Mike Smith's Reviews > Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller by Jeff Rubin
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction

This book is about the coming oil shortage, a phenomenon known as peak oil. The issue, as author Rubin makes clear, is not that we will run out of oil anytime soon, but that oil will become more and more expensive as supply fails to match demand. This book is a bit dry, with a lot of figures trotted out, percentages and prices of this and that rising and falling as peak oil plays out. It would have benefitted from some charts or diagrams to illustrate the predicted trends. The book covers pretty much the same ground as Kunstler's "The Long Emergency", but is not nearly as gloating or strident. Rubin agrees with Kunstler that major changes are coming to the way we live, but glosses over the hardship of the transition phase from then to now. Rubin discusses the effect of rising oil prices on transportation, global trade, food production, global warming (burning less oil leads to fewer carbon dioxide emissions; a good thing from a global warming perspective), and suburban living arrangements. The book has endnotes to back up some of the figures given, but they are not extensive. If you're a peak oil believer, there's not much new here. If you haven't heard of peak oil before, this is not a bad book to introduce the topic, although you might be better off with Thomas Homer-Dixon's "The Upside of Down".

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