Burning Picassos for heat: Why we need to electrify transportation

An oil executive once observed that burning oil for energy is like burning Picassos for heat. Oil is extraordinarily valuable as the basis for so many products we use every day that the thought of simply burning it ought to be unthinkable. And yet, because oil remains the most cost-effective and widely available source of liquid fuels, we are hooked on it for transportation with little prospect of substitutes on the scale we would require–unless we consider electricity.

Oil and gas industry uses deceptive energy independence message to push U.S. exports

With gasoline scaling $4 a gallon recently, plans announced last week by international oil giant BP to export U.S.-produced crude oil ought to have Americans howling. For such a plan to be good energy policy–rather than merely profitable for the oil industry–the United States would have to be producing more than enough oil to meet its own needs. But the country produces nowhere near that amount. Nevertheless, the industry’s deceptive campaign to make the public and policymakers believe that the United States is on the verge of energy independence seems to be succeeding–a push that is really just a smokescreen for selling the country’s oil and natural gas to the highest bidder.

ODAC Newsletter Oct 12

The International Energy Agency released a new report this week in which it took a detailed look at the prospects for the Iraqi oil and gas industry out to 2035. The conclusion is that oil production in Iraq could increase significantly by 2020 – doubling or even trebling IF, and it is a big if, there is huge investment…

ODAC Newsletter Oct 5

News of Turkish military retaliation to a mortar round fired from inside Syria spooked oil markets this week. Former Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan has warned that there is a danger that the Syrian conflict could spread and destabilise the region, although the Turkish Prime Minister said on Thursday that his country had no intention of starting a war…

Revolution Episode 3: Sword Porn, Hobos, Hobbits & Hobbes

Whether you buy into Revolution’s watered-down examination of social contract theory, the show’s premise reinforces Post Carbon Institute’s position that it is absolutely necessary that we plan our energy future. We must work hard to transition as smoothly as possible to largely fossil fuel free communities. If we’re caught off guard (too late?), chaos is quite likely.

Clean power for all (Offer not available in some areas)

A year ago I would’ve loved the optimistic and can-do tone of Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects. While all too many solar panel and wind turbine buffs are Polyannas who promise that America can enjoy decades of economic growth in the future if only we’d dump dirty energy for solar and wind, author Greg Pahl offers a more realistic assessment of the limited potential of clean energy. Pahl is a peak oiler who understands the concentrated power of fossil fuels and knows that no amount of renewables can replace the energy we now get from coal, oil and natural gas.

Energy transition: We need to do it fast and we’re way behind

No doubt you’ve heard people speak of an energy transition from a fossil fuel-based society to one based on renewable energy–energy which by its very nature cannot run out. Here’s the short answer to why we need do it fast: climate change and fossil fuel depletion. And, here’s the short answer to why we’re way behind: History suggests that it can take up to 50 years to replace an existing energy infrastructure, and we don’t have that long.