Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg is the author of The Party's Over and Powerdown, and is a Core Faculty member of New College of California in Santa Rosa.

Recent Articles

The Challenge of Peak Oil

The supply of extractable oil is subject to geological limits. At some point those limits will overcome our ability to produce oil at the ever-expanding rates that growing economies demand. The global peak is likely to occur well before societies adapt painlessly to a different energy regime. And that likely time lag contradicts the way orthodox economists imagine that rising prices solve supply shocks by steering economies to develop and use substitutes. Oil is different from most commodities, because, as President Bush so memorably declared, we are addicted to it, and because substitute energy sources cannot be developed and deployed overnight. And as long as oil remains available and profitable, the existing energy regime also resists the development and substitution of alternatives. During the early 20th century, America was the world's foremost producer and exporter of oil. In 1970, the rate of U.S. oil extraction reached its all-time maximum and has generally declined since,...