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Energy Bulletin -Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The below was written by Energy Bulletin's co-editor, Bart Anderson.

FLASH: For the most current view (May 2012), see Richard Heinberg's Top 11 FAQs

You and Energy Bulletin

Doubts

Other issues

You


Energy Bulletin

What is all this?

We've written a special page, Start Here to answer this question.

Adam Grubb, the founder of Energy Bulletin, wrote The Peak Oil Primer to give an overview.

Briefly, since 2004, Energy Bulletin has served as a clearinghouse for information regarding sustainability, resource depletion and the peak in global energy supply. Its online archives contain several thousand articles available to the public.

Who are you?

Volunteers, semi-volunteers. The editors. The authors.

Started by two Australian activists Adam Grubb (who designed the site) and Liam Cranley. The site attracted a community who submitted articles and suggestions. Bart Anderson, a retired journalist and tech writer from California, came on in 2004.

In 2008 Post Carbon Institute began supporting us with computer services and technical support. In early 2009, they adopted Energy Bulletin as a program. Kristin Sponsler and Simone Osborn, located in the UK, are co-editors.

Are you survivalists?

No.

What are your politics?

Our politics range all over the spectrum. Among the contributors you'll see Greens, traditional conservatives, socialists, libertarians, Decline To States. In general, we are not True Believers, and are skeptical of any program. I think it would be fair to say there is a bias towards local action and community.

See The Politics of Survival by Kurt Cobb.

A couple of years ago, Bart Anderson sat down with Julian Darley, co-founder of the Post Carbon Institute, and wrote our ideas down on a napkin. Our program, so to speak:

  1. Energy decline is inevitable.
  2. Big energy is not the way out.
  3. Reduce consumption and population.
  4. Start from where you are.
  5. Produce locally.
  6. Relish the power of symbolic seeds.
  7. Honor public service.
  8. Anyone is welcome. (non-sectarian, not promoting any political party)
  9. Hope and reason. (no rants, not fear-based).

The Post Carbon Institute posted a more complete manifesto in March, 2009.

I found some articles on Energy Bulletin that contradict each other.

Yes, this is a complicated set of issues.

Do you really believe what such-and-such an article says?

Maybe.

I understand about peak oil, but why does Energy Bulletin cover all these other topics, like population, water and coal?

It's all inter-connected. As the American environmentalist John Muir said, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

For example, it takes energy to store and transport water. In turn, water is required for the generation of power (e.g. cooling water for nuclear power plants).


You and Energy Bulletin

How can I contribute?

See Contribute to Energy Bulletin.

How can I submit articles?

See Submitting articles to Energy Bulletin.

Will you post our press release?

You can submit press releases, but we don't usually post them.

I want to write about peak oil, etc. Do you have any suggestions?

Read articles by quality authors - you could begin with our featured authors. Set up your own blog to practice writing and seek feedback from friends. Try to choose specific topics as frames on which to base your writing rather than trying to cover very broad topics like 'peak oil' or 'climate change'. These could be inspired by recent news items or events. It is often effective to include aspects from your own experience in your writing in order to add authenticity and help to engage the reader.

How can I help?

Read, pass on the word, donate money to keep Energy Bulletin the great resource it is today. Submit articles you think are appropriate. Write articles. Transcribe audio/media posts. See Contribute to Energy Bulletin.

May I have permission to re-post articles that appear on Energy Bulletin?

You would need to ask the author of the particular article.

Do you have guidelines for your Reader Comments?

We introduced Reader Comments in spring 2011. You can find our guidelines for using them here.

I don't like Wibiya the toolbar, how do I remove it?

Create a login or go to my account. Edit, then uncheck the Wibiya toolbar option.

I found a glitch on your website.

Thanks, we depend on your feedback to seek out problems. Please send us specific information about the problem. For example, what is the URL? What specific symptoms did you see? Under what conditions did the problem occur?

I'm having trouble printing out pages.

In our recent survey for readers of Energy Bulletin there were no reported problems with the actual printing. Obviously this is not conclusive, but it is likely that if readers were having issues, these would have come up.

Have you looked at the Print Preview before printing? That should show you what is going to print and whether the whole document is there.

Reader: "You were right. After I studied the print setup, I found that setting it to Total Pages solved the problem. I had looked in there before, but had not understood which setting to change."

Why don't you ...

Yes, please forward your ideas. It's frustrating because we don't have the resources to act on 1/10 of the good ideas we are given. But we do make progress over time. Again, be as specific as possible.

Doubts

If peak oil is so important, why haven't I heard about peak oil before?

We don't get this question much anymore. When we started, there was very little public information on peak oil. Now, it's everywhere on the web (2,430,000 hits on Google as of May 21, 2009)

Briefly, it is now common knowledge among many people. It is still not covered seriously or very much by the media. There is no serious rebuttal to it. But it is an awkward reality, that doesn't fit in with our preconceptions of an ever-expanding economy and set of consumer habits.

Is this a plot to raise the price of oil?

No. In fact the oil companies and oil-exporting countries are not at all enthusiastic about the publicity being given to peak oil. For one thing, peak oil means that their businesses will be coming to an end, and that people should be looking for things other than oil.

A few oil executives have spoken out on peak oil, and many of the technical people working in the industry are aware of it. A number of former oil company employees are the most knowledgeable; Colin Campbell (founder of ASPO), M. King Hubbert (first articulated the reality of peak oil), and Matt Simmons are some examples.

Is this a plot to destroy industrial civilization?

No. Most of us are very fond of at least some aspects of industrial civilization. We do believe that industrial civilization cannot continue as we know it. Exactly what will happen is the subject of hundreds of articles.

Do you want us to go back to Dark Ages?

No. Most admit that we want to pick and choose. There are some patterns in the past we'd like to return to.

Where is the science behind this?

As much science and as many equations as you please. The Oil Drum and ASPO are a good source of technical information.

The price of oil has fallen since last year. Doesn't this disprove the peak oil theory?

No. Hubbert's Theory suggests that as we approach peak production, the prices will be increasingly volatile. The belief is that long-term prices will rise. It's very hard to predict prices short-term.

I think it would be fair to say that the rapid price shock of 2008 caught peak oilers by surprise, as did the price drop.

Won't renewables like solar and wind power solve the problem?

No. They may help, but right now they only supply a small fraction of the world's energy.

I've heard that a new energy source technology will solve all our problems.

Yes, we've all heard of hundreds of new sources of energy that "might, just might, take the place of oil."

Won't we find energy alternatives when the price of oil increases?

When oil prices skyrocket, we will certainly have the motivation to look for alternatives. Physical reality, however, may not cooperate.

Other issues

What about climate change?

Very important issue. With peak oil, what permaculturalist Tim Winter called the "hydrocarbon twins." We don't cover climate change in detail, because many other sites do. We are interested in the intersection of climate change and peak oil. We would like to see greater cooperation on both sides. See Asher Miller's article, The Climate/Peak Oil Divide.

What about over-population?

Another important issue. We'd like to move beyond the sterile arguments of the last 40 years. Rather than population Yes or No, let's look at the studies and ideas. Seems to be a much higher level of sophistication about climate and peak oil than there is about population.

Why don't you post more articles on survivalism, renewables, electric vehicles, investing, etc.?

Other sites cover those. We are covering a specific niche.

You

I'm depressed. Is there any hope?

See Peak Oil Blues.

What can we do?

  • Learn.
  • Make connections with like-minded people.
  • Start with the personal and local.

Where do I learn more?

See:

Last updated: February 8, 2010