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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It?

We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In just two decades, the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half. Now $3 trillion of debt is at risk.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Another brilliant must-read analysis by Nafeez Ahmed of the financial collapse of the global oil industry and how it will bring down the capitalist economy.
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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, April 24, 2016 11:14 AM
"In February, the financial services firm Deloitte predicted that over 35 percent of independent oil companies worldwide are likely to declare bankruptcy, potentially followed by a further 30 percent next year—a total of 65 percent of oil firms around the world. Since early last year, already 50 North American oil and gas producers have filed bankruptcy. 

The cause of the crisis is the dramatic drop in oil prices—down by two-thirds since 2014—which are so low that oil companies are finding it difficult to generate enough revenue to cover the high costs of production, while also repaying their loans. Oil and gas companies most at risk are those with the largest debt burden. And that burden is huge—as much as $2.5 trillion, according to The Economist. The real figure is probably higher.
(...) the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half. And it continues to decline. 

This is because the more fossil fuel resources that we exploit, the more we have used up those resources that are easiest and cheapest to extract. This compels the industry to rely increasingly on resources that are more difficult and expensive to get out of the ground, and bring to market."
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IEA Says the Party’s Over

IEA Says the Party’s Over | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
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.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great analysis by Richard Heinberg of the international Energy Agencies recent 'World Energy Investment Outlook'. World needs at least 48 trillion dollars investments through 2035.

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Have the Obits for Peak Oil Come Too Soon?

Have the Obits for Peak Oil Come Too Soon? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Among the big energy stories of 2013, “peak oil” -- the once-popular notion that worldwide oil production would soon reach a maximum level and begin an irreversible decline -- was thoroughly discredited.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Michael Klare explains why the media reports about the death of peak oil have been 'greatly exxagerated'.

 

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Artur Alves's curator insight, January 15, 2014 6:28 AM

The usual technotriumphalism (technology, more technology, better technology will solve any given problem, given enough time) allays fears about the end of oil. Worryingly, it distracts from the main issue: thinking about a radically different society, less dependent on fossil fuels.

 

"In place of peak oil, then, we have a new theory that as yet has no name but might be called techno-dynamism.  There is, this theory holds, no physical limit to the global supply of oil so long as the energy industry is prepared to, and allowed to, apply its technological wizardry to the task of finding and producing more of it.  Daniel Yergin, author of the industry classics, The Prize and The Quest, is a key proponent of this theory.  He recently summed up the situation this way: “Advances in technology take resources that were not physically accessible and turn them into recoverable reserves.”  As a result, he added, “estimates of the total global stock of oil keep growing.”

From this perspective, the world supply of petroleum is essentially boundless.  In addition to “conventional” oil -- the sort that comes gushing out of the ground -- the IEA identifies six other potential streams of petroleum liquids: natural gas liquids; tar sands and extra-heavy oil; kerogen oil (petroleum solids derived from shale that must be melted to become usable); shale oil; coal-to-liquids (CTL); and gas-to-liquids (GTL).  Together, these “unconventional” streams could theoretically add several trillion barrels of potentially recoverable petroleum to the global supply, conceivably extending the Oil Age hundreds of years into the future (and in the process, via climate change, turning the planet into an uninhabitable desert).

But just as peak oil had serious limitations, so, too, does techno-dynamism.  At its core is a belief that rising world oil demand will continue to drive the increasingly costly investments in new technologies required to exploit the remaining hard-to-get petroleum resources.  As suggested in the 2013 edition of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, however, this belief should be treated with considerable skepticism."

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UMD Researchers Address Economic Dangers of 'Peak Oil'

UMD Researchers Address Economic Dangers of 'Peak Oil' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Researchers from UMD and a leading university in Spain demonstrate in a new study which sectors could put the entire U.S. economy at risk when global oil production peaks ("Peak Oil").
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article contradicting all the current hype about the death of peak oil. Worth reading for anyone wanting to understand future trends.

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IEA: The World Is Totally Unprepared For When The Great American Shale Boom Fizzles

IEA: The World Is Totally Unprepared For When The Great American Shale Boom Fizzles | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The International Energy Agency says world markets are unprepared for when — and it's a when, not if, it asserts, — the Great American Shale Boom fizzles.
Willy De Backer's insight:

As always, the new IEA report puts the finger on the weak spots of current global energy policy.

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Why the Peak Oilers are still right

Why the Peak Oilers are still right | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The oil and gas boom in the U.S. has some people arguing that we no longer need to worry about fossil-fuel supplies. Au contraire.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent analysis by Richard Heinberg of the changing game between Goliath (the fossl fuel Cornucopians) and little David (the Peakists), with good arguments on why the story will end as we know.

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Giorgio Clarotti's comment, August 6, 2013 6:29 AM
Hi Willy, surprised not to have found a Scoop on this week's article on the Economist. See my tweet of Saturday 4th August Eurobrat@Eurobrat14 Aug
The end of #oilage?
What happens if even the Free capitalist market bible starts doubting #peakoil? The Economist http://goo.gl/uOVFC8
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Why peak oil threatens the International Monetary System

"The current incarnation of the International Monetary System, in which the USA enjoys the exorbitant privilege of borrowing practically for free, and is therefore able to pursue reckless fiscal policy with immunity from the adverse consequences that non-reserve currency issuing nations would experience by doing so, cannot continue indefinitely."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read article on the impacts of peak oil on the global financial system.

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The Great Oil Swindle: why the new black gold rush leads off a fiscal cliff

The Great Oil Swindle: why the new black gold rush leads off a fiscal cliff | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The eventual consequences of the current gas glut, in other words, are more than likely to be an unsustainable shale bubble that collapses under its own weight, precipitating a supply collapse and price spike. Rather than fuelling prosperity, the shale revolution will instead boost a temporary recovery masking deeper, structural instabilities. Inevitably, those instabilities will collide, leaving us with an even bigger financial mess, on a faster trajectory toward costly environmental destruction."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good analysis by Nafeez Ahmed of the "peak oil is dead" and "shale gas will save the world" stories launched by Big Oil and Gas companies.

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IEA Oil Forecast Unrealistically High; Misses Diminishing Returns

IEA Oil Forecast Unrealistically High; Misses Diminishing Returns | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The International Energy Agency (IEA) provides unrealistically high oil forecasts in its new 2012 World Energy Outlook (WEO). It claims, among other things, that the United States will become the world’s largest oil producer by around 2020, and North America will become a net oil exporter by 2030."

 

Excellent critical analysis by Gail Tverberg of the over-optimistic new World Energy Outlook of the IEA.

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The economics of oil dependence: a glass ceiling to recovery

The economics of oil dependence: a glass ceiling to recovery | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Expensive oil will hamper the chances of exiting the economic crisis according to a new report by the New Economics Foundation.

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IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy

IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

One week after IMF economist Michael Kumhof attracted attention with his remarkable ideas on debt and money creation in the working paper "The Chicago Plan Revisited", here he is again with another remarkable study, on peak oil this time. One scenario in his modelling predicts an 800 percent increase in oil prices in two decades. Anyone for more doom-and-gloom?

 

Is the IMF becoming revolutionary? And will the media and policymakers read and understand the implications of these excellent papers? I guess now the Queen will not have to ask questions why nobody warned of this clear and present danger.

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Romney's energy plan follows the money

Energy analyst Chris Nelder reviews Mitt Romney's energy plan and finds nothing but an oil and gas industry wish list.

 

How the fossil fuel industry won the energy narrative war and is now buying the next US President.. Get ready for more resource wars and climate collapse.

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Fool me twice, shame on me: The oil industry repackages the fake abundance story (from the late 1990s)

Fool me twice, shame on me: The oil industry repackages the fake abundance story (from the late 1990s) | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Only the oil industry would now have the audacity once again to peddle a story that it has gotten wrong for more than a decade as if it were brand new. Enlisting the media and its army of paid consultants, the industry is once again telling the public that oil abundance is at hand. And, what is doubly audacious is that it is promoting this tale as oil prices hover at levels more than eight times the 1999 low. Clearly, the industry is counting on collective amnesia to shield it from ridicule."

 

Good analysis by Kurt Cobb on how the pusher (the oil industry) is keeping the junkie (the economy) hooked on its stuff by offering dreams and fantasies. 

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IEA Investment Report - What is Right; What is Wrong

IEA Investment Report - What is Right; What is Wrong | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Recently, the IEA published  a "Special Report" called World Energy Investment Outlook. Lets's start with things I agree with: 1. World needs $48 trillion in investment to meet its energy needs to ...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting reading by Gail Tverberg of the latest IEA investment report highlighting in particular the difficulty to finance the energy investments needed in the next 20 years.

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Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Industry's over-inflated reserve estimates are unravelling, and with it the 'American dream' of oil independence
Willy De Backer's insight:

Is the American shale bubble going to bust? Nafeez Ahmed provides the facts. But do facts matter for policymakers?

"Despite the mounting evidence that the shale gas boom is heading for a bust, both economically and environmentally, both governments and industry are together pouring their eggs into a rather flimsy basket." Or: the power of lobbying...

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Eli Levine's curator insight, May 24, 2014 6:02 PM

The big problem with using a finite energy source: you're eventually going to run out of it.

 

Nature is telling us that it is way past due for us to be getting off of the fossil fuels through the effects we are experiencing from climate change.  The universe itself seems to be telling us that it is time to get off fossil fuels through this development.  Conservatives can't realize and accept that there does come a point when you HAVE to make ACTUAL changes to your regimen in order to survive.  Corporatist Libertarians don't seem to be able to accept or realize that you NEED government to take a proactive role in bringing this about; that the market will not make the changes fast enough or thorough enough to bring about the changes that we need in order to make a significant enough difference in order to survive.

 

Both of these sides are driven by ideology primarily, not by science or fact.  Most of the Liberals and self-described "Progressives" also live only on the plane of ideology and not in the empirical reality that is around them.  This is how they have been so ineffectual at getting anything done to counter the Right and the Corporatist Libertarians when they have the basic outlines of the solutions that people both want and need in order to be well and survive in reality.

 

This is how the species is going to be made to go through a resetting phase, where hopefully, those with the poor brain types will be driven out or killed off by nature in the process of trying to survive and failing to do so.  Quite honestly I don't want to go through this phase myself.  That is why and how I am so vocal with my opposition to both the stupidity and senselessness of all sides in the political arena save for true Progressives and people who put facts and science ahead of personal belief, ideology or identity.

 

Think about it.

 

Because will you likely be among the survivors who are left to pick up the pieces and all of the nonsense that comes with that?  Or will your clueless, ignorant and nonsensing brain lead you and yours into a natural death?

 

Think carefully, because you don't have a choice in the matter.  That is just an illusion and nothing more.

 

Think about it.

Michael Stuart's curator insight, May 31, 2014 11:10 PM

Perhaps some plays, but each is different, Eagle Ford Shale Play in Texas continues to exceed expectations.

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Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will 'break economies'

Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will 'break economies' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: Industry expert warns of grim future of 'recession' driven 'resource wars' at University College London lecture
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent must-read article by Nafeez Ahmed in the Guardian. "The fundamental dependence of global economic growth on cheap oil supplies suggests that as we continue into the age of expensive oil and gas, without appropriate efforts to mitigate the impacts and transition to a new energy system, the world faces a future of economic and geopolitical turbulence".

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What Happened to the Future?

What Happened to the Future? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Improbably, the global economy has returned to growth over the past four years despite the ravages of a deflationary debt collapse, a punishing oil shock, ongoing constraint from debt and deleveraging...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article at Peak Prosperity by Gregor Macdonald explaining how increased use of coal and gas is restarting growth in the global economy after the oil crash and what it will mean for future investments when global net energy per capita is in decline.

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Peak Oil: a fertile concept

Peak Oil: a fertile concept | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Peak oil provides a complete worldview that sheds light on everything that's happening in the world. Those who don't understand the bell curve are condemned to follow it.
Willy De Backer's insight:

excellent analysis by Udo Bardi on the Resilience blog.

 

"So, is peak oil dead? Well, no. For one thing, peak oil never was just a doomer's game where players tried to guess the exact day for the end of the world. No; it was – and it still is - a fertile concept; a way of seeing the world. It taught us a lot, and it is still teaching us a lot."

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Peak Oil as seen through the eyes of Arab oil producers

Reflections by the author of the "Hirsch Report" on the Conference “Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries.”
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting post. While "peak oil is dead" stories are thrown around in the US and Europe, some in the Middle East are starting to worry about the impact of peak oil for their economic and political future.

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Latest Shell Debacle in Alaska Part of a Larger Pattern of Risk and Failure

Latest Shell Debacle in Alaska Part of a Larger Pattern of Risk and Failure | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Shell Oil’s string of failures in its Arctic Ocean drilling attempts continued into the New Year. One of the company's drill rigs ran aground near Alaska’s Kodiak Island with 150,000 gallons of diesel fuel and other petroleum products onboard.  In...
Willy De Backer's insight:

The latest Shell accident demonstrates how desperate the old fossil fuel giants have become and how their quest for extreme energy will end in financial disaster. Where are the sane shareholders of these companies who do not buy their fairy tales of new oil riches?

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The one chart about oil's future everyone should see

The one chart about oil's future everyone should see | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"With high oil prices and the hottest new technique unable to move the needle on worldwide production of crude oil, we should look at Glen Sweetnam's chart with considerable concern. We should ask ourselves whether it is wise to base energy policy on the fantasies of industry and government forecasters. Perhaps we should focus instead on the trends and data we can verify and prepare ourselves and our economies for a world that may not have the copious amounts of oil that the industry is promising."

 

Kurt Cobb's evidence-based reply to the energy eldorado dreamers.

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US can become world's biggest oil producer in a decade, says IEA

US can become world's biggest oil producer in a decade, says IEA | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The US could become self-sufficient, while 90% of Middle Eastern oil could go to China, according to new estimates...

 

Yes and pigs CAN fly. I would like to know how much pressure was put on Fatih Birol and his team  to produce this PR report for big oil. Any investigative journalist can go after the real story behind this?

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US Elections: what no candidate says about energy and the economy

US Elections: what no candidate says about energy and the economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"What if tools of the past no longer fit the economy of the future? Economic growth, as we have known it, is being constrained by an unprecedented slowing of growth in world oil supply. America’s path to future prosperity needs to recognize and confront this new energy reality, and adapt our economy to run on a lot less oil."

 

 

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Neoliberalism, Degrowth and the Fate of Health Systems

"Degrowth recognizes that humanity’s access to the earth’s resources and services of the biosphere are constraints upon socioeconomic activity. It also holds that politics and economics cannot trump thermodynamic and ecological realities. It places the limits to growth and ecological overshoot at the center of the predicaments Homo sapiens confront. It connects to culture and political/economy through this root public policy question: How to equitably distribute a shrinking economic pie?"

 

Must-read analysis by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis on what "the end of cheap energy and growth" means for Western health systems.

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Sustainability management at oil firms slippery, study finds

Sustainability management at oil firms slippery, study finds | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"A new report from oekom research, a German research firm, shows that many oil and gas companies are failing to keep up with sustainability management as they look to open up new oil reserves."

 

The only priority for fossil fuel companies are "sustainable" profits.

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