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Posts Tagged ‘peak oil’

Will 2011 be a rerun of 2008?

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, January 12th, 2011 - 22 comments

This post from the Oil Drum looks at how peak oil and the economy interact. From 2004 to 2008 oil prices rose and rose with demand. But high prices bought nearly no new oil to the market because it isn’t there. The prices broke the global economy, destroying demand. Now, prices are rising again and the weakened economies will topple much easier.

Food prices hit new record

Written By: - Date published: 7:10 am, January 7th, 2011 - 67 comments

With oil heading back to $100+ a barrel, food prices are also rising. That makes sense, fuel and fertiliser from oil are major food production costs. The global food price index is now higher than it was in 2008. In New Zealand, we’re supposed to celebrate high food prices but the reality is it means starvation and social unrest around the world.

Dunedin Council peak oil report

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, January 5th, 2011 - 11 comments

In December, Dunedin City Council released its Peak Oil Vulnerability Analysis. We’re going to weather the peak oil age largely reliant on the built environment we already have in place – we can’t tear it all down and start again in time – but, the report shows there’s a lot we can do with the infrastructure we have to make it less oil-dependent.

The big factor for election 2011 – petrol prices

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, January 3rd, 2011 - 67 comments

I’ve been traveling around for Christmas/New Year’s. It hadn’t hit me until I drove about 1000kms around NZ just how much more expensive petrol has become. The extra cost is a shock when you fill up and it hurts the economy. I got wondering what the political impact is. The numbers suggest it matters a lot.

Locking in the narrative

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 am, January 2nd, 2011 - 61 comments

Having a read of Fairfax’s 2011 political predictions, and their self-grading of their 2010 predictions, two things jumped out. The first is that Fairfax’s political staff have now wedded their reputations as political analysts to a National victory. The second is that they ignore the impact of the economy, and petrol prices in particular, on politics.

2011: year of the next mega-shock

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, December 20th, 2010 - 47 comments

Liam Dann had a very good piece in the Herald the other day about rising commodity prices. Despite insipid growth, prices of food and oil, the fuels of our civilisation are through the roof. The underlying meaning of those high prices is we’re having to devote more of our resources to feeding and fueling ourselves, leaving less for anything else.

Ideology causes power price spike

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, December 18th, 2010 - 30 comments

Brownlee ignored warnings that his reforms would increase power prices, not lower them as intended. Wholesale power prices have spiked from $50 to $300 per MWH. Exporters have cut production. Residential users are next. With power up and petrol breaking $2 a litre, energy is a handbrake on this supposed economic recovery.

Doing nothing in the face of climate change crisis

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, November 22nd, 2010 - 23 comments

The Commissioner for the Environment says New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions will be 26% above 1990 levels in 2020, compared to the Nats’ promise to cut them by 10-20% – leaving us with a $1b bill. Worse, the IEA shows that even if we and other countries meet our promised cuts its only half of what’s needed to avert disaster.

The day that never comes

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, November 19th, 2010 - 15 comments

National Bank has joined NZIER in estimating the economy shrank 0.2% in the September Quarter and all the projections say it’ll go backwards this quarter too. Bill English now admits John Key’s ‘rapid recovery’ isn’t happening. But he insists it’s coming – tomorrow, no, the day after for sure. We’ve just got to keep waiting…

Too expensive to pump

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, November 16th, 2010 - 49 comments

The International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook forecasts that by 2035 oil will cost $200 a barrel in today’s dollars. That’s not $200 during a price spike, that’s $200 as the new normal. The world entered recession when the price went over $100 in a spike during 2008. A permanent price of $200 a barrel is simply unaffordable.

Jeff Rubin on oil & the end of globalisation

Written By: - Date published: 4:29 pm, November 14th, 2010 - 29 comments

Economist Jeff Rubin explains that the peak oil crisis is the underlying cause of the global economic crisis and why the economy isn’t shaking itself out of recession as in the past. In the age of peak oil, trade advantages will be overwhelmed by transport costs. The winners will be self-sufficient countries with their own agricultural and manufacturing bases.

Garth George & the limits to growth

Written By: - Date published: 2:12 pm, October 17th, 2010 - 64 comments

In his last column Garth George laments how foods he regularly enjoyed in his childhood (1870s?) are now priced beyond the reach of most New Zealanders. It’s easy to dismiss the complaints of an old man about prices these days but there’s a deeper story: with population growth and resource depletion, there increasingly isn’t enough to go around.

Nats turn blind eye to peak oil

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, October 15th, 2010 - 103 comments

Russel Norman asked Bill English about the economic impacts of coming oil shocks and how transport infrastructure planning takes them into account. I’m not sure which was more surprising: English’s matter-of-fact acknowledgment that peak oil is coming, or his attitude that the government doesn’t need to act because the market will sort things out.

Waking up to the oil crisis

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 pm, October 13th, 2010 - 73 comments

Parliament has published a research paper called The Next Oil Shock. It’s a pretty sober look at the difficulties the world is facing in producing enough oil to meet demand. The conclusions are inescapable: we can’t produce enough oil and a cycle of oil-driven recessions is coming. Are our leaders finally waking up to the impeding crisis of peak oil?

Back into recession

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, October 6th, 2010 - 78 comments

The NZIER survey of business opinion shows that the economy shrank in the September Quarter. The December Quarter was already forecast to be negative and the Christchurch quake will make it worse. So, we’re almost certainly back into recession. That’s going to blow out the government’s debt. The underlying cause is peak oil.

Talk of double dip-recession increases

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, August 2nd, 2010 - 98 comments

Perpetual growth is the cornerstone of our liberal democratic/capitalist system. It is fundamentally threatened. A double-dip recession is widely expected but most aren’t prepared to acknowledge the underlying problem that isn’t going away.

Unusual uncertainty heralds an uncertain new world

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 am, July 23rd, 2010 - 42 comments

Despite a textbook response by the world’s major governments to the great recession, US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the outlook remains ‘unusually uncertain’. The economic players can’t understand why the normal strong recovery hasn’t followed the recession. They don’t understand we have reached the limits to growth.

The price of trade

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, July 20th, 2010 - 36 comments

The textbooks tell us that free trade is good because it means a more efficient use of resources. But the reality is that often the ‘competitive advantage’ one country has in producing a product compared to others isn’t some natural resource or better legal or physical infrastructure that makes business more efficient. Too often, the cheapest countries are the cheapest because they pay their workers the least and don’t protect their environment.

What could possibly go wrong?

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, May 13th, 2010 - 11 comments

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico could be stopped with an underground nuclear blast, a Russian newspaper reports. Excellent idea, what could possibly go wrong? That was sarcasm, by the way.

The rock and the hard place

Written By: - Date published: 10:53 am, May 7th, 2010 - 17 comments

To avoid cascading sovereign debt crises, countries need economic growth that will boost their tax so they can start getting their books in order. But good economic news sends oil prices up due to the tight supply situation and we’re close to the point where the price of oil tips economies into recession. Is this the limit to growth?

The oil mess

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, May 7th, 2010 - 13 comments

We’re in the middle of another slowly unfolding oil disaster. On April 20 the “Deepwater Horizon”, a British Petroleum oil rig, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and starting what is fast becoming the the largest oil spill in history. It’s an environmental catastrophe. But can we salvage a long term upside?

The future for oil…

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, April 30th, 2010 - 48 comments


The US Department of Energy shows a comparison between the world’s likely demand for liquid fuels (including oil) over the next 20 years and the various components that will make up the supply of liquid fuels over that time. The emerging gap is alarming, as “Unidentified Projects” would actually be more accurately described as “unfulfilled demand” – meaning quite literally a demand for oil that will not be able to be met.

Forget wondering when peak oil might happen in the future – the answer to that question is: it’s already happened.

2015 is closer than you think

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, April 18th, 2010 - 51 comments

A recent report from the US Joint Forces Command states that “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day”. Are you planning for a post oil future? Why not?

Oh yeah, SPEEDholes

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, December 22nd, 2009 - 7 comments

Could making the surface of cars rough be a cheap and esay way to boost fuel efficiency, thereby saving oil and helping tackle climate change? The idea comes from the dimples on golf-balls, which hold a thin layer of air to the ball, lessening turbulence and drag. And, amazingly, it appears to work: [the full segment on […]

Transmission Gully- $1bln white elephant

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, December 17th, 2009 - 119 comments

Here’s a prediction. Transmission Gully will never be built. There’s a reason that Labour kept pushing Transmission Gully off. The Benefit/Cost ratio is sh*t. “It is likely that the benefit-cost ratio for the Transmission Gully route is less than 1” says Joyce. Disgracefully, NZTA is too ashamed to publish the actual number. Transmission Gully will […]

Oil’s well that ends well?

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, July 7th, 2009 - 46 comments

Now days everybody wanna talk, like they got something to say, but nothing comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish, and all of you act like you forgot about oil. Yup, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the dealer’s lot, oil is back and in […]

The next oil spike(s)

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, April 13th, 2009 - 13 comments

Remember the oil spike? Over the course of the last 4-5 years, oil kept on breaking records, culminating in a massive spike to reach $150 last June. Why did that happen? Some people want to dismiss it as just a speculative bubble but they forget that speculators come to a market that has a fundamental […]

Sinking shipping is stupid

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, March 26th, 2009 - 10 comments

Toad’s post on coastal shipping deserves re-posting: Coastal shipping is the most energy efficient means of moving freight. A ship consumes 75 – 80 percent less fuel than a truck per tonne hauled. It’s just got to be the way to go. The United States finally seems to be seeing this. A Bill before the […]

Give the people what they want

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, March 26th, 2009 - 39 comments

Stephen Joyce keeps saying the reason he has slashed investment in public transport to build more roads is that he is giving the people what they want. He says most people get to work in a car, so people must want cars. What wonderful logic. Imagine if we hadn’t introduced public health-care or public education because, […]

You’ve got to know to ask the questions that matter

Written By: - Date published: 2:51 pm, February 16th, 2009 - 41 comments

When I heard Shell is looking at selling its service stations in NZ and its shares in Fulton Hogan, my initial thought was that the Government should look at buying – to keep profits in NZ, to help ensure competition in the market as Kiwibank has for banking, and so there is a publicly-owned network […]

How peak oil can devastate the rest of the economy

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, January 14th, 2009 - 24 comments

We all know the story of the sub-prime crisis that had developed into the credit crisis  – a flood of credit saw mortgage lenders lending to anyone, including people who couldn’t really afford the repayments. To get these potentially bad loans off their books, the banks pooled them together into new, unregulated instruments and sold […]

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