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Energy and the Economy: Twelve Basic Principles

There is a standard view of energy and the economy that can briefly be summarized as follows: Economic growth can continue forever; we will learn to use less energy supplies; energy prices will rise; and the world will adapt. My view of how energy...

Posted August 16, 2014    

Making Sense of the US Oil Story

We frequently see stories telling us how well the United States is doing at oil extraction. The fact that there are stories in the press about the US wanting to export crude oil adds to the hype. How much of these stories are really true? If we...

Posted August 8, 2014    

World Oil Production at 3/31/2014: Where are We Headed?

The standard way to make forecasts of almost anything is to look at recent trends and assume that this trend will continue, at least for the next several years. With world oil production, the trend in oil production looks fairly benign, with the...

Posted July 25, 2014    

Debt: Eight Reasons This Time is Different

In today’s world, we have a huge amount of debt outstanding. Academic researchers Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogart have become famous for their book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly and their earlier paper This Time...

Posted July 11, 2014    

Why Standard Economic Models Don't Work: Our Economy is a Network

The story of energy and the economy seems to be an obvious common sense one: some sources of energy are becoming scarce or overly polluting, so we need to develop new ones. The new ones may be more expensive, but the world will adapt. Prices will...

Posted June 28, 2014    

IEA Investment Report: What is Right, What is Wrong

Recently, the IEA published  a “Special Report” called World Energy Investment Outlook. Lets’s start with things I agree with:1. World needs $48 trillion in investment to meet its energy needs to 2035. This is certainly true, if we assume...

Posted June 13, 2014    

Converging Energy Crises, And How our Current Situation Differs from the Past

At the Age of Limits Conference, I gave a talk called Converging Crises (PDF), talking about the crises facing us as we reach energy limits. In this post, I discuss some highlights from a fairly long talk.A related topic is how our current...

Posted June 7, 2014    

The Connection Between Oil Prices, Debt Levels, and Interest Rates

If oil is “just another commodity,” then there shouldn’t be any connection between oil prices, debt levels, interest rates, and total rates of return. But there clearly is a connection.On one hand, spikes in oil prices are connected with recessions...

Posted May 23, 2014    

Russia and the Ukraine: The Worrisome Connection to World Oil and Gas Problems

What is behind the Russia/Ukraine problem? It seems to me that what we are seeing is Russia’s attempt to fix a two-part problem:Some oil and gas exporters, including Russia, are not receiving enough oil and gas revenue to meet their needs. They are...

Posted May 9, 2014    

Eight Energy Myths Explained

Republicans, Democrats, and environmentalists all have favorite energy myths. Even Peak Oil believers have favorite energy myths. The following are a few common mis-beliefs, coming from a variety of energy perspectives. I will start with a recent...

Posted April 28, 2014    

Oil Limits and Climate Change: How They Fit Together

We hear a lot about climate change, especially now that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently published another report. At the same time, oil is reaching limits, and this has an effect as well. How do the two issues fit...

Posted April 14, 2014    

The Absurdity of US Natural Gas Exports

Quiz:1. How much natural gas is the United States currently extracting?(a) Barely enough to meet its own needs (b) Enough to allow lots of exports (c) Enough to allow a bit of exports (d) The United States is a natural gas importerAnswer...

Posted April 3, 2014