Author Archives: energyskeptic

The fall of the roman empire from plagues and climate change

Preface. The book “The Fate of Rome Climate Disease and the End of an Empire” by Kyle Harper shows the brutal effects of plagues, climate change, and their joint interaction of the Roman Empire. This doesn’t rule out all the … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Pandemic, Roman Empire, Transportation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

From wood to fossil fueled civilizations — the greatest tragedy mankind will ever know

[ These are my notes from this book about how we went from an organic sustainable economy to a temporary fossil-fueled one.  It’s one of the few books I’ve found that explains what life was like before fossil fuels in … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Experts, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can the lights be kept on with distributed generation? 2015 U.S. House hearing on a reliable electric system

[ Corporate speakers testify – could they have any self-interest, hope for government grants?  Since Congress often asks the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to write unbiased papers on topics,  why didn’t NAS and National Laboratory scientists speak? Corporations are … Continue reading

Posted in Congressional Record U.S., Distributed Generation, Grid instability | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why facts don’t change our mind

[ Below are excerpts from this article.  Longish descriptions of various studies at Stanford and elsewhere lead to conclusions such as Once formed impressions are remarkably perseverant Even after the evidence for their beliefs has been totally refuted, people failed … Continue reading

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Peak Cobalt

Preface. I don’t think electric vehicles are going to happen for reasons specified in these related articles.  I’ve left out all the posts in Peak Everything dealing with important, rare earth, and lithium minerals from this list plus the posts … Continue reading

Posted in Important Minerals | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Lights are going out in the Middle East (New Yorker)

Robin Wright. May 20, 2017. The lights are going out in the Middle East.  New Yorker. Six months ago, I was in the National Museum in Beirut, marvelling at two Phoenician sarcophagi among the treasures from ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, … Continue reading

Posted in Blackouts, Blackouts | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Why it is futile to think that Wind could ever make a significant contribution to energy supplies

Matt Ridley. May 15, 2017. Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy. Even after 30 years of huge subsidies, it provides about zero energy. The Spectator. The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Wind | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Richard Heinberg on why low oil prices do not mean there is plenty of oil, EROI, collapse

[ Yet another wise, thoughtful, and wide-ranging essay from my favorite writer of the many facets of a civilization about to decline as it is starved of the fossil fuels that feed it.  Although the topics are quite varied, Heinberg … Continue reading

Posted in Oil, Peter Turchin, Richard Heinberg, Social Disorder | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Oil theft around the world: Cartels and exploding donkeys

Preface. Oil thefts cost Nigerian oil producers at least $18 billion a year. In Mexico, cartels spend only $5-8,000 to tap into pipelines and withdraw “unlimited” amounts of gasoline, and did so 7,000 times in 2016, resulting in $1 billion … Continue reading

Posted in Peak Oil, Threats to oil supply | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

How horses changed native cultures after 1492

[ This is a very brief overview of Peter Mitchel’s “Horse Nations”.  As oil and other fossils decline, will we will almost certainly return to using more horse “muscle power” as we did in the past. Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Muscle Power | Tagged , , | 1 Comment