Archive for the tag “Ugo Bardi”

How sustainable and viable are solar photovoltaic systems? A debate

Post the Paris climate agreement, the world looks to solar energy more than ever to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change, with multi-billion dollar solar programmes announced by just about every major country. But just how environmentally viable, and efficient is the celebrated solar photovoltaic technology?
Read more…

News update

5 reasons why Tibets melting ice is a disaster for India, Europe and US
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
Did you know that rivers originating in Tibets glaciers supply water to 1.3 billion people? Thats equivalent to the entire population of India. But these glaciers are fast disappearing due to global warming. Tibets sustainability is crucial for sustenance of the world, but this fact is not commonly known. The glaciers are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Gulf will soon be too hot for human beings – literally
Scroll.in
A study by Jeremy S Pal and Elfatih AB Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that human beings will not be able to survive in the Gulf just 65 years from now. Our results expose a specific regional hot spot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future, the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said.

World set to use more energy for cooling than heating
The Guardian UK
The world faces a looming and potentially calamitous “cold crunch”, with demand for air conditioning and refrigeration growing so fast that it threatens to smash pledges and targets for global warming. Worldwide power consumption for air conditioning alone is forecast to surge 33-fold by 2100 as developing world incomes rise and urbanisation advances. Already, the US uses as much electricity to keep buildings cool as the whole of Africa uses on everything; China and India are fast catching up. By mid-century people will use more energy for cooling than heating (Also read: How America became addicted to air conditioning).

The Rapid and Startling Decline Of World’s Vast Boreal Forests
Jim Robbins, Yale Environment 360
Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the fate of the huge boreal forest that spans from Scandinavia to northern Canada. Unprecedented warming in the region is jeopardizing the future of a critical ecosystem that makes up nearly a third of the earth’s forest cover. (Also read: Why have thousands of trees dropped dead in New South Wales?)

How our energy problem leads to a debt collapse problem
Gail Tverberg
Usually, we don’t stop to think about how the whole economy works together. A major reason is that we have been lacking data to see long-term relationships. In this post, I show some longer-term time series relating to energy growth, GDP growth, and debt growth–going back to 1820 in some cases–that help us understand our situation better.

What happened to peak oil? The cycle of a meme and of its
Ugo Bardi
Unlike Nibiru or the E-Cat, peak oil is a serious concept, backed up by a lot of research. However, it didnt really get viral enough to become a mainstream meme. The main problem, here, may have been the choice of the term: peak oil conjures a specific moment in time when something exceptional should happen, even though it is not clear what. When people saw that nothing special was happening, they lost interest. The decline of the peak oil meme was helped by the anti-memetic system that created effective antimemes such as they have been predicting peak oil already for 30 years ago.

Money Cannot Manufacture Resources (Podcast)
Kurt Cobb
As any fourth grader will tell you, a finite system will not yield unlimited resources. But that perspective is not shared by those controlling the printing presses. And so they print and print and print, yet remain flummoxed when supply (and increasingly, demand for that matter) does not increase the way they expect.

The Passing of Bhaskar Save: What The ‘Green Revolution’ Did for India
Colin Todhunter, Countercurrents.org
Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese organic farmer once described Bhaskar Hiraji Saves farm as “the best in the world, even better than my own!” By using traditional methods, he demonstrated on his farm that yield is superior to any farm using chemicals in terms of overall quantity, nutritional quality, taste, biological diversity, ecological sustainability, water conservation, energy efficiency and economic profitability. Bhaskar Save died on 24 October 2015 at age 93.

Video: The Shit Hits The Fan discussion series at the Doomstead Diner

Doomstead Diner

Doomstead Diner Discussions on The Shit Hits The Fan (TSHTF) Three Recordings on Aug. 23, 2015. 

At the Doomstead Diner, we investigate, discuss and debate the ramifications of the Economic Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  Often referred to in shorthand as TEOTWAWKI.  The End of the World as We Know It.

Energy Discussion (Part 1)
With Gail Tverberg, Nicole Fosse, Steve Ludlum, Tom Lewis, Norman Pagett, Ugo Bardi, Reverse Engineer, and Monsta. Vist the Collapse Cafe discussions home page for more videos

News update

New coal plants most urgent threat to the planet, warns OECD head
The Guardian UK
Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, as these are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the OECD has warned. In unusually strong terms for the organisation – best known as a club of the world’s richest countries – its secretary general Angel Gurria, told governments to think “twice, or three, or four times” before allowing new coal-fired plants to go ahead.

Wars, Water Shortages & Heat Waves: Are You Prepared ?
Prachi Salve, IndiaSpend.com
Lives, properties and economies stand to be affected by climate change as we understand it. While debates on the significance and impact of climate change rage furiously, a new multi-nation study has argued that preparing for the risks of climate change is an imperative now. Particularly so for a country like India which is likely to have a greater economic impact as prosperity rises in the coming years.

Unnatural Disaster: How Global Warming Helped Cause India’s Catastrophic Flood
Daniel Grossman, Yale Environment 360
The flood that swept through the Indian state of Uttarakhand two years ago killed thousands of people and was one of the worst disasters in the nation’s recent history. Now researchers are saying that melting glaciers and shifting storm tracks played a major role in the catastrophe and should be a warning about how global warming could lead to more damaging floods in the future.

With One-Third of Largest Aquifers Highly Stressed, It’s Time to Explore and Assess the Planet’s Groundwater
National Geographic
One-third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are highly stressed to over-stressed, according to a companion study published in the same issue of WRR. The eight most highly stressed aquifers receive almost no natural recharge to offset human use – including aquifers in Saudi Arabia, northwestern India and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabias solar-for-oil plan is a ray of hope
Damian Carrington, The Guardian UK
So what to make of the statement by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister that the world’s biggest oil exporter could stop using fossil fuels as soon as 2040 and become a “global power” in solar and wind energy? Ali Al-Naimi’s statement is striking as Saudi Arabia’s wealth and influence is entirely founded on its huge oil wealth and the nation has been one of the strongest voices against climate change action at UN summits.

Why a Leading Indian Politician Is Now an Environmental Hawk
Yale Environment 360
Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh believes the “cult” of unfettered economic growth has been ruinous for India’s environment. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his vision of “green growth,” which he says is essential for his nation’s future.

The Limits to Growth and Greece: systemic or financial collapse?
Ugo Bardi
Could it be that all the financial circus that we are seeing dancing in and around Greece be just the effect of much deeper causes? The effect of something that gnaws at the very foundations not only of Greece, but of the whole Western World? Lets take a step back, and take a look at the 1972 study titled The Limits to Growth (LTG). Look at the base case scenario, the one which used as input the data that seemed to be the most reliable at the time. Here it is, in the 2004 version of the study, with updated data in input.

The Mystery of the Missing Carbon
Courtney White, A Carbon Pilgrim
It’s a whodunit with huge consequences for life on Earth. Somehow, a whole lot of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has gone missing and it’s becoming a scientific detective story to figure out where it went and why. The Principle Investigator into this mystery is NASA, which launched a satellite called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) on July 2nd, 2014, into an orbit around the Earth in hopes of cracking the case.

The Multi-Trillion Dollar Oil Market Swindle
Leonard Brecken, Oilprice.com
In the past, I documented the overstatements by both the IEA and EIA in 2014 & 2015 in terms of supply, inventory and understatements of demand. Others also noticed these distortions and, whether intentional or not, they exist and they are very large in dollar terms. These distortions, which are affecting price through media hype and/or direct/indirect price manipulation, are quite possibly the largest in financial history.

If everyone lived in an ‘ecovillage’, the Earth would still be in trouble
Samuel Alexander, The Conversation
According to the most recent data from the Global Footprint Network, humanity as a whole is currently in ecological overshoot, demanding one and a half planet’s worth of Earth’s biocapacity. As the global population continues its trend toward 11 billion people, and while the growth fetish continues to shape the global economy, the extent of overshoot is only going to increase.

News update

The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth’s future?
The Guardian UK
India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common? (Related: Ahmedabads Heat Action Plan)

Indian government to review hydroelectric dams in two river basins
The Guardian UK
An 11-member expert committee recommended that 23 dams on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, the two main tributaries of the Ganga, be scrapped. Builders of six dams in the upper Ganga basin asked the court to allow their projects to proceed. The six were among the 23 vetoed dams. Instead of accepting the expert committee’s advice, the court asked for a review committee to specifically examine the environmental clearances given to these six dams.

Indian leadership on climate change: Punching above its weight
Samir Saran and Vivan Sharan, Brookings Institution
In the global discourse on climate change, India often gets singled out for resisting mitigation action and for its reliance on fossil fuels such as coal. In this paper we argue that in addition to the efforts directed toward coping with and adapting to climate impacts (e.g., recent floods in Kashmir and monsoon failure in 2014), India is also “punching above its weight” on mitigation.

Direct Actions Across UK Disrupt Fossil Fuel Business-As-Usual
Common Dreams
Anti-drilling activists across England sent a powerful message on Monday with a series of direct actions protesting the Cameron governments promotion of false solutions, such as fracking, and the industries that are profiting in the face of runaway climate change. Among the 18 targets on Monday were public relations firms that represent fracking and nuclear power companies, a World Coal Association conference, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and various corporations which activists say are complicit in the global rise of carbon emissions.

Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal
The Guardian UK
The Global Apollo Programme aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal-fired power stations across the world within 10 years. It calls for £15bn a year of spending on research, development and demonstration of green energy and energy storage, the same funding in today’s money that the US Apollo programme spent in putting astronauts on the moon.

Why Chinas CO2 emissions have been plummeting lately
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of whats happening in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace International found that Chinas carbon dioxide emissions have plunged nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2015.

Revolution? More like a crawl
Vaclav Smil
The reality of energy transitions is very different. Too many modern observers have become misled by the example of electronics, in which advances have followed Moore’s law — the now 50-year-old prediction that the number of components on a microchip will double every 18 months. This has allowed exceptionally rapid progress. But the fundamental physical realities that determine progress of energy systems do not behave that way: they are improving steadily, but far more slowly.  (Related: The energy revolution will not be televised)

The oil crash: something wicked this way comes
Ugo Bardi
With the ongoing collapse of the oil prices, we can say that it is game over for the oil and gas industry, in particular for the production of tight (or shale) oil and gas. Prices may still go back to reasonably high levels, in the future, but the industry will never be able to regain the momentum that had made its US supporters claim energy independence and centuries of abundance. The bubble may not burst all of a sudden, but it surely will deflate.

News update

Alice In Shale Gas Wonderland
Julian Darley
It is hard to know where to begin regarding Ambrose Evans-Pritchards article entitled Energy crisis is postponed as new gas rescues the world. But since the speculative world he invokes has more to do with Alice In Wonderland than the hard reality of engineering and science, let us begin at the end.

Peak Oil, Ten or So Years On
Brian Kaller
This blog began seven years and almost a thousand posts ago, and I thought it a good time to take stock. Since the blog itself was inspired by the “peak oil” movement, and since it’s been ten years, by some measures, since the peak, I wanted to assess the state of that community as well.

Is the Age of Renewable Energy Already Upon Us?
Michael Klare
Future historians may look back on 2015 as the year that the renewable energy ascendancy began, the moment when the world started to move decisively away from its reliance on fossil fuels. Those fuels oil, natural gas, and coal will, of course, continue to dominate the energy landscape for years to come, adding billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon to the atmosphere. For the first time, however, it appears that a shift to renewable energy sources is gaining momentum. If sustained, it will have momentous implications for the world economy as profound as the shift from wood to coal or coal to oil in previous centuries.

Coal is dying all by itself
Grist.org
Coal, the No. 1 cause of climate change, is dying. Last year saw a record number of coal plant retirements in the United States, and a study last week from Duke University found that Even China, which produces and consumes more coal than the rest of the world put together, is expected to hit peak coal use within a decade, in order to meet its promise to President Barack Obama to reduce its carbon emissions starting in 2030.

One Of The Most Worrying Trends In Energy
Kurt Cobb
It should seem obvious that it takes energy to get energy. And, when it takes more energy to get the energy we want, this usually spells higher prices since the energy inputs used cost more. It shouldnt be surprising then, that as fossil fuels, which provide more than 80 percent of the power modern society uses, become more energy intensive to extract and refine, there is a growing drag on economic activity as more and more of the economys resources are devoted simply to getting the energy we want.

Putting the Real Story of Energy and the Economy Together
Gail Tverberg
What is the real story of energy and the economy? We hear two predominant energy stories. One is the story economists tell: The economy can grow forever; energy shortages will have no impact on the economy. Another version of the energy and the economy story is the view of many who believe in the “Peak Oil” theory. In my view, the real story of energy and the economy is much less favorable than either of these views. It is a story of oil limits that will make themselves known as financial limits, quite possibly in the near term—perhaps in as little time as a few months or years.

Chinese energy figures suggest much slower growth than advertised
Kurt Cobb
Last year China reported the slowest economic growth in 24 years, about 7.4 percent. But the true figure may actually be much lower, and the evidence is buried in electricity figures which show just 3.8 percent growth in electricity consumption.

Climate change: can the Seneca effect save us?
Ugo Bardi
The Seneca Cliff (or Seneca Collapse). The ancient Roman philosopher said The path of increase is slow, but the road to ruin is rapid. A Seneca Collapse of the worlds economy would surely reduce the chances of a climate disaster, but it would be a major disaster in itself and it might not even be enough.

Subsidies to industries that cause deforestation worth 100 times more than aid to prevent it
The Guardian UK
Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The two countries handed out over $40bn (£27bn) in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012 – 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rainforests from the United Nations’ (UN) REDD+ scheme, mostly from Norway and Germany.

News update

Indias 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022
The Energy Collective
Delhi is abuzz as the first renewable energy-financing summit organized by the Indian government, RE-Invest 2015, wrapped up with commitments totaling a whopping 266 GW of renewable energy in the next 5 years. For context of the magnitude of these commitments, the country currently has about 250 GW of total installed power from all sources. According to a new interim report, if India achieves its new target of 100 GW of installed solar energy by 2022, as many as 1 million FTE jobs could be created.

Is the US Overplaying Its Energy Hand?
Richard Heinberg
This is how empires crash: the folks in charge pay their information ministries to come up with only good news; rulers act on the basis of unrealistic assumptions; reality bites; and when it does, no one is prepared. The evidence suggests the United States is playing energy poker with a pair of jacks in its hand, but betting as if it had four aces.

Israel, Gaza, and Energy Wars in the Middle East
Michael Schwartz, Tomdispatch.com
Amid the many fossil-fueled conflicts in the region, one of them, packed with threats, large and small, has been largely overlooked, and Israel is at its epicenter. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1990s when Israeli and Palestinian leaders began sparring over rumored natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean off the coast of Gaza.

The Problem of Debt as We Reach Oil Limits (Part 3 – A New Theory of Energy and the Economy)
Gail Tverberg
Many readers have asked me to explain debt. They also wonder, “Why can’t we just cancel debt and start over?” if we are reaching oil limits, and these limits threaten to destabilize the system. To answer these questions, I need to talk about the subject of promises in general, not just what we would call debt.

Fooling peak oil one more time: can we find new sources of liquid hydrocarbons?
Ugo Bardi
The world peak of conventional oil production took place in 2005-2006, but the supply of combustible liquids did not decline, mainly because of the contribution of the newly developed shale oil (or tight oil) fields. With the impending worldwide peak of all liquids it is likely that the industry will try a new, all out effort to squeeze out the last drops of liquid oil from whatever sources are available, no matter how dirty and expensive.

Is An Infinite Amount of Oil Enough?
Rhett Allain, Wired.com
The burning of oil based products produces carbon dioxide and other stuff that’s not so nice. Also, there is only so much oil in the ground. Sure, the Earth keeps making more through a very slow process. But we are using it up way faster than it is being created by natural means. So, the question is: how much oil can we find? How long will it last? Let’s get started.

To Make Hope Possible Rather Than Despair Convincing
David Bollier
Discourse is law.  And it’s something that progressive advocates have never really learned.  They have never developed a discourse that can express their own putative values.  Wittingly or not, most have instead embraced the utopian narrative of American neoliberalism – that human progress will continue through economic growth, better technology, and a system of government that caters to the demands of capital while making grudging concessions to social or environmental concerns. 

News update

What is Saudi Arabia not telling us about its oil future?
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
What if the Saudis are acting now to undermine U.S. and Canadian oil production because they realize that Saudi production will soon reach a peak? What if the Saudis fear that energy efficiency, fuel substitution (say, toward natural gas), and mandated greenhouse gas emission reductions will inevitably diminish their oil revenues beyond the next decade? What if this coming decade will therefore be the best time to maximize Saudi revenues per barrel?

The worlds energy information duopoly comes to an end
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Until now most energy price and supply forecasts and analyses were based predominately on information from the globes two leading energy information agencies: the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Recent developments are beginning to undermine the supremacy of the worlds long-running energy information duopoly and its perennially optimistic narrative.

The Year the Dam of Denial Breaks on Climate Change
Paul Gilding, Cockatoo Chronicles
This is the year the “dam of denial” will break and the momentum for climate action will become an unstoppable flood. It will be messy, confusing and endlessly debated but with historical hindsight, 2015 will be the year. The year the world turned, primarily because the market woke up to the economic threat posed by climate change and the economic opportunity in the inevitable decline of fossil fuels.

A clash of epistemologies: why the debate on climate change is going nowhere
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
Scientists know how much work and study is needed to understand climate science and resent what they saw as superficiality and approximation in the debate. The result is the kind of clash we saw on the SCI blog. It was, if you like, a clash of epistemologies: rhetoric against the scientific method.

William Cattons warning
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Overshoot
 may stand as the central text of the 20th century about the ecological fate of humankind. The book represents a missed opportunity in that so few people were able to hear what Catton had to say in 1980, and so few want to hear it noweven as the headlines are filled with the very precursors of the bottleneck he laments in his last major piece of writing.

Extinct—Extincter—Extinctest
Dmitry Orlov
The current low prices are not high enough to sustain this new, expensive production for much longer, and the current glut is starting to look like a feast to be followed by famine. The direct cause of this famine will not be energy but debt, but it can still be traced back to energy.

Utopians are ruining everything
Leaving Babylon
Utopian memes have misled people into thinking that top-down design of ideal societies is the right strategy for creating a better world. Even permaculture has been infected, imposing top-down landscaping designs upon the land with predictably disappointing results. (Also see the follow-up post: Generating a future that works)

A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World
Zero Hedge
Popular media today, including television and cinema, are rife with examples of what is often referred to as moral relativism — the use of false and fictional moral dilemmas designed to promote the rationalization of an “ends justify the means” narrative.

News update

Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
With the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with. Washington is trying to drive down prices by flooding the market with crude but risks collateral damage to its own shale industry.

The Collapse of Oil Prices and Energy Security in Europe
Ugo Bardi
Written version of the brief talk given by Bardi at the hearing of the EU parliament on energy security in Brussels on Nov 5, 2014.

India set to defy warnings on coal’s climate impact
Climate News Network
While even China, the world’s leading coal producer, begins to recognise the fuel’s serious polluting effects (as with its recent emissions pact with the U.S.), India has announced it aims to double production to meet soaring energy demand. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy, says India needs to dig twice as much coal as it does today if it is to meet its soaring energy demand.

We Have Just Witnessed The Last Gasp Of The Global Economy
Brandon Smith, Alt-market.com
I believe that the admissions of financial danger by internationalists, the sharp drop in stocks at the beginning of fall, the reversal of the political theater, and the fact that mainstream investors now recognize the illegitimacy of the markets yet continue with the scam anyway, signals the last gasp of the global economy. I expect increasing market instability from this point on, as well as numerous geopolitical distractions which will be blamed for the fiscal chaos.  

How to Shrink the Economy without Crashing It: A Ten-Point Plan
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Is it possible, at least in principle, to manage the process of economic contraction so as to avert chaotic collapse? Such a course of action would face daunting obstacles. There is no significant constituency within society advocating a deliberate, policy-led process of degrowth, while there are powerful interests seeking to maintain growth. Nevertheless, managed contraction would almost certainly yield better outcomes than chaotic collapse—for everyone, elites included. The following modest ten-point plan is an attempt to do so.

Why warnings on climate spark aggressive denials
Climate News Network
If you don’t like the message on climate change, it seems that the answer is to shoot the messenger. A new book argues that death threats and abuse illustrate how climate change messengers are being demonised in a way that is without parallel in the history of science.

How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?
National Geographic
As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years. Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solars ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

News update

U.S. Streaks Past Saudi Arabia as Worlds Largest Oil Producer
Breitbart News
The United States surpassed all other countries this year with daily crude oil and other petroleum liquids reaching 11 million barrels per day (mbd). Since the beginning of 2011, U.S. liquid fuels grew by more than 4 mbd, including 3 mbd of crude oil. The growth of U.S. production has been the “main factor counterbalancing the supply disruptions on the global oil market” and “has contributed to a decrease in crude oil price volatility since 2011”, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Oil supply and demand shuffled as new tight shale makes impact felt
North Denver News
World markets for petroleum and other liquid fuels have entered a period of dynamic change—in both supply and demand. Potential new supplies of oil from tight and shale resources have raised optimism for significant new sources of global liquids. The changes in the overall market environment have led the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to focus on reassessing long-term trends in liquid fuels markets for the 2014 edition of itsInternational Energy Outlook (IEO2014).

Is the Shale Revolution a Ponzi Scheme or the End of Peak Oil?
Reason
Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, its a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again. (Also see: www.shalebubble.org)

Reliance looking to sell US shale gas interest
Business Standard
Reliance Industries is looking to sell its 45 per cent stake in the Eagle Ford basin shale oil and gas venture in the US for an estimated USD 4.5 billion. RIL, which bought 45 per cent interest in Pioneer Natural Resources Cos Eagle Ford shale formation of south Texas for USD 1.3 billion, is working with Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find a buyer, industry sources said.

Energy Expert Interview Series: Bill Reinert
Big Picture Agriculture
Bill Reinert was national manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s advanced-technology group for the past 15 years prior to his retirement in 2013. A staunch environmentalist, he helped establish a global model for cleaner energy use in the Galapagos Islands in conjunction with the WWF. As a futurist, and a leading global expert on energy and transportation trends, he helped to found the annual “Meeting of the Minds” events which focus on future smart urban planning, transportation, and energy use.

World War III: Its here and energy is largely behind it
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Ive been advancing a thesis for several months with friends that World War III is now underway. Its just that its not the war we thought it would be, that is, a confrontation between major powers with the possibility of a nuclear exchange. Instead, we are getting a set of low-intensity, on-again, off-again conflicts involving non-state actors (ISIS, Ukrainian rebels, Libyan insurgents) with confusing and in some cases nonexistent battle lines and rapidly shifting alliances such as the shift from fighting the Syrian regime to helping it indirectly by fighting ISIS, the regimes new foe.

Peak oil is here: the view from Barbastro
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
Two days of conference in Barbastro were a hard reminder that oil is still the most important resource in the world. At the conference, a number of impressive speakers lined up to show their data and their models on peak oil. Antonio Turiel, Kjell Aleklett, David Hughes, Gail Tverberg, Michael Hook, Pedro Prieto. From what they said, it is clear that the future it is not any more a question of arguing about resources and reserves, lining up barrels of oil as if they were pieces to be played on a giant chessboard. It is not any more a question of plotting curves and extrapolating data. No: it is more a question of money. We are not running out of oil, we are running out of the financial resources needed to extract it.

The Thermodynamic Theory of Ecology
Quanta Magazine
John Harte, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed what he calls the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) theory of ecology, which may offer a solution to a long-standing problem in ecology: how to calculate the total number of species in an ecosystem, as well as other important numbers, based on extremely limited information — which is all that ecologists, no matter how many years they spend in the field, ever have.

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