The end of the Industrial Revolution

What a privilege it is to be alive in these times, in such a significant period in human history. It’s not always easy to see moments of great historical importance when you’re in the middle of them. Sometimes they’re dramatic, like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the landing on the moon. But more often the really big ones appear, from within them, to be unfolding in slow motion. Their actual drama and speed then only becomes clear in hindsight.

That’s how it will be with this. But in the end we’ll look back at this moment and say, yes, that’s when it was clear, that’s when the end game began. The end game of the industrial revolution.

Can we bear the legacy costs of industrial society’s toxic pollution?

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stunned the nuclear industry last week by putting power plant licensing decisions on hold while it reconsiders rules on nuclear waste storage struck down by a federal appeals court in June.

The issue is part of the much larger and troubling question about the legacy costs–economic, social and environmental–of toxic industrial pollution that are mounting with each day. We’d like to think that we can simply take our industrial wastes and throw them away somewhere. But increasingly, in what economist Herman Daly calls our “full world,” there is no “away.”

Peak oil – July 10

– Peak Oil Reloaded (1/2)
– « Nier l’imminence du pic pétrolier est une erreur tragique », dit l’ancien expert pétrolier de l’AIE
– Nicole Foss: The Guardian Is Ignoring The Critical Paradox Of Peak Oil
– The world is oil rich so let’s all enjoy it while we are here
– How Many Years Of Oil Do We Have Left To Run Our Industrial Civilization, Keeping In Mind That Oil Is A Resource And Has An Economical End?
– Europa am Peak
– Le altre fossili, la sfida dello shale

The Eliott Effect

The first lesson of this story is that having a mug of tea too close to your computer when your cat is chasing an imaginary mouse is a bad idea. The second lesson is that the so-called immaterial economy is highly dependent upon very material devices and infrastructures and is very likely to crumble when those devices and infrastructures can no longer be built or maintained.

It is possible to build a computer with XVIIIth century technology, even if it will be costly.

Oil and water— drilling stirs new concerns in Ohio

In the late 1800s northwestern Ohio was at the center of an oil boom as the state became the nation’s largest crude producer. Today Ohio is at the center of another fossil fuel boom, where a new drilling method — hydraulic fracturing (fracking) combined with modern horizontal drilling — is releasing natural gas from deep underground shale, leading to a rush of new leases. Is drilling safe or are contamination concerns unfounded?

Energy and peak oil – May 7

– IMF working paper – “The Future of Oil: Geology versus Technology”
– World Oil: Aleklett’s new analysis of peak oil is refreshingly comprehensive
– Now Playing at a Computer Near You: The ASPO-USA Webinar Series
– T. Boone Pickens: Biggest Deterrent To U.S. Energy Plan Is Koch Industries
– Cheap Oil Built ‘The American Way’ but All the Cheap Oil is Gone

The dumbest guys in the room: Is Cheniere Energy a contrarian indicator for natural gas?

Some people seem to have a knack for hopping aboard a trend just before it ends. Cheniere Energy Inc., owner of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility in the United States, appears to be a case in point. In the world of finance, Cheniere would be what is called a contrary indicator, one that suggests that a trend is about to reverse.