Preface. Civilization is utterly dependent on fossil fuels for heavy-duty transportation (batteries are too heavy to scale up to trucks). Electricity is too intermittent, unpredictable, and sometimes absent for weeks to fulfill many of societies needs, and consequently, no one has even devised electric processes to replace how fossil fuels are used.
For example, the high heat of fossil fuels is essential for manufacturing, to make metals such as iron and steel in fossil-fueled blast furnaces & cement in kilns that run around the clock for decades and form the backbone of civilization. Also dependent on fossils are industries using continuous processing that run 24 x 7 where any interruption would clog up pipes and bring manufacturing to a halt. Nor can electricity replace the over 500,000 products made with fossil fuels as their feedstock (such as plastics, paint, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing). And electricity itself mainly runs on fossil fuels (66% in the U.S.). Yet here we are on the cusp of peak oil, coal, and natural gas with little time left to prepare (society needs at least 10-20 years according to Hirsch in his 2005 study for the Department of Energy below).
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer & “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report
- Charles Hall, Energy & the Wealth of Nations: Understanding the Biophysical economy, 2011
- Alice Friedemann. When Trucks stop running: Energy and the future of transportation. 2015. Springer.
- M. Klare. The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources. 2013.
- Charles. Hall. Hydrocarbons & the Evolution of Human Culture. 2003. Nature 426.
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- R. Heinberg. The End of Growth. Adapting to our New Economic Reality. 2011.
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- D. Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, 1993.
- G. Hardin, Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, 1995
- D. Pimentel, Food, Energy, and Society, 1996
Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI)
- P. Prieto & Charles A. S. Hall. 2013. Spain’s Photovoltaic Revolution. The Energy Return on Investment. Springer.
- D. Murphy. The Net Hubbert Curve: What Does it Mean? 2009.
- J. Lambert. EROI of Global Energy Resources Preliminary Status and Trends. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 2012.
- C. Hall. What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable Society Must Have? 2009.
- D. Murphy, Energy return on investment, peak oil, and the end of economic growth, 2011.
- Kerr, R. Peak oil began 2005 Science Magazine: Peak Oil Production May Already Be Here. Outside of OPEC’s vast resources, oil production has leveled off, and it’s looking like it may never rise again. Science. 25 March 2011. Vol 331: 1510-11
- Murray, J. Peak Oil began 2005 Nature Magazine: Oil’s tipping point has passed. 26 January 2012. Nature vol 481: 433-35.
- Fantazzini, Dean; et al. 2011. Global oil risks in the early 21st century. Energy Policy, Vol. 39, Issue 12: 7865-7873
- A. Friedemann. Why do political and economic leaders deny Peak Oil and Climate Change? 2012.
- German peak oil report: Armed Forces, Capabilities and Technologies in the 21st Century Environmental Dimensions of Security. PEAK OIL Security policy implications of scarce resources. Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, Future Analysis Branch. 2010.
- K. Cobb. The only true metric of energy abundance: The rate of flow. 2013.
- R. Hirsch. Peaking of World Oil Production. Department of Energy. 2005.
- T. Patzek. Oil in the Arctic. 2012.
- R. Patterson. March 5, 2015. Peak Russia + Peak USA means Peak World
- M. Simmons. Twilight in the Desert: the coming Saudi oil shock & the world economy. 2005
- K. Deffeyes. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak. 2005
- K. Deffeyes. Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage. 2005
- R. Heinberg & D. Fridley. The End of cheap coal…reserves will run out faster than many believe. 18 Nov 2010, Vol 460, Nature 2010 pp 367-69
- Wang, J. September 4, 2013. Chinese coal supply and future production outlooks [peak likely in 2024]. Energy 60: 204-214.
- R. Heinberg. The End of Cheap Coal. Nature 468. 18 Nov 2010.
- A. Friedemann. Coal: why it can’t easily substitute for oil. 2011.
- T. Patzek. A global coal production forecast with multi-Hubbert cycle analysis. Energy. 2010.
- R. Heinberg. Blackout. Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis. 2009
- A. Friedemann. Peak Coal is already here or likely by 2020 — if true — IPCC 100 year projections too high? 2013.
- New York Academy of Sciences. Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal. 2011 pp 73-98
- R. Heinberg. Blackout. Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis 2009
Peak Natural Gas
- D. Hughes. Oct 27, 2014. Drilling Deeper. A reality check on U.S. government forecasts for a lasting tight oil & shale gas boom. PostCarbon
- B. Powers. Cold, hungry, and in the Dark: Exploding the Natural Gas Supply Myth. 2013
- D. Hughes. April 28, 2015. Has Well Productivity Peaked in the Nation’s Largest Shale Gas Play? Postcarbon.org
- SBC. October 2014. Factbook Natural Gas. [20-40% of recoverable resources are low EROI Sour Gas] SBC Energy Institute
- R. Heinberg. Chapter 5 of How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future: The Economics of Fracking: Who Benefits? October 2013.
- A. Friedemann. Shale Oil and Gas Will Not Save Us. 2012.
- A. Friedemann. Natural Gas pros and cons. 2011.
- Ugo Bardi, Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet, 2014, Chelsea Green.
- Energy Watch Group, Fossil and Nuclear Fuels – the Supply Outlook, 2013
- Michael Dittmar, The end of cheap uranium, 2011, Institute of Particle Physics, Science of the Total Environment
- Tad Patzek. 2009. Potential for Coal-to-Liquids Conversion in the United States, Natural Resources Research 18.
- Höök, M., et al. 2014. Hydrocarbon liquefaction: viability as a peak oil mitigation strategy. Philosophical Transactions. Series A: Mathematical, physical, and engineering science, 372
- Höök, M. & Aleklett, K. 2010. A review on coal-to-liquid fuels & its coal consumption. International journal of energy research Vol. 34 10:848-864
- Gray, D., et al. August 1, 2012. Topic Paper #8 Production of Alternative Liquid Hydrocarbon Transportation Fuels from Natural Gas, Coal, and Coal and Biomass (XTL). National Petroleum Council
- NPC. 2012. Natural Gas. Topic Paper #21. An Initial Qualitative Discussion on Safety Considerations for LNG Use in Transportation. National Petroleum Council
- Rosenbaum. 2011. How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III
- Alice Friedemann. 2017. Why Nuclear Power is not an alternative to fossil fuels, 2017, energyskeptic.com
- Mark Cooper, Renaissance in reverse: competition pushes aging U.S. nuclear reactors to the brink of economic abandonment, 2013, Institute for Energy and the environment
- H. Hirsch. Nuclear reactor hazards. Ongoing dangers of operating nuclear technology in the 21st century. 2005.
- William Alley, et al., Too Hot to Touch: The Problem of High-Level Nuclear Waste, 2013, Cambridge University Press
- A Nuclear spent fuel fire at Peach Bottom in Pennsylvania could force 18 million people to evacuate, 2017
- R. Alvarez. Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage Institute for Policy Studies May 2011
- Cochran et al. It’s time to give up on breeder reactors. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. May / June 2010
- Michael Dittmar. The Future of Nuclear Energy: Facts and Fiction (4 parts) http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5631
Tar Sands a.k.a. oil sands
- Nikiforuk, A. 22 May 2013. Difficult Truths about ‘Difficult Oil’. As we work down the hydrocarbon pyramid, energy gets messier and much more costly. TheTyee.ca
- Nuwer, R. Feb 19, 2013. Oil Sands Mining Uses Up Almost as Much Energy as It Produces. InsideClimate News.
- A. Friedemann. Why Oilsands (a.k.a. tarsands) can’t replace oil. 2011.
Kerogen a.k.a. Shale Oil
- A. Friedemann. Shale Oil Overview. 2011.
- R. Udall. The Illusive Bonanza: Oil Shale in Colorado. 2005.
- A. Friedemann. Why we aren’t mining methane hydrates now. Or ever. 2014.
- C. Nelder. Are Methane Hydrates Really Going to Change Geopolitics? The Atlantic. 2013.
- Office of Naval Research Science & Technology. Fiery ice from the Sea. 2002.
IPCC models assume exponential consumption of fossils until 2400
Other scientists who realize that we are on the cusp of energy decline have plugged in realistic amounts of fossils and found we don’t have enough oil, coal, or natural gas left for a hothouse 8.5 future, at worst 4.5 to 5.5 for 500 to several thousand years.
Tang, X. 2013. Depletion of fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change: a review. Energy Policy, 52: 797-809
Short term solutions for energy decline
- R. L. Hirsch. Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management 2005
- Howard Bucknell III. Energy and the National Defense. 1981
- Department of Energy. Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan. 1980
FYI, I have two articles published on biofuels here:
- Sheila Newman (ed) The Final Energy Crisis 2008
- Jacqueline Langwith, ed. Opposing Viewpoints: Renewable Energy, vol. 2 2008