All articles from Resource Insights

  • Oil: Wall Street's gray swan

    The relentless, if zigzag, rise in financial markets for the past 150 years has been sustained by cheap fossil fuels and a benign climate, Cobb writes. We cannot count on either from here on out.

  • Energy Voices Beneath new energy abundance, a slow-boil oil crisis

    New energy extraction methods are touted as an answer to high oil prices, Cobb writes, but they more closely resemble emergency measures designed to forestall an inevitable decline in the world's fossil fuel resources.

  • Energy Voices We will never run out of oil, but that's not the point

    The notion that the world will never run out of oil is misleading, writes Kurt Cobb. The real issue is about the rate of oil production.

  • Energy Voices Are we throwing away an energy solution?

    Burning all the US's landfill waste would provide an extra 33 gigawatts – the equivalent of 33 large electricity generating plants, says Philipp Schmidt-Pathmann, founder of Zero Landfill Initiative. Could trash help power the future?

  • Energy Voices How the California oil boom ended before it even began

    California has been abuzz for the past couple of years about the prospect of vast new oil wealth supposedly ready for the taking in the Monterey Shale. But new estimates appear to bolster the view that the US shale oil boom will peter out by the end of this decade, Cobb writes.

  • Energy Voices Keystone XL: Will Obama use the NAFTA option?

    If President Obama fails to approve the Keystone XL pipeline soon or rejects it outright, the Canadians may challenge the delay or rejection under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Cobb writes. This move opens up a politically attractive option on Keystone XL. 

  • Energy Voices Why US oil exports won't solve Ukraine crisis

    US crude oil exports have been offered as a way to help Ukraine and Europe wean off Russian oil as tensions rise in Ukraine. But exporting US oil would do little abroad and have a perverse impact domestically, Cobb writes, leading to greater US imports of foreign oil.

  • Energy Voices Has crude oil production already peaked?

    The notion that oil is becoming abundant all over again is contradicted by the levitating price, Cobb writes, and by the evidence that actual worldwide crude oil production is either flat or growing at an infinitesimal rate.

  • Energy Voices Ukraine crisis: There is no US 'energy weapon'

    The Ukraine crisis has led many to call on the US to use its growing oil and natural gas production to help Ukraine and Europe wean itself off Russian energy. There's one very big problem with this view, Cobb writes: The US is still a net importer of both oil and natural gas.

  • Energy Voices Is the future of clean energy in the janitor's closet?

    Most of us think of ammonia as a pungent household cleaning agent that disinfects and deodorizes, Cobb writes, but ammonia can also be used as a carbon-free, relatively safe form of fuel. 

  • Energy Voices Shareable economy: Sharing cars means saving energy

    As we develop a renewable-energy economy powered by clean-energy technologies, we must in the meantime find ways to cut down on resource consumption, Cobb writes. Car sharing and other elements of the 'shareable economy' can help.  

  • Energy Voices Fracking for an energy renaissance that will not come

    The hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling used to extract oil from shale deposits is supposed to glut the world with oil and drive down the price. The record so far is not compelling, Cobb writes, and talk of an American energy renaissance is essentially baseless.

  • Energy Voices 7 things you think you know about energy

    There are many, many things that the public and policymakers know for sure about energy that just ain't so, Cobb writes. Here are seven alternative takes on conventional energy wisdom for 2014.

  • Energy Voices Why Shell nixed a $20 billion gas-to-liquids project

    When Royal Dutch Shell pulled the plug on its US gas-to-liquids project recently, the company said it was because it saw opportunities elsewhere. But abandoning the gas-to-liquids plant speaks much more loudly about shale gas than what Shell is saying in public, Cobb writes.

  • Energy Voices US energy future is a risk management problem

    The practiced confidence of oil and gas industry executives, captive Wall Street analysts and fake think tank academics has convinced the public that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to America's energy future, Cobb writes. But, the realities of our energy situation suggest that we should have little confidence in such pronouncements, especially given their self-interested nature. 

  • Energy Voices The age of oil will not last forever

    The oil age may not be over yet, Cobb writes, but projections of shale gas and oil fueling US energy independence are vastly overblown. We are wasting precious time being lulled to sleep by the oil optimists when we should be preparing for a post-peak-oil world.

  • Energy Voices In oil shale, geology trumps technology

    Thirty years of oil-shale failure suggests that such a development remains far off, Cobb writes. And, in a world that is trying to wean itself from fossil fuels because of climate change and the risks of depletion, time may run out unless more realistic technologies are developed.

  • Energy Voices Keystone pipeline, climate change, and the problem of fossil fuel demand

    Keystone pipeline protests are aimed at highlighting the need to address the causes of climate change by reducing our use of carbon-based fuels, Cobb writes. But advocating for a carbon tax might be a better way to spur innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy production. 

  • Energy Voices Our energy future: 'They'll think of something'

    Concerns over future supplies of oil and gas are often met with a 'They'll-think-of-something' mentality, Cobb writes. But the only sensible response to the looming possibility of depleted resources is to begin reducing our energy use now in earnest. 

  • Energy Voices The oil industry hype machine

    Buzz is building around a deposit of oil in Texas that some in the oil industry say is the largest deposit in the world. It's no surprise then that the industry is trotting out the America-as-the-new-Saudi-Arabia theme once again, Cobb writes, a theme that many have shown to be pure bunkum.

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