Supplemental energy puts humans in charge

Energy is a subject that is greatly misunderstood. Its role in our lives is truly amazing. We humans are able to live and move because of the energy that we get from food. We count this energy in calories.

Green plants are also energy dependent. In photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into the glucose that they need to grow.

Ecosystems are energy dependent as well. The ecologist Howard T. Odum in Environment, Power, and Society explains that ecosystems self-organize in a way that maximizes the useful energy obtained by the group of plants and animals.

Economies created by humans are in some respects very similar to ecosystems. They, too, self-organize and seem to be energy dependent. The big difference is that over one million years ago, pre-humans learned to control fire. As a result, they were able to burn biomass and indirectly add the energy this provided to the food energy that they otherwise had available. The energy from burning biomass was an early form of supplemental energy. How important was this change?

How Humans Gained Dominion Over Other Animals

James C. Scott, in Against the Grain, explains that being able to burn biomass was sufficient to turn around who was in charge: pre-humans or large animals. In one cave in South Africa, he indicates that a lower layer of remains found in the cave did not show any carbon deposits, and hence were created before pre-humans occupying the cave gained control of fire. In this layer, skeletons of big cats were found, along with scattered gnawed bones of pre-humans.

In a higher layer, carbon deposits were found. In this layer, pre-humans were clearly in charge. Their skeletons were much more intact, and the bones of big cats were scattered about and showed signs of gnawing. Who was in charge had changed.

There is other evidence of human domination becoming possible with the controlled use of fire. Studies show a dramatic drop in numbers of large mammals not long after settlement by humans in several areas outside Africa. (Jeremy Lent, The Patterning Instinct, based on P. S. Martin’s “Prehistoric overkill: A global model” in Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution.)

In recent times, humans have added fossil fuel energy, hydroelectric energy and nuclear energy to their “toolbox.” All of these energy sources have allowed humans to stay in charge.

Whether humans’ control of energy is good or bad depends on a person’s point of view. Without humans being in charge, the human population would likely be similar in size to that of the populations of chimps or gorillas–in other words, tiny in comparison to today’s human population. Furthermore, humans would be located only in the warmer parts of the world. As we will see in the next section, humans would not have evolved in the direction they did. Instead, they would have continued with only the abilities they had as pre-humans. They would have continued living in the wild, eating raw food and spending half of the day chewing it.

How the Controlled Burning of Biomass Produced Amazing Results 

Pre-humans learned to control the burning of sticks and other biomass over one million years ago. This new-found ability helped our ancestors in many ways:

(1) Pre-humans could cook part of their food. (Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human) The ability to cook food increased the variety of food that could be eaten because some foods need to be cooked to be edible. Chewing time could be greatly reduced (Chris Organ et al.), leaving more time for tool making. Moreover, cooking allowed nutrients in food to be better absorbed.

(2) Less of the energy from food was needed for the maintenance of large teeth, jaws, and guts. Instead, more energy could go into building a larger brain. In this way, our ancestors could outsmart their predators, instead of depending on their muscles and teeth.

(3) Pre-humans could use fire as a tool to burn down unwanted trees and brush, making it  easier to capture prey and encouraging new plant growth of a type more suitable as human food. Also, the fire itself could be used to frighten predators.

(4) Stone tools could be made sharper using heat.

(5) The heat from fire could be used to enlarge the range where pre-humans were able to live.

(6) Larger brains and frequent gatherings around campfires allowed language to develop.

(7) Humans, with their larger brains, were able to selectively breed different types of plants and animals, choosing characteristics that were better suited to their needs. As humans tamed fire and animals, they themselves became (in some sense) tamer.

The Physics Reason Why Energy Is So Important

We are all familiar with how the energy from food allows humans to grow. We also know how solar energy allows green plants to grow. Most physics instruction focuses on thermodynamically closed systems—that is, systems to which no new energy supply is added. Sometimes isolated systems are discussed—again a situation where no additional energy is available. In these situations, there is no growth—only a gradual depletion of the available energy supply, leading ultimately to “heat death.”

More recent analysis has shown that thermodynamically open systems, which are characterized by inflows of energy, are very different. They can, and do, change and grow. Hurricanes grow when heat from warm seawater is available. Stars grow as the result of the chemical reactions taking place within them. All of these structures (known as dissipative structures) are temporary in that they cannot continue to exist when suitable flows of energy are no longer available. They can also be undone in other ways, such as too much pollution or by other forms of “entropy.”

On earth, the energy system we experience is an open system. Energy from the sun is constantly being supplied. Energy made available by burning biomass and from burning fossil fuels is also being supplied, as is nuclear energy, in the form of electricity. The energy obtained from burned fossil fuels, in fact, reflects the re-release of ancient solar energy that was once stored in the bodies of small plants and animals. Under the proper temperature and pressure conditions, this stored energy had been slowly transformed into fossil fuels.

The Hidden Nature of Energy Consumption 

When humans burn fossil fuels today, they are able to access the use of this stored energy. Some researchers have talked about the ability to utilize fossil fuel energy as being similar to having “energy slaves.” In making this analogy, it has been observed that a human adult produces roughly the energy output of an always-on 100 watt light bulb. Even when humans were still hunter-gatherers, they made some use of energy slaves, approximately tripling the amount of energy available to the economy at that time. By the time the industrial period was reached, always-on watts per capita had climbed to 8000, indicating that energy available to industrialized humans was 80 times as high (8000/100 = 80) as the amount expected based on food energy alone. The huge increase represented primarily the use of fossil fuels.

Figure 1. Relationship between human energy use and population.

In Against the Grain, Scott finds that slave labor was very widely used in early civilizations. Male slaves were often used for tasks requiring heavy labor, such as mining and building roads. Today’s fossil fuel energy slaves can do these things and much more. For example, a truck operated on a road makes liberal use of fossil fuel energy slaves partly to make the road, partly to build the truck and partly as fuel to operate the truck.

Any commercial process requires energy in one or more forms. Part of the energy can be human energy. This human energy can be used in many ways such as typing on a computer, listening, thinking, operating machinery, speaking, digging in the ground, and walking. The rest of the energy is likely to consist partly of electricity and partly of fossil fuels burned for heat. (Some of this heat energy is converted to rotary motion in order to power vehicles.) Constructing a building requires a tremendous amount of energy; manufacturing a car is also energy-intensive. Heating and lighting a building require energy. Even obtaining a potable glass of cold water requires energy.

Figure 2 is a chart showing a breakdown of non-transportation energy consumption in the United States, based on data from the United States Energy Information Administration.

Figure 2. United States non-transportation energy consumption by sector, based on information from the US Energy Information Administration.

The residential percentage of non-transportation energy consumption rose from 23% in 1949 to 29% in 2017. We don’t have a world estimate of the breakdown of energy consumption for residential use, but the United States is probably unusually high with its 29% residential share. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, China’s energy consumption was only 11% residential in 2014.

If people do not understand how much of our energy consumption is hidden, it is easy for them to overestimate the benefit that can be achieved through energy conservation by individual citizens. A major use of supplemental energy (that is, beyond that available from food consumption) is to provide finished goods of all sorts, such as cars, homes, electricity transmission lines and roads. Supplemental energy consumption also provides the gift of free time. Without modern agricultural equipment, many more of us would be working long hours in the fields, leaving little time for advanced education and other modern pursuits. Another benefit of supplemental energy consumption is a much longer life expectancy, thanks to such things as clean water and antibiotics. Indirectly, supplemental energy consumption also provides jobs that pay well. Without supplemental energy consumption, there would be few jobs other than digging in the ground with a stick, in an attempt to grow food.

In a very real sense, the availability of inexpensive energy supplies that work to power existing machinery and equipment is what allows today’s economy to function.

How Can We Tell If Human Carrying Capacity Has Been Reached?

If we are discussing primates such as chimpanzees, baboons and gorillas, it is fairly easy to tell when the carrying capacity of the environments they inhabit has been reached. These primates depend on local food and water supplies. If there is not enough food to go around, the weakest and the lowest ranking will find themselves without enough high quality food, bringing the population back below the carrying capacity. In some cases, as population density rises, there may be aggression toward immigrants to the territory. Females have even been observed to kill the infant newborns of community members.

Humans have control of various types of energy supplies, in addition to food. These energy supplies make it easier to produce enough food for the overall population. People today are used to having things that wild animals do not have, such as clothing, education, climate controlled homes, transportation, medical care and retirement benefits. It should not be surprising that in our case, the first sign of reaching carrying capacity is something other than running out of food. In fact, the laws of physics suggest that reaching human carrying capacity is unlikely to be signaled by running out of any energy product, such as oil.

Instead, the issue that tends to arise as humans reach carrying capacity is increasing wage disparity. This issue arose in the 1930s, and it seems to be rising again now. Increasing wage disparity is a way, within our economy, of squeezing out some members, if there are not enough energy supplies to go around. Providing climate-controlled homes, automobiles, paved roads and electricity transmission lines for people all over the world would take a huge amount of energy supplies–far more than we have available today. Wage disparity assures that some groups cannot afford these goods and services, thereby effectively holding down demand for these goods and services.

Many people believe that oil prices are likely to rise very high, if there is a shortage. However, if wage disparity grows sufficiently large, any spike in prices is likely to be short lived. Instead, the energy limit that we are reaching may be prices that do not rise high enough to encourage adequate production of energy products. Without sufficient production of these energy products, there will be a shortfall of finished goods and services.

Physicist François Roddier in Thermodynamique de l’évolution : Un essai de thermo-bio-sociologie explains that when there is inadequate energy for an economy, the situation is similar to some members of the economy being “frozen out” through low wages. The same forces allow a rising portion of the wages (and other wealth) to go to the very rich. This situation is like steam rising. These individuals do not use very much of their wages to purchase goods and services made with commodities. Instead, they tend to use their wages for services (such as tax avoidance) that are not very energy intensive. Also, they tend to use their wealth in ways that tends to drive up asset prices, without adding true value. For example, buying previously issued shares of stock can have this effect.

Eventually, the poor are frozen out. In fact, in cases of extreme wage disparity, the problems can spread further as governments find it impossible to collect enough taxes to finance their spending.

What Characteristics Do Energy Supplies Need to Have?

Unless we are willing to give up our dominion over other species, including microbes, humans need to secure a supply of energy products that grows with human population. These energy products must precisely match the needs of current infrastructure. They also need to be inexpensive and non-polluting. They cannot add new problems of their own–new types of entropy.

At this point, we are running into difficulties. Fossil fuels are becoming ever more expensive to extract. They also lead to carbon dioxide and other pollution problems. Nuclear energy seems to be quite dangerous, given the problems with waste disposal and multiple accidents, including the one at Fukushima.

Wind and solar, and indeed hydropower, are not really solutions, either. For one thing, they are not very controllable. If humans expect to control their environment, they need to be in control of their energy resources. Even waterpower can vary by a huge amount, from month to month and from year to year.

Figure 3. California Hydroelectric Generation by Year, Based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Hydroelectric, wind and solar can be used in limited amounts, as part of a portfolio of energy products, but they cannot be used on their own, unless they are hugely overbuilt. In that case, only a very small portion (which can then be controlled) is used. Many people believe that storage can be used as an alternative to backup energy supplies, but the cost of adequate storage seems to be extraordinarily high because of the long-term nature of required storage. (Note also the apparent need for multiple-year storage indicated by the pattern on hydroelectric generation shown in Figure 3.) If humans expect to be in control of other species, humans need to be in control of the supply of energy resources.

Of course, choosing not to be in control is another option. In such a case, we can expect human death rates to rise rapidly. If this happens, women will again be valued for their ability to produce large numbers of children. Men will be valued for their strong muscles. The world will become a very different place.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,426 Responses to Supplemental energy puts humans in charge

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Ten years later, the [global financial] crisis still essentially determines how the financial system works, thanks to the political decisions and interventions by central banks in response to it. There has been no “return” to normal…

    “The supply of US dollars funneled into the global finance system in response to the crisis partly ended up in emerging markets. In recent years, many developing countries used the low rates that followed the crisis to gorge on dollar-denominated debt. The impact of that can be seen today as the US dollar rises and investors wonder if these countries will be able to repay all the debt they’ve accrued. It’s bringing down currencies as far flung from each other as Turkey and Indonesia.”

    https://qz.com/1362101/the-2008-financial-crisis-never-really-ended/

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The exit [of Greece from its bail-out programme] is a welcome milestone. But it offers little assurance that the 19-country euro currency union has left behind its problems with debt. The huge debt pile in Greece and an even bigger one in Italy will remain a lurking financial threat to Europe that could take a generation to defuse. Europe’s debt problems have repeatedly raised fears over the past decade of a break-up in the euro, a worst-case scenario that would cause severe economic damage in the region and shake world financial markets and trade.”

    http://www.france24.com/en/20180819-greece-debt-eurozone-bailout-italy-imf-european-union

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Sterling fell on Monday as the dollar rebounded and investors shifted their focus to impending talks that may decide whether Britain gets a trade deal with the European Union before it quits the bloc. The pound has suffered six straight weeks of losses against the dollar, its worst run since 2014…”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-sterling-open/pound-falls-as-focus-turns-to-brexit-idUSKCN1L50OY

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The problems facing Sweden after a wave of shootings and arson attacks are every bit as serious as the country’s 1990s financial crisis, according to the favourite to become prime minister in next month’s elections… Sweden, held up in international surveys as one of the world’s happiest and most successful countries, has been jolted by frequent shootings, grenade attacks and arson attacks on cars in suburbs with a heavy immigrant population in Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg.”

        https://www.ft.com/content/5655711c-a389-11e8-8ecf-a7ae1beff35b

        • A country needs to adapt in many ways to accommodate many immigrants from very different cultures. I am beginning to realize that this accommodation to many widely different cultures is part of what has led to a transition from admittedly arbitrary rules of behavior (children should have standard bed times; they should sit still in school, do their homework, and respect their teachers; they should behave properly on busses to and from school) to the current free-for-all we are experiencing in schools in the United States. This is part of the reason why US students do so poorly on standardized tests.

          Rising wage disparity has contributed to this as well. Having a group of parents who are high on drugs, moving from partner to partner, and frequently homeless adds to the mess. The vast majority of the people in this latter category are not immigrants. Parents who are working two or three part time jobs and depending on an older sibling to take care of the younger ones may also contribute to the problem. Or too tired at the end of the day to do much with their children, other than pick them up from day care and park them in front of the television.

          The way immigrants got involved is because they came from cultures with different standards. Different religious holidays and modes of dress needed to be accommodated. So did different levels of English proficiency. New foods became available. Somewhere along the line, the belief that we can accommodate a wide range of behaviors became the norm.

          Having lots of per capita energy gave the economy ability to allow more deviation from a standard set of rules and behaviors. In China and Japan and western Europe, “Sit down, behave, and listen to your teachers seems to still hold.” The more uniform the culture can be, the easier it is to enforce these rules. Without any rules, except the business with the most rapidly rising share price wins, things go rapidly downhill.

          • Nope.avi says:

            Among African Americans, they do not want to assimilate into what they call “white culture”… by succeeding academically. That is why I find calls for further affirmative action, strange. I was watching an old news special on the civil rights movement last month and the movement was split among people who wanted to assimilate into the wider White European culture, and other who wanted to separate. The problem with black separatism then and now was that African Americans didn’t have enough of a culture to build a separate society that was not to some degree influenced by “White Culture.” The term “white supremacy” among activists on the Left doesn’t refer to hate groups most of the tine, but European cultures. The current thought is that European cultures are the enemy.

            A undefined degree of wealth disparity in the U.S., I believe is caused by the wish for certain groups, who were victims of the wider culture in the past, to not assimilate.

            • People do want to be in a group where they are respected and treated as equals or leaders. So from that point of view, I can understand some people wanting to join separatist groups, where they “fit in” better.

              At the same time, there is an awfully lot of intermarriage of blacks and whites where I live. I can’t go to the grocery store without seeing mixed race couples and children. We also know that virtually blacks born in the US have a lot of “white” blood in them.

            • Artleads says:

              I do agree that centuries of forced linguistic and other kinds of assimilation confers a strong European heritage on Western blacks. But white society has seen fit (or perceived a need or ability) to accord “equal” status only to a minority of blacks. We also note that even the most educated and assimilated blacks remain unduly subject to police violence, white alarm if they enter “white space.” (A black professor trying to enter his own house gets called on and arrested due to neighbor alarm). It seems that assimilation by all blacks (on white terms) is neither practical nor reasonable.

            • Artleads says:

              …has NOT seen fit

        • DJ says:

          The real fun begins when the money ends.

          For now they are only practicing on each other.

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    New head of the U.K. Police Federation John Apter spoke with The Independent, claiming that British citizens are being “failed” due to huge demand, budget cuts, and lack of police resources:

    We are moving into an area where some crimes will not be investigated, whereas two to five years ago they were… We can’t do everything – there are going to be situations where we simply can’t deliver the policing we want to deliver.

    http://fmshooter.com/u-k-police-boss-admits-british-authorities-failure-to-suppress-rising-crime-foretells-future-suffering-for-ordinary-citizens/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “London mayor Sadiq Khan funneled millions into a “hate crime hub” for the Metro Police with over 900 officers deployed to monitor speech and thought.”

      • xabier says:

        London is 2,000 years old: Khan will soon be gone – in the blink of an eye as it were -, and one hopes his ‘hub’, too.

        But what an outrageous use of police officers when physical violence is rising rapidly!

      • Tim Groves says:

        Meanwhile the epidemic of moped crime, knifings and acid attacks in the Khanate of Londonistan continues to increase and the police admit they can’t cope with it.

    • JesseJames says:

      But they will still make it a priority to prosecute any citizen that defends themselves from burglars.

      • Nope.avi says:

        because the burglars will most likely members of marginalized groups

        Whose lives are more valuable than the usual target or burglars (Caucasians native to England).

        In America, man y activists believe that the lethal force should never be used to defend one’s life or one’s property….because the criminal has just as much a right to live as the victim.

        Equality.

  4. Ohadi Nacnud says:

    And in shock news, the Daily Digitup reports that FE married an ex-schoogirl.

  5. Rob H says:

    Defending yourself in the UK means use of reasonable force. If you use an AK47 against someone stealing an apple from your tree, that would not be acceptable to the police here; even if the miscreant stole one before! US is different I believe

    • Ohadi Nacnud says:

      True.

    • zenny says:

      I was wondering why my TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT signs were not selling that well in the UK.
      Geee they cant even shoot thieves.

      • Dan says:

        The castle doctrine is the name given to so-called “hold your ground” laws, which have been passed in states all over the US (starting with Florida in 2005). The Castle Doctrine states that citizens may “stand their ground,” or use deadly force, if they think doing so will protect them from bodily harm. Texas law states that you have no duty to retreat if you feel your safety is being threatened. The places where you may exercise your right to stand your ground, though, vary from state to state.

        The Castle Doctrine gets its name from the philosophy that everyone is the King or Queen in his or her own home. In other words, you shouldn’t have to flee your property because of an intruder. The Texas Penal Code designates certain areas under the protection of the Castle Doctrine: your home, vehicle, and workplace.

        In your home, Texas law assumes that you’re justified in using force to defend yourself against intruders. You get immunity under this presumption given a certain set of circumstances:

        An intruder entered unlawfully and with force
        An individual removes or attempts to remove you from your castle with force

        https://www.davidbreston.com/when-is-it-legal-to-shoot-someone-in-texas/

  6. Yoshua says:

    Chinas new silk road project would connect and integrate the Eurasian land mass and it would also control the Eurasian resources.

    The wars, sanctions, trade wars and the dollar liquidity squeeze are effectively putting a stop to this nonsense.

    Power games at this late hour. The winner takes it all: A radioactive heap of dust. Well…that’s better that being the loser.

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    There is no such name, as far as I know, Ohadi. I adopted it at the ingenious suggestion of young master Pagett, and it is a nod to my adopted homeland of Scotland and indeed to my own proud Scottish heritage, which consists of a hard-drinking and now deceased grandfather from Aberdeen.

    Re the transgender issue, I dare not say, as I will almost certainly get it wrong and find myself handcuffed to a chair in a room illuminated by a single bare light bulb, having some political correctness knocked into me by one of Sadiq Khan’s 900 ‘speech and thought’ officers.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Oh, this was a reply to a comment by Ohadi Nacnud. Have no idea why it has washed up here. 😀

  8. Baby Doomer says:

    How worried should we be about a second Civil War breaking out in Trump’s America?

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/08/worried-second-civil-war-breaking-trumps-america/

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Civil war will break out world wide when the gasoline rationing starts.

      • Countries need a plan, and a whole lot of people with specific responsibilities, to implement oil rationing.

        Which kinds of oil are rationed? Diesel? Gasoline? Airline fuel? Lubricating oil? Asphalt?

        Who does the diesel go to? Farmers? Truckers carrying food to be processed? People who burn oil in their furnaces for heat? Frackers carrying water to oil wells? Organizations operating commuter rails? Bus companies? Suppliers for all of these companies?

        Who does the gasoline go to? Police and fire departments? Businesses who have salespeople who use vehicles for their work? All citizens with drivers licenses, including those in nursing homes? All people who own their own their own vehicles (or have multi-year leases on a vehicle)? Should people in Wyoming (who may have to drive 30 miles to a grocery store) get more than those in Hawaii (who rarely drive more than a few miles)?

        How are certificates to buy this oil distributed? Not everyone has cell phones. The poor would be discriminated against if computer or cell phone distribution were done. How does one get all of these certificates safely to those who need them? Mailing in the US mail is likely to result in a lot of thefts. People are not going to want to drive to a pickup point over 10 miles away, simply to pick up the tickets, using what scarce gasoline is available for this purpose.

        After looking at an early rationing plan on The Oil Drum, I came to the conclusion that rationing by anything other than price is very impractical.

        Long lines and closed fuel stations, with prices that are fairly low, also work as a gasoline rationing plan for the short term. This is what was used around here in recent shortages caused by hurricanes. Local authorities indicate that they will close down any station charging high prices, so the gasoline goes quickly. People worked from home for a few days, and skipped longer trips for a while.

        • rationing a critical commodity in a fully armed country is going to be messy.

        • Artleads says:

          Such great questions. A simplifying answer sounds helpful too. I’d say, no new roads, repaving only of major arteries. No new developments on open land. Developers will scream, but they have to be restrained even under the best circumstances anyway.

        • Lastcall says:

          Keep the coffee supplies up; priority 1!

        • zenny says:

          The last time Diesel was easy to get…Gas was problematic. In my location anyway.
          AOE may of been different in other locations

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Rationing would immediately set off a deflationary death spiral – and would collapse BAU

          It would be like putting a choke hold on BAU … and suffocating the life out of her

    • if you study history–the have nots have always finally snapped and taken from the haves.

      that will be a resource war, like all the rest

      • Baby Doomer says:

        This world will burn!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Meanwhile… snow conditions were quite good this morning … a little fog at the top of the hill reduced visibility but that burned off around 1030 making for a pleasant couple of hours of skiing…

          Hey DPs … how did you go picking out your weeds this morning… how are the pumpkins coming along?

    • Third World person says:

      hahaha are these guys are gonna fight next civil war

      • DJ says:

        Maybe they could rage a little on Facebook?

      • Baby Doomer says:

      • Baby Doomer says:

        I predict when the oil starts to run out it will be so shocking and devastating it will de-condition all of the public..And all of their trust in authorities ie governments, religions, corporations, will vanish..And it will be everyone against the elites ie the rich..

        • Except that people will not recognize the problem as “oil running out.” They will think of it as financial system collapsing, or something similar.

          • Rodster says:

            And you can bet Gov’t officials would never tell the public, HEY we’re running out of oil. If they did, panic would ensue and the global economy would instantly collapse.

            • Actually, for some years, up until their report 1998 report, IEA forecasts included Jean Laherrere’s forecasts. His forecasts for peak oil were still quite far in the future, but another 10 years of projection would soon need to be added to their reports. In 1999, IEA did not publish a forecast. In 2000, USGS came out with a new (high) view of the amount of oil in the ground. About that time, IEA began talking about climate change as the problem to be concerned about. Of course, it had been mentioned earlier. Peak oil disappeared as an issue.

        • Tim Groves says:

          You have to talk to people in a language they understand. I tell them oil is not going to run out. But it is going to become unaffordable to the point where most people will no longer be able to run a car and Amazon will no longer be able to give free shipping. And if you say it with conviction, that’s should scare ’em quite sufficiently.

      • Lastcall says:

        Protesting and destroying property is a luxury that won’t be available for much longer; more immediate concerns will take over.

  9. Baby Doomer says:

    Scholar Warns We Could Be Headed for a ‘Violent Conflict’ Between Republicans and Democrats

  10. Baby Doomer says:

Comments are closed.