" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Energy: Making sense of peak oil and energy uncertainty

EXCERPT:

There are currently no viable substitutes for oil at current rates of consumption.  Although alternatives to oil do exist for many of its uses, they are generally vastly inferior to oil in their energy content and in the ease of which they can be extracted, transported, and turned into a commercially-useable fuel.

For over 65 years we have designed our communities for oil. We’ve built nearly 47,000 miles of high-speed Interstate highways, a vast continental network for fuelling and servicing gasoline-powered vehicles, and millions upon millions acres of car-dependent suburbs. This gargantuan legacy of long-term investments has all been made with the assumption that the petroleum fuels which make the whole system work will be available and affordable for the foreseeable future.

But global trends of oil supply and demand are changing to such a degree that this assumption is no longer realistic. Far more than a problem of higher prices at the pump, the quickly emerging new energy reality has enormous implications for just about every aspect of our lives. Forward-thinking households, businesses, and governments are now rushing to plan for an unprecedented energy crisis, the first phases of which we are already experiencing.

What lies behind this 21st century energy crisis? Why can’t we rely on the market to fix a problem that is ultimately about supply and demand? To make sense of what’s going on, we first need to understand some of the basics of how we harness and use energy, and the limitations of the various energy resources available to us.

 

 

Read the full report:

»  Download the PDF (1 MB)

From the Post Carbon Institute/Watershed Media Book:

Post Carbon Reader cover

The Post Carbon Reader

Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises

Edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch

Overview

Table of Contents

Content available for download

Order the book

about The Post Carbon Reader

How do population, water, energy, food, and climate issues impact one another? What can we do to address one problem without making the others worse? The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and community resilience. This insightful collection takes a hard-nosed look at the interconnected threats of our global sustainability quandary and presents some of the most promising responses.

Contributors to The Post Carbon Reader are some of the world's leading sustainability thinkers, including Bill McKibben, Richard Heinberg, Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Wes Jackson, Erika Allen, Gloria Flora, and dozens more.

Published by Watershed Media, October 2010

552 pages, 6 x 9“, 4 b/w photographs, 26 line illustrations

$21.95 paper 978-0-9709500-6-2

Like this report?

Keep the information flowing: Donate to Post Carbon Institute

Stay connected: Receive our monthly e-newsletter

Reposting: See our reposting policy

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Make connections via our GROUPS page.
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.


The Ukraine conflict, peak cheap gas and the MH17 tragedy

The number of countries with fossil fuel conflicts and wars is increasing. …

Peak oil notes - July 31

A mid-week update. Crude prices continued to fall this week as markets …

New Russia Sanctions: Washington, Delusional About US Energy Capacity, Lashes Out

The effect of the sanctions will be to speed the Russian decline, forcing up …

Shales vs. solar: An investment perspective

But perhaps the real proof of a new energy paradigm shift lies in the fact …

Peak Oil Review - July 28

A weekly review including Oil and the Global Economy, The Middle East & …

The Changing Face of World Oil Markets

My conclusion is that hundred-dollar oil is here to stay.

IEA Oil Market Forecast: Optimistic Assumptions And An Economy Unable To Grow Out Of Its Problems

The International Energy Authority does does its best to paint a rosy …