fossil fuels

Podcast

PeakProsperity.com

Dr. Charles Hall: The Laws Of Nature Trump Economics

It's all about Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI)
Monday, March 5, 2018, 1:59 PM

Dr. Charles Hall may not be a name you instantly recognize, but it should be.

Now a Professor Emeritus of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Dr. Hall is a rigorous researcher of energy, oil, biophysical economics -- and was a critical early pioneer in developing the key resource metric of Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI).

After a life's career of looking at the world through the lens of EROEI, Hall is very concerned that, as a global society, we are hurtling towards an energy crisis that will forcefully (and likely painfully) downshift our standard of living within the lifetime of the current generation. » Read more

Podcast

Archeoguidaroma

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies

What history predicts about our future prospects
Sunday, June 25, 2017, 11:20 PM

By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here).

Dr. Tainter sees many of the same unsustainable risks the PeakProsperity.com audience focuses on -- an overleveraged economy, declining net energy per capita, and depleting key resources. 

He argues that the sustainability or collapse of a society follows from the success or failure of its problem-solving institutions. His work shows that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their energy subsidies reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. That is what we are going to be talking about today, especially in regards to where our culture is today, the risks it faces, and whether or not we might already be past the tipping point towards collapse but just don’t know it yet. » Read more

Blog

Tom Wang/Shutterstock

We’re Not Going To Make It…

…without real sacrifice
Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 12:18 AM

Right now I'm on a Metro North train heading the NYC. I’ve been invited to sit on an advisory council at the UN on building a sustainable energy future.

I’ll let you know how the meeting goes, after I take a few selfies to immortalize the experience in case I'm not invited back.  » Read more

Insider

TijanaM/Shutterstock

Life Beyond The Tipping Point

How to avoid the coming painful rendezvous with reality
Friday, May 29, 2015, 10:08 AM

Executive Summary

  • There is not nearly enough net energy to meet our growth expectations in our lifetime
  • We are past the "tipping point". A hard rendezvous with limits to growth will arrive in the next 2 decades
  • What you can do to avoid that pain that the majority undoutedly will face
  • Prepare for the current "mother of all bubbles" to burst soon

If you have not yet read, In Denial: We Pursue Endless Growth At Our Peril available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Energy Denial

It is said that you cannot explain water to a fish and I have nearly as difficult time trying to explain energy to people today. We are surrounded by it so completely it is difficult to properly appreciate.

But it is in every particle of food you eat, every piece of furniture in your house, every item you wear, and every trip you take -- are all 100% dependent on energy that came from somewhere and subsidizes every single item and action.

Fossil fuels are the vast majority of all the energy we use and, it cannot be repeated enough, they visibly and invisibly subsidize the so-called renewables, too. By that I mean solar and wind power cannot be generated until and unless the components are first manufactured and installed. And those activities are nearly 100% driven by fossil fuels today.

To grasp this more fully, watch this time-lapse video of a wind tower being installed and, while marveling at the ingenuity and speed of the team involved, think about where all of the components came from:


How were the cranes, bulldozers and trucks built? What fuels do they run on? How did all those workers get there? Who grew their food and how did they come to eat it? How are the roads they drove on built and maintained? How is concrete made and how did it all get to the job site? What do the factories and foundries run on that built the windmill? How far did each windmill component have to travel before arriving at the site?

The answer to all of those questions is... » Read more

Podcast

Patrick Ager | Dreamstime.com

Ugo Bardi: The Banquet of Consequences

Why we've earned the coming future of resource scarcity
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 2:15 PM

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

"Growth is the problem; not the solution" says Ugo Bardi, Professor of Physical Chemistry at Italy's University of Florence and author of the recent book Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet.

In this week's podcast, Professor Bardi and Chris discuss resource depletion and its growing impact on geopolitical events and the world economy. » Read more

Blog

The Tangled Relationship Between Wealth & Money

And why we're focusing on the wrong economic 'fixes'
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 9:43 AM

One of the most dangerous mistakes possible to make in trying to understand the shape of the economic future is to think of the fundamental concepts of economics as simple and uncontroversial.  They aren’t. 

In economics, as in all other fields, the fundamentals are where disguised ideologies and unexamined presuppositions are most likely to hide out, precisely because nobody questions them. » Read more