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Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

It’s always and ever about energy
Wednesday, December 31, 2014, 3:21 PM

At the essential center of the framework of the Crash Course is the almost insultingly simple idea that endless growth on a finite planet is an impossibility.

It is so simple it could be worked out by a clever 4 year-old and yet it must not be so simple because the main narrative of every economy in every corner of the globe rests on the idea of endless, infinite growth. » Read more

Insider

Anton Balazh/Shutterstock

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

It’s always and ever about energy
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 11:53 PM

At the essential center of the framework of the Crash Course is the almost insultingly simple idea that endless growth on a finite planet is an impossibility.

It is so simple it could be worked out by a clever 4 year-old and yet it must not be so simple because the main narrative of every economy in every corner of the globe rests on the idea of endless, infinite growth. » Read more

Insider

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Oil at Risk

Get ready for $150 per barrel oil?
Monday, June 16, 2014, 12:57 PM

Executive Summary

  • Why this Iraq crisis comes at a very vulnerable time for world oil markets
  • The three mostly likely outcomes to the current crisis, and the resulting oil price of each
    1. ISIS remains contained from here
    2. ISIS takes Bagdad and points south
    3. A more widespread Middle East conflict erupts
  • The growing risk to the global economy & financial markets
  • What concerned individuals should do now

If you have not yet read Iraq Breaks Down, Oil Surges, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The biggest risk to the world economy from the developing Iraq situation is that the price of oil could spike higher, killing the sputtering economic 'recovery' and triggering both a new global Recession and financial crisis.

Now, here's the truly interesting part of where we are in this story.

The IEA (International Energy Agency) has recently called for OPEC to deliver more oil by year end, which I wrote about here, and especially called upon Saudi Arabia to do so because world oil supplies are incredibly tight right now.  OPEC is the only entity in the world with any identifiable 'swing production', as all of the non-OPEC nations are alrady producing at maximum capacity. At least, the hope is that OPEC has additional production capacity.

In the prior piece mentioned, I wrote that of the 12 OPEC members, 8 are in a sustained decline trend for a variety of geological or political reasons. Only 4 are not. Only 1 actually has shown a significant increase in oil production over the past few years -- and that was Iraqwhich had added 1.5 mbd recently:

Here's what's at risk if the ISIS rebels push further south:

(Source)

The IEA is already calling on OPEC to deliver 1.2 mbd more by year end 2014. If Iraq's production is lost, then we can just add that amount to the 'needed total' that the IEA has requested be brought on line by Saudi Arabia, an amount that I already sincerely doubt they can meet. If even a portion of Iraq's production is lost, then we can just kiss $110 barrel good-bye and say hello to $150 per barrel oil. War is messy and it's never easy to predict what might happen, but we'd be foolish to not consider what might happen here.

The true game-changer for the world will come when... » Read more

Blog

America the Vulnerable

History warns we're sleepwalking towards collapse
Monday, May 27, 2013, 8:13 PM

For most people, the collapse of civilizations is a subject much more appetizingly viewed in the rearview mirror than straight ahead down whatever path or roadway we are on.

Jared Diamond wrote about the collapse of earlier civilizations to great acclaim and brisk sales, in a nimbus of unimpeachable respectability. The stories he told about bygone cultures gone to seed were, above all, dramatic. No reviewers or other intellectual auditors dissed him for suggesting that empires inevitably run aground on the shoals of resource depletion, population overshoot, changes in the weather, and the diminishing returns of complexity.

Yet these are exactly the same problems that industrial-technocratic societies face today, and those of us who venture to discuss them are consigned to a tin-foil-hat brigade, along with the UFO abductees and Bigfoot trackers. This is unfortunate, but completely predictable, since the sunk costs in all the stuff of daily life (freeways, malls, tract houses) are so grotesquely huge that letting go of them is strictly unthinkable. We’re stuck with a very elaborate setup that has no future, but we refuse to consider the consequences... » Read more

Daily Digest

Image by mccun934, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 5/21 - Tornado Strikes OK Suburbs, How Reliable is the IEA’s Forecast?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 10:57 AM
  • Glimpsing The Hereafter 2
  • Gold & Silver Price Subject To Greediness Of Traders
  • Welcome To The Real Space Age
  • Japan’s New Optimism Has Name: Abenomics
  • Energy and Economic Growth: Interview with Mark Thoma
  • How Reliable is the IEA’s Oil Market Forecast?
  • Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder
  • Tornado Strikes Oklahoma City Suburbs
Blog

The Really, Really Big Picture

There isn't going to be enough net energy
Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 9:54 PM

[Many longtime followers of the Crash Course have asked Chris to update his forecasts for Peak Oil in light of the production increases in shale oil and gas over recent years. What started out as a modest effort at clarification morphed into a much more massive 3-report treatise as Chris sifted through mountains of new data that ultimately left him more convinced than ever we are facing a global net energy crisis despite misguided media efforts intended to convince us otherwise. His reports are being released in series over the next several weeks; the first installment is below.]

There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook.  These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike.  The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.

This series of reports will assemble the relevant data into a simple and easy-to-understand story that has the appropriate context to provide a meaningful place to begin a conversation and make decisions. » Read more

Blog

A Tale of Two Forecasts

Where has our objectivity gone?
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8:04 PM

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times for the American public over the past month, as it was treated to two high-profile, but deeply conflicting, economic forecasts.

Despite declaring in 2008 that the age of cheap oil was over, the International Energy Agency (IEA) surprisingly announced last week that the United States would become the largest oil producer in the world by 2020. Hooray! This superlative declaration titillated U.S. media organizations, who understand quite well that Americans love to secure a #1 ranking in just about any category (save for prison incarceration, divorce rates, and obesity). As I explained to the Keiser Report, however, the IEA has done little more than produce an attention grabbing headline here. Simply ranking the 'top oil producer' in 2020 may mean much less than the public currently understands. » Read more