Book review of Failing states, collapsing systems biophysical triggers of political violence by Nafeez Ahmed

6 06 2017

I have written at length about the collapse of Egypt over the years, and Syria too. I’ve also discussed Nafeez Ahmed’s views on the unraveling now happening in the Middle East, and my most recent item here from the Doomstead Diner has attracted a lot of attention….. including from Alice Friedemann who pointed out to me that she has published an extensive review of Ahmed’s new book “Failing states, collapsing systems biophysical triggers of political violence”. It’s a long read (the references alone are almost as long as the article and would keep you busy for weeks!), but I was totally riveted by it and felt the compulsion to republish it here as it needs to be read as widely as possible. In fact, this review is so good, you may not need to buy the book……. as I’ve been saying for a very long time now, 2020 is when things start to get really ugly, all the way to 2030, by which time it’s likely the state of the world will be unrecognisable.

The overview of biophysical factors table below is alone really telling……

If after reading this latest piece you are not convinced collapse is indeed underway, then there’s no hope for you….!


alice_friedemann[ In this post I summarize the sections of Nafeez’s book about the biophysical factors that bring nations down (i.e. climate change drought & water scarcity, declining revenues after peak oil, etc.) The Media tend to focus exclusively on economic and political factors.

My book review is divided into 3 parts: 

  • Why states collapse for reasons other than economic and political
  • How BioPhysical factors contribute to systemic collapse in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia Egypt, Nigeria
  • Predictions of when collapse will begin in Middle East, India, China, Europe, Russia, North America

In my opinion, war is inevitable in the Middle East where over half of oil reserves exist.  Oil is life itself.  If war happens,  collapse of the Middle East, India, and China could happen well before 2030.  If nuclear weapons are used, most nations collapse from the nuclear winter and ozone depletion that would follow.   Indonesia blew up their oil refineries to keep Japan from getting oil in WWII. If Middle Eastern governments or terrorists do the same after they’re attacked, that brings on the energy crisis sooner.  Although this would leave some high EROI oil in the ground, the energy to rebuild refineries, pipelines, oil rigs, roads, and other infrastructure would lower the EROI considerably.

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ]

Ahmed, Nafeez. 2017. Failing States, Collapsing Systems BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence. Springer.

1) Why states collapse for reasons other than economic and political

Since the 2008 financial crash, there’s been an unprecedented outbreak of social protest: Occupy in the US and Western Europe, the Arab Spring, and civil unrest from Greece to Ukraine, China to Thailand, Brazil to Turkey, and elsewhere. Sometimes civil unrest has resulted in government collapse or even wars, as in Iraq-Syria and Ukraine- Crimea. The media and experts blame it on poor government, usually ignoring the real reasons because all they know is politics and economics.

In the Middle East, experts should also talk about geology.  Oil-producing nations like Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Nigeria, and Iraq have all reached peak oil and declining government revenues after that force rulers to raise the prices of food and oil.  This region was already short on water, and now climate change (from fossil fuels) is making matters much worse with drought and heat waves causing even greater water scarcity, which in turn lowers agricultural production.  Many of these nations have some of the highest rates of population growth on earth at a time when resources essential to life itself are declining.

The few nations still producing much of the oil – Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. are about to join the club and stop exporting oil so they can provide for their domestic population.

Ahmed points out that “because these and other factors are so nested and interconnected, even small perturbations and random occurrences in one can amplify effects on other parts of the system, sometimes in a feedback process that continues.  If thresholds are reached, these tipping points can re-order the whole system”.  These ecological and geological factors result in social disorder, which makes it even harder for government to do anything, such as putting more money into water and food production infrastructure, which accelerates climate change and energy decline impacts, which leads to even more violence at an accelerating rate until state failure.

2) How BioPhysical factors contribute to systemic collapse in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia Egypt, Nigeria


Table 1. Overview of biophysical factors (water scarcity, peak oil, population) for nations Ahmed discusses in this book

The UN defines a region as not having water scarcity above 1700 cubic meters per capita (green).  Water stressed nations have 1000 to 1700 cubic meters per capita (yellow).  Water scarcity is 500-1000 per capita (orange) and absolute water scarcity 0-500 (red).  Countries already experiencing water stress or far worse include Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Yemen, India, China, and parts of the United States. Many, though not all, of these countries are experiencing protracted conflicts or civil unrest (Patrick 2015).


The media portray warfare in Syria as due to the extreme repression of President Bashar al-Assad and the support he receives from Russia.  Although there has been awareness that climate change drought played a role in causing conflict, there is no recognition that peak oil was one of the main factors.

Here’s a quick summary of how peak oil and consequent declining revenues from oil production, rising energy and food prices, drought, water scarcity, and population growth led to social unrest, violence, terrorism and war.

It shouldn’t be surprising that peak oil in 1996 triggered the tragic events we see today.  After all, the main source of Syrian revenue came from their production of 610,000 barrels per day (bpd).  By 2010 oil production had declined by half. Falling revenues caused Syria to seek help from the IMF by 2001, and the onerous market reform policies required resulted in higher unemployment and poverty, especially in rural Sunni regions, while at the same time enriching and corrupting ruling minority Alawite private and military elites.

In 2008 the government had to triple oil prices resulting in higher food prices. Food prices rose even more due to the global price of wheat doubling in 2010-2011. On top of that, the 2007-2010 drought was the worst on record, causing widespread crop failures. This forced mass migrations of farming families to cities (Agrimoney 2012; Kelley et al. 2015). The drought wouldn’t have been so bad if half the water hadn’t been wasted and overused previously from 2002 to 2008 (Worth 2010). All of these violence-creating events were worsened by one of the highest birth rates growth on earth, 2.4%.  Most of the additional 80,000 people added in 2011 were born in the hardest-hit drought areas (Sands 2011).

Rinse and repeat.  Social unrest and violence led to war, oil production dropped further, so there is even less money to end unrest with subsidized food and energy or more employment, aid farmers, and build desalination plants.

Syria, once able to feed its people, now depends on 4 million tonnes of grain imports at a time when revenues continue to drop.  Syrian oil production didn’t really take off until 1968 when there were 6.4 million people.  Since oil revenues allowed their population to explode, another 13.6 million have been born.


Like Syria, Iraq’s agricultural production has been reduced by heat, drought, heavy rain, water scarcity, rapid population growth, and the inability of government to import food and provide goods and services as oil revenues decline.  ISIS has worsened matters and filled in the gaps of state-level failure.  Peak oil is likely by 2025.  Or sooner given the ongoing war, lack of investment to keep existing production flowing, and low oil prices (Dipaola 2016).


Like Syria, Iraq, and Iran, Yemen has long faced serious water scarcity issues. The country is consuming water far faster than it is being replenished, an issue that has been identified by numerous experts as playing a key background role in driving local inter-tribal and sectarian conflicts (Patrick 2015).

Yemen is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. In 2012, the average Yemeni had access to just 140 cubic meters of water a year for all uses and just three years later a catastrophic 86 m3, far below the 1000 m3 level minimum requirement standards.    Cities often only have sporadic access to running water— every other week or so.  Sanaa could become the first capital in the world to run out of water (IRIN 2012).

Yemen reached peak oil production in 2001, declining from 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 100,000 bpd in 2014, and will be zero by 2017 (Boucek 2009).   This has led to a drastic decline in Yemen’s oil exports, which has eaten into government revenues, 75% of which had depended on oil exports. Oil revenues also account for 90% of the government’s foreign exchange reserves. The decline in post-peak Yemen state revenues has reduced the government’s capacity to sustain even basic social investments. When the oil runs out … the capacity to sustain a viable state-structure will completely collapse.

Yemen has 25 million people and an exorbitantly high growth rate and predicted to double by 2050. In 2014 experts warned that within the next decade, these demographic trends would demolish the government’s ability to meet the population’s basic needs in education, health and other essential public services. This is already happening to over 15 million people (Qaed 2014).  Over half the Yemeni population lives below the poverty line, and unemployment is at 40% (60% of young people).

To cope, too many people have turned to growing qat (a mild narcotic) on 40% of Yemen’s irrigated land, increasing water use to 3.9 billion cubic meters (bcm), but the renewable water supply is just 2.5 bcm. The 1.4 bcm shortfall is made up by pumping water from underground water reserves that are starting to run dry.

Energy, overpopulation, drought, water scarcity, poverty, and a government unable to do much of anything without oil revenue is in a downward loop of social tensions, local conflicts and even mass displacements.  This in turn adds to the dynamics of the wider sectarian and political conflicts between the government, the Houthis, southern separatists and al-Qaeda affiliated militants.

Violence undermines food security, feeding back into the downward spiraling loop.  Making matters worse is that rain-fed agriculture has dropped by about 30% since 1970, making Yemen ever more food import dependent at a time when revenues are shrinking. The country now imports over 85% of its food, including 90% of its wheat and all of its rice (World Bank 2014). Most Yemenis are hungry because they can’t afford to buy food, which also rises in price when global prices rise.  The rate of chronic malnutrition as high as 58%, second only to Afghanistan (Arashi 2013).

Epidemic levels of government corruption, mismanagement and incompetence, have meant that what little revenue the government receives ends up in Swiss bank accounts.  With revenues plummeting in the wake of the collapse of its oil industry, the government has been forced to slash subsidies while cranking up fuel and diesel prices. This has, in turn, cranked up prices of water, meat, fruits, vegetables and spices, leading to fuel and food riots (Mawry 2015).

Is Saudi Arabia Next?

Summary: Within the next decade, Saudi Arabia will become especially vulnerable to the downward feedback loop of peak oil.  The most likely date for peak oil is 2028 (Ebrahimi 2015). But because the Saudi exports have been going down since 2005 at 1.4% a year as their own population rises and consumes more and more, world exports could end as soon as 2031 (Brown and Foucher 2008).

Saudi revenues will decline to zero, so the Saudis will be less able to buy their way out of food shortages.  Their own food production will drop as well from drought and water scarcity — the kingdom is one of the most water scarce in the world, at 98 m³ per inhabitant per year.

Most water comes from groundwater, 57% of which is non-renewable, and 88% of it goes to agriculture. Desalination plants produce 70% of the kingdom’s domestic water supplies. But desalination is very energy intensive, accounting for more than half of domestic oil consumption. As oil exports run down, along with state revenues, while domestic consumption increases, the kingdom’s ability to use desalination to meet its water needs will decrease (Patrick 2015; Odhiambo 2016).

According to the Export Land Model (ELM) created by Texas petroleum geologist Jeffrey J Brown and Dr. Sam Foucher, the key issue is the timing of when there will be no more exports because the domestic population of oil producing nations is using it all for domestic consumption.   Brown and Foucher showed that the tipping point to watch out for is when an oil producer can no longer increase the quantity of oil sales abroad because of the need to meet rising domestic energy demand.

Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest energy consumer. Domestic demand has increased 7.5% over the last 5 years, mainly due to population growth. Saudi population may grow from 29 million people now to 37 million by 2030, using ever more oil and therefore less available for export.

Declining Saudi peak oil exports will affect every nation on earth that imports Saudi oil, especially top customers China, Japan, the United States, South Korea, and India.  As Saudi oil declines, there will be few other places oil for importing nations to turn to, since other exporting nations will also be using their oil domestically.

A report by Citigroup predicted net exports would plummet to zero in the next 15 years. This means that 80% of money from oil sales the Saudi state depends on are trending downward, eventually terminally (Daya 2016). In this case, the peak oil production date could happen well before 2028, as well as violent social unrest, since so far, Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth, and its unique ability to maintain generous subsidies for oil, housing, food and other consumer items, has kept civil unrest at bay. Energy subsidies alone make up about a fifth of Saudi’s gross domestic product. But as revenues are increasingly strained by decreasing exports after peak oil, the kingdom will need to slash subsidies (Peel 2013).  Even now a quarter of the Saudi’s live in poverty, and unemployment is 12%, especially young people who have a 30% unemployment level. [Saudi Arabia recently started taxing fuel at the bowsers]

Saudi Arabia is experiencing climate change as temperatures rise in the interior and far less rainfall occurs in the north.  By 2040, local average temperatures are expected to increase by as much as 4 °C at the same time rain levels are falling, resulting in more extreme weather events like the 2010 Jeddah flooding when a year of rain fell in 4 hours.  The combination could dramatically impact agricultural productivity, which is already facing challenges from overgrazing and unsustainable industrial agricultural practices leading to accelerated desertification (Chowdhury 2013).

80% of Saudi Arabia’s food requirements are purchased through heavily subsidized imports.  Without the protection of oil revenue subsidies, and potential rises in the global prices of food (Taha 2014), the Saudi population would be heavily impacted. But with net oil revenues declining to zero—potentially within just 15 years—Saudi Arabia’s capacity to finance continued food imports will be in question.


Like Syria, Egypt has had increasing problems paying for food, goods, and services after peak oil in 1993 while at the same time population keeps growing.   Worse yet, there are no oil revenues at all, because since 2010 the population has been using more oil than what is produced and has had to import oil, with no oil revenues to pay for food, goods, and services.  Two-thirds of Egypt’s oil reserves have likely been depleted and oil produced now is declining at 3.4% a year.

Nor are there revenues coming from natural gas sales made up for the loss of oil revenues.  Over the past decade domestic use nearly doubled to consumption of nearly all the production (Kirkpatrick 2013a).

The Egyptian population since 2000 has grown 21% to 88 million people and isn’t slowing down, with 20 million more expected over the next 10 years.  A quarter are children half of them living in poverty and unemployed  (EI 2012) at the same time the elites have grown wealthier from IMF and World Bank policies.

In the 1960s there were 2800 cubic meters of water per capita, now just 660 – well below the international standard of water poverty of 1000 per person (Sarant 2013).   Water scarcity and population growth lave led to tens of thousands of hectares of farmland to be abandoned.  There is some water that can be obtained, but most farmers can’t afford the price of diesel fuel to power pumps  (Kirkpatrick 2013b)

Egypt was self-sufficient in food production in the 1960s but now imports 70% of its food (Saleh 2013). One of the many reasons Mubarak fell was the doubling of wheat prices in 2011 since half of Egypt’s people depend on food rations.  But the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood party and their leader Morsi couldn’t alleviate declining government revenues due to the biophysical realities of food, water, and energy shortages either.  Morsi desperately tried to get a $4.8 billion IMF loan by slashing energy subsidies and raising sales taxes, but the economic crisis made it hard to make the payments and wheat imports dropped to a third of what was imported a year ago.

This led to Morsi being ousted by army chief Abdul Fateh el-Sisi in a coup.  Like his predecessors, El-Sisi has also been unable to meet IMF demands for increased hydrocarbon production and has resorted to unprecedented levels of brutal force to crush protests. He has also rationed electricity, which led to key industries cutting production, leading to further economic losses, declining exports and foreign reserves.  Without more money, energy companies can’t be paid, so energy production continues to drop, and debt goes up, reducing the value of Egyptian currency and higher costs for imports and shortages of energy for industrial production. Egypt’s energy and economy find themselves caught in an amplifying feedback loop (Barron 2016).

How Boko Haram arose in Nigeria

Nigeria’s climate change has led to water and land shortages from desertification, which in turn has led to illness, hunger, and unemployment followed by conflict (Sayne 2011).

Perhaps the Boko Haram wouldn’t have arisen, if the Maitatsine sect in northern Nigeria hadn’t been hit so hard by ecological disasters.  To survive they fanned out to search for food, water, shelter, and work (Sanders 2013).  Niger and Chad refugees from drought and floods also became Boko Haram foot soldiers, some 200,000 displaced farmers and herdsmen.

In northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is from, about 70% of the population subsists on less than a dollar a day. As noted by David Francis, one of the first western reporters to cover Boko Haram: “Most of the foot soldiers of Boko Haram aren’t Muslim fanatics; they’re poor kids who were turned against their corrupt country by a charismatic leader” (Francis 2014)

The Nigerian military sees a correlation between regional climatic events, and an upsurge in extremist violence: “It has become a pattern; we saw it happen in 2006; it happened again in 2008 and in 2010. President Obasanjo had to deploy the military in 2006 to Yobe State, Borno State and Katsina State. These are some of the states bordering Niger Republic and today they are the hotbeds of the Boko Haram” (Mayah 201).

Drought caused desertification is decreasing food production, in turn leading to “economic decline; population displacement and disruption of legitimized authoritative institutions and social relations.” The net effect was an acceleration of the attractiveness of groups like “Boko Haram and other forms of Jihadi ideology,” resulting in escalating “herder-farmer clashes emanating from the north since 1980s” (Onyia 2015).

The rapid spread of Boko Haram also coincided with Lake Chad’s shrinking from 25,000 square km in 1963 to less than 2500 square km today, mainly due to climate change. At this rate, Lake Chad is will dry up in 20 years, and has already caused millions of people to lose their livelihoods.

The government has exacerbated problems by cutting fuel subsidies, which led to fuel shortages, angering the public who engaged in civil unrest  (Omisore 2014).

A senior Shell official said that crude oil production decline rates are as high as 15–20%.  But Nigeria doesn’t have the money to explore to find more oil to offset this high decline rate. Nigeria’s petroleum resources department said that Nigeria had reached a plateau of production in the Niger Delta and were already going down (Ahmed 2014).

About $15 billion of investment is required just to maintain current production levels and compensate for a natural decline in production of about 250,000 b/d each year. A 2011 study by two Nigerian scholars concluded that “there is an imminent decline in Nigeria’s oil reserve since peaking could have occurred or just about to occur (Akuru and Okoro 2011). A 2013 report backs this up, finding that Nigeria’s crude oil production has decreased since its peak in 2005, largely due to the impact of internal conflicts, leading to the withdrawal of oil companies and lack of investments. Since then production has fluctuated along a plateau. The UK Department for International Development report noted that new offshore fields might bring additional oil on-stream, surpassing the 2005 peak—but also noted that rising domestic demand “at some point in the future may cut into the amount of oil available for export” (Hall et al. 2014).

POPULATION. With Nigeria’s population expected to rise from 160 to 250 million by 2025 and oil accounting for some 96% of export revenue as well as 75% of government revenue, the state has resorted to harsh austerity measures. Sharp reductions in public spending, power cuts, fuel shortages and conditional new loans will probably widen economic inequalities and further stoke the grievances that feed groups like Boko Haram in the North. With domestic oil production decline undermining Nigeria’s oil export revenues and consequent fuel subsidy cuts, the public grows poorer and increases the number of young men more likely to join Islamist terrorist groups.

3) Predictions of when collapse will begin in Middle East, India, China, Europe, Russia, North America

When will  Middle-East oil producing nations fail?

Ahmed says that so far after peak oil production, Middle-Eastern economies have declined as revenues declined, leading to systemic state-failure in roughly 15 years, more or less, depending on how hard hit a nation was by additional (climate-change) factors such as drought, water scarcity, food prices, and overpopulation.

Saudi Arabia, and much of the rest of Arabian Gulf peninsula, may experience state-failure well within 10 to 20 years. If forecasts of Saudi oil depletion are remotely accurate, then by 2030 the country will simply not exist as we know it. Coupled with the accelerating impacts of climate-induced water scarcity, the Kingdom is bound to begin experiencing systemic state-failure at most within 20 years, and probably much earlier.

Marin Katusa, chief energy strategist at Casey Research, reports that “many Middle Eastern countries may stop exporting oil and gas altogether within the next few years, while some already have” (Katusa 2016). Oil analysts at Lux Research estimate that OPEC oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 70%. True OPEC reserves could be as low as 429 billion barrels, which could mean a global net export crunch as early as 2020 (Lazenby 2016).

The period from 2020 to 2030 will see Middle East oil exporters experiencing a systemic convergence of energy and food crises.

When will India & China collapse?

India and China are widely assumed to be the next superpowers, but at this stage of energy and resource depletion, can’t possibly mimic the exponential growth of the Western world.

India, South Asia, and China face enormous ecological challenges Irregularities in the pattern of monsoon rains and drought are likely to lower food production and increase water scarcity, while higher temperatures will increase the range of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and become prevalent year-round (DCDC 2013). As sea levels rise, millions of people will be displaced permanently.

These impacts will unravel regional political and economic order well within 20 years and manifest at first as civil unrest.  Depending on how the Indian and Chinese states respond, it is likely that these outbreaks of domestic disorder will become more organized, and will eventually undermine state territorial integrity before 2030.  Near-term growth will further undermine environmental health and deplete resources, making these nations even more vulnerable to climate and food crises.

European and Russian collapse timeframe

Within Europe, resource depletion has meant that the European Union as a whole has become increasingly dependent on energy imports from Russia, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Yet exports from these regions will become tighter as major oil producers approach production limits.

The geopolitical turmoil that has unfolded in Ukraine provides a compelling indication that such processes are rapidly moving from the periphery of the global system into the core. For the most part, the Euro-Atlantic core—traditionally representing the most powerful sections of the world system—has insulated itself from global crisis convergence impacts by diversifying energy supply sources. However, there is only so much that diversification can achieve when the total energetic and economic quality of global hydrocarbon resource production is declining.


Faced with these converging crises, the Euro-Atlantic core will continue to see the creation of cheap debt-money through quantitative easing as an immediate solution to generate emergency funds to stabilize the financial system and shore-up ailing industries. This will likely play out in one of these business-as-usual scenarios:

  1. The lower resource quality (EROI) of the global energy system may act as a fundamental geophysical ceiling on the capacity of the economy to grow. It may act as an invisible brake on growth in demand, so fossil fuel prices would remain at chronically low levels, endangering the profitability of the fossil fuel industries. This would lead to an acceleration of the demise of the fossil fuel industries, which could lead to debt-defaults across industries in the financial system. Declining hydrocarbon energy production would cause a self-reinforcing recessionary economic process. This would escalate vulnerability to water, food and energy crises and hugely strain the capacity of European and American states to deliver goods and services to even their own populations, and other nations dependent as much on importing food as they are oil.
  2. Scarcity of net exports on the world market may raise oil prices and provide some sectors of ailing fossil fuel industries to be profitable again. But previous slashing of investments and cutbacks in exploration will mean that only the most powerful sections of the industry would be able to capitalize on this, which means production is unlikely to return to former high levels. Price spikes would trigger economic recession, causing a drop in demand, while lower production levels would exacerbate the economy’s inability to grow substantially, if at all. In effect, the global economy would likely still experience a self-reinforcing recessionary economic process.

In both scenarios, escalating economic crises are likely to invite the Euro-Atlantic core to respond by using debt-money to shore-up as much of the existing core financial and energy industries as possible. Prices spikes and shortages in water, food and energy would be experienced by general populations as a dramatic lowering of purchasing power, leading to an overall decrease in quality of life, an increase in poverty, and a heightening of inequality. This would undermine their internal cohesion, giving rise to new divisive, nationalist and xenophobic movements, and lead states into a tightening spiral of militarization to police domestic order. As instability in the Middle East and elsewhere intensifies, manifesting in further unrest, political violence and terrorist activity, states will also be drawn increasingly into short- sighted military solutions. In particular, scarcity of net oil exports on the world market will heighten geopolitical and military competition to control and/or access the world’s remaining hydrocarbon energy resources. With the Middle East still holding the vast bulk of the world’s reserves, the region will remain a central flashpoint for such competition, even as major producers such as Saudi Arabia approach systemic state-failure due to reaching inevitable production declines.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that as we near 2045, the European and American projects will face escalating internal challenges to their internal territorial integrity, increasing the risk of systemic state-failure. Likewise, after 2030, Europe, India, China (and other Asian nations) will begin to experience symptoms of systemic state-failure.


Adel, Mohamed. 2016. Eni to Increase Zohr Field Gas Production to 2bn Cubic Feet Per Day by End of 2019. Daily News Egypt, May 9. eni-increase-zohr-field-gas-production-2bn-cubic-feet-per-day-end-2019/ .

Agrimoney. 2012. Unrest, Bad Weather Lift Syrian Grain Import Needs., March 14.–4278.html

Ahmed, Nafeez Mosaddeq. 2009. The Globalization of Insecurity: How the International Economic Order Undermines Human and National Security on a World Scale. Historia Actual Online 0(5): 113–126.

Ahmed, Nafeez. 2010. A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It. London: Pluto Press.

———. 2011. The International Relations of Crisis and the Crisis of International Relations: From the Securitisation of Scarcity to the Militarisation of Society. Global Change, Peace & Security 23(3): 335–355. doi: 10.1080/14781158.2011.601854 .

———. 2013a. Peak Oil, Climate Change and Pipeline Geopolitics Driving Syria Conflict. The Guardian, May 13, sec. Environment. insight/2013/may/13/1

———. 2013b. How Resource Shortages Sparked Egypt’s Months-Long Crisis. The Atlantic, August 19.

———. 2014. Behind the Rise of Boko Haram—Ecological Disaster, Oil Crisis, Spy Games. The Guardian, May 9, sec. Environment.

———. 2015. The US-Saudi War with OPEC to Prolong Oil’s Dying Empire. Middle East Eye. May 8.

———. 2016a. Climate Change Fuels Boko Haram. Women Across Frontiers Magazine. February 29.

———. 2016b. At the Root of Egyptian Rage Is a Deepening Resource Crisis. Quartz. Accessed August 16.

———. 2016c. Return of the Reich: Mapping the Global Resurgence of Far Right Power. Investigative Report. London: Tell MAMA and INSURGE Intelligence. return-of-the-reich

———. 2016d. FEMA Contractor Predicts ‘Social Unrest’ Caused by 395% Food Price Spikes. Motherboard. Accessed August 21. predicts-social-unrest-caused-by-395-food-price-spikes

Akuru, Udochukwu B., and Ogbonnaya I. Okoro. 2011. A Prediction on Nigeria’s Oil Depletion Based on Hubbert’s Model and the Need for Renewable Energy. International Scholarly Research Notices, International Scholarly Research Notices 2011: e285649. doi: 10.5402/2011/285649 .

Al-Sinousi, Mahasin, and Amira Saleh. 2008. International Expert Warns Of Egypt’s Oil And Gas Reserves Depletion In 2020. Al-Masry Al-Youm, May 17, 1434 edition.

Arashi, Fakhri. 2013. Wheat Imports Cause Yemen Heavy Losses—National Yemen.

Aston, T.H., Trevor Henry Aston, and C.H.E. Philpin. 1987. The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aucott, Michael L., and Jacqueline M. Melillo. 2013. A Preliminary Energy Return on Investment Analysis of Natural Gas from the Marcellus Shale. Journal of Industrial Ecology 17(5): 668– 679. doi: 10.1111/jiec.12040 .

Azevedo, Ligia B., An M. De Schryver, A. Jan Hendriks, and Mark A.J. Huijbregts. 2015. Calcifying Species Sensitivity Distributions for Ocean Acidification. Environmental Science & Technology 49(3): 1495–1500. doi: 10.1021/es505485m .

Badgley, Catherine, and Ivette Perfecto. 2007. Can Organic Agriculture Feed the World? Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 22(2): 80–85.

Bardi, Ugo. 2014. Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Barnett, Tim P., and David W. Pierce. 2008. When Will Lake Mead Go Dry? Water Resources Research 44(3): W03201. doi: 10.1029/2007WR006704

Barron, Robert. 2016. Facing Rumors of Money Troubles, Egypt Denies Tension with Foreign Oil, Gas Firms. Mada Masr. January 27. facing-rumors-money-troubles-egypt-denies-tension-foreign-oil-gas-firms

Berger, Daniel, William Easterly, Nathan Nunn, and Shanker Satyanath. 2013. Commercial Imperialism? Political Influence and Trade during the Cold War. American Economic Review 103(2): 863–896. doi: 10.1257/aer.103.2.863

Berman, Arthur, and Ray Leonard. 2015. Years Not Decades: Proven Reserves and the Shale Revolution. Houston Geological Society Bulletin 57(6): 35–39.

Bhardwaj, Mayank. 2016. Food Imports Rise as Modi Struggles to Revive Rural India. Reuters India. February 2.

Bindi, Marco, and Jørgen E. Olesen. 2010. The Responses of Agriculture in Europe to Climate Change. Regional Environmental Change 11(1): 151–158. doi: 10.1007/s10113-010-0173-x

Bose, Prasenjit. 2016. A Budget That Reveals the Truth about India’s Growth Story. The Wire. March 2. .

Boucek, Christopher. 2009. Yemen: Avoiding a Downward Spiral. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. September.

Bove, Vincenzo, Leandro Elia, and Petros G. Sekeris. 2014. US Security Strategy and the Gains from Bilateral Trade. Review of International Economics 22(5): 863–885. doi: 10.1111/ roie.12141

Bove, Vincenzo, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, and Petros G. Sekeris. 2015. ‘Oil above Water’ Economic Interdependence and Third-Party Intervention. Journal of Conflict Resolution, January 27: 0022002714567952. doi: 10.1177/0022002714567952 .

Bove, Vincenzo, and Petros G. Sekeris. 2016. Fueling Conflict: The Role of Oil in Foreign Interventions. IPI Global Observatory. Accessed July 19.

Brandt, Adam R., Yuchi Sun, Sharad Bharadwaj, David Livingston, Eugene Tan, and Deborah Gordon. 2015. Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for Forty Global Oilfields Using a Detailed Engineering-Based Model of Oil Production. PLOS ONE 10(12): e0144141.

Brown, Jeffrey J., and Samuel Foucher. 2008. A Quantitative Assessment of Future Net Oil Exports by the Top Five Net Oil Exporters. Energy Bulletin. January 8.

Brown, James H., William R. Burnside, Ana D. Davidson, John P. DeLong, William C. Dunn, Marcus J. Hamilton, Norman Mercado-Silva, et al. 2011. Energetic Limits to Economic Growth. BioScience 61(1): 19–26.

Buckley. 2016. Coal Decline Steepens in 2016 in India, China, U.S. Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis. May 16.

Capellán-Pérez, Iñigo, Margarita Mediavilla, Carlos de Castro, Óscar Carpintero, and Luis Javier Miguel. 2014. Fossil Fuel Depletion and Socio-Economic Scenarios: An Integrated Approach. Energy 77: 641–666.

Castillo-Mussot, Marcelo del, Pablo Ugalde-Véle, Jorge Antonio Montemayor-Aldrete, Alfredo de la Lama-García, and Fidel Cruz. 2016. Impact of Global Energy Resources Based on Energy Return on Their Investment (EROI) Parameters. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 15(1–2): 290–299.

Chen, Shuai, Xiaoguang Chen, and Xu. Jintao. 2016. Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture: Evidence from China. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 76: 105–124. doi: 10.1016/j.jeem.2015.01.005

Chowdhury, Shakhawat, and Muhammad Al-Zahrani. 2013. Implications of Climate Change on Water Resources in Saudi Arabia. Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering 38(8): 1959– 1971.

Clarkson, M.O., S.A. Kasemann, R.A. Wood, T.M. Lenton, S.J. Daines, S. Richoz, F. Ohnemueller, A. Meixner, S.W. Poulton, and E.T. Tipper. 2015. Ocean Acidification and the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction. Science 348(6231): 229–232. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa0193

Cleveland, Cutler J., and Peter A. O’Connor. 2011. Energy Return on Investment (EROI) of Oil Shale. Sustainability 3(11): 2307–2322.

Coleman, Isabel. 2012. Reforming Egypt’s Untenable Subsidies. Council on Foreign Relations. April 6.

Cook, Benjamin I., Toby R. Ault, and Jason E. Smerdon. 2015. Unprecedented 21st Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains. Science Advances 1(1): e1400082. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1400082

Coumou, Dim, Alexander Robinson, Stefan Rahmstorf. 2013. Global increases in record-breaking 0668-1.

Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna, and David I. Stern. 2015. Global Energy Use: Decoupling or Convergence? Energy Economics 51: 633–641.

Cunningham, Nick. 2016. Decline of Coal Demand Is ‘irreversible. February 19.

Dawson, Terence P., Anita H. Perryman, and Tom M. Osborne. 2014. Modelling Impacts of Climate Change on Global Food Security. Climatic Change 134(3): 429–440. doi: 10.1007/ s10584-014-1277-y.

Daya, Ayesha, and Dana El Baltaji. 2016. Saudi Arabia May Become Oil Importer by 2030, Citigroup Says. Accessed August 11.

DCDC. 2013. Regional Survey—South Asia Out to 2040. Strategic Trends Programme. UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Concepts and Doctrines Centre.

Department Of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. 2014. Syria. Press Release|Fact Sheet. U.S. Department of State. March 20.

Diffenbaugh, Noah S., Daniel L. Swain, and Danielle Touma. 2015. Anthropogenic Warming Has Increased Drought Risk in California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(13): 3931–3936. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1422385112

Dipaola, Anthony. 2016. Iraq’s Oil Output Seen by Lukoil at Peak as Government Cuts Back. May 19.

Dittmar, Michael. 2016. Regional Oil Extraction and Consumption: A Simple Production Model for the Next 35 Years Part I. BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality 1(1): 7. doi: 10.1007/ s41247-016-0007-7

Dodge, Robert. 2016. Unconventional Drilling for Natural Gas in Europe. In The Global Impact of Unconventional Shale Gas Development, ed. Yongsheng Wang and William E. Hefley, 97–130. Natural Resource Management and Policy 39. Springer International Publishing.

EASAC. 2014. Shale Gas Extraction: Issues of Particular Relevance to the European Union. European Academies Science Advisory Council.

Ebrahimi, Mohsen, and Nahid Ghasabani. 2015. Forecasting OPEC Crude Oil Production Using a Variant Multicyclic Hubbert Model. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133: 818– 823.

El. 2012. Youth Are Quarter of Egypt’s Population, and Half of Them Are Poor | Egypt Independent. Egypt Independent. August 12.

EIA. 2016. Petroleum & Other Liquids Weekly Supply Estimates. US Energy Information Administration.  .

Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. 2015. Saudi Arabia May Go Broke before the US Oil Industry Buckles. The Telegraph, August 5, sec. 2016.

Famiglietti, J.S. 2014. The Global Groundwater Crisis. Nature Climate Change 4(11): 945–948.

Farmer, J., M. Doyne, C. Gallegati, A. Hommes, P. Kirman, S. Ormerod, A. Sanchez Cincotti, and D. Helbing. 2012. A Complex Systems Approach to Constructing Better Models for Managing Financial Markets and the Economy. The European Physical Journal Special Topics 214(1): 295–324.

Feely, Richard, Christopher L. Sabine, and Victoria J. Fabry. 2006. Carbon Dioxide and our Ocean Legacy. Pew Trust.

Foster, John Bellamy, Brett Clark, and Richard York. 2010. The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth. New York: NYU Press.

Fournier, Valérie. 2008. Escaping from the Economy: The Politics of Degrowth. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 28(11/12): 528–545.

Francis. 2014. Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda 2.0—Islamic Extremism in Africa. Humanosphere. May 7.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2013. The Scary Hidden Stressor. The New York Times, March 2. http://

Fritz, Martin, and Max Koch. 2014. Potentials for Prosperity without Growth: Ecological Sustainability, Social Inclusion and the Quality of Life in 38 Countries. Ecological Economics 108: 191–199.

Gagnon, Nathan, Charles A.S. Hall, and Lysle Brinker. 2009. A Preliminary Investigation of Energy Return on Energy Investment for Global Oil and Gas Production. Energies 2(3): 490– 503.

García-Olivares, Antonio, and Joaquim Ballabrera-Poy. 2015. Energy and Mineral Peaks, and a Future Steady State Economy. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 90, Part B (January): 587–598.

Ghafar, Adel Abdel. 2015. Egypt’s New Gas Discovery: Opportunities and Challenges | Brookings Institution. Brookings. September 10.

Guilford, Megan C., Charles A.S. Hall, Peter O’Connor, and Cutler J. Cleveland. 2011. A New Long Term Assessment of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for U.S. Oil and Gas Discovery and Production. Sustainability 3(10): 1866–1887.

Gülen, Gürcan, John Browning, Svetlana Ikonnikova, and Scott W. Tinker. 2013. Well Economics Across Ten Tiers in Low and High Btu (British Thermal Unit) Areas, Barnett Shale, Texas. Energy 60: 302–315.

Hall, Charles A. S., and Kent A. Klitgaard. 2012. Energy and the Wealth of Nations. New York, NY: Springer New York.

Hall, Charles A.S., Cutler J. Cleveland, and Robert K. Kaufmann. 1992. Energy and Resource Quality: The Ecology of the Economic Process. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado

Hall, Charles A.S., Jessica G. Lambert, and Stephen B. Balogh. 2014. EROI of Different Fuels and the Implications for Society. Energy Policy 64: 141–152.

Hallock Jr., John L., Wei Wu, Charles A.S. Hall, and Michael Jefferson. 2014. Forecasting the Limits to the Availability and Diversity of Global Conventional Oil Supply: Validation. Energy 64: 130–153.

Ho, Mae-Wan. 1999. Are Economic Systems Like Organisms? In Sociobiology and Bioeconomics, ed. Peter Koslowski, 237–258. Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy. Berlin: Springer.

Holling, C.S. 2001. Understanding the Complexity of Economic, Ecological, and Social Systems. Ecosystems 4(5): 390–405.

Holthaus, Eric. 2014. Hot Zone. Slate, June 27. tense/2014/06/isis_water_scarcity_is_climate_change_destabilizing_iraq.single.html

Homer-Dixon, Thomas. 2011. Carbon Shift: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives). Toronto: Random House of Canada.

Hook, Leslie. 2013. China’s Appetite for Food Imports to Fuel Agribusiness M&A. Financial Times, June 6.

Hughes, J. David. 2013. Energy: A Reality Check on the Shale Revolution. Nature 494(7437): 307–308.

ICEF. 2016. Growing Chinese Middle Class Projected to Spend Heavily on Education through 2030. ICEF Monitor.

IEA. 2009. World Energy Outlook. Washington, DC: International Energy Agency.

———. 2015. India Energy Outlook. World Energy Outlook Special Report. International Energy Agency.

Inman, Mason. 2014. Natural Gas: The Fracking Fallacy. Nature 516(7529): 28–30.

IRIN. 2008. Bread Subsidies Under Threat as Drought Hits Wheat Production. IRIN. June 30.

———. 2010. Growing Protests over Water Shortages. IRIN. July 27. .

———. 2012. Time Running Out for Solution to Water Crisis. IRIN. August 13.

Jackson, Tim. 2009. Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet. London: Earthscan.

Jackson, Peter M., and Leta K. Smith. 2014. Exploring the Undulating Plateau: The Future of Global Oil Supply. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 372(2006): 20120491.

Jancovici, Jean-Marc. 2013. A Couple of Thoughts in the Energy Transition. Manicore. http://

Jefferson, Michael. 2016. A Global Energy Assessment. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment 5(1): 7–15

Johanisova, Nadia, and Stephan Wolf. 2012. Economic Democracy: A Path for the Future? Futures, Special Issue: Politics, Democracy and Degrowth, 44(6): 562–570.

Johnstone, Sarah, and Jeffrey Mazo. 2011. Global Warming and the Arab Spring. Survival 53(2): 11–17.

Kaminska, Izabella. 2014. Energy Is Gradually Decoupling from Economic Growth. FT Alphaville, January 17.

Katusa, Marin. 2016. How to Pocket Extraordinary Profits from Unconventional Oil. Casey Energy Report.

Kavanagh, Jennifer. 2013. Do U.S. Military Interventions Occur in Clusters? Product Page.

Kelley, Colin P., Shahrzad Mohtadi, Mark A. Cane, Richard Seager, and Yochanan Kushnir. 2015. Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications of the Recent Syrian Drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(11): 3241–3246.

King, Carey W. 2015. Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 3: Macroeconomic Historical and Future Perspectives. Energies 8(11): 12997–12920.

King, Carey W., John P. Maxwell, and Alyssa Donovan. 2015a. Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 1: Single Technology and Commodity Perspective. Energies 8(11): 12949–12974.

———. 2015b. Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 2: Total Economy Expenditure Perspective. Energies 8(11): 12975–12996.

Kirkpatrick, David D. 2013a. Egypt, Short of Money, Sees Crisis on Food and Gas. The New York Times, March 30. money-sees-crisis-on-food-and-gas.html

———. 2013b. Egypt, Short of Money, Sees Crisis on Food and Gas. The New York Times, March 30.

Klump, Edward, and Jim Polson. 2016. Shale-Gas Skeptic’s Supply Doubts Draw Wrath of Devon. Accessed July 11.

Kothari, Ashish. 2014. Degrowth and Radical Ecological Democracy: A View from the South— Blog Postwachstum. Postwatchstum, Wuppertal Institute. June 27.

Kundu, Tadit. 2016. Nearly Half of Indians Survived on Less than Rs38 a Day in 2011–2012.

Lagi, Marco, Karla Z. Bertrand, and Yaneer Bar-Yam. 2011. The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East.

Lazenby, Henry. 2016. Opec Believed to Overstate Oil Reserves by 70%, Reserves Depleted Sooner. Mining Weekly. Accessed August 22.

Lelieveld, J., Y. Proestos, P. Hadjinicolaou, M. Tanarhte, E. Tyrlis, and G. Zittis. 2016. Strongly Increasing Heat Extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 21st Century. Climatic Change 137(1–2): 245–260.

LePoire, David, and Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA. 2015. Interpreting ‘big History’ as Complex Adaptive System Dynamics with Nested Logistic Transitions in Energy Flow and Organization—Emergence: Complexity and Organization. Emergence, March. transitions-in-energy-flow-and-organization/

Lesk, Corey, Pedram Rowhani, and Navin Ramankutty. 2016. Influence of Extreme Weather Disasters on Global Crop Production. Nature 529(7584): 84–87. doi: 10.1038/nature16467

Li, Minqi. 2014. Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Limits to China’s Economic Growth. New York: Routledge.

MacDonald, Gregor. 2010. Think OPEC Exports Won’t Decline? You’re Living In A Dreamworld. Business Insider. August 14.

Matsumoto, Ken’ichi, and Vlasios Voudouris. 2014. Potential Impact of Unconventional Oil Resources on Major Oil-Producing Countries: Scenario Analysis with the ACEGES Model. Natural Resources Research 24(1): 107–119.

Mawry, Yousef. 2015. Yemen Fuel Crisis Ignites Street Riots. Middle East Eye. February 12. http://

May, Robert M., Simon A. Li, Minqi. 2014. Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Limits to China’s Economic Growth. New York: Routledge.

MacDonald, Gregor. 2010. Think OPEC Exports Won’t Decline? You’re Living In A Dreamworld. Business Insider. August 14.

Matsumoto, Ken’ichi, and Vlasios Voudouris. 2014. Potential Impact of Unconventional Oil Resources on Major Oil-Producing Countries: Scenario Analysis with the ACEGES Model. Natural Resources Research 24(1): 107–119.

Mawry, Yousef. 2015. Yemen Fuel Crisis Ignites Street Riots. Middle East Eye. February 12. http://

May, Robert M., Simon A. Levin, and George Sugihara. 2008. Complex Systems: Ecology for Bankers. Nature 451(7181): 893–895.

Mayah, Emmanuel. 2012. Climate Change Fuels Nigeria Terrorism. Africa Review. February 24. 4m5dlu/index.html

McGlade, Christophe, Jamie Speirs, and Steve Sorrell. 2013. Unconventional Gas—A Review of Regional and Global Resource Estimates. Energy 55: 571–584.

Meighan, Brendan. 2016. Egypt’s Natural Gas Crisis. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. January.

Moeller, Devin, and David Murphy. 2016. Net Energy Analysis of Gas Production from the Marcellus Shale. BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality 1(1): 1–13.

Mohr, Steve. 2010. Projection of World Fossil Fuel Production with Supply and Demand Interactions. Callaghan: University of Newcastle.

Mohr, S.H., and G.M. Evans. 2009. Forecasting Coal Production until 2100. Fuel 88(11): 2059– 2067.

———. 2010. Long Term Prediction of Unconventional Oil Production. Energy Policy 38(1): 265–276.

Mohr, S.H., J. Wang, G. Ellem, J. Ward, and D. Giurco. 2015. Projection of World Fossil Fuels by Country. Fuel 141: 120–135

Mora, Camilo, Abby G. Frazier, Ryan J. Longman, Rachel S. Dacks, Maya M. Walton, Eric J. Tong, Joseph J. Sanchez, et al. 2013a. The Projected Timing of Climate Departure from Recent Variability. Nature 502(7470): 183–187.

Mora, Camilo, Chih-Lin Wei, Audrey Rollo, Teresa Amaro, Amy R. Baco, David Billett, Laurent Bopp, et al. 2013b. Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century. PLOS Biol 11(10): e1001682.

Morgan, Geoffrey. 2016. Average Oil Production to Decline This Year, Grow More Slowly in the Future: CAPP. Financial Post, June 23.

Morrissey, John. 2016. US Central Command and Liberal Imperial Reach: Shaping the Central Region for the 21st Century. The Geographical Journal 182(1): 15–26.

Murphy, David J. 2014. The Implications of the Declining Energy Return on Investment of Oil Production. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 372(2006): 20130126. doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0126.

Murphy, David J., and Charles A.S. Hall. 2011. Energy Return on Investment, Peak Oil, and the End of Economic Growth. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1219(1): 52–72.

Nandi, Sanjib Kumar. 2014. A Study on Hubbert Peak of India’s Coal: A System Dynamics Approach. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research 9(2).

Nekola, Jeffrey C., Craig D. Allen, James H. Brown, Joseph R. Burger, Ana D. Davidson, Trevor S. Fristoe, Marcus J. Hamilton, et al. 2013. The Malthusian–Darwinian Dynamic and the Trajectory of Civilization. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28(3): 127–130. doi: 10.1016/j. tree.2012.12.001

OBG. 2016. New Discoveries for Egyptian Oil Producers. Oxford Business Group. January 27.

Odhiambo, George O. 2016. Water Scarcity in the Arabian Peninsula and Socio-Economic Implications. Applied Water Science, June, 1–14.

Odum, Howard Thomas. 1994. Ecological and General Systems: An Introduction to Systems Ecology. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Omisore, Bolanle. 2014. Nigerians Face Fuel Shortages In the Shadow of Plenty. National Geographic News. April 11. nigeria-fuel-shortage-oil/

Onyia, Chukwuma. 2015. Climate Change and Conflict in Nigeria: The Boko Haram Challenge. American International Journal of Social Science 4(2)

Owen, Nick A., Oliver R. Inderwildi, and David A. King. 2010. The Status of Conventional World Oil reserves—Hype or Cause for Concern? Energy Policy 38(8): 4743–4749.

Patrick, Roger. 2015. When the Well Runs Dry: The Slow Train Wreck of Global Water Scarcity. Journal—American Water Works Association 107: 65–76.

Patzek, Tad W., Frank Male, and Odum, Howard Thomas. 1994. Ecological and General Systems: An Introduction to Systems Ecology. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Omisore, Bolanle. 2014. Nigerians Face Fuel Shortages In the Shadow of Plenty. National Geographic News. April 11. nigeria-fuel-shortage-oil/

Onyia, Chukwuma. 2015. Climate Change and Conflict in Nigeria: The Boko Haram Challenge. American International Journal of Social Science 4(2). .

Owen, Nick A., Oliver R. Inderwildi, and David A. King. 2010. The Status of Conventional World Oil reserves—Hype or Cause for Concern? Energy Policy 38(8): 4743–4749.

Patrick, Roger. 2015. When the Well Runs Dry: The Slow Train Wreck of Global Water Scarcity. Journal—American Water Works Association 107: 65–76.

Patzek, Tad W., Frank Male, and Michael Marder. 2013. Gas Production in the Barnett Shale Obeys a Simple Scaling Theory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(49): 19731–19736.

Pearce, Joshua M. 2008. Thermodynamic Limitations to Nuclear Energy Deployment as a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Technology. International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology 2(1): 113.

Peel, Michael. 2013. Subsidies ‘Distort’ Saudi Arabia Economy Says Economy Minister. Financial Times. May 7. 2016. Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas. Accessed August 21.

Pichler, Franz. 1999. Modeling Complex Systems by Multi-Agent Holarchies. In Computer Aided Systems Theory—EUROCAST’99, ed. Peter Kopacek, Roberto Moreno-Díaz, and Franz Pichler, 154–168. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1798. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Pierce, Charles P. 2016. What Happens When the American Southwest Runs Out of Water? Esquire. June 1.

Pracha, Ali S., and Timothy A. Volk. 2011. An Edible Energy Return on Investment (EEROI) Analysis of Wheat and Rice in Pakistan. Sustainability 3(12): 2358–2391.

Pritchard, Bill. 2016. The Impacts of Climate Change for Food and Nutrition Security: Issues for India. In Climate Change Challenge (3C) and Social-Economic-Ecological Interface-Building. Environmental Science and Engineering. Springer.

Pueyo, Salvador. 2014. Ecological Econophysics for Degrowth. Sustainability 6(6): 3431–3483.

Qaed, Samar. 2014. Expanding Too Quickly? Yemen Times. February 25.

Qi, Ye, Nicholas Stern, Tong Wu, Jiaqi Lu, and Fergus Green. 2016. China’s Post-Coal Growth. Nature Geoscience 9.

Reganold, John P., and Jonathan M. Wachter. 2016. Organic Agriculture in the Twenty-First Century. Nature Plants 2(2): 15221.

Rioux, Sébastien, and Frédérick Guillaume Dufour. 2008. La sociologie historique de la théorie des relations sociales de propriété. Actuel Marx 43(1): 126.

RiskMetrics Group. 2010. Canada’s Oil Sands: Shrinking Window of Opportunity. Ceres, Inc.

Rockström, Johan, Will Steffen, Kevin Noone, Persson Åsa, F. Stuart Chapin, Eric F. Lambin, Timothy M. Lenton, et al. 2009. A Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Nature 461(7263): 472–475.

Ross, John, and Adam P. Arkin. 2009. Complex Systems: From Chemistry to Systems Biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(16): 6433–6434.

Salameh, M. G. 2012. Impact of US Shale Oil Revolution on the Global Oil Market, the Price of Oil & Peak Oil.

Saleh, Hebah. 2013. Egypt Weighs Burden of IMF Austerity. Financial Times. March 11.

Sanders, Jim. 2013. The Hidden Force behind Islamic Militancy in Nigeria? Climate Change. The Christian Science Monitor. July 8.

Sands, Phil. 2011. Population Surge in Syria Hampers Country’s Progress | The National. The National, March 6.

Sarant, Louise. 2013. Climate Change and Water Mismanagement Parch Egypt | Egypt Independent. Egypt Independent. February 26.

Sayne, Aaron. 2011. Climate Change Adaptation and Conflict in Nigeria. Special Report. United States Institute of Peace.

Schneider, E.D., and J.J. Kay. 1994. Life as a Manifestation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Mathematical and Computer Modelling 19(6): 25–48.

Schneider, François, Giorgos Kallis, and Joan Martinez-Alier. 2010. Crisis or Opportunity? Economic Degrowth for Social Equity and Ecological Sustainability. Introduction to This Special Issue. Journal of Cleaner Production, Growth, Recession or Degrowth for Sustainability and Equity? 18(6): 511–518.

Schrodinger, Erwin. 1944. What Is Life?

Schwartzman, David, and Peter Schwartzman. 2013. A Rapid Solar Transition Is Not Only Possible, It Is Imperative! African Journal of Science, Technology. Innovation and Development 5(4): 297–302.

Shahine, Alaa. 2016. Egypt Had FDI Outflows of $482.7 Million in 2011. Accessed August 16.

Shaw, Martin. 2005. Risk-Transfer Militarism and the Legitimacy of War after Iraq. In September 11, 2001: A Turning-Point in International and Domestic Law? ed. Paul Eden and T. O’Donnell. Transnational Publishers.

Simms, Andrew. 2008. The Poverty Myth. New Scientist 200(2678): 49.

Smith-Nonini, Sandy. 2016. The Role of Corporate Oil and Energy Debt in Creating the Neoliberal Era. Economic Anthropology 3(1): 57–67.

Söderbergh, Bengt, Fredrik Robelius, and Kjell Aleklett. 2007. A Crash Programme Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry. Energy Policy 35(3): 1931–1947.

Steffen, Will, et al. 2015. January 15, 2015. Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet. Science.

Stewart, Ian. 2015. Debt-Driven Growth, Where Is the Limit? Deloitte: Monday Briefing. February 2.

Stokes, Doug, and Sam Raphael. 2010. Global Energy Security and American Hegemony. Baltimore: JHU Press. Stott, Peter. 2016. How Climate Change Affects Extreme Weather Events. Science 352(6293): 1517–1518.

Street, 1615 L., NW, Suite 800 Washington, and DC 20036 Media Inquiries. 2014. Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective. Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. January 30.

Taha, Sharif. 2014. Kingdom Imports 80% of Food Products. Arab News. April 20.

Tainter, Joseph. 1990. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tao, Fulu, Masayuki Yokozawa, Yousay Hayashi, and Erda Lin. 2003. Future Climate Change, the Agricultural Water Cycle, and Agricultural Production in China. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 95(1): 203–215.

TE. 2016. Egypt Government Debt to GDP 2002-2016. Trading Economics.

Terzis, George, and Robert Arp, eds. 2011. Information and Living Systems: Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives. MIT Press.

Thevard, Benoit. 2012. Europe Facing Peak Oil. Momentum Institute/Greens-EFA Group in European Parliament.

Timms, Matt. 2016. Resource Mismanagement Has Led to a Critical Water Shortage in Asia. World Finance, July 21.

Tong, Shilu et al. 2016. Climate Change, Food, Water and Population Health in China. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, July.

Tranum, Sam. 2013. Powerless: India’s Energy Shortage and Its Impact. India: Sage.

Trendberth, Kevin, Jerry Meehl, Jeff Masters, and Richard Somerville. 2012. Heat Waves and Climate Change. Waves_and_Climate_Change.pdf

Tverberg, Gail. 2016. China: Is Peak Coal Part of Its Problem? Our Finite World. June 20.

UN 2015. World Population Prospects. United Nations Department of Economic & Social Affairs, Population Division.

UN News Center, United Nations News Service. 2012. UN News—Despite End-of-Year Decline, 2011 Food Prices Highest on Record—UN. UN News Service Section. January 12.

Victor, Peter. 2010. Questioning Economic Growth. Nature 468(7322): 370–371.

Vyas, Kejal, and Timothy Puko. 2016. Venezuela Oil Production Drops Sharply in May. Wall Street Journal, June 14, sec. World.

Wang, Jinxia, Robert Mendelsohn, Ariel Dinar, Jikun Huang, Scott Rozelle, and Lijuan Zhang. 2009. The Impact of Climate Change on China’s Agriculture. Agricultural Economics 40(3): 323–337.

Wang, Ke, Lianyong Feng, Jianliang Wang, Yi Xiong, and Gail E. Tverberg. 2016. An Oil Production Forecast for China Considering Economic Limits. Energy 113: 586–596.

Weijermars, Ruud. 2013. Economic Appraisal of Shale Gas Plays in Continental Europe. Applied Energy 106: 100–115. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.01.025

Wiedmann, Thomas O., Heinz Schandl, Manfred Lenzen, Daniel Moran, Sangwon Suh, James West, and Keiichiro Kanemoto. 2015. The Material Footprint of Nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(20): 6271–6676.

Wilkinson, Henry. 2016. Political Violence Contagion: A Framework for Understanding the Emergence and Spread of Civil Unrest. Lloyd’s.

Williams, Selina, and Bradley Olson. 2016. Big Oil Companies Binge on Debt. Wall Street Journal, August 24.

Wood, Ellen Meiksins. 1981. The Separation of the Economic and the Political in Capitalism. New Left Review, I 127: 66–95. World Bank. 2014. Future Impact of Climate Change Visible Now in Yemen.

World Bank. November 24.

Worth, Robert F. 2010. Drought Withers Lush Farmlands in Syria. The New York Times, October 13.

Yaritani, Hiroaki, and Jun Matsushima. 2014. Analysis of the Energy Balance of Shale Gas Development. Energies 7(4): 2207–2227.

Chris Hedges on the collapse of the USA

23 02 2017

The era of gnashing teeth

6 02 2017

Since Trump’s election to the Oval Office, there has been an unbelievable amount of teeth gnashing going on all over the internet….. HOW could it possibly have come to this..?

To me, the answer is as clear as a bell. People all over the world can sense that everything ‘is turning to shit’, if you pardon my fluent French. The economies of the world are faltering (in real sense, not GDP money throughput), unemployment is high, manipulated to lower figures with creative accounting, the climate is falling apart causing food shortages in Europe, and the Middle East appears as a seething hot bed of war and terrorism.

The problem lies in the fact nobody knows why this is happening, because they have been conned for years by governments everywhere telling them everything is fine, we just have to ‘return to growth’.

Trump convinces enough Americans to vote for him so he can make America great again, because neither he nor his voters have the faintest idea America is actually on the cusp of collapse.

In France, Marine Le Pen wants to make France strong again……. and just like in America, this resonates with the electorate who now look like they may make her the country’s first woman President, and the first from the extreme right.

Here in Australia, we have a similar rise from the right, with Pauline Hanson and her one nation party making scary inroads into popularity rating. A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald states:

In the aftermath of Mr Trump’s US election victory, where he strongly advocated reviving that nation’s manufacturing industry, nearly 83 per cent of surveyed Australian said they strongly agreed (42 per cent) or agreed (40.5 per cent) with the notion we are too reliant on foreign imports. Only 6 per cent disagreed.

Support for an expansion of Australia’s manufacturing sector was robust regardless of age, gender, income or locality.

This unsurprising finding comes from the Political Persona Project, a comprehensive attempt to profile different types of Australians based on their lifestyles, social values and politics. Fairfax Media in collaboration with the Australian National University and Netherlands-based political research enterprise Kieskompas conducted the project which revealed there are seven types of Australians, representing seven dominant patterns of thinking in Australian society.

Manufacturing has been declining since the 1970’s, which coincides with the USA’s Peak Oil, in case no one noticed….. then, one in four Australian workers were employed in the sector. This downturn has gathered pace in recent years with over 200,000 manufacturing jobs lost between 2008 and 2015. But no mention of dropping net energy, or an energy cliff. The manufacturing sector now accounts for only about one in 13 Australian workers. The decline means Australia is relying more on foreign producers to supply manufactured goods……… not to mention we have to import over 90% of our liquid fuel requirements, with likely no more than 3 or 4 years before this turns to 100%.

Underpinning the nostalgia for manufacturing was a strong feeling of having been left out of the new economy, said Carol Johnson, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Adelaide.

Might this have anything to do with the fact that since the Thatcher/Reagan era, the economy was converted from an energy based one to a money based version…..?

“Manufacturing still matters to the economy and Australians know it,” he said.

“The public’s gut instinct is absolutely right.”

How much more wrong could they actually be……..?

Steve Keen exposes next global economic shockwaves

18 01 2017

Most of DTM’s readers will know this, but as it’s rather well done and amusing to boot, here it is anyway….. some lighthearted relief.

Is there a solar revolution? Time for data, not adjectives

26 06 2015


Robert Wilson

Reblogged from Robert Wilson’s site, Carbon Counter

In reality solar power’s heavily subsidized growth is nowhere close to being the revolutionary force some of its advocates claim it already is. It is also not growing exponentially, as anyone could see if they checked the meaning of the term exponential growth and actual statistics for year on year growth rates.

Globally, solar grew by 93% in 2011, 60% in 2012, 39% in 2013, and 38% in 2014. Meanwhile, in the countries with the most developed solar sectors, absolute growth has in fact slowed.

Germany added 7.5 and 7.6 GW of new capacity in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In 2013 and 2014 the figures had gone down to 3.3 and 1.9 GW. The same goes for Italy, where new capacity additions went from 9.3 to 0.38 GW between 2011 and 2014.

In fact, the current growth of European solar is not even vaguely exponential. Instead, growth is declining overall. In 2011, 22.4 GW was added throughout Europe; in 2012 17.4 GW was added, in 2013 10.4 GW was added, and in 2014 7.2 GW was added. Absolute growth of solar capacity in Europe is now one third of what it what it was in 2011.

Anyone confidently predicting continued exponential growth of solar will have a hard time accounting for the actual decline in growth in Europe.

Growth of solar can be put in further perspective by comparing the annual growth (in TWh) with the total electricity consumption of a country. Let’s imagine that in a single year a country went from 0 to 1% of electricity generation being from solar panels. That would mean it would take roughly 100 years to get to 100% solar.

Obvious caveat: we don’t know what to do when the sun goes down, but you get the thrust.

So, how quickly is solar growing globally? Below is a chart showing the top 25 countries in terms of solar growth last year. Growth is measured by comparing absolute growth of solar (in TWh) with total electricity generation (in TWh).


Number 1 is Greece. Now, exactly why heavily indebted Greece is number one in the growth of a heavily subsidized source of energy generation can be debated, but the fact remains.

Most importantly, no major economy is above 1%. At current rates of solar additions they are all many many decades away from solar power taking over. And remember: many of these countries, e.g. Germany, are now seeing reduced rates of absolute solar additions.

Growth in solar energy in China now attracts a lot of optimistic headlines. However, the increase in solar energy last year represented only 0.2% of total electricity generation. In other words, if China kept increasing solar’s share at that rate it would take half a millennium to get to 100% solar electricity. Keep this in mind when you see misguided headlines about solar power having a major influence on Chinese air pollution.

Focusing on electricity generation alone of course is problematic. The underlying reason to switch to solar power is climate change. And the majority of fossil fuels are not used for generating electricity, but for heating, flying, shipping, making steel, and so on. What we really should look at is total energy consumption.

The growth of solar is much slower in terms of total primary energy consumption. Growth in solar in 2015 was less than 0.5% of total primary energy consumption in all major economies.

Top20growth_primThese numbers should make it clear how far we are away from a solar revolution. The figure for China and the US is 0.1%. If China and the US added solar at a rate ten times greater than they are today, then, it would take them a century to get to 100% solar.

In Germany, where a supposed solar revolution has occurred, the figure was 0.29%. 100% solar is a mere three centuries away in that high latitude, cloudy country……. where the sun still goes down.

Capitalism IS the Crisis….

26 04 2014

I heard this film mentioned by Derrick Jensen at the end of that podcast I mentioned in Why we are still screwed….. Thorium or no Thorium!

It’s a bit long at one hour forty minutes – why is it doco producers seem to think their films can’t be as good if they’re edited shorter?  Anyhow, I still think it’s compulsory viewing….  especially for Australians who can have the advantage of seeing where Canada’s Harper government took its people.  Remember, we are just a couple of years behind, and Abbott could easily be Harper’s clone.

Dmitry Orlov: Ukraine-Crimea Update, U.S. Will Self-Destruct in Near Future Update & More

19 03 2014

Fascinating stuff…….