Catalyst Online Edition: Oil Crunch (video)

ABC Television (Australia)
In just a century we have become beholden to cheap oil. We rely on oil for just about everything. In fact the global economy is reliant on its free flowing supply. So what would happen if the well started to run dry and demand outstripped supply? Some oil industry experts think that we have already reached peak oil and we should brace ourselves for the imminent Oil Crunch.
(28 April 2011)
EB contributor Michael Lardelli writes:
On the same page you can find extended interviews with Aleklett, Leggett, Birol, Skrebowski and Bea. All are VERY interesting. Birol’s interview is particularly revealing.

You can also see Jonica Newby using Kjell’s “oilfield in a bottle” demonstration of how oil is produced from an oilfield. (See “Oil Production Peak and Decline” in the “Further Information” section.)

Fleeing Vesuvius, the US Edition

Dmitry Orlov, Cluborlov
This hefty tome was published in Europe by Féasta, Ireland’s Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. It contains two articles by me: the first is a text version of the presentation I gave at the Féasta conference in Dublin two summers ago, which you can read right on this blog.

My second article in this volume—Sailing craft for a post-collapse world—is a long piece that I wrote exclusively for this publication. It spells out the transportation options that will still exist once fossil fuels are no longer available, concentrating on sail transport. It pulls together pertinent information that is currently scattered across many academic disciplines, and is also informed by my personal experience as an ocean sailor and live-aboard who does all of his own maintenance.

The full table of contents can be found here.
( April 2011)

Imagining a world without oil

Steve Hallett and John Wright, Washington Post
This is the first installment of “A World Without,” a new series that examines the consequences of doing away with something we’ve grown used to — an idea, institution, commodity, tradition, or event. Send ideas for “A World Without” to

Dismantle the oil rigs and stack them in a pile. Radio the tankers and order them back to port. Pull out the drills and cement up the wells. (A year after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, let’s hope we’ve learned how to do that, at least.) Tow the platforms back to shore. Plug up the pipelines. And lock up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve while you’re at it — it has only about a month or so worth of oil in it, anyway.

What would happen next? How would we live in a world without oil?

First, there’s transportation. With the overwhelming majority of the oil we produce and import devoted to powering our cars, motorcycles, trucks, trains and planes, the impact on getting around would be most dramatic. Price-gouging would begin right away, and long lines would form at gas stations. The lines wouldn’t last, though, because the gasoline would soon be gone. A strategic reserve of finished petroleum products — gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel — has often been suggested but never created. Within a month, every fuel tank would be dry, all our gauge needles would point to “E,” and the roads, rails and skies would be virtually empty.

…Forget even trying to get to work anymore; we now have another set of problems to solve, especially if it’s winter and our houses are getting cold. Can we quickly put together some solar panels and batteries? A wind turbine? What do we have growing in the back yard that can burn? Environmentalists have been nudging us to insulate our homes and generate electricity from renewable resources for a while now; this might be the time to start paying attention.

…Eating would get tougher, too. If no one can truck in fresh veggies from across the country, we might be inclined to go back to basics and grow our own food. Local farmers would become a necessity, not just people who sell us honey at the street fair. That said, make sure to keep the food coming, fresh and fast, because it’s going to be awfully difficult to refrigerate. Fishing might work, so you’d need to get a new rod while supplies last. Alas, most of them are made of plastic. Then again, so is fishing line.

It’s an interesting thought experiment to picture a world suddenly without oil.
(21 April 2011)