Peak Oil Links



Resources related to Positive Disintegration and Peak Oil  







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The End is Nigh - Deepwater Horizon and the Technology, Economics, and Environmental Impacts of Resource Depletion  by Richard Heinberg  6/1/10  - The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us that, of all non-renewable resources, oil best deserves to be thought of as the Achilles heel of modern society. Without cheap oil, our industrial food system—from tractor to supermarket—shifts from feast to famine mode; our entire transportation system sputters to a halt. We even depend on oil to fuel the trains, ships, and trucks that haul the coal that supplies half our electricity. We make our computers from oil-derived plastics. Without oil, our whole societal ball of yarn begins to unravel.  But the era of cheap, easy petroleum is over; we are paying steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.


How Much Oil Is Left?: interview with Richard Heinberg  by Lars Schall  4/7/10  - The reason it’s bad for both an energy crisis and a financial crisis to occur together is that each makes the other harder to address. Without adequate credit and investment capital, how will we build renewable energy infrastructure to replace our current fossil-fuel-dependent transport and electricity systems? And without cheap energy, how can we dig ourselves out of a financial crisis?  Both are indeed happening now, and this should be no surprise given the inherent linkages between energy prices and the health of the economy. Will we see global violence as a result? Of course I hope the answer is “no,” but the likelihood of war would be substantially reduced if the general public had a better idea of why their standard of living is eroding. Since politicians don’t really understand what is happening, I suppose they can be somewhat excused for not telling their constituents. But that means that the most likely response will be a hunt for scapegoats. If the world is to return to stability, an entirely new economic system, based on a new and different form of money, will be required. The world still has willing workers and consumers, and enormous productive capacity in the forms of factories, soils, and recyclable materials. But without a functioning monetary system, there will be no means of connecting production with consumption. Our current money system requires constant growth so as to enable repayment of the interest on the debts that created the money to begin with, so it cannot function well in the context of general resource scarcity and economic contraction.


The Common Link with Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits To Growth, Etc. - Belief Systems  by Nate Hagens  12/10/09  - Many of the issues discussed on this bandwidth are large, long term, and threatening. Consider the three primary society-wide topics of analysis and discourse: climate, energy and the economy. It is my belief these 3 are linked by an underlying cultural growth/debt imperative running into a planet with finite sources and sinks. But within each category you have, still, despite the same access to facts and considerable passage of time, widely disparate and strongly held opinions. If you find yourself in a debate about any of these issues you'll find apathy or you'll find cognitive biases underlying a polarized opinion.  This post will address some social and psychological reasons why the urgency of our resource situation may not be being addressed on an individual level and only at a snails pace on the governmental level. Among the phenomena we will explore are a) why we have beliefs and how they are changed, b) our propensity to believe in authority figures, c) our penchant for optimism, d) cognitive load theory, e) relative fitness, f) the recency effect, and several others.


Collapse  by Roger Ebert  12/9/09  - I have no way of assuring you that the bleak version of the future outlined by Michael Ruppert in Chris Smith's "Collapse" is accurate. I can only tell you I have a pretty good built-in B.S. detector, and its needle never bounced off zero while I watched this film. There is controversy over Ruppert, and he has many critics. But one simple fact at the center of his argument is obviously true, and it terrifies me.  That fact: We have passed the peak of global oil resources.

Hagbard's Law  by John Michael Greer  12/2/09  - Hagbard’s Law states that information can only be communicated between equals, since in a hierarchy, those in inferior positions face very strong incentives to tell their superiors what the superiors want to hear rather than the truth. The more levels of hierarchy between the people who gather information and the ones who make decisions, the more communication tends to be blocked by Hagbard’s Law; in today’s governments and corporations, the disconnect between the reality visible on the ground and the numbers viewed from the top of the pyramid is as often as not total.  [Greer applies this law to debates about global warming and peak oil.] The global warming story is the kind of story our culture loves to tell – a narrative about human power. Look at us, it says, we’re so mighty we can destroy the world! The peak oil story, by contrast, is the kind of story we don’t like – a story about natural limits that apply, yes, even to us.

The End Of Electricity
  by Peter Goodchild  10/26/09  - There seems to be a consensus that the depletion of fossil fuels will follow a fairly impressive slope. What may need to be looked at more closely, however, is not the "when" but the "what." Looking at the temporary shortages of the 1970s may give us the impression that the most serious consequence will be lineups at the pump. Fossil-fuel decline, however, will also mean the end of electricity, a far more serious matter.

Would You Know How to Survive After the Oil Crash?  by Tara Lohan  9/17/09  - Could you get by without your car, food from outside your community, your job? There's a bunch of folks who want to show you how.


Peak Oil Day  by Richard Heinberg  7/3/09  - On July 11, 2008, the price of a barrel of oil hit a record $147.27 in daily trading. That same month, world crude oil production achieved a record 74.8 million barrels per day. We are now approaching the first-year anniversary of Peak Oil Day. Where are we now? The global economy is in tatters, yet oil prices have recovered somewhat (they’re now about half what they were in July 2008). World energy consumption is down, world trade is down, the airline industry is shrinking, and most of the world’s automakers are on life support.  It is too late to prepare for Peak Oil—a year too late, in fact. Now the name of the game is adaptation. We are in an entirely new economic environment, in which old assumptions about the inevitability of perpetual growth, and the usefulness of leveraging investments based on expectations of future growth, are crashing in flames.


Peak Oil And World Food Supplies  by Peter Goodchild  6/29/09  - Only about 10 percent of the world’s land surface is arable, whereas the other 90 percent is just rock, sand, or swamp, which can never be made to produce crops, whether we use “high” or “low” technology or something in the middle. In an age with diminishing supplies of oil and other fossil fuels, this 10:90 ratio may be creating two gigantic problems that have been largely ignored.  The first is that humans are not living only on that 10 percent of arable land, they are living everywhere, while trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes bring the food to where those people are living. What will happen when the vehicles are no longer operating? Will everyone move into those “10 percent” lands where the crops can be grown?


The Oil Intensity Of Food  by Lester R. Brown  6/25/09  - The prospect of peaking oil production has direct consequences for world food security, as modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of fossil fuels. Most tractors use gasoline or diesel fuel. Irrigation pumps use diesel fuel, natural gas, or coal-fired electricity. Fertilizer production is also energy-intensive. With higher energy prices and a limited supply of fossil fuels, the modern food system that evolved when oil was cheap will not survive as it is now structured.


The End of the Information Age  by John Michael Greer  5/13/09  -

Prophets of an indefinite expansion of today's "information society" too often forget that information doesn't exist by itself; it requires a physical substrate, and if that goes away, so does the information. As the age of cheap energy comes to an end, relying on a substrate as energy-intensive as the internet may be a risky bet.


Post Carbon Institute Manifesto: The Time For Change Has Come 3/4/09  - Post Carbon Institute is dedicated to answering the central question of our times: How do we manage the transition to a post-growth, post-fossil fuel, climate-changed world?  It will be Post Carbon Institute's role to publicly discuss these issues in accessible ways, and as aspects of a systemic, interdependent web of crises. We will gather and analyze response strategies (whether proven or under experimentation), and disseminate them to the individuals, communities, businesses, and governments who need them. We will develop the framing and messaging of these issues so as to significantly raise the visibility and impact of emerging solutions.


Peak oil means sooner or later we'll wake up to a new normal  by Rex Weyler  2/26/09  - Peak oil, economic meltdown and climate change are staring us in the face.  Depressing? Only if one clings to the dream, unable to fully wake up. To see the real solutions, we have to change the way we understand the problem. This will demand a paradigm shift as dramatic as when Copernicus pointed out that the universe did not revolve around the Earth. The answer will be in localization, based less on foreign-made goods, debt, and commuting, and more on friends, local food, and community cohesion. The new normal will be about improving the quality of life without consuming more stuff.


Peak oil and the global economy by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D.  2/2/09 -  Citing respectable sources, Wirth offers a concise summary of the consequenses of peak oil for the global economy. The flaw in the system was to treat a finite resource whose production was largely controlled by the immutable physics of the reservoir as if it were a normal commodity capable of responding to ordinary market pressures. If the price of potatoes increases, farmers can grow more and the market responds, but oil is different. The Government has evidently failed to grasp the underlying causes of recession and hopes that pumping a bit of money into the system will restore it to its previous condition. That was premised on eternal economic growth, which is a somewhat unrealistic proposition for a Planet of finite dimensions, but Governments subject to re-election are by nature short-term in their thinking.



Peak Oil And The Century Of Famine  by Peter Goodchild  1/5/09  - Around the beginning of the twenty-first century, there began a clash of two gigantic forces: overpopulation and oil depletion. The event went unnoticed by all but a few people, but it was quite real. As a result of that clash, the number of human beings on Earth must one day decline in order to match the decline in oil production.  Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to get those two giant forces into equilibrium in any gentle fashion, because in every year that has gone by for the last few thousand years — and every year that will arrive — the human population of Earth is automatically adjusted so that it is roughly equal to the planet’s carrying capacity. Like so many other animals, human beings always push themselves to the limits of that carrying capacity. The Age of Petroleum made us no wiser in that respect, and in fact dependence on fossil fuels has led us to a crisis far greater than any in the past.

The peak oil crisis: Civil unrest  by Tom Whipple  12/31/08  - Before grappling with 2009, it might be useful to remind ourselves that there is a dark side to what lies ahead. Of all the world's nations, America is probably the worst prepared to deal with deep, prolonged economic hardships, for more of us have disconnected from 19th century, rural, somewhat self-sufficient, lifestyles than in most other countries. In the 1930's many found that they could still return to the family farm, where food, shelter, and meaningful work was available. In 2010 that option exists for very few; we have become dependent on a complex infrastructure fueled by oil for our food, water, clothing and warmth. Start reducing the flow of oil and increasing numbers of us are going to become increasingly desperate.


The Power of the Nonrational  by John Michael Greer  10/8/08  - Underlying the idea of peak oil lies a sobering view of things. Peak oil is not a story about human power; it’s a story about human limits. If the peak oil narrative is correct, the power we claimed as our own was never really ours; we got it by breaking into the earth’s treasure of stored carbon and burning it up in a few short centuries. Despite the clichés, we never conquered nature; instead, we borrowed her assets and blew them in a 300-year orgy of lavish consumption. Now the bills are coming due, the balance left in the account won’t meet them, and the remaining question is how much of what we bought with all that carbon will still be ours when nature’s foreclosure proceedings finish with us.


Cassandra's View  by John Michael Greer  10/1/08  - The essence of the industrial world’s crisis is that we no longer have the resources or the time to bring about changes in our infrastructure or technology large enough to make a significant difference on a national or international scale. We threw away that opportunity when the industrial world abandoned the steps toward sustainability taken in the 1970s. The quarter century from 1980 to 2005, when energy was cheaper and more abundant than ever before in human history, could have been used to launch the transition to sustainability, but that opportunity was wasted – along with all those billions of barrels of oil – and all the wishful thinking in the world will not bring either one of them back.


A geopolitical tsunami: Beyond oil in world civilization clash  by James Leigh  9/1/08  - Ominous signs of oil depletion are beginning to appear, in fulfilment of “Peak Oil” theory. The implications of increasingly scarce oil supplies are catastrophic for the maintenance of industrial societies’ economic development, and the stark facts of oil depletion herald considerable barriers to thwart the universalization of economic development to the less developed nations as oil prices skyrocket. This may all come together to facilitate civilization clash, as each political bloc frantically strives to secure the world’s oil resources, or at least the reliable supply of oil at the best price. Cohering nations may forge continent-wide civilization superpowers, for self advantage in the imminent new worldwide post-oil era, when abundant and cheap supplies of oil cannot be taken for granted. This may prove to be a contest of how the newly formed superpowers will cooperatively work together or aggressively compete with each other.

Sorry, No Gas: Survival Strategies For The Post-Petroleum World By Peter Goodchild  8/24/08  - The main difference between America and previous civilizations is that, from now on, the cycle of "civilization" cannot be repeated. Oil is not the only mineral that will be in short supply in the 21st century. In the future, after the collapse of the present civilization, the necessary fuels and ores will not be available for that gradual rebuilding of technology. The loss of both petroleum and accessible ores means that history will no longer be a cycle of empires. But village life has a way of transcending disasters.


The Tempo of Change  by John Michael Greer  8/20/08  - The continuity of history as a lived experience imposes requirements on planning for the post-peak future that haven’t always been noticed. Like the imaginary lifeboat ecovillages that would make perfect economic sense in an imagined world, but can’t even scrape together the funding to get built in this one, a good many of the plans and projects that have been discussed as a response to peak oil make no provision for the fact that people will still have to live their lives and make a living while they wait for those projects to justify themselves. Those projects that make good practical sense here and now, or at least place no great burden on the people who choose to pursue them, will be a good deal more viable than those that can only support themselves in a radically different world than the one we inhabit.


Losing control  by Richard Heinberg  8/15/08  - The trajectory of our relationship with control is about to change. With the end of cheap fossil fuels, and therefore the end of cheap energy, our ability to control our environment begins to wane. This of course has abundant practical implications, but also a collective psychological, even spiritual impact.


Status and Curiosity - On the Origins of Oil Addiction  by Nate Hagens  7/7/08  - Just as an addict becomes habituated to cocaine, heroin or alcohol, the 'normal person' possesses neural architecture to become habituated via a positive feedback loop to the 'chemical sensations' we receive from shopping, keeping up with the joneses (conspicuous consumption), pursuing more stock options and profits, and myriad other stimulating activities that a large social energy surplus provides. In order to overcome addictions, it is usually not enough to argue about which year the drug supply is going to begin its decline. It's a better path to understand the addiction, admit it before one hits rock bottom, and either begin the cold turkey process or become addicted to something else.


Portrait of an Oil-Addicted Former Superpower: How Rising Oil Prices Are Obliterating America's Superpower Status  by Michael T. Klare  5/8/08  - From the end of World War II through the height of the Cold War, the U.S. claim to superpower status rested on a vast sea of oil. As long as most of our oil came from domestic sources and the price remained reasonably low, the American economy thrived and the annual cost of deploying vast armies abroad was relatively manageable. But that sea has been shrinking since the 1950s. When it came to reliance on imports, the United States crossed the 50% threshold in 1998 and now has passed 65%.  Though few fully realized it, this represented a significant erosion of sovereign independence even before the price of a barrel of crude soared above $110. By now, we are transferring such staggering sums yearly to foreign oil producers, who are using it to gobble up valuable American assets, that, whether we know it or not, we have essentially abandoned our claim to superpowerdom. As a result of our addiction to increasingly costly imported oil, we have become a different country, weaker and less prosperous. Whether we know it or not, the energy Berlin Wall has already fallen and the United States is an ex-superpower-in-the-making.


Living for the Moment while Devaluing the Future  by Nate Hagens  6/1/07  (15 p.) - The debate on the realities of both climate change and Peak Oil has moved from 'are they real?' to questions concerning timing, magnitude and impact. At the same time, expanding research in 'temporal discounting' in economics (called 'impulsivity' in psychology), is shedding light on how steeply we value the present over the future, a trait that has ancient origins. Knowing this tendency, how can we expect factual updates on peak oil and climate change to behaviorally compete with Starbucks, sex, slot machines, and ski trips? (See link for charts, graphs, and illustrations.)


Why the Price of "Peak Oil" Is Famine 
 by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 
2/7/08  "Peak Oil" is morphing into "Peak Food."


Oil Crisis Will Lead to 10-Year Financial and Political Crisis   Energy Tech Stocks  2/7/08


Back Up The Rabbit Hole  by John Michael Greer  2/6/08 - A concise overview of the connections between artificially cheap energy, the delusional global economy, the throw-away consumer culture, the reckless depletion of resources, and the realities/crises that we must adapt to.


Running on empty  by Charles Russo  1/30/08 - The San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force explores life after fossil fuels - an era that may be coming sooner than most people think.


Shell predicts energy shortage by 2015  1/26/08


Shell Game, By Steve Alten, A Review By Carolyn Baker 1/22/08  - Shell Game's value lies not only in underscoring the catastrophes toward which the human race is hurtling but in analyzing the mindset of empire that has made them inevitable.


From False to Real Solutions for Climate Change by Patrick Bond  1/6/08   Leave fossil fuels in the ground!


Peak Oil And Dunbar's Number  by Peter Goodchild  12/29/07


Agriculture: closing the circle by John Michael Greer 12/19/07


Agriculture: The Price of Transition  by John Michael Greer



Peak Oil And The Vision In The Mirror  by Aaron Wissner 12/8/07  


Give Thanks for Oil - and OPEC   by Kelpie Wilson  11/20/07


Is World Oil Production Peaking?   by Lester R. Brown  11/15/07


Oil prices and responding to the strange lack of response  by Jan Lundberg  11/18/07


Peak Oil And Silence  by Peter Goodchild  11/16/07


Another Nail in the Coffin of the Case Against Peak Oil (PDF) by 
Matthew R. Simmons, Simmons International 


Economic and planetary collapse: Is it a therapeutic issue?  by Kathy McMahon, Psy.D.  11/14/07


The familiarity of an idea  by Sharon Astyk  11/15/07 - A compassionate guide to dealing with others’ resistance to a new idea.


Preparing for a Post-Peak Lifestyle 

Triage for the post-peak oil age by Kurt Cobb


Five Axioms of Sustainability   by Richard Heinberg


Tools with a life of their own  by Richard Heinberg


Fifty Million Farmers   by Richard Heinberg


The View From Oil's Peak by Richard Heinberg

Facing the New Dark Age: A Grassroots Approach  by John Michael Greer 


The Plan  by William Kötke


Intentional community pioneer Albert Bates on surviving peak oil by Erik Curren  4/1/07


Another Way  by Joel Achenbach   11/19/06  - On Earthaven Ecovillage and the conundrum of energy use in contemporary America


Threats of Peak Oil to the Global Food Supply  by Richard Heinberg  6/05  - Food is energy. And it takes energy to get food. These two facts, taken together, have always established the biological limits to the human population and always will.


World Energy to 2050: A Half Century of Decline  by Paul Chefurka





Peak Oil Primer


Energy Bulletin  - Peak Oil News

Global Public Media – Audio & Video interviews

Life After the Oil Crash  - Peak Oil news, preparedness resources

The Oil Drum  - Peak Oil News

Post-Carbon Institute  - Peak Oil & Relocalization News

Post Peak Living UnCrash Course


Sustainable Post-Peak Livelihoods


Energy Farms Network: Reliable Renewable Energy for a Post Carbon World  - Energy Farms are a response to the dominant agricultural model of the so-called “Green Revolution” that turns soil to dust, chemicals to food, and food to fuel.  They are experimenting with the best practices from small-scale organic agriculture; trying out electric tractors that can be powered by solar-generated electricity; and gathering the hard data about what works well and what doesn't.





Cassandra by Grace Roselli

The Archdruid Report by John Michael Greer


Carolyn Baker


Culture Change by Jan Lundberg


Mike Byron’s blog  


Resource Insights  by Kurt Cobb


The Mountain Sentinel by Dale Allen Pfeiffer


Chatelaine's Keys by Sharon Astyk  


Life After the Oil Crash discussion forum on psychological & emotional issues regarding Peak Oil

Clusterfuck Nation by James Howard Kunstler



Audio & Video


Crude: the Incredible Journey of Oil


Global Public Media – Audio & Video interviews with Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, Matt Simmons, Colin Campbell, and more.


Peak Moment Television


"What a Way to Go" - Meet the Filmmakers

Petrocollapse and Socioeconomic Meltdown Scenarios  1/10/09  - An intelligent one-hour discussion among nine peak oil and community activists about energy decline and socioeconomic collapse, scenarios that may occur post-peak oil, and visions of the future.  Hosted by Portland, Oregon public affairs community television show TV Set. 


Peak Moment: Calm Before the Storm  6/19/08  - Richard Heinberg, author of “Peak Everything”, reviews the accelerating events since mid-2007, including the credit crunch and fossil fuel price volatility, noting that we’ve missed most of the best opportunities to manage collapse. He asks, “how far down the staircase of complexity will our global civilization have to go until we’re sustainable?” His answer: when managed properly, with deliberate simplification, not as far as we might otherwise. In addition to long term efforts to relocalize our economies, he advocates developing community “resilience” to withstand short-term catastrophic events like food shortages or extreme weather. Noting that healthy fear can move us into action, he encourages an attitude of clarity, concern and informed action in this “calm before the storm” that he feels is soon coming to an end.  Audio or video, 27 min


Reality Report: Nate Hagens and the Maximum Power Principle  6/30/08  - Nate Hagens connects diverse topics such as energy supply, economics, ecology and evolution, neuroscience, sociology and thermodynamics. We begin by reviewing the global energy situation, and in that context ask if the Maximum Power Principle (sometimes referred to as the fourth law of thermodynamics) explains our apparent inability to recognize the true nature of the crisis. At the end we discuss what the Maximum Power Principle implies for how societies may chose, and be forced, to adapt to energy decline. Audio 1 hr.





Crude: The Real Price of Oil - This riveting documentary by Joe Berlinger tells the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion Amazon Chernobyl case, Crude is a real-life, high stakes legal drama involving global politics, the environmental movement, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, multinational corporate power, and the fate of disappearing indigenous cultures. These real characters and events play out on the screen like a sprawling legal thriller. -- Stephen Holden, The New York Times


What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire 


Crude Impact


Crude Awakening


The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil


The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream   


Escape from Suburbia


Recipes for DisasterA family tries to kick its oil addiction out of concern for global warming.





John Michael Greer: The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age; and The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World


Richard Heinberg:  Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century Of Declines; The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse; Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World; and The Party's Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies 


James Howard Kunstler:  The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century.


Matthew R. Simmons:  Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy


Kenneth S. Deffeyes:  Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak 


Paul Roberts:  The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World  


Matt Savinar:  The Oil Age is Over: What to Expect as the World Runs Out of Cheap Oil: 2005-2050


Julian Darley:  High Noon for Natural Gas


Pierre Chomat:  Oil Addiction- A World in Peril


David Strahan:  The Last Oil Shock- A Survival guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man    


John G. Howe:  The End of Fossil Energy and the Last Chance for Sustainability


Aric McBay:  Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life After Gridcrash


Julian Darley, David Room, Celine Rich:  Relocalize Now!: Getting Ready for Climate Change and the End of Cheap Oil


Dale Allen Pfeiffer:  Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food And the Coming Crisis in Agriculture


Steve Solomon: Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times


Albert Bates:  The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times


Mick Winter:  Peak Oil Prep: Prepare for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse








© 2010 Suzanne Duarte