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.

Ramping Up Renewables Can’t Provide Enough Heat Energy in Winter

We usually don’t think about the wonderful service fossil fuels provide in terms of being a store of heat energy for winter, the time when there is a greater need for heat energy. Figure 1 shows dramatically how, in the US, the residential usage of heating fuels spikes during the winter months. Solar energy is most abundantly available in the May-June-July period, making it a poor candidate for fixing the problem of the need for winter heat. Continue reading

Posted in Energy policy | Tagged , , , | 2,531 Comments

Why No Politician Is Willing to Tell Us the Real Energy Story

Politicians want to get re-elected. They want citizens to think that everything is OK. If there are problems, they need to be framed as being temporary, perhaps related to the war in Ukraine. Alternatively, any issue that arises will be discussed as if it can easily be fixed with new legislation and perhaps a little more debt.

Most high-level politicians are aware of the energy supply issue, but they cannot possibly talk about it. Instead, they choose to talk about what would happen if the economy were allowed to speed ahead without limits, and how bad the consequences of that might be. Continue reading

Posted in Energy policy, Financial Implications | Tagged , , | 4,427 Comments

The world’s self-organizing economy can be expected to act strangely, as energy supplies deplete

It is my view that when energy supply falls, it falls not because reserves “run out.” It falls because economies around the world cannot afford to purchase goods and services made with energy products and using energy products in their operation. It is really a price problem. . .

It is my expectation that these and other issues will lead to a very strangely behaving world economy in the months and years ahead. The world economy we know today is, in fact, a self-organizing system operating under the laws of physics. With less energy, it will start “coming apart.” World trade will increasingly falter. Fossil fuel prices will be volatile, but not necessarily very high.
Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications, oil shortages | Tagged , , | 4,063 Comments

Why raising interest rates to reduce inflation may work out very badly

Are we headed for very high energy prices? Or, are we headed for a financial system that starts falling apart? The whole economic system may change remarkably. For example, what many people thought was money, or a promised pension plan, may not really be there when the time comes to get value from it. Shelves in stores may be empty when it comes time to make a purchase. Continue reading

Posted in Energy policy, Financial Implications, News Related Post | Tagged , | 3,945 Comments

A Few Insights Based on CDC Data Regarding COVID and its Vaccines

Recent data show that COVID vaccines don’t really prevent a person from catching and passing along the virus that causes COVID. The CDC has recently changed its guidance to reflect the fact that the vaccines mostly reduce the chance of severe illness. Vaccines are still recommended by the CDC, not because they reduce transmission, but because they may reduce COVID-related healthcare costs. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Implications, News Related Post | Tagged , , | 4,227 Comments