3. Reading & Reference Material

Created Sunday 25 March 2018

Fundamental Reading on Peak Oil


Prominent Peak Oil Speakers

RICHARD HEINBERG: I would begin with books by Richard Heinberg, such as The Party’s Over, Powerdown, Oil Depletion Protocol and Searching for a Miracle. Heinberg is level-headed, impartial and treats the matter with due diligence, giving a genuinely good look at the various paths we could take, while considering all the practical limits as well as the possibilities for innovation. Anyone wishing to begin understanding the subject should consult his books.

KENNETH S. DEFFEYES: I recommend Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage and Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak.

JOHN MICHAEL GREER: A very balanced, enlightened, elegantly worded and consistent view of energy depletion. I would suggest reading Greer’s The Long Descent and The Ecotechnic Future. They are handbooks for understanding the issue from a practical perspective. Highly recommended. His weekly blog, The Archdruid Report is a must read for me. Visit it at [LINK]

GAIL TVERBERG: Introduction to Peak Oil is a clearly written introduction to the science of peak oil, building up from the basics. [LINK]

PROFESSOR ALBERT A. BARTLETT (Professor Emeritus in Nuclear Physics at University of Colorado at Boulder): For a complete reference on Exponential Growth, read his lectures at his website [LINK]

MATT SIMMONS: Matt Simmons, long time energy analyst who studied energy for 34 years, effectively confronts the complacent belief that there are ample oil reserves in Saudi Arabia in his book Twilight in the Desert and has created a compelling case that Saudi Arabia production will soon reach a peak, after which its production will decline and the world will be confronted with a catastrophic oil shortage.

Films Documentaries & Interviews on Peak Oil.:

The End of Suburbia and A Crude Awakening are two excellent peak oil documentaries that are purchasable on DVD.

CHRIS MARTENSON: To understand the connection between Peak Oil and the Credit Crisis you have to take a look at videos at: [LINK]

RICHARD HEINBERG on One World TV (video) is a 7 minute interview extract in which Heinberg outlines the basics of Peak Oil. It may be watched at [YOUTUBE]. If you want a little more of the detail behind this, read his article The View from Oil’s Peak at [LINK] . Heinberg also appeared on Radio 4 in September 2008, the audio from which is available at [LINK]

DR. COLIN CAMPBELL is a retired British petroleum geologist who predicted that oil production would peak by 2007. He has given excellent lectures and presentations which may be found on Youtube.

PEAK OIL FILMS: Links to various Peak Oil films, documentaries and features available online can be found at [LINK] .

PEAK OIL? : This is a 44 minute TV special from Four Corners (Australia), viewable online at [LINK]
Interviews with key Peak Oil Speakers: These are available at [YOUTUBE]

Additional Reading Material on Peak Oil

THE OIL DRUM: This website publishes carefully thought-out articles discussing energy and our future in a serious manner. It attracts many of the best-informed observers. [LINK]

DAVID STRAHAN: Strahan is a journalist and documentary film-maker, and his book The Last Oil Shock – focusing on the UK – is by far the most readable guide to our Peak Oil predicament. Thoroughly recommended reading for beginners and Peak Oil experts alike. [LINK]

ENERGY BULLETIN: An outstanding clearinghouse for current information news and events regarding the peak in global energy supply, climate change and related topics. [LINK]

THE POST CARBON INSTITUTE: The Post Carbon Institute carries most of the significant books on the issue. It is a storehouse of detailed technical information on Peak Oil and Energy Depletion. [LINK]

ASPO - The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas: Another balanced and technical site for collecting critical information and data on Peak Oil and Energy Depletion. Excellent articles here to explain to the common person too. [LINK]

WOLF AT THE DOOR: A beginner’s guide to Peak oil. [LINK]

OIL AND FOOD PRODUCTION: Essays The Oil We Eat by Richard Manning and “Eating Fossil Fuels” by Dale Allen Pfeiffer both look at modern agricultures’ dependence on fossil fuels. Both are highly recommended.

DIE-OFF: The title sounds Malthusian but the book is an excellent and scholarly archive of research. The original peak oil website is at [LINK]

PEAK OIL BLUES: This excellent and friendly site is run by professionally trained psychotherapists to help those trying to come to terms with Peak Oil and its impact on their life and plans. [LINK]

US and other Government Reports on Peak Oil.

THE HIRSCH REPORT: The 2005 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (full title: Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management) concludes that “the peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem”; that without timely mitigation the economic, social and political impacts will be abrupt, revolutionary and permanent; and that mitigation “must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking”. [LINK]

THE ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON PEAK OIL AND GAS: This group, founded in June 2007, is made up of MPs and Lords from the UK Government. They are discussing and investigating the debate regarding the date of global peak oil production and looking at the range of possible impacts, mitigations and solutions. [LINK]

THE SECOND REPORT OF THE UK INDUSTRY TASKFORCE ON PEAK OIL AND ENERGY SECURITY (ITPOES): A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The report finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015. You can download it from [LINK] . The 2010 Oil Crunch report is available to download [LINK] . The 2008 report can be downloaded at [LINK] .

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT REPORT ON PEAK OIL: The Australian Daily Telegraph published today a story on a leaked government report (BITRE 117) which (optimistically) calculated peak oil around 2017, followed by permanent decline. The report can be downloaded here: [LINK]

NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT REPORT WARNS PEAK OIL IS IMMINENT: The report discusses it but refuses to use the word Peak Oil because that admits the one way decline of oil. This makes it just sound like a temporary constraint that can be dealt with by more investment, etc. Anyway, read it at [LINK]

Books on Transition Permaculture, Natural Farming and Alternative Economics.

One Straw Revolution by MASANOBU FUKUOKA. The all-time classic elegantly contests classical views on nature and life itself, countering them with a humbling approach that helps the reader understand simple and intelligent ways to relate to our environment and our community.

The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Life and Build Community by JANELLE ORSI & EMILY DOSKOW. This practical guide to community sharing provides sustainable answers to a forthcoming lack of energy and resources. The book brings together the environmental and social benefits of sharing locally and globally.

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. SCHUMACHER. A classic that first reversed the Western world’s view on economics. This is a must read for anyone beginning the journey of transition from the world of Big to the world that will be possible beyond oil.

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by ROB HOPKINS. Hopkins, a teacher of permaculture and natural building and a cofounder of the Transition Network, writes a practical guide and urges a community response – local sustainability made fun – in which groups grapple with issues like food, transportation, energy, building materials, and waste and even develop their own local currency. Hopkins takes our “addiction” to oil literally, and so we will read of “post-petroleum stress disorder”, and see applied addictions psychology helping to ease the townies’ withdrawal symptoms.

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability by DAVID HOLMGREN. Holmgren draws a correlation between every aspect of how we organize our lives, communities and landscapes and our ability to creatively adapt to the ecological realities that shape human destiny.

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