I belong to the peak generation. Oil, credit, natural gas - you name it, we've burned through it.
Peak oil news, and what YOU can do to survive the coming crash.

Free resources

Reports and on-line pdf books

There are many free books, reports and articles online for people with an interest in peak oil and related issues - survival outdoors, survivalism (the difference between the two being that the former suggests rescue is 72 hours away) and the skills required to live in a world without cheap oil.

Here I’m concentrating on downloads – reports and books on pdf that you can print, rather than linking to peak oil sites.

My aim is not to list everything that’s online but focus on the better ones, or at least those that interest me.


Peak oil backgrounders

Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Environment, John Nagl and Christine Parthemore
A military report from a think tank with big connections to the current US administration, stating that the entire US military must transition from oil over the coming 30 years if it is to remain as a coherent fighting force (“given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence.”) Although it delves into the wonky math of reserves-to-production ratios, and also has a blue-sky view of second-generations biofuels, look between the lines and you will be rewarded with some stark geopolitical realizations. (See here for more about this report.)

Running on empty? The peak oil debate, by David Ingles and Richard Denniss
Canberra-based think tank The Australia Institute published this overview of the global peak oil debate in September 2010. It presents a fair, balanced and accurate prĂ©cis of the for and against arguments – balancing “what the optimists say” and the views of “peak oil doomsayers,” to represent all viewpoints. It reviews the various contradictory official suggested dates for peak oil, and contains an overview of the situation in Australia. (More.)

Sicherheitspolitische Implikationen knapper Ressourcen (Implications of Resource Scarcity on National Security, aka German military peak oil report)
A draft study prepared for the German military, leaked to the media late August 2010 – available here in translation. It was written by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a “think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military.” It looks at a range of possible consequences of peak oil, with a focus on geopolitical upheavals, in particular, food crises in Asia and Latin America, and the Middle East. It suggests the likelihood of peak oil triggering “non-linear events” in market-driven economies, leading to “the collapse of economies, mass unemployment, government defaults and infrastructure breakdowns, ultimately followed by famines and total system collapse.” (More.)

Sustainable Energy Security: Strategic Risks and Opportunities for Business, Antony Froggatt and Glada Lahn
The Lloyds 360 DegRisk Insight report, published June 2010 by the UK-based insurance giant in association with Chatham House, a London, England think-tank with government connections. This gives a thorough and well researched background into declining hydrocarbon resources, along with the need for a transition to new economies. It quotes suggestions that a “supply crunch appears likely around 2013… given recent price experience, a spike in excess of $200 per barrel is not infeasible.” It’s all here. (More here.)

The Joint Operating Environment, by United States Joint Forces Command
Issued by the US military in April 2010, this well written and perceptive report considers a variety of geopolitical issues that may impact its global operations: demographics, globalization, US debt, the global recession, water, food, climate change and dwindling oil supply. Of the latter, it states: “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day.” The US army, said to be the world’s biggest single user of gasoline, needs to plan for various contingencies, including fuel. (Read more here.)

The Oil Crunch: a Wake-up Call for the UK Economy, ed Simon Roberts
February 2010 report by the UK Industry Task-Force on Peak Oil and Energy Security (representing six major UK companies: Arup, Foster + Partners, Scottish and Southern Energy, Solarcentury, Stagecoach Group and Virgin) warning about the coming “oil crunch.” As the report states: “As we reach maximum oil extraction rates, the era of cheap oil is behind us. We must plan for a world in which oil prices are likely to be both higher and more volatile and where oil price shocks have the potential to destabilise economic, political and social activity.” (More here.)

Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model, Ibrahim Sami Nashawi, Adel Malallah and Mohammed Al-Bisharah
Written by two Kuwait University engineers and a representative of Kuwait Oil Company this February 2010 academic paper uses Hubbert’s model, along with some fancy mathematical formula, to predict peak oil for various individual countries and the world as a whole. Looking solely at conventional crude reservoirs – and so not considering unconventional oil – it suggests non-Opec production peaked in 2006, Opec will peak in 2026, but “world production will peak in 2014 at a production rate of 79. (More.)

The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production (AKA The Hirsch report), by Robert L. Hirsch
Written for the US government in 2005, this report states peak oil is going to hit quicker and harder than we imagine. Unless countries take immediate mitigating action “the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented.” It was written by industry petroleum geologists, scientists, and economists. It’s also available in 10-page summary form.

Saving Oil in a Hurry
The 2005 International Energy Agency report suggesting ways for governments to reduce oil consumption, including restricting car use, banning motor sports, speed restrictions, transit fare reductions, car pooling, town centre closures, telecommuting. . . Written from a point of view that “world oil markets remain adequately supplied, high oil prices do reflect increasingly uncertain conditions.”

Speeches and papers presented by Matthew R. Simmons
A web page listing various pdfs of presentations made by Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert. These expand and update the book (which itself is a must-read). Simmons & Company is an "investment bank specializing in the entire spectrum of the energy industry," so he has an inate ability to grasp the big picture, from an authoritative position.

Energy from Fossil Fuels, M. King Hubbert
Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, M. King Hubbert

These two revolutionary papers opened and defined the peak oil debate. Energy from Fossil Fuels, published 1949, refers to “the progressive exhaustion of the mineral fuels.” It also mentions tar sands and shale oil, the role of fossil fuels in enabling an unsustainable global population and a hope that the world can one day harness solar power. Then Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, published 1956, backed up it all up with mathematical formulas to produce “future production curves for the various fossil fuels,” the bell charts dismissively referred to at the time as Hubbert’s pimple. Years ahead of their time, both are vital reading today. (More about both papers here.)


Economics

The Alpha Strategy, by John A. Pugsley
Probably the most informative book on inflation (and how to prepare for it by stockpiling everyday items) ever. It spent nine weeks on the on the New York Times bestseller list in 1981. This book was considered dated for a while - probably because survivalist literature made something of a return to preparing for nuclear, chemical and biological attack - but in my opinion, economic collapse is more likely than world war. Even if you discount peak oil, the US is printing new money as fast as the presses can run. . .


Survival, survivalist

Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, ed Gardner D Hiscox
This, the revised 1914 edition, provides a modest update to a Victorian text detailing “household and workshop formulas, recipes and processes.” Essentially, it’s how we used to live, before cheap energy – and, it must be said, advances in medical science (do not use the medical and vetinary treatments!) Not a survival manual, but ideas on how to live in a world made by hand.

Life After Doomsday - Survivalists Guide to Major Disaster, by Bruce D. Clayton
Perhaps it's dated Cold War thinking – or perhaps the coming resource wars will turn nuclear. . . Nevertheless, this to-the-point manual can equip you to survive a nuclear nightmare, from shelter design to living through the aftermath. It looks into preparing and defending shelters, storing food, treating illnesses and injuries and the psychology of survival. Even if you decide to skip the nuclear pages, it’s still an excellent reference on surviving any major disaster.

Multiservice Procedures For Survival, Evasion, And Recovery
This is the survival manual the U.S. military puts in kits. It updates previous publications such as the FM 21-76 Survival Field Manual. Evasion, navigation, signaling, recovery, medical, personal protection, water, food and chemical, nuclear and biological attacks. . . it’s all here.

US Joint Services manuals
All the military manuals you can think of are linked from this site – from hydraulics to journalism. . . obviously, a lot of survival topics are included. The GI is the original fieldsman, and it’s all set out here. Essential reading.

Ranger Handbook, July 2006
One for your inner backpack survivalist. . . Much of the material on things like battlefield formation and drills is interesting but unlikely to be applicable (unless you you’re one of those armchair warlord types), but there are useful sections on evasion & survival, first aid. If you ever plan to write a war novel, it’s the perfect background reading. Or, a clear understanding of why you should never upset a group of rangers.


Medicine

Survival and Austere Medicine: An introduction, various editors
An excellent introduction to survival medicine, giving a brief outline of what to do when there’s an emergency but no doctor within range. Most useful for lists of material to create first aid kits. Note that it’s not for beginners, due to the lack of line illustrations – I believe that the paid-for version of the book has this. I’d recommend training in this area; I’m including this because it’s useful to have enough background knowledge on a subject so you can tell if the any self-proclaimed experts are bullshitting you.

First Aid for Canada
First aid manual, applicable to Canadian law, which I believe regards to resuscitation. Not so much how to resuscitate a Canadian as how to keep the Canadian lawyers at bay if you do. Resuscitate lawyers at your own risk.


Other

Official Kubotan Techniques, by Takayuki Kubota and John G Peters
A non-lethal form of self-defence, and “pain compliance” using a six-inch stick, or kubotan. These, which run to around $10, look unthreatening, and can actually be used as a keychain (note to ninjas: not recommended in tight jeans). I don't carry one, but I put this here because it caught my eye. And it annoys the doomers who will be packing an AK-47 when things turn grim.