Gail Tverberg

Gail Tverberg's picture

Gail Tverberg
About the author:

Casualty actuary who writes about the impact of the limited supply of oil. Editor of "The Oil Drum" (, and blogger at "Our Finite World" (

Ten Reasons Why Intermittent Renewables Are A Problem

Date: 22 January 2014

While many people would like us to believe that wind and solar PV will solve all of our problems, the more a person looks at the question, the clearer it becomes that wind and solar PV added to the electric grid are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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Are Economic Growth Models Inherently Flawed?

Date: 27 September 2013

Most economists today seem to think we can rely heavily on past patterns to forecast future growth. We however live in a finite world, so that even if growth can go on for a while, there are likely to be barriers at some point. Energy limits for instance could screw up all our growth models.

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Behind Syria’s Crisis: How Oil & Gas Limits Contributed To The Civil Unrest

Date: 11 September 2013

The Syrian civil war has been ongoing since 15 March 2011. Though the roots of the conflict are political by nature, Syria’s depleting oil and gas reserves also played a major role in sparking the unrest: When oil exports dropped, the government suddenly found itself unable able to pay for programs that had been placating its citizens to some degree.

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What Happens To Government and Business Promises When The Economy Tanks?

Date: 16 July 2013

For a long time, the U.S. economy had been on an upward escalator, fueled by the growth of cheap energy and loans. Continued growth in debt made sense, because growth seemed likely for as far in the future as anyone could see. Governments and businesses made promises such as pensions, social security, bonds and so on. But what happens to these promises as we step off the up-escalator and on to the downward escalator? 

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Are International Sanctions Against Iran Counterproductive?: Gail Tverberg

Date: 27 June 2013

The Obama administration in June introduced its ninth set of international sanctions aimed at driving Iran’s oil sales to a halt. If we are very lucky, the United States’ stepped up financial pressure could get Iran to back down on its nuclear weapons programme. But if we are less lucky, we may find ourselves with spiking oil prices.

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Are Current Oil Prices Crippling Growth?: Gail Tverberg

Date: 11 June 2013

For those who are wondering how high oil prices need to be to be considered “too high”, the answer is: We are already there. In fact, continued high oil prices may be the key reason behind the recessionary forces we are seeing around the world now, troubling developed countries like the United States and most of Europe, as well as the main drivers of global growth China and India. 

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Is A Steady State Economy Possible?: Gail Tverberg

Date: 22 May 2013

A Steady State Economy is one that seeks to balance growth with environmental integrity by maintaining stable or mildly fluctuating levels in population and consumption of energy and materials. In our current global scenario – with population and demand for resources rising – what would it take to achieve a steady state economy?

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Curse Of The Black Gold – How Oil Exporters Reach Financial Collapse: Gail Tverberg

Date: 17 April 2013

Although oil often provides an abundance of riches to producing nations, declining production capabilities, coupled with the volatility of oil prices, can lead some exporters down a road to financial collapse. Egypt, Syria, Yemen and the former Soviet Union have – at one point or another – struggled to re-adjust their economies at times of lower production, while Venezuela now appears set to fall under the same trap.

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Why Renewables Can’t Fix Our Energy Problem: Gail Tverberg

Date: 21 March 2013

Despite its merits, the cost of renewable energy, in its current state, means that it is unlikely to become a viable primary energy source anytime in the near future. At best, renewable energy will serve only as a “fossil fuel extender”; though even then, renewables could eventually reach a limit.

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High Oil Price's Heavy Burden On Government Debt: Gail Tverberg

Date: 13 March 2013

Recently, the growth of most types of US debt has stalled. The major exception however is governmental debt, which is still growing rapidly. In our current circumstances, the US is reaching its debt limit mainly because of a specific resource limit — lack of inexpensive oil.

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12 Reasons Why Globalisation Is A Major Problem: Gail Tverberg

Date: 26 February 2013

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss real-world problems. In particular, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we are setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary.

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10 Reasons Why High Oil Prices Are A Problem: Gail Tverberg

Date: 29 January 2013

Oil prices are expected to remain high this year, especially with the high cost of extraction involved in obtaining more tight oil and oil from other unconventional sources. If the cost of oil continues to rise, what further damage will be done to consumers, businesses and economies?

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A Major Oil-Led Recession In 2013?: Gail Tverberg

Date: 10 January 2013

The relationship between oil shocks and global recessions is one that has been strongly established for decades. Since World War II, 10 out of 11 recessions in the U.S. were preceded by a sharp increase in the price of oil, while an increase in gasoline prices is often seen to cause a decrease in consumer spending, leading to an economic decline in the process. Worryingly, global conditions suggest that another oil-led recession may be on the way – one that may prove to be a long-term threat to the global economy.

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Did Malthus Get It Right After All?: Gail Tverberg

Date: 27 December 2012

In 1798, British economist Thomas Malthus predicted that a continued population would strip the earth of its resources and eventually lend itself to famine and poverty. While his predictions have not materialised, at least not yet, his work and concept of scarcity and sustainability has many relevant lessons for us today as our world population of 7 billion struggles to cope with the increasing demands for food and fuel. 

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Fighting Climate Change – Why Current Solutions Don’t Work: Gail Tverberg

Date: 28 November 2012

World leaders seem to have their minds made up regarding what will fix world CO2 emissions problems. Their list includes taxes on gasoline consumption, more general carbon taxes, cap and trade programs, increased efficiency in automobiles, greater focus on renewables, and more natural gas usage. Unfortunately, we live in a world economy with constrained oil supply. Because of this, the chosen approaches have a tendency to backfire if some countries adopt them, and others do not. But even if everyone adopts them, it is not at all clear that they will provide the promised benefits.

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Why America Won’t Attain Energy Independence Anytime Soon: Gail Tverberg

Date: 19 November 2012

In its latest World Energy Outlook released last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted, among other things, that the U.S. would overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020; and become a net oil exporter around 2030. This forecast however may be unrealistically optimistic, as oil prices must rise at an alarming rate to meet the increasingly expensive production cost.

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The End Of Cheap Oil & Its Impact On Financial & Energy Security: Gail Tverberg

Date: 9 November 2012

Historically, many of the world’s major financial crises have been, in some way, connected to the cost or supply of oil. Though numerous countries around the world are now attempting to reduce their oil consumption, the end of “cheap oil” will continue to have ramifications on financial & energy security, particularly in countries such as Greece, Spain, Egypt and India.

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An Alternative Theory For The World’s Limited Oil Supply: Gail Tverberg

Date: 29 October 2012

Ever since Mankind first began using crude oil for its energy needs, economists and analysts alike have brought forward numerous theories to forecast the lifecycle of oil supplies, both on a local and global scale. But with oil demand, oil prices and economic problems continuing to grow worldwide, are some of the more prominent theories of the past – including Hubbert’s peak oil theory – outdated?

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