Category Archives: Infrastructure

90% of why we live past 50 due is clean water (and food) from water treatment facilities and sewage treatment plants that are all falling apart. Oil & gas pipes essential to heating and cooking are rusting apart. Dams, bridges, roads — all built when the EROEI of oil was 100:1 need replacing at a time when the EROEI has fallen below 15:1

Vanishing open spaces: population growth and sprawl in America

Before the fossil fuel age began, about 80 to 90% of people farmed to make a living. Since the end of the oil age will send us back to the past, farmland and farmers will once again comprise the greatest … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Overpopulation, Soil | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Utility scale energy storage has a long way to go to make renewables possible

What follows comes from my book “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation” , which is also where you’ll find the references backing up what I’ve written below. I often get letters from people about energy breakthroughs … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, Critical Thinking, Electric Grid, Electricity, Renewable Integration | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

Preface. Some of the points I found most alarming or interesting: After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. Concrete is a thirsty behemoth, sucking up almost a 10th of the world’s industrial water use. This often … Continue reading

Posted in Concrete, Infrastructure | Tagged | 8 Comments

Hydropower dams and the ways they destroy the environment

Preface. Hydropower comprises 71% of renewable energy worldwide.  Nations like the U.S. and Europe have dams that have reached the end of their lifespan, so more are being torn down than built. In the U.S. 546 dams were removed between … Continue reading

Posted in Dams, Hydropower | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

California’s central valley aquifers may be gone in 2030s, Ogallala 2050-2070

Preface. Clearly the human population isn’t going to reach 10 billion or more. California grows one-third of the nation’s food, the 10 high-plains states over the Ogallala about a quarter of the nations food, and exports a great deal of … Continue reading

Posted in Groundwater, Water, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book review of Dirt: the erosion of civilization

Preface. On average civilizations collapsed after 800 to 2,000 years because they’d destroyed their topsoil. Today, industrial agriculture is doing this far faster – in most of the United States half of the original topsoil is gone from the richest … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Peak Food, Soil | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Preface.   I think that declining oil will be the main cause of civilization to collapse, since it is the energy that makes all other activities possible, but there are so many other contenders I wonder if scholars in the future … Continue reading

Posted in Water, Water | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Vaclav Smil: from wood to coal to oil, energy transitions take a long time

Preface.  This post has a shortened, reworded, and heavily commented on article from Scientific American in 2014.  You can also see two much longer articles about energy transitions by Smil from n 2008 and 2010 here: Vaclav Smil: Our transition … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Coal, Dependence on Oil, Energy, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

75% of Earth’s Land Areas Are Degraded. Environmental damage threatens 3.2 billion people.

  Preface. Yikes, by 2050 95% of Earth’s land could be degraded and reduce or even end food production, forcing hundreds of millions to migrate. Whatever you’ve read in the past about the State of the World, it’s gotten even … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity Loss, Limits To Growth, Peak Food | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on 75% of Earth’s Land Areas Are Degraded. Environmental damage threatens 3.2 billion people.

Germany’s wind energy mess: As subsidies expire, thousands Of turbines to close

Preface. This means that the talk about renewables being so much cheaper than anything else isn’t necessarily true.  If wind were profitable, more turbines would be built to replace the old ones  without subsidies needed. Unless they can be dumped … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Energy, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments