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.

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

Posted in Financial Implications | Tagged collapse, complexity, economic models, high oil prices, Seneca cliff, stability | 903 Comments

Could we be hitting natural gas limits already?

Many countries have assumed that natural gas imports will be available for balancing electricity produced by intermittent wind and solar, whenever they are needed. The high natural gas import prices recently being encountered in Europe, and especially in the UK, appear to be an indication of an underlying problem. Could the world already be hitting natural gas limits? Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications, News Related Post | Tagged high natural gas prices, low oil prices, natural gas reserves | 4,770 Comments

The Afghanistan Fiasco (and Today’s High Level of Conflict) Reflect an Energy Problem

The way energy limits play out is not at all intuitive. Most people assume that we will run out of oil, leading to a spike in oil prices. We will then transition to renewables. As I see it, this understanding is completely wrong. Limited energy supply first leads to a need for simplification: Stepping back from Afghanistan would be one such type of simplification. It would save energy supplies and reduce the need for greater tax revenue or added debt. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications | Tagged Accrual accounting, oil prices, oil production, Social Security funding | 3,463 Comments

COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Really Work as Hoped

It turns out that the delta variant is sufficiently different from the original Wuhan version of the virus that the vaccines work much less well. The CDC performed an analysis of COVID-19 cases arising from one public gathering in Massachusetts. They found that the gathering led to 469 COVID-19 delta cases among Massachusetts residents, with 74% of these cases in fully vaccinated attendees. Massachusetts is a highly vaccinated state, with approximately 64% of the population fully vaccinated. Continue reading

Posted in News Related Post | Tagged antibody dependent enhancement, COVID-19 vaccines, delta variant, leaky vaccines | 3,978 Comments

To Be Sustainable, Green Energy Must Generate Adequate Taxable Revenue

What allows any type of energy to be sustainable? I would argue that one of the requirements for sustainability is adequate production of taxable revenue. Company managements depend upon taxable revenue for many purposes, including funding new investments and paying dividends to shareholders. Governments depend upon taxable income to collect enough taxes to provide infrastructure and programs for their growing populations.

It seems to me that Green Energy sources are held to far too low a standard. Their financial results are published after subsidies, making them look profitable when they really are not. This is one of the things that makes many people from the financial community believe that Green Energy is the solution for the future. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications | Tagged biophysical economics, energy profitability, EROEI, net energy | 3,605 Comments