to the moment of reckoning.

Two Talks with Bill McKibben – 7th November, Hyderabad

Bill McKibben, American environmentalist, author and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming, heads 350.org, which recently organised the People’s Climate March in New York, attended by an estimated 400,000 people. McKibben is the winner of the 2013 Gandhi Prize, Right Livelihood Award or the Alternative Nobel, and the Thomas Merton Prize.

News update

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’? A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study

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