Archive for the Category ◊ Peak Oil ◊

• Tuesday, December 03rd, 2013

Is this what we want to be known for Internationally? I hope not.


Chomsky - Tar Sands

• Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Source: Post Carbon Institute

As a friend of Post Carbon Institute, I want to make sure you know about “Climate After Growth: Why Environmentalists Must Embrace Post-Growth Economics & Community Resilience,” which Rob Hopkins (the founder of the Transition Movement) and I just released.

In it, we argue that as long as our elected officials continue to prioritize economic growth above all else no meaningful climate policies will be enacted. The risks of further inaction cannot be overstated.

But chasing after robust economic growth is a fool’s errand. Those days are over. In fact, we are are experiencing dramatic “new normals” in our energy, climate, and economic systems that require whole new strategies.

In the paper, Rob and I make the case that the environmental community must recognize these “new normals” and adjust its strategies accordingly. A key component, in our view, must be a focus on building community resilience.

By making community resilience a top priority, environmentalists can offer an alternative to the “growth at all costs” story, one in which taking control of our basic needs locally has multiple benefits. Community resilience-building can create new enterprises and meaningful work, and increase well-being even as GDP inevitably falters. It can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, while addressing social and economic inequities. And it can strengthen the social cohesion necessary to withstand periods of crisis.

I hope that you can take the time to review “Climate After Growth” and share it with others.

• Thursday, August 01st, 2013

Disclosure: I was one of the hundreds of editors on the book.

Hat tip: Maureen Lafreniere

New book by Richard Heinberg:

Big Energy lies exposed in SNAKE OIL: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future:

This is a critical book for a critical time. Fracking threatens watersheds, drinking supplies, public health, national security and common sense in an ever-increasing number of states and countries. SNAKE OIL empowers activists and citizens everywhere with the truths about a dirty energy fraud.

This is a self-published, community-supported endeavour, with supporters participating in the editing of the book.

From the Post Carbon Institute release:
Written by PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, SNAKE OIL casts a critical eye not only on the environmental impacts of new oil and gas production but also on the industry hype that has hijacked America’s energy conversation.

“SNAKE OIL exposes the unsustainable economics behind the so-called fracking boom, giving the lie to industry claims that natural gas will bring great economic benefits and long-term energy security to the United States. In clear, hard-hitting language, Heinberg reveals that communities where fracking has taken place are actually being hurt economically. For those who want to know the truth about why natural gas is a gangplank, not a bridge, Snake Oil is a must-read.”

– Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and author of Coming Clean
SNAKE OIL is available as both a paperback and Kindle.

Category: Peak Oil, Waste, Water | Tags: ,  | 2 Comments
• Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Peak Oil Accepted by Arab countriesThis is a major shift by the Arab countries – away from denial and towards acceptance of the Peak Oil (PO) narrative.

When will other Oil producing countries like Mexico and Canada follow suit? When will Montreal start to make serious infrastructure investments for a time when oil and gas are prohibitively expensive or collapse overtakes the supply chain?

Source: Fabius Maximus

The timing of the impending onset of world oil decline was not an issue at the conference, rather the main focus was what the GCC countries should do soon to ensure a prosperous, long-term future. To many of us who have long suffered the vociferous denial of PO by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and OPEC countries, this conference represented a major change. In the words of Kjell Aleklett (Professor of Physics at Uppsala University, Sweden), who summarized highlights of the conference, the meeting was “an historic event.”

While many PO aficionados have been focused on the impacts and the mitigation of “peak oil” in the importing countries, most attendees at this conference were concerned with the impact that finite oil and gas reserves will have on the long-term future of their own exporting countries. They see the depletion of their large-but-limited reserves as affording their countries a period of time in which they either develop their countries into sustainable entities able to continue into the long term future or they lapse back into the poor, nomadic circumstances that existed prior to the discovery of oil/gas. Accordingly, much of the conference focus was on how the GCC countries might use their current and near-term largesse to build sustainable economic and government futures.

• Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Source: Equiterre

Even if it doesn’t spill, it will already have been an environmental disaster.

Last fall, the pipeline company Enbridge asked the National Energy Board (NEB) for permission to:

  • reverse the flow in a section of its Line 9 pipeline
  • use the pipeline to carry heavy tar sands crude from Alberta through Ontario to Montreal

Citizens need to know that:

  • domestic oil is not necessarily ethical oil
  • by the time tar sands oil does make it to a gas station, it may already have generated as much as 82% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil

The Line 9 pipeline reversal:

  • will not save you any money at the pump
  • will not create significant jobs in Montreal
  • may expose communities along the pipeline to the risk of a heavy oil spill
  • may simply be intended to access foreign markets, where more money can be made per barrel

What you can do

Attend an upcoming public meeting, where environmentalist Steven Guilbeault will give more information on the issue, and explain how you can make your voice heard:

  • Montreal, February 6, 7 p.m.  – Centre Roussin, 12 125, rue Notre Dame Est
  • St-Césaire, February 11, 7 p.m. – Hôtel de Ville, 1111, avenue St-Paul
  • Ste-Justine, March 11, 6:30 p.m. – Centre communautaire, 2842, rue Principale

For more information (including sources) (in French only)

• Saturday, January 19th, 2013

The Bleak Picture of Endless GrowthThis is a quote from a very powerful interview with Richard Heinberg about his newest book, Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth.

The debate in our politics has been: how can we get more energy resources and how can we grow the economy so that we can produce more jobs and more prosperity. Of course, there is never any consideration (in mainstream media or politics) about the sustainability of this policy of more, more, more…it just isn’t questioned.

Heinberg’s new book is a heavy tome of large photographs that show the physical affects of this policy of endless growth on our Earth, on our natural world. And the pictures are very bleak, depressing and dark. This is our future if we continue on this path of more, more more.

We must start to act like adults rather than children who insist on more, more, more without considering the consequences.


Endless growth is a delusion with consequences…The spiral of climate change, peak energy, and economic crisis, with author Richard Heinberg. Fresh interview on giant new book “Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth”. Followed by speech to Chicago Bioneers “Life After Growth: Why the Economy Is Shrinking and What to Do About It”.

Eye-popping, jaw-dropping, – I’m out of words to describe the tsunami of agencies and experts admitting our troubles are bigger than our brains.

• Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Crisis is the only antidoteIn an interview, Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of the Limits to Growth, said:

We are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.

Most of the angst we folks who are paying attention feel regarding the future comes from not understanding this critical point.

We feel despair and disappointment when there is a difference between our expectation of the future and what we think is the likely future. I would go further and say that we have a certain future: economic contraction, starvation, regional wars over resources, etc. These are all the consequences of being several billion people into overshoot and dealing with declining oil production and climate change. Nature, via the immutable laws of physics, will eventually rebalance things.

The machine will not stop or even slow down willingly because the individuals and institutions that comprise it have strong interests in keeping it running. We would have had to teach enough people in time that infinite growth was a disaster, and we didn’t do that. As a species, we blew it.

Getting that all we can do now is take care of our little corner of the machine is when I finally experienced peace.

Give yourself the same gift and accept that we will not, as a whole, proactively address our converging crises. We will learn only as events unfold. Once you accept this, you too will feel much more free to live your life.

Source: The Automatic Earth

We are incapable of solving our home made problems and crises for a whole series of reasons. We’re not just bad at it, we can’t do it at all. We’re incapable of solving the big problems, the global ones.

We evolve the way Stephen Jay Gould described evolution: through punctuated equilibrium. That is, we pass through bottlenecks, forced upon us by the circumstances of nature, only in the case of the present global issues we are nature itself. And there’s nothing we can do about it. If we don’t manage to understand this dynamic, and very soon, those bottlenecks will become awfully narrow passages, with room for ever fewer of us to pass through.

As individuals we need to drastically reduce our dependence on the runaway big systems, banking, the grid, transport etc., that we ourselves built like so many sorcerers apprentices, because as societies we can’t fix the runaway problems with those systems, and they are certain to drag us down with them if we let them.

• Thursday, December 06th, 2012

There have been many stories recently about how North America will achieve energy independence soon, and how the Peak Oil myth is dead (see: Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle). Peak oil is not dead, it’s just sleeping. Math doesn’t go away just because you don’t like the answers.

The scale of the problem dwarfs any possible combination of solutions including: fracking, oil shale, natural gas, tar sands and biofuels. Here is a graphic from the car insurance association advising everyone to start planning for a radically different future when gasoline is very expensive. The question is not IF Peak Oil occurs, it’s just a matter of when:

Source: TransitionVoice

Peak Oil graphic

• Saturday, November 10th, 2012

I love the part when the Professor told the crowd of Harvard undergrads, “I don’t care about the haves – that means you. I care about the poor.” There wasn’t much applause…

Source: Harvard University Office for Sustainability

• Tuesday, October 09th, 2012

Source: Grist

Been jonesin’ for a Hollywood movie about a hot-button environmental issue? One without animation, penguins, or Al Gore?

You’re in luck: Promised Land could be just the ticket when it hits theaters on Dec. 28. Beyond being the first environmental-issue drama with Oscar chances since Erin Brockovich, this movie about fracking in small-town America comes from some big-name players. Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and John Krasinski star. Gus Van Sant directs. Damon and Krasinski wrote the script based on a story by Dave Eggers.