Archive for the category “Collapse”

Film: Mad Max Fury Road

Its the oil, stupid!

Mad Max, the 1970 Australian dystopian movie which went on to be part of a hit trilogy will soon be back with a fourth edition. Going by the trailer, it promises a lot more explosions, high speed crashes and other such violent thrills the franchise is known for. The film was a landmark for many reasons: it was shot with a budget of under 4,00,000 Australian dollars, but went on to make US$ 100 million worldwide. It made a global superstar of Mel Gibson, then an unknown face. But what makes Mad Max most relevant is that it was the first, and perhaps the only time the theme of oil depletion was explicitly featured in popular culture.

Heres the premise of the original film, courtesy Wikipedia: In a dystopic future Australia, law and order has begun to break down following a major energy crisis. Most of the Outback has been reduced to low-populated communities with low fuel and a relatively peaceful life, with major metropolitan cities still continuing to exist. However, motorcycle gangs scavenge the lands and terrorize the population. As such, Main Force Patrol, an out-run police force, has been created to patrol the lands to uphold the remains of law and justice.

The films director George Miller was a doctor in Sydney, working in a hospital emergency room, where he saw many automobile related injuries and deaths, when the 1973 oil crisis arrived. According to the films co-writer James McCausland, both he and Miller drew heavily on their  observations of the crisis effects on Australian motorists.

In a 2006  article, McCausland wrote of his inspiration for the script: There were signs of the desperate measures individuals would take to ensure mobility. A couple of oil strikes that hit many pumps revealed the ferocity with which Australians would defend their right to fill a tank. Long queues formed at the stations with petrol – and anyone who tried to sneak ahead in the queue met raw violence. George and I wrote the [Mad Max] script based on the thesis that people would do almost anything to keep vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was too late

Connecting the film to Peak Oil ( at its core was a sizeable kernel of truth. That kernel has taken root, and its called peak oil) McCauslands conclusion was grim, The sombre fact is that no matter how dramatic the consequences, it is difficult to get anyone excited to the point of taking action.

Is the violent dystopia envisioned by Miller & McCausland whats really in store for us? Yes, no, maybe. What is undeniable is that 45 years later, our thirst for oil has only grown, and our addiction to it more desperate. And that is bound to have consequences.

News update

Bad loans will worsen if economy falters: RBI
Indian Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that the asset quality of scheduled commercial banks may worsen from the current level if the macroeconomic conditions deteriorate drastically. The central bank’s latest Financial Stability Report has also raised red flag on connected banks triggering a contagion and sought more disclosures and accountability in big-ticket corporate debt restructuring (CDR).

Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad
Andrew Higgins, New York Times
A plunge in oil prices has sent tremors through the global political and economic order, setting off an abrupt shift in fortunes that has bolstered the interests of the United States and pushed several big oil-exporting nations — particularly those hostile to the West, like Russia, Iran and Venezuela — to the brink of financial crisis.

Five energy surprises for 2015
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
The coming year is likely to be as full of surprises in the field of energy as 2014 was. We just dont know which surprises! I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, and they will be surprises to most people if they do. But, I think there is an outside chance that one or more will occur, and this would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.=

Weve Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century
Matt Novak, Paleofuture
The authors lists a number of failed predictions about oil depletion and argues that the idea of peak oil has contributed to climate change more than any other meme of the 20th century. Rather than making the case for alternative energy sources, too many people believed that it would be a problem that eventually sorted itself, which it wont. Also read the lively debate triggered by the article, in the comments section.

A Roadmap to Global Burning: Notes for Understanding the Lima Outcome
Pablo Solón, Common Dreams
The “Lima call for climate action” which came out of the recent UN climate talks, establishes a roadmap to a post-2020 agreement that will be weaker than the ongoing Cancun Agreement (for 2012-2020), and it lays a foundation for an even worse agreement in Paris in 2015, says Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations.

What climate change asks of us
Margaret Klein, The Climate Psychologist
Climate change is a crisis, and crises alter morality. Climate change is on track to cause the extinction of half the species on earth and, through a combination of droughts, famines, displaced people, and failed states and pandemics, the collapse of civilization within this century. This is an unprecedented moral responsibility, and we are by and large failing to meet it.

Review: The Great Transition The New Paradigm
Nafeez Ahmed, Degrowth 2014 blog
Worried about the shit hitting the fan on climate change and other major crises? Good. Because those crises prove that civilization is in the midst of a phase shift to new forms – and we’ve got the opportunity, right now, to ride the wave of five interlinked revolutions in information, food, energy, finance and ethics, to co-create a new way of being that works for everyone. (This is a review of University of Turin economist Prof Mauro Bonaiutis new book, The Great Transition. Read Part 1 of the review: The End of Growth?)

Leading archaeologist says world civilization approaching collapse
PBS Hews Hour
Arthur Demarest, one of the world’s leading archaeologists, studies the collapse of ancient civilizations, from Greece and Rome to the Maya and Aztecs. In this interview with Ted Fischer, a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, he says I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization, and gives detailed reasons why.

News update

The Oil Price Crash of 2014
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Oil prices have fallen by half since late June. This is a significant development for the oil industry and for the global economy, though no one knows exactly how either the industry or the economy will respond in the long run. Since it’s almost the end of the year, perhaps this is a good time to stop and ask: (1) Why is this happening? (2) Who wins and who loses over the short term?, and (3) What will be the impacts on oil production in 2015?

Déjà Vu All Over Again
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
The blogosphere is full of claims that the Saudis crashed the price of oil to break the US fracking industry, or that Obama got the Saudis to crash the price of oil to punish the Russians, or what have you. I suspect that what’s going on is considerably more important. To start with, oil isn’t the only thing that’s in steep decline.

Who Will Get Caught When The Oil Debt Bubble Pops?
Christopher Helman, Forbes Magazine
America’s oil and gas boom was enabled by a huge pile of cheap financing. The mountain of debt advanced to drillers in recent years is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $500 billion. But now, with oil prices half what they were six months ago, there’s tremors in that debt mountain, and concerns that an avalanche could quickly take out the weakest oil companies, which simply won’t be able to generate sufficient revenues to service their debt.

North Sea oilfields ‘near collapse’ after price nosedive
The Telegraph, UK
The North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse”, an expert has warned, as a slump in prices piles pressure on drillers to cut back investing in the region. Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that it is “almost impossible to make money” with the oil price below $60 per barrel.

Carbon-dioxide emissions at all-time high in 2013
The Hindu
Global carbon-dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels and production of cement reached a high of 35.3 billion tonnes in 2013, mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies such as India, a new report says. Brazil (6.2 per cent), India (4.4 per cent), China (4.2 per cent) and Indonesia (2.3 per cent) reported a sharp rise in emissions of the greenhouse gas that year. (View report: Trends in Global CO2 Emissions)

Loss of rainforests is double whammy threat to climate
Climate News Network
New research spells out the devastating impacts that complete destruction of tropical forests would have on global temperatures, weather patterns and agriculture. In what is claimed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, US researchers report in Nature Climate Change that they used climate models to test the consequences of the complete devastation of the tropical rainforests.

An Open Letter on Climate Change to The Minister for Environment
Shankar Sharma, Frontier Weekly
Many expert observers of the Climate Change initiatives in India are of the unambiguous opinion that we, as a nation, lack the urgency and commitment needed to objectively address the related issues. NAPCC is seen as neither adequate nor focused enough to bring about the essential changes in our approach to the developmental thinking and processes.

US Families Prepare For Modern Day Apocalypse
Sky News
From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But could it be in danger of falling apart? An increasing number of Americans seem to think so, and theyre preparing for the end. They call themselves preppers. Mainstream suburban Americans hoarding supplies and weapons while leading otherwise perfectly normal lives. (Also read: The Doomsday Preppers of New York)

News update

Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free?
Paul Krugman, The New York Times
In his latest column, well-known NYT columnist Krugman attacks, among others, the Post Carbon Institute, a leading think tank on Peak Oil and Climate Change, as wrong-headed and inducing climate despair.  In a piece titled Paul Krugman’s Errors and Omissions the Post Carbon Institutes Richard Heinberg responds to Krugman. Below is prominent Peak Oil writer John Michael Greers rather interesting take on the exchange which, he interprets as a sign that we are approaching a financial crash.

Dark Age America: The Senility of the Elites 
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
When a significant media figure uses one of the world’s major newspapers of record to lash out at a particular band of economic heretics by name, on the other hand, we’ve reached the kind of behavior that only happens, historically speaking, when crunch time is very, very close. Given that we’ve also got a wildly overvalued stock market, falling commodity prices, and a great many other symptoms of drastic economic trouble bearing down on us right now, not to mention the inevitable unraveling of the fracking bubble, there’s a definite chance that the next month or two could see the start of a really spectacular financial crash.

A Hundred Days Closer to Ecological and Social Suicide
Ashish Kothari, The Economic & Political Weekly
The first 100 days of the Narendra Modi government which have been celebrated by the mainstream media saw what can only be called a widespread and large-scale assault on rules, laws and institutions meant to protect the environment, and more is on the cards. Side by side, the central as also state governments of various hues have moved against non-governmental organisations raising social and environmental issues. But resistance to corporate-driven growth continues and alternatives continue to be explored. (Article can be accessed for a limited period only)

Global Warming and the Shifts in Species’ Range in India
Nagaraj Adve (POI member), The Economic & Political Weekly
Global warming and changing rainfall patterns have resulted in shifts or extensions in species range in every terrain, region and ecosystem in India. If it is indicative of a wider unfolding process related to climate change, it would suggest that a staggering number of species in India are moving home. This would adversely affect human habitat as well. (Article can be accessed for a limited period only)

New Study Demonstrates Dramatic, Immediate Energy Shift Needed
Popularresistance.org
Here’s the frightening implication of a landmark study on carbon emissions: By 2018, no new cars, homes, schools, factories, or electrical power plants should be built anywhere in the world, ever again, unless they’re either replacements for old ones or carbon neutral. Otherwise greenhouse gas emissions will push global warming past 2˚C of temperature rise worldwide, threatening the survival of many people currently living on the planet.

Cities Will Solve Climate Change, Not Nations
The Scientific American
Cities now deliver fully three-quarters of global economic activity, totaling more than $50 trillion. And it is citizens of cities who are responsible for at least half of all greenhouse gas pollution—through demand for heating and cooling, food, lighting, entertainment and transportation. As a result, city action (or inaction) on climate change may determine the ultimate outcome of global warming.

Who will feed China?
Earth Policy Institute
China is a leading importer of grain and it imports a staggering 60 percent of all soybeans entering world trade—and it looks like it will continue. The problem is not so much population growth, but China’s rising affluence, which is allowing its population to move up the food chain, consuming more grain-intensive livestock, poultry, and farmed fish. (Also see: collection of links to informative articles at the bottom of the page)

Could This Environmental Risk Derail Americas Oil and Gas Boom?
Fool.com
Americas oil and gas boom has done wonders for energy independence and the economy. However, fracking, which is largely responsible for Americas energy renaissance, has proven to be a highly controversial issue, with environmentalists claiming that it pollutes ground water with large numbers of little-studied chemicals and even causes earthquakes. This article examines this last claim with the aim of detailing how this risk, whether true or perceived, might affect the future of Americas oil and gas boom.

Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels
The New York Times
John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels. The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.

Melbourne University research on Energy, Climate Change, Collapse, Resilience and Transition

(Editors Note: Some of the most important academic research into mankinds present and future is being conducted at the Melbourne Sustainability Society Institute at the University of Melbourne. Here are links to some of their most important papers)

Is Global Collapse Imminent? by Graham Turner. Dr Turner gathered data from the UN (its department of economic and social affairs, Unesco, the food and agriculture organisation, and the UN statistics yearbook), the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the BP statistical review, and elsewhere, which was plotted alongside the 1972 book Limits to Growth scenarios. The results show that the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.

Other MSSI Research Papers
The Ideology of the Anthropocene? by Jeremy Baskin
Resilience and its Discontents by Brendan Gleeson
Resilience and Justice by Susan S. Fainstein
Coming Through Slaughter: Ecology of the Urban Age by Brendan Gleeson
The Economics of Oil by Samuel Alexander
Chinas Energy Transition: Effects on Global Climate and Sustainable Development by Ross Garnaut

Post Carbon Pathways: MSSI Working Paper Series
A Critique of Techno-Optimism by Dr Samuel Alexander, Research Fellow MSSI
Post-Growth Economics by Dr Samuel Alexander, Research Fellow MSSI

Visions & Pathways 2040: MSSI Working Paper Series
Pathways to a Zero-Carbon Economy: Learning from Large Scale De-Carbonisation Strategies by Prof John Wiseman, Deputy Director MSSI
Disruptive Social Innovation for a Low-Carbon World by Dr Samuel Alexander, Research Fellow MSSI

MSSI Journal Publications
Barriers to Effective Climate Change Mitigation: the case of senior government and business decision makers, by Lauren Rickards, John Wiseman and Yoshi Kashima. Published in WIREs Clim Change 2014.
Rickards L, Ison R, Fünfgeld H, Wiseman J, 2014, Opening and closing the future: climate change, adaptation, and scenario planning Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 32 587-602. Featured by journal as Editors Choice paper.
Rickards L, Wiseman J, Edwards T, Biggs C, 2014, The problem of fit: scenario planning and climate change adaptation in the public sector Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 32 641-662.

MSSI Books
Carbon Governance, Climate Change and Business Transformation
Promoting Sustainable Living
Resilient Sustainable Cities: A Future 2020
Vision for a Sustainable Society

MSSI Research Project Briefings
Sustainability Indicators in Local Government
Build It And They Will Recycle

Peak Complexity, Peak Ignorance and Peak Selfishness

By Johnson Dantis, POI member

I have been reading many posts on the Peak Oil India website about various events related to environment, sustainability, climate change, energy etc. I often find that such conferences and seminars do not have the seriousness these issues deserve. I sometimes visualize the importance of these as a sort of kitty party-like events, where most attendees do another kind of window shopping and socialising.

Forums and similar events are a necessary part of the process for change, but when they become a mere platform for awards, demonstration of personal skills, casual get-togethers and publicity-mongeirng with little focus on the severity of the issue, then they lose all meaning. As Einstein said, doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is nothing but insanity. In many of these events, we see the same drama playing out in full force.

All sources of energy generate heat. When 10 people generate heat there is only a minimum effect, usually unnoticed by the individuals or the community, but when 7 billion does the same and in rising quantities, it obviously will have a proportional effect somewhere. So, scale matters in whatever we do and innovation does not come in time for rescue. To take an example, if you invite 100 people for a wedding and 1000 turn up, you can understand the chaos and drama that would unfold.

Whether we call this “climate change” or something else does not make any difference to the outcome. What we are realizing now is that this planet was never designed for such intense energy consumption and for so many people to live at the same time and aspire for a high standard of living. The problem simply cannot be solved unless you reduce energy use per capita or population or both in equal proportion and stay within earth’s carrying capacity. As for breaking peoples habits and demanding sacrifices of them, it is near impossible to do in the democratic world we inhabit. So there are no choices before us, and the whole debate will eventually be settled by nature (floods, droughts, desertification, diseases, famine etc) and also by human conflict (war) arising from resource depletion and environmental damage. Read more…

News update

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows were nearing collapse
From The Guardian
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

India blackouts casts shadow over Modis economic recovery
From Moneycontrol.com
More than half of Indias thermal power stations have less than a weeks supply of fuel the lowest levels since mid-2012 when hundreds of millions of people were cut off in one of the worlds worst blackouts. Coal stocks at thermal stations have hit critical levels as payment disputes escalate, unleashing power cuts that could choke off an economic recovery before it takes hold and hurt Modis prospects at forthcoming state elections.

When Will The Peak Oil Crisis Begin?
By Tom Whipple, Post Carbon Institute
For those following the world oil production situation, it has been clear for some time that the only factor keeping global crude output from moving lower is the continuing increase in U.S. shale oil production, mostly from Texas and North Dakota. Needless to say, once the fabled “peak” comes oil and gasoline prices are certain to move higher, triggering a series of economic events – most of which will not be good for the global economy.

Why Peak Oil Refuses to Die
By Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Perhaps you’ve seen one of the recent barrage of articles claiming that fears of an imminent peak and decline in world oil production have either been dispelled (because we actually have plenty of oil) or are misplaced (because climate change is the only environmental problem we should be concerned with). I’m not buying either argument.

EU energy-saving rules cut power of vacuum cleaners
From The Telegraph, UK
Britain’s domestic vacuum cleaners will become less powerful under European Union rules designed to cut energy use that come into force next year. New machines will be banned from having motors that exceed 1,600W from September 2014, and they will be limited to 900W from 2017.

Geothermal Power Approaches 12,000 Megawatts Worldwide
J. Matthew Roney , www.earth-policy.org
In 2013, world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3 percent to top 11,700 megawatts across 24 countries. Although some other renewable energy technologies are seeing much faster growth—wind power has expanded 21 percent per year since 2008, for example, while solar power has grown at a blistering 53 percent annual rate—this was geothermal’s best year since the 2007-08 financial crisis.

At War With Reality: The Absolute Insanity of Humanitys Rulers.
By Michael Byron, OpEd News
Imagine that somewhere out in the vastness of the Cosmos, there exists a species that knows, or reasonably should know, that its economy is organized in such a manner as to inevitably trigger its own total extinction, likely within the lifetimes of all but the oldest members of that species. Suppose that this species collective reaction was to simply ignore this unpleasant reality and continue with business as usual!

Alternative Energy Fetishes and Temples to Technology
From Collapse of Industrial Civilization blog
Surely if we had some sort of techno-fix to halt the cascade of biospheric tipping points we have breached, we would have deployed them by now. Nevertheless, the carrot of a civilization-saving technological breakthrough is forever dangled before our eyes. By all accounts, we appear hellbent on doing everything humanly possible to maintain and perpetuate industrial civilization by deploying “earth-friendly” renewable energy technologies which, in the end, turn out to be nothing more than “reconstituted fossil fuels”.

Peak Everything: 1970
By Peter Goodchild, Survive Peak Oil
Perhaps the most common response to the peak-oil problem is: The oil isnt going to disappear overnight. We have a century to prepare. Unfortunately, the fact that the decline in oil is a curve, not a vertical line, makes it difficult to comprehend. What matters is that the serious damage will have been done long before we get to those tiny remaining drops. That damage started around 1970, and it was not confined to oil.

News update

(Editors note: Rumours of another global economic meltdown has been doing the rounds of online forums for at least couple of years now, but of late there seems to be a spike in the commentary warning about such a possibility. Commentators offer different reasons for why this might happen, but whats pertinent is that most of it is coming from insiders in government, business and finance. Here are links to a selection of such articles.)

World economy ‘more fragile than before great crash of 2007
From Financialpost.com
The world economy is just as vulnerable now to a financial crisis as it was in 2007 – with the added danger that debt ratios are now far higher and emerging markets have been drawn into the fire as well, the Bank for International Settlements has warned. Jaime Caruana, head of the Switzerland-based financial watchdog, said the international system was, in many ways, more fragile than it was in the build-up to the Lehman crisis. Debt ratios in the developed economies have risen by 20 percentage points to 275% of GDP since then.

Economic meltdown scenario piles pressure on Russia and the west
By Larry Elliot, Economics Editor, The Guardian
Oil prices above $200 a barrel. Energy shortages in western Europe. The return of recession to the still-fragile global economy. A slump in Russia. Thats the fear haunting policymakers as they contemplate how to respond to the shooting down of MH17 over eastern Ukraine last week. Policymakers dread slump in Russia – from further sanctions by the west – would trigger another global economic meltdown.

Preparing for Economic Collapse: A Bear Awaits
By Joseph Cafariello, Wealthdaily.com
With the U.S. stock market well into its sixth consecutive year of gains since bottoming in March of 2009, the chance of another collapse increases with each passing day. So do the number of doomsday predictions.

RBI’s Rajan Sees Risk of Financial Markets Crash
From Wall Street Journal blogs
Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan warned Wednesday that the global economy bears an increasing resemblance to its condition in the 1930s, with advanced economies trying to pull out of the Great Recession at each other’s expense. The difference: competitive monetary policy easing has now taken the place of competitive currency devaluations as the favored tool for playing a zero-sum game that is bound to end in disaster.

Eurozone woes deepen as Spains industry slumps
From The Guardian
Hopes for a recovery in the eurozone suffered another blow on Wednesday with figures showing industrial output fell for a second successive month. Production declined across the 18 eurozone members by an average 0.3%. Spain was the worst hit of the currency blocs major economies with a 0.8% drop in industrial production. It also suffered the sharpest drop in shop prices for five years,

OTHER LINKS

Three ways that oil matters for the crisis in Iraq
By Brad Plumer, Vox.com
For months now, Sunni militants from the Islamic State (better known as ISIS) have been seizing control of large swathes of Iraq. But it wasnt until they encroached into semi-autonomous Kurdish territory and near the Kurdish capital of Erbil — an oil boomtown full of Western companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil — that the Obama administration decided to authorize airstrikes against ISIS.

World Oil Production at 3/31/2014–Where are We Headed?
By Gail Tverberg, Ourfiniteworld.com
The standard way to make forecasts of almost anything is to look at recent trends and assume that this trend will continue, at least for the next several years. With world oil production, the trend in oil production looks fairly benign, with the trend slightly upward. But if we look at the situation more closely, however, we see that we are dealing with an unstable situation.

Raahgiri: Promoting A Public Culture of Sustainability
By Madhuri Mittal, Countercurrents.org
Raahgiri day, as it is known, is not just a concept to promote car-free and pollution-free streets but also a step to create a new public culture. Raahgiri has successfully completely 4 weeks now in Delhi. It happens in the early part of every Sunday at Connaught Place, the heart of the capital Delhi. As stated, the decision to choose Connaught Place also rests on the idea to promote public transport and pollution-free life.

All Well Aboard The Titanic

POI member Johnson Dantis on the multiple crises that threatens industrial civilisation, and the many handicaps that prevents us from dealing with them effectively. The piece is also in part a response to articles by T. Vijayendra and George Monbiot that were recently posted on Peakoilindia.org.

Let me give you my own idea of hope in life. Hope propels change and change is constant. But the pace with which nature changes, the change often looks static in ones lifetime and even over generations. So change happens all the time, but we do not experience it on a daily basis. Mankind has gone from the simplicity of its early days to the complexity of today mainly to solve the problems of population pressure and resource depletion we encountered along the way, which is behind the cycling loop of complexity throughout history.

So I don’t understand why we should be excessively concerned about it today. The way I see it, we will solve the energy issues of the future by using thorium-based reactors or fusion reactors or some other technology. It is my hope that we will one day colonize other planets, extract metals and this historical process of complexity will continue. But the question is whether it will happen on time current data indicates otherwise, but this may change anytime with new discoveries and inventions (I am hopeful).

We are not good at going back and reducing complexity and if even we attempted that, the Dark Ages stands as an example on what might happen. So if the solutions do not come on time and we enter a new Dark Age, we are guaranteed to lose 99% of the knowledge we have accumulated, and question of its recreation is something I will leave to your imagination. This cycle of growth and collapse is nothing new, and has happened several times in history – but this time the impact will felt across globe and recovery may take many centuries (that is, if it doesn’t lead to the extinction of the human species).

Hope should be based on facts and reality, or else it is mere self-deception. I think the time for advertising false information for personal leverage is ending and the time for facing reality is here. As someone said, you cannot negotiate with nature when it dictates reality. I find everywhere the same false hope and the advertising of it, but the reality is its exact opposite. Our situation resembles that of the carefree passengers of the Titanic, our time spent in merrymaking and playing musical chairs. We forget that even the winner of music chairs has to finally fight for a lifeboat.
Read more…

News update

Iraq crisis: India braces for Rs 20,000 cr hole in budget as oil could rise to $120 per barrel
From Firtsbiz.com
Indias government sees oil prices going as high as $120 per barrel for three to four months because of fighting in Iraq, potentially driving a hole of at least Rs 20,000 crore ($3.4 billion) in the budget, two government sources told Reuters. If the oil prices remain high even for 3-4 months around $120 a barrel, it could have a significant impact on the fiscal deficit and economic growth, a senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

International Energy Agency Says the Party’s Over
By Richard Heinberg, Postcarbon.org
The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits—if they are willing to read between the lines and view the report in the context of current financial and geopolitical trends. (Editors Note: Other reports, especially in the mainstream business press, have claimed the same IEA report as hailing a new era of oil abundance (see link below for an example). Such extremely contradictory views are typical when it comes to the future of oil, and reflect the high stakes involved).

IEA sees shale oil boom spread beyond N.America
By G. Chandrashekhar, The Hindu BusinessLine
Over the next five years, global oil demand growth will slow, OPEC capacity growth will face headwinds and regional imbalances in gasoline and diesel markets will widen, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its annual five-year oil market outlook report released today in Paris. Forecasting that the unconventional supply revolution in the form of shale oil boom currently sweeping North America will expand to other region before the end of the decade, IEA said that in five years, North America will have the capacity to become a net exporter of oil liquids.

A Closer Look at Saudi Arabia
By Ron Patterson, Peakoilbarrel.com
Approximately 60–65% of all Saudi oil produced between 1948 and 2000 came from the Ghawar oil field. Cumulative production until April 2010 has exceeded 65 billion barrels. It was estimated that Ghawar produced about 5 million barrels of oil a day (6.25% of global production) in 2009. Ghawar also produces approximately 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. After 60 years of production, the field is depleted, and so are other leading Saudi oil fields.

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel empire
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
Since 2000, the oil industrys investments have risen by 180% a threefold increase but this has translated into a global oil supply increase of just 14%. Two-thirds of this increase has been made-up by unconventional oil and gas. In other words, the primary driver of the cost explosion is the shift to expensive and difficult-to-extract unconventionals due to the peak and plateau in conventional oil production since 2005.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD Minerva Research Initiative is a multi-million dollar programme designed to develop immediate and long-term warfighter-relevant insights for senior officials and decision makers in the defense policy community, and to inform policy implemented by combatant commands.

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013
By J. Matthew Roney,  Earth Policy Institute
China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over. Between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly ninefold to 7,000 megawatts. Then in 2013, China added at least 11,300 megawatts, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year. With 18,300 megawatts, China now trails only Germany (at 36,000 megawatts) in overall capacity.

Want to Change the World? Read This First
by Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources). If you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

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