Author Archive | Kurt Cobb

The Coolest Book I’ve Ever Read on Energy

It may seem a bit over the top to say that a book entitled Into the Cool is the coolest book I’ve ever read on energy. But energy junkies should take note of its two compelling theses: First, the eventual heat death of the universe–a supposed consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics–has (to borrow […]

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The Road to Fukushima: The Nuclear Industry’s Wrong Turn

Imagine a nuclear reactor that runs on fuel that could power civilization for millennia; cannot melt down; resists weapons proliferation; can be built on a relatively small parcel of land; and produces little hazardous waste. It sounds like a good idea, and it was a well-tested reality in 1970 when it was abandoned for the […]

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Will shale gas turn out to be an energy sink?

If you externalize the costs of a business activity, it means other people pay the costs–environmental, social and otherwise–and you get the profits. It goes on all the time in extractive industries such as oil and natural gas and mining. And, it is also a natural strategy for manufacturers who dump their pollution into the […]

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A dramatic shift in the peak oil discussion

If you write about, speak about, or talk with your family, friends and co-workers about peak oil, you’ve almost certainly been asked: “Well, who else is saying what you’re saying?” It’s wise not to rely on just one source of information. Humans are fallible creatures. Knowing that, we feel much more comfortable when we can […]

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Is Canada Becoming a Petrostate?

Canada’s increasing reliance on energy exports, especially oil from the Alberta tar sands, risks unsettling its politics and economy and turning the country into a petrostate–an authoritarian society in which dissent is stifled and enterprises beyond the energy sector are de-emphasized or even discouraged. In 2006 New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman penned an article […]

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Will Enhanced Oil Recovery Be An Oil Supply Savior?

Oil supply optimists often say that the application of enhanced oil recovery techniques to existing and future wells will vastly expand oil reserves and oil production. The trouble is these techniques aren’t new, and they are already being widely applied. That means current oil reserves and production already reflect any effect they have had.

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Faith-based economics in two graphs

It took a French newspaper to unearth information put out by the U. S. government more than one year ago that provides a worrisome projection for world oil supplies from an agency that for years said such supplies would be no problem for the foreseeable future. Glen Sweetnam of the U. S. Energy Information Administration […]

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Reserves are bunk

Henry Ford is famous for having once said, “History is more or less bunk.” He was, in fact, attacking tradition in an age of rapid technological and social change. Almost a century later we have a less ambitious observation which may not achieve the broad visceral appeal of Ford’s statement, but one which may turn […]

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