Author Archives: Gail Tverberg

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.

2022: Energy limits are likely to push the world economy into recession

In my view, the first item listed is critical at this time: Is the supply of cheap-to-produce energy products growing fast enough to keep the world economy operating and the debt bubble inflated? My analysis suggests that it is not. There are two parts to this problem:

[a] The cost of producing fossil fuels and delivering them to where they are needed is rising rapidly because of the effects of depletion. This higher cost cannot be passed on to customers, without causing recession. Politicians will act to keep prices low for the benefit of consumers. Ultimately, these low prices will lead to falling production because of inadequate reinvestment to offset depletion.

[b] Non-fossil fuel energy products are not living up to the expectations of their developers. They are not available when they are needed, where they are needed, at a low enough cost for customers. Electricity prices don’t rise high enough to cover their true cost of production. Subsidies for wind and solar tend to drive nuclear electricity out of business, leaving an electricity situation that is worse, rather than better. Rolling blackouts can be expected to become an increasing problem. Continue reading

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Merry Christmas to All

I plan to write a new post in a few days. For now, I will just leave an open thread. I hope everyone has happy holidays of whatever type you celebrate. This is a good time to be with family … Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications | 3,944 Comments

Is it possible that the world is approaching end times?

It is disturbing to think that we may be living near the end of the world economy, but there is an upside to this situation. We have had the opportunity to live at a time with more conveniences than any other civilization. We can appreciate the many conveniences we have.

We also have the opportunity to decide how we want to live the rest of our lives. We have been led for many years down the path of believing that economic growth will last forever; all we need to do is have faith in the government and our educational institutions. If we figure out that this really isn’t the path to follow, we can change course now. If we want to choose a more spiritual approach, this is a choice we can still make. Continue reading

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Our fossil fuel energy predicament, including why the correct story is rarely told

Strangely enough, a big part of the confusion regarding the nature of our energy problem comes from the fact that virtually everyone wants to hear good news, even when the news isn’t very good. We end up seeing information in the Main Street Media mostly from the perspective of what people want to hear, rather than from the perspective of what the story really is. In this post, I explain why this situation tends to occur. I also explain why our current energy situation is starting to look more and more like an energy shortage situation that could lead to economic collapse. Continue reading

Posted in Introductory Post | Tagged , , | 5,606 Comments

Spike in energy prices suggests that sharp changes are ahead

Now, through several iterations, the economy has become increasingly complex, with less and less redundancy to provide stability. The energy price spike that is being experienced today is a warning that something is very, very wrong. As I see the situation, the trend toward complexity has gone too far; the economic system is starting to break down. Sharp changes appear to be ahead. The world economy is shifting into contraction mode, with more and more parts of the system failing. Continue reading

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