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Gail Tverberg is an analyst who has been researching the connection between oil limits and the economy for nearly 10 years.  She writes a widely-followed blog called Our Finite World. Her background is as an actuary, working as a consultant to insurance companies. She also has a foot in the academic world, where she has lectured and written academic articles, and taught at the China’s University of Petroleum in Beijing. This chat focuses mostly on the corona virus situation and the ensuing mess in the economy and the financial sector, which Gail also has been covering extensively on her blog.

The theme music for the podcast is the Two Rivers Waltz by Larry Unger.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

19 Responses to “KunstlerCast 327 — Conversation with Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World” Subscribe

  1. BackRowHeckler March 26, 2020 at 6:57 am #

    Jim, you are a good interviewer.

    A few things that puzzle me about the energy situation in China and the US: you state (paraphrased) that economic activity is winding down because energy inputs are not as available as they once were, yet there seems to be a glut of oil, coal and natgas out there. There doesn’t appear to be any shortages like back in 70s. And oil is cheap. Another question is, I read on numerous websites that ‘fossil fuels’ are unnecessary, and nothing more than a nuisances, propped up politically, that is destroying earth’s climate, easily replaced by windmills and solar panels. There are some pretty smart people saying this, including Bill McKibben. I know you addressed this in TLE, but has the situation changed in the past 15 years? Are ‘renewables’ at a point now where they can replace coal, natgas and oil fired power plants? I know there’s alot going on but I’d like to see you address these issues once again.

    • jethomme March 26, 2020 at 9:31 pm #

      Am I wrong, I drew from the interview that if there’s no economy there shall be no energy used (or not much of it) no matter the form.

  2. jethomme March 26, 2020 at 9:27 pm #

    When Ms. Tverberg responded to the question implying justification of the 2008 bailout with: “…it worked, so I approve” or words to that effect, I was at first gobsmacked by the air of cold pragmatism, (stealing from future generations to bail out kleptocrats, and yes, ‘keep things moving.’ then I realized chillingly this IS the thinking of an elite class not in steerage, but yet on the same sinking ocean liner we’re all on.

    A good lady, a very good and telling interview especially concerning the roll of oil. Now, I know more deeply the mind of an actuarial, a mind not set on visionary mode.

    • NWO April 6, 2020 at 10:02 am #

      My take as well. She sees things as they are very clearly, but her crystal ball’s pretty hazy.

  3. 4014HAMPHEDGE April 4, 2020 at 12:55 pm #

    Personal experience with difficulties preventing shift to a less oil intensive economy was highlighted at South Lake Tahoe in the mid-1990’s. When a collector of vintage electric (PCC and other era) trolley cars gathered for an all-electric Basin circulation element, Lake Ferry interface etc; teamed up with a biomass/ municipal garbage electric generation facility, the Resorts, Regional Planning Agency and local waste disposal franchise made it known in ways not so subtle any efforts to disrupt the status quo would be quashed…

    Local governments duly cowed by the Chamber Of Commerce, refrained from encouraging the Co-Generation company even with offer of free electric power to City Airport and municipal facilities.
    For decades the Forests around Lake Tahoe are thinned and resultant piles of dead wood and slash are burned and so fresh air is not always the norm at Tahoe, regardless of the advertising.

    Christopher Swan, a San Francisco Industrial Designer and author, was involved with Tahoe Area opportunities for a world class demonstration of systems approach to energy, transportation, in-home potable water and hydroponics complexes. He has compiled bills of material:off-the shelf parts and pieces needed to assemble self sufficient-stand alone communities, not reliant on Fossil Fuels.

    Swan was shunned by the Tahoe power structure (including the electric utility!) and has of late gone to the Cad/Cam and prepared maps, graphics and patented structural & transportation elements. Age is catching up with Swan; maybe some people and organizations interested in well-spelled out Climate Shift Solutions might investigate Christopher Swan’s full panorama of components and vision. A true Visionary in the City By The Bay.

    My particular concern involves Famine Hedge. In concert with Swan’s stand alone economic community units, it is incumbent on the Union Of States to assure robust connectivity, embodied in the pre WWII railway matrix, including branch rail lines into most all the significant food producing districts. The best demonstration of the efficacy of this food distribution methodology were the Downtown New York Borough rail served food warehouses, emplaced on a number of the elevated rail lines, bringing fresh produce downtown on the same rails used for daytime commuting.

    Plans to automate trucking only increase vulnerability of food distribution to False Flag EMP events, and other crippling impacts to motor food distribution. General Honore’ and Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are a Triumvirate of shakers able to formulate the vision and execution of a National Solution Set for challenges of Climate and runaway dictatorships Asian/Middle East capable of bringing down our Union Of States. How about sometime when all the hospitable beds are filled and medical personnel worn to a frazzle?

    Maybe Ms. Tverberg has time to compare notes with Christopher Swan? Others in the class might see William Forstchen “ONE SECOND AFTER” a companion read with James Howard Kunstler “THE LONG EMERGENCY” & “WORLD BUILT BY HAND”. Really involved? Try on “TOO MUCH MAGIC”…

  4. anna91 April 6, 2020 at 2:56 am #

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  5. Kiashu April 8, 2020 at 2:27 am #

    It interests me that so many American commentators assert that China’s deaths and economy are and will be so much worse than they admit. It’s as though the only way you have of dealing psychologically with how truly fucked you are is to claim that some other country is much, much worse off.

    It seems more productive to actually deal with your problems instead.

  6. Kiashu April 8, 2020 at 2:45 am #

    At 17’10”: “the world has never really had a barter system.”

    The Soviet Union did it with Eastern Bloc nations. Now, this did not exactly translate into lightning fast growth and prosperity – but they did it.

  7. ducklife April 10, 2020 at 5:04 am #

    Conversation with lots of useful information. Hope you will have
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  8. gregwhite36014 April 15, 2020 at 6:05 am #

    Gail one of the people that is so passionate about finite world issues. site

  9. Finnstan80213 April 21, 2020 at 7:09 am #

    I always follow her articles in Our Finite World.

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  13. RobertJames August 5, 2021 at 7:09 am #

    I know you addressed this in TLE, but has the situation changed in the past 15 years?

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  14. davidson August 13, 2021 at 1:57 am #

    Interesting podcast. I read on numerous websites that ‘fossil fuels’ are unnecessary, We understand today that humanity’s use of fossil fuels is severely damaging our environment. Fossil fuels cause local pollution where they are produced and used, and their ongoing use is causing lasting harm to the climate of our entire planet. I’ll keep on looking after our popcorn removal. Greetings!

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  16. RobertJames September 2, 2021 at 1:00 am #

    It’s as though the only way you have of dealing psychologically with how truly fucked you are is to claim that some other country is much, much worse off. Tampa Backsplash

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    The report explores how such an abrupt climate change scenario could potentially de-stabilize the geo-political environment, leading to skirmishes, battles, and even war due to resource constraints.

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