• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 15 hours How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 7 days Natron Energy Achieves First-Ever Commercial-Scale Production of Sodium-Ion Batteries in the U.S.
  • 7 days Bad news for e-cars keeps coming
  • 52 mins By Kellen McGovern Jones - "BlackRock Behind New TX-LA Offshore Wind Farm"
  • 6 days The United States produced more crude oil than any nation, at any time.
  • 9 days RUSSIA - Turkey & India Stop Buying Russian Oil as USA Increases Crackdown on Sanctions
Will OPEC+ Ever Rein In Its Non-Compliant Members?

Will OPEC+ Ever Rein In Its Non-Compliant Members?

OPEC+ faces ongoing challenges as…

Oil Bulls See Light at the End of the Tunnel

Oil Bulls See Light at the End of the Tunnel

Oil prices have been climbing…

Gail Tverberg

Gail Tverberg

Gail Tverberg is a writer and speaker about energy issues. She is especially known for her work with financial issues associated with peak oil. Prior…

More Info

Premium Content

The World’s Energy Problem Is Far Worse Than We’re Being Told

  • Citizens around the world can sense that something is very wrong, and it looks like the economy may be headed for a serious recession in the near term.
  • The operation of our economy requires energy of the correct type and the right quantity.
  • The International Energy Agency and politicians around the world have recommended a transition to the use of renewables to try to prevent climate change for quite a few years.
Energy Problem

No politician wants to tell us the real story of fossil fuel depletion. The real story is that we are already running short of oil, coal and natural gas because the direct and indirect costs of extraction are reaching a point where the selling price of food and other basic necessities needs to be unacceptably high to make the overall economic system work. At the same time, wind and solar and other “clean energy” sources are nowhere nearly able to substitute for the quantity of fossil fuels being lost.

This unfortunate energy story is essentially a physics problem. Energy per capita and, in fact, resources per capita, must stay high enough for an economy’s growing population. When this does not happen, history shows that civilizations tend to collapse.

Figure 1. World fossil fuel energy consumption per capita, based on data of BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Politicians cannot possibly admit that today’s world economy is headed for collapse, in a way similar to that of prior civilizations. Instead, they need to provide the illusion that they are in charge. The self-organizing system somehow leads politicians to put forward reasons why the changes ahead might be desirable (to avert climate change), or at least temporary (because of sanctions against Russia).

In this post, I will try to try to explain at least a few of the issues involved.

[1] Citizens around the world can sense that something is very wrong. It looks like the economy may be headed for a serious recession in the near term.

Figure 2. Index of consumer sentiment and news heard of company changes as reported by the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, based on preliminary indications for August 2022.

Consumer sentiment is at an extraordinarily low level, worse than during the 2008-2009 great recession according to a chart (Figure 2) shown on the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers website. According to the same website, nearly 48% of consumers blame inflation for eroding their standard of living. Food prices have risen significantly. Over the past year, the cost of car ownership has escalated, as has the cost of buying or renting a home.

The situation in Europe is at least as bad, or worse. Citizens are worried about possibly “freezing in the dark” this winter if electricity generation cannot be maintained at an adequate level. Natural gas supplies, mostly purchased from Russia by pipeline, are less available and high-priced. Coal is also high-priced. Because of the fall of the Euro relative to the US dollar, the price of oil in euros is as high as it was in 2008 and 2012.

Figure 3. Inflation-adjusted Brent crude oil price in US dollars and euros, in chart by the US Energy Information Administration, as published in EIA’s August 2022 Short Term Energy Outlook.

Many other countries, besides those in the Eurozone, are experiencing low currencies relative to the dollar. Some examples include Argentina, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea.

China has problems with developers of condominium homes for its citizen. Many of these homes cannot be delivered to purchasers as promised. As a protest, buyers are withholding payments on their unfinished homes. To make matters worse, the prices of condominium homes have started to fall, leading to a loss of value of these would-be investments. All of this could lead to serious problems for the Chinese banking industry.

Even with these major problems, central banks in the US, the UK and the Eurozone are raising target interest rates. The US is also implementing Quantitative Tightening, which also tends to raise interest rates. Thus, central banks are intentionally raising the cost of borrowing. It doesn’t take much insight to see that the combination of price inflation and higher borrowing costs is likely to force consumers to cut back on spending, leading to recession.

[2] Politicians will avoid talking about possible future economic problems related to inadequate energy supply.

Politicians want to get re-elected. They want citizens to think that everything is OK. If there are energy supply 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.

Businesses also want to minimize problems. They want citizens to place orders for their goods and services, without the fear of being laid off. They would like the news media to publish stories saying that any economic dip is likely to be very mild and temporary.

Universities don’t mind problems, but they want the problems to be framed as solvable ones that will offer their students opportunities for jobs that will pay well. A near-term, unsolvable predicament is not helpful at all.

[3] What is wrong is a physics problem. The operation of our economy requires energy of the correct type and the right quantity.

The economy is something that grows through the “dissipation” of energy. Examples of dissipation of energy include the digestion of food to give energy to humans, the burning of fossil fuels, and the use of electricity to power a light bulb. A rise in world energy consumption is highly correlated with growth in the world economy. Falling energy consumption is associated with economic contraction.

Figure 4. Correlation between world GDP measured in “Purchasing Power Parity” (PPP) 2017 International $ and world energy consumption, including both fossil fuels and renewables. GDP is as reported by the World Bank for 1990 through 2021 as of July 26, 2022; total energy consumption is as reported by BP in its 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In physics terms, the world economy is a dissipative structure, just as all plants, animals and ecosystems are. All dissipative structures have finite lifespans, including the world economy.

This finding is not well known because academic researchers seem to operate in ivory towers. Researchers in economic departments aren’t expected to understand physics and how it applies to the economy. In fairness to academia, the discovery that the economy is a dissipative structure did not occur until 1996. It takes a long time for findings to filter through from one department to another. Even now, I am one of a very small number of people in the world writing about this issue.

Also, economic researchers are not expected to study the history of the many smaller, more-localized civilizations that have collapsed in the past. Typically, the population of these smaller civilizations increased at the same time as the resources used by the population started to degrade. The use of technology, such as dams to redirect water flows, may have helped for a while, but eventually this was not enough. The combination of declining availability of high quality resources and increasing population tended to leave these civilizations with little margin for dealing with the bad times that can be expected to occur by chance. In many cases, such civilizations collapsed after disease epidemics, a military invasion, or a climate fluctuation that led to a series of crop failures.

[4] Many people have been confused by common misunderstandings regarding how an economy really works.

[a] Standard economics models foster the belief that the economy can continue to grow without a corresponding increase in energy supply.

When economic models are designed with labor and capital being the important inputs, energy supply doesn’t seem to be needed, at all.

[b] People seem to understand that legislation capping apartment rents will stop the building of new apartments, but they do not make the same connection with steps taken to hold down fossil fuel prices.

If efforts are made to bring down the prices of fossil fuels (such as raising interest rates and adding oil from the US petroleum reserves to increase total oil supply), we need to expect that extraction will be adversely affected. One article reports that Saudi Arabia does not seem to be using recent record profits to quickly raise reinvestment to the level that seemed to be required a few years ago. This suggests that Saudi Arabia needs prices that are quite a bit higher than $100 per barrel in order to take significant steps toward extracting the country’s remaining resources. This would seem to contradict published reserves that, in theory, take current prices into consideration.

Reuters reports that Venezuela has reneged on its promise to send more oil to Europe, under an oil for debt deal. It wants oil product swaps instead, since it is lacking in its ability to make finished products from its oil itself. It would take a long run of prices much higher than today’s level for Venezuela to be able to sufficiently invest in infrastructure to do such refining. Venezuela reports the highest oil reserves in the world (303.8 thousand million barrels), even higher than Saudi Arabia’s reported 297.5 thousand million barrels, but neither country can be counted on to take major steps to raise supply.

Similarly, there have been reports that US shale drillers are not investing to keep production growing, despite what seem to be sufficiently high prices. There are simply too many issues. The cost of new investment is very high, outside of the already drilled sweet spots. Also, there is no guarantee the price will stay high. There are also supply line issues, such as whether appropriate steel drilling pipes and fracking sand will be available, when needed.

[c] Published information suggests that there is a huge amount of fossil fuels remaining to be extracted, given today’s level of technology. If we assume that technology will get better and better, it is easy to believe that any fossil fuel limit is hundreds of years in the future.

The way the economy works, the extraction limit is really an affordability issue. If the cost of extraction rises too high, relative to what people around the world have for spendable income, production will stop because demand (in terms of what people can afford) will drop too low. People will tend to cut back on discretionary spending, such as vacation travel and meals in restaurants, cutting back on demand for fossil fuels.

[d] How “demand” works is poorly understood. Very often, researchers and the general public assume that demand for energy products will automatically remain high.

A surprisingly large share of demand is tied to the need for food, water, and basic services such as schools, roads, and bus service. Poor people require these basics just as much as rich people do. There are literally billions of poor people in the world. If the wages of poor people fall too low relative to the wages of rich people, the system cannot work. Poor people find that they must spend nearly all their income on food, water and housing. As a result, they have little left to pay taxes to support basic governmental services. Without adequate demand from poor people, the prices of commodities tend to fall too low to encourage reinvestment.

The majority of fossil fuel use is by commercial and industrial users. For example, natural gas is often used in making nitrogen fertilizer. If the price of natural gas is high, the price of fertilizer will rise higher than farmers are willing to pay for the fertilizer. Farmers will cut back on fertilizer use, reducing yields for their crops. The farmers’ own costs will be lower, but there will be less of the desired crops grown, perhaps indirectly raising overall food prices. This is not a connection that economic modelers build into their models.

The lockdowns of 2020 show that governments can indeed ramp up demand (and thus prices) for energy products by sending out checks to citizens. We are now seeing that the approach seems to produce inflation rather than more energy production. Also, countries without energy resources of their own may see their currencies fall with respect to the US dollar.

[e] It is not true that energy types can easily be substituted for one another.

In energy modeling, such as in calculating “Energy Return on Energy Invested,” a popular assumption is that all energy is substitutable for other energy. This isn’t true, unless a person accounts for all of the details of the transition, and the energy needed to make such a transition possible.

For example, intermittent electricity, such as that generated by wind turbines or solar panels, is not substitutable for load-following electricity. Such intermittent electricity is not always available when people need it. Some of this intermittency is very long-term. For example, wind-generated electricity may be low for more than a month at a time. In the case of solar energy, the problem tends to be storing up enough electricity during summer months for use in winter. A naive person might assume that adding a few hours of battery backup would fix intermittency problems, but such a fix turns out to be very inadequate. Related: Europe’s $280 Billion Support Package Could Make Energy Crisis Worse

If people are not to freeze in the dark in winter, longer-term solutions are needed. One standard approach is to use a fossil fuel system to fill in the gaps when wind and solar are not available. The catch, then, is that the fossil fuel system really needs to be a year-around system, with trained staffing, pipelines and adequate fuel storage. A modeler needs to consider the need to build a whole double system instead of a single system.

Because of intermittency issues, electricity from wind and solar only substitute for fuels (coal, natural gas, uranium) that operate our current system. Publications often talk about the cost of intermittent electricity being at “grid parity” when its temporary cost seems to match the cost of grid electricity, but this is matching “apples and oranges.” The cost comparison needs to be in comparison to the average cost of fuel for plants producing electricity, rather than to electricity prices.

Another popular assumption is that electricity can be substituted for liquid fuels. For example, in theory, every piece of farm equipment could be redesigned and rebuilt to be based on electricity, rather than diesel, which is typically used today. The catch is that there would need to be an enormous number of batteries built and eventually disposed of for this transition to work. There would need also need to be factories to build all this new equipment. We would need an international trade system operating extraordinarily well, to find all the raw materials. Likely, there would still not be enough raw materials to make the system work.

[f] There is a great deal of confusion about expected oil and other energy prices, as an economy reaches energy limits.

This issue is closely related to [4][d], with respect to the confusion about how energy demand works. A common assumption among analysts is that “of course” oil prices will rise, as limits are approached. This assumption is based on the standard supply and demand curve used by economists.

Figure 5. Standard economic supply and demand curve from Wikipedia. Description of how this curve works: The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D). The diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product.

The issue is that the availability of inexpensive energy products very much affects demand as well as supply. Jobs that pay well are only available if inexpensive energy products can leverage human labor. For example, surgeons today perform robotic surgery, requiring, at a minimum, a stable source of electricity for each operation. Furthermore, the equipment used in the surgery is created using fossil fuels. Surgeons also use anesthetic products that require fossil fuels. Without today’s fancy equipment, surgeons would not be able to charge nearly as much they do for their services.

Thus, it is not immediately obvious whether demand or supply would tend to fall faster, if energy supply should hit limits. We know that Revelation 18:11-13 in the Bible provides a list of a number of commodities, including humans sold as slaves, for which prices dropped very low at the time of the collapse of ancient Babylon. This suggests that at least sometimes during prior collapses, the problem was too low demand (and too low prices), rather than too low supply of energy products.

[5] The International Energy Agency and politicians around the world have recommended a transition to the use of wind and solar to try to prevent climate change for quite a few years. This approach seemed to have the approval of both those concerned about too much burning of fossil fuels causing climate change and those concerned about too little fossil fuel energy causing economic collapse.

A rough estimate of what the decline in energy supply might look like under the rapid shift to renewables proposed by politicians is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Estimate by Gail Tverberg of World Energy Consumption from 1820 to 2050. Amounts for earliest years based on estimates in Vaclav Smil’s book Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospectsand BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy for the years 1965 to 2019. Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be 5% below that for 2019. Energy for years after 2020 is assumed to fall by 6.6% per year, so that the amount reaches a level similar to renewables only by 2050. Amounts shown include more use of local energy products (wood and animal dung) than BP includes.

If a person understands the connection between energy consumption and the economy, such a rapid drop in energy supply looks like something that would likely be associated with economic collapse. The goal of politicians seems to be to keep citizens from understanding how awful the situation really is by reframing the story of the decline in energy supply as something politicians and economists have chosen to do, to try to prevent climate change for the sake of future generations.

The rich and powerful can see this change as a good thing if they themselves can profit from it. When there is not enough energy, the physics of the situation tends to lead to increasing wage and wealth disparities. Wealthy individuals see this outcome as a good thing: They can perhaps personally profit. For example, Bill Gates has amassed about 270,000 acres of farmland in the United States, including newly purchased farmland in North Dakota.

Furthermore, politicians see that they can have more control over populations if they can direct citizens in a way that will use less energy. For example, bank accounts can be linked to some type of social credit score. Politicians will explain that this is for people’s own good–to prevent the spread of disease or to prevent undesirables from using too much of the available resources.

One way of dramatically reducing energy consumption is by mandating shutdowns in an area, purportedly to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as China has been doing recently. Such shutdowns can be explained as being needed to stop the spread of disease. These shutdowns can also help hide other problems, such as not having enough fuels to prevent rolling blackouts of electricity.

[6] We are living in a truly unusual time, with a major energy problem being hidden from view.

Politicians cannot tell the world how bad the energy situation really is. The problem with near-term energy limits has been known since at least 1956 (M. King Hubbert) and 1957 (Hyman Rickover). The problem was confirmed in the modeling performed for the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows and others.

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.

Militaries around the world are no doubt well aware of the fact that there will not be enough energy supplies to go around. This means that the world will be in a contest for who gets how much. In a war-like setting, we should not be surprised if communications are carefully controlled. The views we can expect to hear loudly and repeatedly are the ones governments and influential individuals want ordinary citizens to hear.

By Gail Tverberg

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Steve Doering on August 29 2022 said:
    Very interesting article Gail.

    It really makes you wonder if the world is overpopulated for the amount of resources that remain. I've always thought people take for granted or are unaware of the quality of life that cheap energy has provided to us over the last 100 years.

    Hopefully, the future remains bright for the next generations of young people as opposed to the possibly dark, cold, bleak outlook portrayed by your analysis of energy data trends.

  • Norm Young on August 30 2022 said:
    Not sure where to begin here, some rational statements but a lot of irrational statements, such as no reference to the limits to the environmental sinks of things like CO2 and methane. No discussion that we can't keep turning up the volume on what is not working now, see all the smoke, fires, melting glaciers, ice caps, and droughts globally, impacting livability and crop yields.

    So whether we like it or not we have to turn away from burning things for energy, and if it turns out that oil and gas is becoming limited due to investment and political reasons, that's a good thing-- because without it we are going to cook ourselves.

    Yes, there are more deposits of fossil fuels that we could access, at a higher and higher prices, and yes our economy requires abundant energy but we dare not do it with fossil fuels.

    The prelude to change is always pain. So now we're feeling some pain, and we are changing. Look at the leaps and bounds being made in solar, wind (especially offshore where there's a huge amount of potential), storage both mobile and stationary, new designs for nuclear fission, and even advances being made in fusion. These are the ways we will be able to keep our economies healthy (although I would hope that any sensible person could see that a infinitely growing economy within a finite planet has some conceptual problems), and maintain or enhance our standard of living.
  • G S on August 30 2022 said:
    "One way of dramatically reducing energy consumption is by mandating shutdowns in an area, purportedly to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as China has been doing recently. Such shutdowns can be explained as being needed to stop the spread of disease. These shutdowns can also help hide other problems, such as not having enough fuels to prevent rolling blackouts of electricity."

    I see Gail has gone full tinfoil hat.
  • Ian Moodfish on August 31 2022 said:
    It all makes sense to me, Gail - even the reference to Babylon. We are indeed living in a truly unusual time.
  • independence01776 d on August 31 2022 said:
    Perhaps the author has it correct, likely not. Energy use is becoming more efficient every year. From Smart phones to appliances to cars, everything continues to become more efficient. For each BEV that replaces an ICE car, the efficiency gain in energy is 4x. Yes, the world economy is headed towards a recession, after 12 years of growth, the longest period in modern history. Yes, energy prices have been pushed up, mostly as a result of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, which has a significant impact on Europe, but also an economic impact on the rest of the world. Temporarily resulting in rising energy cost, since the world is still mostly dependent on oil. For those of us who aren’t, I include myself in that picture, there is no energy shortage. We have so much that 1/3 of it goes back to the grid and we receive 3 cents per kW.

    For our family, replacing fossil fuels with cheap renewable energy saves us over 4k annually in energy cost. Of course, not everyone can transition to solar panels and EV’s overnight, but in the end, doing so will make our consumption of energy much more efficient and cheaper.

    The next decade looks rosy all other things being equal. But of course, all other things are never equal when talking about global economics. What will the impact of climate change be on food production, on catastrophic weather events, how much will that impact economies around the globe. Certainly some unknowns exist…. As they always do.

    p.s. Headed into every global recession, it’s common for investors to buy US dollars. Even more so this time since the US economy is the least impacted by the Russia caused oil price spike. That’s normal and last happened during the recession of 2000 – 2003.
  • Mister Smith on August 31 2022 said:
    All very good points! Unfortunately, most people will be skeptical, in part because there is a learning curve and there is only a certain kind of person who is motivated to climb it. Too bad we don't all get a thorough course in energy & its effects on both the economy and society in secondary school. It is much easier to browbeat idle teenagers into learning than to motivate busy adults. The other problem is that people tend to extrapolate the future from the fairly recent historical past. If only we all would look at history from a bird's eye view, then we could see that we are merely at the peak of the biggest of many cyclical booms (and inevitable busts) that have recurred many times in the human drama. Rather than having escaped the Malthusian trap as so many believe, we are merely in the grand-daddy of all Malthusian traps!
  • Rod Keh on August 31 2022 said:
    The facts prove that CO2 is good for our planet. Both the greening of the planet and the thousands of commercial greenhouses around the world that burn fossil fuels to produce the CO2 that makes their greenhouse profitable because the increased CO2, increases crop growth and production.
    The science of Physics, proves that there is no such thing as a GHG.

    The planetary geology, geologic structure and internal heat distribution proves that climate is determined by the internal heat of this planet and neither we, CO2 nor solar energy have any effect whatsoever on the internal heat of this planet so they can have no effect on climate.

    Planetary climactic history tells us that it takes a long time to change the internal temperature of this planet, so we will always and have always been coerced into adapting to the change because it happens so slowly, we hardly notice, so we will never have anything whatsoever to fear from climate change.

    The whole ACC scare is just a swindle of the gullible who will always believe anything an expert tells them, no matter how ridiculous it may be.

    CO2 is good for our planet and its ecosystem and the more the better, so their is no reason for the Unwashed Masses to suffer, in the slightest. The energy crunch is completely artificially created by those that want to steel you wealth and enslave you to their will. We should be burning as much coal and fossil fuels as possible, which would stimulate the ecosystem and make it easier for the poor to grow their own food and crops and prosper as well. You can hardly expect you cow to thrive if you starve it of food.

    Making the world suffer to satisfy the greed and avarice of the elite should have ended centuries ago! There is no such thing as Devine Right any more than there is any such a thing as a GHG! They are both swindles of the poor...
  • Tom DeChaine on August 31 2022 said:
    We will not be short of fossil fuels if we don't continue to sacrifice them for inefficient non-renewables.
  • John Galt on September 02 2022 said:
    There is no shortage of accessible fossil fuels. Only a shortage of political policies making it possible to access them.
  • jim Payette on September 05 2022 said:
    A good article mainly but... a mixture of correct and incorrect assumptions. It is very true that mainstream economists leave out energy cost and availability along with debt. It is obvious to me that having the cost of oil and gas artificially low for the last 10 years has lowered the fossil fuel companies investment in creating new sources and reserves. A prosperous world economy with increased demand would lead to shortages. Unfortunately we don't have to worry about that. The politicians all say due to their false belief in a climate catastrophe caused by man made CO2 that the new green deal is coming. Bank loans to fossil fuel companies will be outlawed. Why should coal companies invest in making burning coal cleaner when the political establishment is trying to ban it? There are many more stupidities happening because of the belief that CO2 is a pollutant. People like Bill Gates think "they" don't have to worry about it because "they" believe that robotics and Artificial Intellligence will do away with the need for "us". We being turned into useless eaters and unemployed deplorables. Then our number will be drastically reduced. Covid was brought out too soon. The vaccines were not safe and effective. Early treatment was available to make it less deadly than the flu but was politically discouraged and not used so millions unnecessarily died. However, the practice of medical tyranny was greatly advanced. Hard to predict whether "they" have another pandemic ready to go or will go with climate lockdowns once digital central bank currencies do away with cash. and the "the great Reset" commences.
  • Lexington Green on September 12 2022 said:
    The 4th largest economy in the world has generated half of it's energy from renewables for several years, yet it has sustained economic growth. That's as much of a pilot test as you need.
    If they hadn't done this, the current problems associated with natural gas supply in Europe this winter would be a lot worse. The issues of energy availability from renewable sources are solvable; in fact, have already been solved. Fossil fuel sourced power has to ramp up, or reduce power as demand changes daily (electricity demand falls off at night, increases in the morning). So, a system that has to augment supply when some region suffers a cloudy period or reduced wind is not some constraint rendering the source useless. Because of its pollution costs, fossil fuel is facing competition it, ultimately, cannot beat. The matter of whether increasing certain elements or compounds in the atmosphere is a very obvious 'physics problem'. Arguing that more carbon cannot store more heat is pretty ridiculous, yet people continue to try to do it. That's not a claim by politicians, that's Mother Nature. You suggest: '..In the case of solar energy, the problem tends to be storing up enough electricity during summer months for use in winter..' That is completely untrue. You're suggesting that some kind of hybrid power generation can't exist. Of course, it already does here in the US and elsewhere. Before "renewables" appeared in large scale, the power grid in the US sourced power from several different sources: hydro electric, geothermal, nuclear energy, fossil fuels. Adding to this mix is not going to trigger some global collapse in energy supply. Adoption of renewables is not going to destroy fossil fuel source availability. Petroeum chemical use will be around for a very long time. The price of West TX crude just fell $40 (from 125 to 85) in the space of 3 months. That's a drop of 24% Meanwhile, oil companies in US have racked up record profits this year. If it were to stay at the current price, they will do quite well next year also. You mentioned: '...in theory, every piece of farm equipment could be redesigned and rebuilt to be based on electricity, rather than diesel..' Well, it wouldn't have to. All the farm equipment in the world is a relatively small portion of carbon emissions. And today, there is diesel fuel that is "carbon neutral". I drive a vehicle that uses electricity to replace half of the liquid fuel it would otherwise use, it has over 200,000 miles on it and gets 52 mpg. So, farm equipment that could get part of its power from a battery pack could reduce it's emissions by a third, or half, and turn out to be less expensive for the farmer to operate. As to the survivablity of prior civilizations, compared to ours; none have had capacity for innovation that we have. The problems the world faces are difficult. But, when somone builds a hydroponic green house on 2 acres, that is capable of replacing the use of 40 acres of land, to grow the same output, there are reasons for optimism.
  • Hugh Williams on September 30 2022 said:
    The panic that human activity has destroyed the climate is a big problem.We are nearing the end of a 125,000 year climate cycle. At the end of the last cycle the sea level was six meters higher than now. Now the sea level is rising at the rate of 3 mm per year or about one foot per century so the claim that we have caused the earth to be flooded makes no sense. Reference: UNSETTLED--WHAT CLIMATE SCIENCE TELLS US, WHAT IT DOESN´T, AND WHY IT MATTERS By Dr. Steven E Koonin a very experienced climate scientist.

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News