Paradox: Linchpin Of The Long Emergency

In older, more traditional civilizations preceding our own, one finds a remarkable capacity for embracing paradox. In fact, paradox inhabited the psyches of indigenous cultures as if in their DNA, as exemplified in their art, literature, stories, and other cultural artifacts. It was not until the dawn of modernity, greatly facilitated by Rene Descartes’ dualistic perspective which became increasingly predominate in Western intellectual tradition, that either/or thinking triumphed.

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Egypt’s Warning: Are You Listening?

Egypt simply reminds us that anything that is unsustainable will someday change. It is an emblem for the world. With abundant energy and food, we are treated to expansive and stable economies in which everyone stands a chance of gaining. Not that everyone will, mind you, but the possibility is there  In an energy-constrained world, what was formerly possible is no longer do-able, things don’t work right, and there seem to be persistent shortages of everything from growth, to money, to food, to goodwill. What used to work doesn’t. It is at these points that the prior stresses and imbalances are most likely to snap and suddenly change the world.

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WikiLeaks Cables: Saudia Arabia Cannot Pump Enough Oil To Keep A Lid On Prices

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show. The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

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Oil And Food Prices

In reality, the oil is used for illustrative purposes only. The energy in the food systems comes from many sources, such as natural gas for fertilizer and drying grains, and the electric grid for almost everything. Broadly, however, industrial energy sources tend to have correlated prices and oil is considered the lynch pin since it is involved in the transportation of all goods, including energy inputs. Given the heavy use of oil in the food system wouldn’t you expect oil and food prices to correlate? Well they certainly do.

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Steep Oil Prices, Food Shortages Will Likely Spark Deadly Riots This Year

Get ready for a rocky year.  From now on, rising prices, powerful storms, severe droughts and floods, and other unexpected events are likely to play havoc with the fabric of global society, producing chaos and political unrest. Start with a simple fact: the prices of basic food staples are already approaching or exceeding their 2008 peaks, that year when deadly riots erupted in dozens of countries around the world.

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Preparing For Life In A Peak Oil World

We know that peak oil will be here soon, and we feel like we should be doing something. But what? It is frustrating to know where to start. In this chapter, we will discuss a few ideas about what we as individuals can do.

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The Onset of Catabolic Collapse

That’s the way civilizations end, and that’s the way ours is ending. The phrasing is deliberate: “is ending,” not “will end.” If I’m right, we’re already half a lifetime into the decline and fall of industrial civilization. It can be challenging to keep that awareness in mind when wrestling with the day to day details of getting by in an ailing, sclerotic nation with a half-failed economy – or, for that matter, when trying out some of the technologies and tricks I’ve been discussing here in recent months. Still, it’s worth making the attempt, because the wider view arguably makes it a bit easier to keep current events in perspective and plan for the future in which we will all, after all, be spending the rest of our lives.

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Peak Oil And The Limits of The Hubbert Model

Hubbert model says that, within a reasonably large region, oil production should follow a bell shaped curve. When the model is applied to worldwide oil production, the maximum level of production is called “peak oil.” Fat cows and lean cows are commonly seen as the consequence of being on one or the other side of the curve. Peak oil has been often predicted to occur within the first decade of the 21st century, however, up to now, we are not seeing a well defined peak but, rather, a plateau that has been going on from 2004. This article examines the situation and argues that Hubbert’s model, as all models, is valid only in some specific conditions. In particular, we may expect the production plateau to keep going as long as the economy can transfer to oil extraction resources from other industrial sectors.

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Rising Oil Prices And Municipal Bond Defaults

“Municipal” bonds include bonds issued by states, as well as bonds issued by cities and by many types of smaller entities, such as hospitals and toll roads. To date, everyone has assumed that there is not much risk of default, and even if there is, someone else will handle it. But if one looks at the long term oil situation, and the problems states and cities are having already, it is pretty clear that the debt default problem is likely to get worse over time, and there is really no one set up to handle the default risk.

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The Great Food Crisis of 2011

The unrest of these past few weeks is just the beginning. It is no longer conflict between heavily armed superpowers, but rather spreading food shortages and rising food prices—and the political turmoil this would lead to—that threatens our global future. Unless governments quickly redefine security and shift expenditures from military uses to investing in climate change mitigation, water efficiency, soil conservation, and population stabilization, the world will in all likelihood be facing a future with both more climate instability and food price volatility. If business as usual continues, food prices will only trend upward.

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