The oil and gas industry is powerful but not invulnerable, and faces an existential threat. In this episode, we talk with a leading energy writer about the future of global oil markets, and what this means for all of us.

Welcome to the Earthlings podcast, where we talk about the big issues facing humanity in the early 21st century. In today’s episode, hosts Lisa Ann Pinkerton and Christian Roselund interview Gregor Macdonald, the author of Oil Fall. Gregor cuts through the noise of short-term market fluctuations to talk about the big trends that are shaping global demand for oil, what the coming plateau of demand means, and what we can do to cut fossil fuel use now.

About Our Guest:

Gregor Macdonald is a freelance journalist who covers cities, climate, and energy—as well as a former oil trader. His work has appeared in Nature, The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Harvard Business Review, Next City, Atlantic Media’s Route Fifty, The Petroleum Economist, PV Magazine, and Talking Points Memo.

Talking Points:

  • The factors underlying the future of global oil demand
  • What it means for both the climate and the oil industry oil demand to “plateau” versus falling
  • How electric vehicles make a long-term fall in oil demand inevitable
  • What cities can do now to reduce oil demand and prevent the worst effects of climate change
  • What the oil industry does and does not control around policy
  • Why plastics and other non-fuel applications will not save the oil industry
  • Why the United States and other developed countries can and should invest in infrastructure 


Oil Fall

The Gregor Letter