Peak Oil

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:27 pm

Poto this isn't doomsaying, look at where this evidence is coming from, it's not coming from conspiracy theorists, it's coming from geologists, economists, it's coming from the intelligence agencies, from reputable journalists, lawyers and discontented members of the oil industry. This isn't some crackpot idea, many very influential people are taking this very seriously.

poto wrote:There are vast fields of oil shale and sands that have barely been touched.


Oil sands and shale

Unlike conventional sources of oil, oil derived from these oil sands is extremely financially and energetically intensive to extract. Whereas conventional oil has enjoyed a rate of "energy return on energy invested" (EROEI) of about 30 to 1, the oil sands rate of return hovers around 1.5 to 1. This means that we would have to expend 20 times as much energy to generate the same amount of oil from the oil sands as we do from conventional sources of oil.

Where to find such a huge amount of capital is largely a moot point because even optimistic reports anticipate a peak production of 4 million barrels per day of oil coming from the oil sands around 2020. Source Even if the optimists are correct, a peak of 4 mbd in the context of global demand that is already 85 mbd and growing at a rate of 2-to-5 mbd per year is not going to do much to offest the coming decline.


The huge reserves of oil shale in the American west suffer from similar problems. While Shell Oil has an experimental oil shale program, even Steve Mut - the CEO of their Unconventional Resources Unit - has sounded less than optimistic when questioned about the ability of oil shale to soften the coming crash. According to journalist Stuart Staniford's coverage of a recent conference on Peak Oil:

In response to questions, Steve guesstimated that oil shale production would still be pretty negligible by 2015, but might, if things go really well, get to 5 mbpd by 2030.


Disinterested observers are even less optimistic about oil shale. Geologist Dr. Walter Youngquist points out:

The average citizen . . . is led to believe that the United States really has no oil supply problem when oil shales hold "recoverable oil" equal to "more than 64 percent of the world's total proven crude oil reserves." Presumably the United States could tap into this great oil reserve at any time. This is not true at all. All attempts to get this "oil" out of shale have failed economically. Furthermore, the "oil" (and, it is not oil as is crude oil, but this is not stated) may be recoverable but the net energy recovered may not equal the energy used to recover it. If oil is "recovered" but at a net energy loss, the operation is a failure.


Further problems with oil shale have been documented by economist Professor James Hamilton who writes:
"A recent Rand study concluded it will be at least 12 years before oil shale reaches the production growth phase. And that is a technological assessment, not a reference to the environmental review process. If it takes 15 years to get an oil refinery built and approved, despite well known technology and well understood environmental issues, viewing oil shale as something that could make major contributions to world energy supplies in the immediate future seems highly unrealistic."



poto wrote:After that runs out a transition to bio-fuels and other power sources will be in order.


Ethanol
Ethanol, methanol etc. are great, but only in small doses. Like all other biofuels it is grown with massive fossil fuel inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) and suffer from horribly low, sometimes negative, EROEIs. The production of ethanol, for instance, requires six units of energy to produce just one. Source That means it consumes more energy than it produces and thus will only serve to compound our energy deficit.


Bio-diesel

Some folks are doing research into alternatives to soybeans such as biodiesel producing pools of algae. As with every other project that promises to "replace all petroleum fuels," this project has yet to produce a single drop of commercially available fuel. This hasn't prevented many of its most vocal proponents from insisting that algae grown biodiesel will solve our energy problems. The same is true for other, equally ambitious plans such as using recycled farm waste, switchgrass, etc. These projects all look great on paper or in the laboratory. Some of them may even end up providing a small amount of commercially available energy at some undetermined point in the future. However, in the context of our colossal demand for petroleum and the small amount of time we have remaining before the peak, these projects can't be expected to be more than a "drop in the bucket."



poto wrote:Have I mentioned that it's possible to convert coal to a liquid fuel too? Yeah, we have hundreds of years worth of coal too.


Coal

The coal supply is not as great as many assume. According to a July 2004 article published by the American Institute of Physics:

If demand remains frozen at the current rate of consumption, the
coal reserve will indeed last roughly 250 years. That prediction
assumes equal use of all grades of coal, from anthracite to lignite.
Population growth alone reduces the calculated lifetime to some
100−120 years. Any new uses of coal would further reduce the
supply. . . The use of coal for conversion to other fuels would
quickly reduce the lifetime of the US coal base to less than a
human lifespan. Source

Even a 50-75 year supply of coal is not as much as it sounds because coal production, like oil production, will peak long before the total supply is exhausted. Were we to liquefy a large portion of our coal endowment in order to produce synthetic oil, coal production would likely peak within 2 decades, if not much sooner.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:50 pm

Perhaps the World's Foremost Expert on Oil and the Oil Business Confirms the Ever More Apparent Reality of the Post-9-11 World

by Michael C. Ruppert

Oct. 23, 2002, 17:30 PDT (FTW) -- Colin Campbell is both an academic and a businessman. Educated at Oxford and holding a Masters degree he has served as a geologist for Oxford University, Texaco, British Petroleum and Amoco (prior to the BP Amoco merger). He has served in executive positions with Shenandoah Oil, Amoco, Fina and was Chairman of the Nordic American Oil Company. He has served as a consultant on oil for the Bulgarian government as well as for Statoil, Mobil, Amerada, Total, Shell, Esso and for the firm Petroconsultants in Geneva. He is the Convener and Editor of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and a Trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Center in London.

...

FTW: What will be the likely effects of hitting the downslope of production?

Campbell: Big question. Simply stated: war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens, insofar as the evolution of life on earth has always been accomplished by the extinction of over-adapted species (when their environmental niche changed for geologic or climatic reasons) leaving simpler forms to continue, and eventually giving rise new more adapted species. If Homo sapiens figures out how to move back to simplicity, he will be the first to do so.

FTW: How soon before we start to feel the effects of dwindling oil supplies?

Campbell: We already are -- in the form of the threatened U.S. invasion of the Middle East. The U.S. would be importing 90 percent of its oil by 2020 to hold even current demand and access to foreign oil has long been officially declared a vital national interest justifying military intervention. Probable actual physical shortage of all liquid hydrocarbons worldwide won't appear for about 20 years, especially if deepening recession holds down demand. But people are coming to appreciate that peak is imminent and what it means. Some places like the U.S. will face shortage sooner than others. The price is likely to soar as shortage looms, which itself may delay peak.

If the U.S. does invade there will likely be a repeat of Vietnam with many years of fruitless struggle in which the U.S. will be seen as a tyrant and an oppressor, killing all those Arabs. It can't hope to subjugate the place in perpetuity as the people don't surrender easily -- as the Palestinians have shown. So when the U.S. has finally gone, Russia and China will likely be welcomed there to produce whatever is left in the ruins.

FTW: Are the major oil companies currently downsizing? If so why?

Campbell: The majors are merging and downsizing and outsourcing and not investing in new refineries because they know full well that production is set to decline and that the exploration opportunities are getting less and less. Who would drill in 10,000 feet of water if there were anywhere else easier left? But the companies have to sing to the stock market, and merger hides the collapse of the weaker brethren. The staff is purged on merger and the combined budget ends up much less than the sum of the previous components. Besides, a lot of the executives and bankers make a lot of money from the merger.

FTW: How much oil is really left?

Campbell: You have to think of different categories of oil. Speaking of conventional, which is the easy cheap stuff that has supplied most uses to date and will dominate all supply far into the future, there is about 1 trillion barrels left. To this you have to add:

A) Oil from coal, "shale," tar sands, heavy oil -- the resource is very large, but extraction rate is low and costly, sometimes giving negative net energy.

B) Deepwater oil -- (from a depth of greater than 500 meters) about 60 billion barrels

C) Polar -- about 30 billion, maybe.

D) Natural gas liquids -- about 300 billion barrels

Read the rest at:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/w ... pbell.html
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:30 pm

Funny how you manage to reduce a 250 year supply of coal down to 50-75 years. Although, even at your lowest number of 50 years, I still think that alone would be enough time to switch to other fuel sources.

As for your dismissal of bio-fuels. I've seen where it's possible to produce bio-fuel from algae at around $20/gallon with current technology. Now, that's way too high to be commercially viable right now. However, if oil prices skyrocket due to peak oil or whatever, then at some point $20/gallon will become viable. So, it's basically impossible for oil prices to rise above that level. We have an unlimited supply of fuel at that price level. Also, mass production tends to lower prices. Food production and industry will not stop, it might just get more expensive if we can't bring the production costs down before we run out of oil. Fortunately, we have plenty of time and lots of smart people working on making cheaper and commercially viable bio-fuels.

One fact that's widely ignored by peak oil doomers is economics and market forces. When the price of oil gets too high that decreases demand. That decrease in demand means our supplies will last longer and helps to flatten the peak oil curve. In reality we're not looking at a sharp peak in oil, more like a long plateau.

Then of course there is fuel efficiency. If everyone was driving 15mpg cars and traded them in for 30mpg cars, you have just reduced consumption by 50% without any change in driving habits.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Tex » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:56 pm

Is wind a viable future energy source? (I know next to nothing about this stuff)

I recall oil gazillionaire T. Boone Pickens proposing a plan for massive wind farms out in West Texas, but he's apparently had difficulty getting funding.

Does wind hold any promise as a solution?
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:57 pm

Annabel wrote:Poto, exploiting oil sand destroys nature I recently read

And whilst you could return to a horse or oxes pulling a plough, so many others couldn't ...


Building cities destroys nature too. What do you propose, should we go back to living in caves?

And there's no way I'd use horses or oxen, they require too much food and are difficult to work with. If need be I'd convert a tractor to wood gas or steam. As much of a pain as that conversion would be, it'd still be a lot easier and more productive than keeping plow animals.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:12 pm

Tex wrote:Is wind a viable future energy source? (I know next to nothing about this stuff)

I recall oil gazillionaire T. Boone Pickens proposing a plan for massive wind farms out in West Texas, but he's apparently had difficulty getting funding.

Does wind hold any promise as a solution?


Wind is great, but has problems. There is no power when the wind doesn't blow. Also, most of the places that use the most power are far away from the places that are windy. It's very expensive to build power transmission lines, and there's a good bit of power lost during transmission. Super-conducting power lines might help with that, but those are still a number of years off.

To power cities, factories and homes you need a stable or base-load power source. Something that generates a constant and stable output of power. Wind and solar don't really do well with these because they don't crank power reliably 24/7. At present we don't have any effective way to store the extra energy during high wind periods for use during low-wind periods. People are working on load-balancing technologies and power storage, but it still needs some time before it's mature and ready for large-scale use.

Geothermal and wave power are good alternative technologies that have the potential to provide stable base-load power. Unfortunately, geothermal isn't feasible everywhere and wave power technology isn't fully developed enough yet.

There is a great deal of promise in wind power, but there are still some rather large technical hurdles to overcome before we can use it as a large percentage of our domestic power.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Tex » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:14 pm

Thanks for the detailed response.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Cafael Dust » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:47 pm

a. Build a giant solar panel and put it into orbit, beaming the energy back to earth using a 'lazer'.

b. Build nuclear power stations on the moon, where they can't hurt us. Beam the energy back to earth using a 'lazer'.

c. Um... I like the wind farms too. They're elegant. Can't we just make billions of them? I know it's unlikely that we will, but could someone explain why we couldn't, if we wished to, just keep making the things until the problem was solved?

At present we don't have any effective way to store the extra energy during high wind periods for use during low-wind periods


Is that correct?

So would the same problem apply to constructing miles of solar panels across hot deserts?
Not twice, not three times, not once,
the wheel is turning.
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:26 am

poto wrote:Funny how you manage to reduce a 250 year supply of coal down to 50-75 years. Although, even at your lowest number of 50 years, I still think that alone would be enough time to switch to other fuel sources.


Funny how you attribute this piece of evidence to me, when it was clearly stated as an Article published in the journal of the American Institute of Physics.

You know Poto, I actually get the impression that you feel as though you're debunking a UFO conspiracy or something of equal lunacy. Or at any rate, that's the degree of credence you seem to give it. I think this is a grave mistake, mostly because your arguments fly in the face of the evidence, which you are all to quick to ignore or dismiss, despite the reputability of such sources. This doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, but I am becoming aware that we as humans tend to use logic as a vehicle of leisure, and not as a guiding principle.

I don't mean this as a personal attack, let's get that one straight because as you are a good human being, I have respect for you. So I wish you well, and politely, I take my leave of this thread and argument.

metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:38 am

P.S.

Solar and wind are terribly inefficient sources of energy.

Few people realize how much energy is concentrated in even a small amount of oil or gas. A barrel of oil contains the energy-equivalent of almost 25,000 hours of human labor. Source A single gallon of gasoline contains the energy-equivalent of 200-to-500 hours of human labor. Source

Most people are stunned to find this out, even after confirming the accuracy of the numbers for themselves, but it makes sense when you think about it a bit: it only takes one ($3) gallon of gasoline to propel a three ton SUV 10 miles in 10 minutes when traveling 60 mph. How long would it take you to push a three ton SUV 10 miles?

While people tend to drastically underestimate the energy density of oil and gas, they drastically overestimate the energy density (and thus scalability) of renewables. Some examples should help illustrate this point:

Example #1: Wind compared to Natural Gas

It would take every single one of California's 13,000 wind turbines operating at 100% capacity (they usually operate at about 30%) all at the same time to generate as much electricity as a a single 555-megawatt natural gas fired power plant. Source

Example #2: Wind compared to Coal

As of 2004, the United States has 6,361 megawatts of installed wind energy. This means that if every wind turbine in the United States was spinning at peak capacity, all at the exact same time, their combined electrical output would equal that of six coal fired power plants. Since, as mentioned previously, wind turbines typically operate at about 30% of their rated capacity, the combined output of every wind turbine in the US is actually equal to less than two coal fired power plants. Source

Example #3: Solar compared to Coal

The numbers for solar are ever poorer. For instance, on page 191 of his 2004 book "The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World", author Paul Roberts writes:
. . . if you add up all the solar photovoltaic cells now running worldwide the combined output - about 2,000 megawatts - barely rivals the output of two coal-fired power plants.
Robert's calculation assumes the solar cells are operating at 100% of their rated capacity. In the real world, the average solar cell operates at about 20% of its maximum capacity as the sun is not always shining. This means the combined output of all the solar cells in the world at the end of 2004 was equal to less than 40% of the output of a single coal fired power plant. Source

By 2008, there was just over 5,000 megawatts of solar pv cells installed worldwide. Operating at average efficiency of 20%, the combined output of all the pv cells in the world is now equal to the output of a single coal fired power-planet.

Example #4: Solar and Wind compared to Petroleum

In order to offset a 10% reduction in U.S. petroleum consumption, the amount of installed solar and wind energy would have to be increased by 2,200%. Source

Example #5: Solar compared to Gasoline

The amount of energy distributed by a single gas station in a single day equivalent to the amount of energy that would produced by four Manhattan sized city blocks of solar equipment. (There are over 170,000 gas stations in the U.S. alone.) Source The reason for this differences is because, as explained above, oil is an incredibly dense sources of energy while solar is extremely diffuse.

- http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.html

And that's that.

metta
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Guy » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:52 am

Hi Jack,

If you, together with a group of sound minded people, saw a :alien: would you still think it to be lunacy? Don't be so quick to judge.

With Metta,

Guy

:focus:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:03 am

BlackBird wrote:
poto wrote:Funny how you manage to reduce a 250 year supply of coal down to 50-75 years. Although, even at your lowest number of 50 years, I still think that alone would be enough time to switch to other fuel sources.


Funny how you attribute this piece of evidence to me, when it was clearly stated as an Article published in the journal of the American Institute of Physics.

You know Poto, I actually get the impression that you feel as though you're debunking a UFO conspiracy or something of equal lunacy. Or at any rate, that's the degree of credence you seem to give it. I think this is a grave mistake, mostly because your arguments fly in the face of the evidence, which you are all to quick to ignore or dismiss, despite the reputability of such sources. This doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, but I am becoming aware that we as humans tend to use logic as a vehicle of leisure, and not as a guiding principle.

I don't mean this as a personal attack, let's get that one straight because as you are a good human being, I have respect for you. So I wish you well, and politely, I take my leave of this thread and argument.

metta
Jack


I apologize if my comments were taken as a personal attack. It was not intended it that way. I know my speech is a bit rough, and I thank you for pointing that out to me. I need to try harder to phrase my comments so they are less abrasive. I did not intend to insult you or what you presented.

The statements from places like the American Institute of Physics don't seem to account for reduced demand or other energy sources that can have a huge impact on supplies. Oil and coal are only parts of a larger energy picture. When looking at only oil or only coal, it's easy to lose sight of the whole picture and get caught up in peaks and such. I'm just trying to look at the whole picture.


Cafael Dust wrote:a. Build a giant solar panel and put it into orbit, beaming the energy back to earth using a 'lazer'.

b. Build nuclear power stations on the moon, where they can't hurt us. Beam the energy back to earth using a 'lazer'.

c. Um... I like the wind farms too. They're elegant. Can't we just make billions of them? I know it's unlikely that we will, but could someone explain why we couldn't, if we wished to, just keep making the things until the problem was solved?

At present we don't have any effective way to store the extra energy during high wind periods for use during low-wind periods


Is that correct?

So would the same problem apply to constructing miles of solar panels across hot deserts?


The projects that I've seen proposed about building giant orbiting solar panels would use microwaves to beam to power back to earth. I've only seen theories proposed so far, but maybe some day we'll have something like that.

There's no reason to build nuclear power plants on the moon. We have new technology like the pebble bed reactors and Thorium reactors that are much safer and cleaner than the old reactor technology. Not to mention, it might be kinda dangerous to launch enough nuclear material for a large reactor into space, it could explode on the way up and produce a lot of fall-out.

The problem with the desert is the sun doesn't shine at night, and we don't really have an effective way to store the extra amounts of energy from the daytime yet.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Lampang » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:06 am

However, if oil prices skyrocket due to peak oil or whatever, then at some point $20/gallon will become viable.


If oil prices go to $20/gallon, a functioning economy will be nothing but a distant memory.

The statements from places like the American Institute of Physics don't seem to account for reduced demand or other energy sources that can have a huge impact on supplies. Oil and coal are only parts of a larger energy picture. When looking at only oil or only coal, it's easy to lose sight of the whole picture and get caught up in peaks and such. I'm just trying to look at the whole picture.


What reduced demand? Demand for energy increases over time. If you think that efficiency gains are going to lead to lower consumption, then you're wrong. Jeevon's Paradox, which states that increased efficiency is cashed out as consumption, has been shown to be true time after time. And what whole picture? Oil and coal provide about two thirds of the world's energy, the bulk of the remainder coming from natural gas and nuclear. All of these are subject to resource constraints: if it hasn't peaked already, oil will within the next 10 years, gas maybe sometime in the 2020s or 2030s and coal beyond that. Uranium? Who knows, some say not for centuries, others decades but if it's going to pick up the slack from fossil fuels and growing demand, it's going to be decades and, of course, uranium mining and processing uses huge amounts of fossil fuels itself. Of course, if anthropogenic climate change isn't a problem and maintaining lifestyles based on reckless over-consumption is such a priority, we may as well just torch the Amazon and use that to power our iPods and Hummers.
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:13 am

Lampang wrote:If oil prices go to $20/gallon, a functioning economy will be nothing but a distant memory.


People will still buy, sell and trade. Life will still go on. I have a hard time believing that increases in fuel prices would completely destroy an economy. I do believe it would depress the economy though.

Lampang wrote:What reduced demand? Demand for energy increases over time. If you think that efficiency gains are going to lead to lower consumption, then you're wrong. Jeevon's Paradox, which states that increased efficiency is cashed out as consumption, has been shown to be true time after time. And what whole picture? Oil and coal provide about two thirds of the world's energy, the bulk of the remainder coming from natural gas and nuclear. All of these are subject to resource constraints: if it hasn't peaked already, oil will within the next 10 years, gas maybe sometime in the 2020s or 2030s and coal beyond that. Uranium? Who knows, some say not for centuries, others decades but if it's going to pick up the slack from fossil fuels and growing demand, it's going to be decades and, of course, uranium mining and processing uses huge amounts of fossil fuels itself. Of course, if anthropogenic climate change isn't a problem and maintaining lifestyles based on reckless over-consumption is such a priority, we may as well just torch the Amazon and use that to power our iPods and Hummers.


If I remember correctly US oil demand declined for a brief period during the financial crisis. I remember seeing news stories about it. Of course since the price of oil has dropped, demand has increased again.

Also, demand decreased in the 1970's. The economy and civilization as a whole managed to survive the gas shortages and rationing back then.

As for peak uranium. Fast breeder reactors are one solution. Thorium is another.

I'm not advocating continued reckless consumption. I would just like to see the lights stay on.

Why is it that if I don't agree with your point-of-view that I'm automatically branded a materialistic heathen seeking to burn the rain forest and destroy the world for my own evil amusement? I own a 1988 Buick, and rarely actually drive it. I do not own an ipod. The shirt that I'm wearing in my avatar picture was one of several that I found in the garbage 8 years ago. Yes, I go dumpster diving, even though I can afford to buy new stuff. There's lots of perfectly good stuff that others throw away. I'm not a materialistic person. I just don't agree with your point-of-view.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Lampang » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:03 am

People will still buy, sell and trade. Life will still go on. I have a hard time believing that increases in fuel prices would completely destroy an economy. I do believe it would depress the economy though.

Four out the five last recessions have been preceded by an increase in oil prices. Many - Jeff Rubin, for example - think that oil was the major factor in precipitating the most recent. Oil is not going to get to $20 a gallon because economic activity will shut down long before it gets there and this will drive down prices, in exactly the same way that the last price rise was halted. If, however, by some magic oil did get to $20 a gallon, the costs would swallow the economy.

If I remember correctly US oil demand declined for a brief period during the financial crisis. I remember seeing news stories about it. Of course since the price of oil has dropped, demand has increased again.

Also, demand decreased in the 1970's. The economy and civilization as a whole managed to survive the gas shortages and rationing back then.

Yes, US consumption has fallen. That's because there's a recession. That's pretty much the only time that consumption falls. Here's a nice graph to illustrate that:

Image

As you can see, the two periods were consumption drops significantly are during the oil embargo and the early 80s recession (caused by a variety of factors, chief amongst them a spike in oil prices.)

Did the economy survive the OPEC embargo? Yes, in one sense but oil quadrupled in price and as consequence the West experienced a major economic contraction when - at its greatest extent - the embargo cut supplies by only a quarter and then only for a relatively short period.

As as side note, it's worth noting that the IEA admit that decline in mature fields is something like 9%. If you look at the decline in the North Sea and especially at Cantarell you can see what's in score. At Cantarell, for example, production peaked in 2003 at 2.1 million barrels; only six years later it's producing a third of that. Cantarell was the fifth largest oil field in the world. If you want to argue against peak oil, you've got some work to do.

As for peak uranium. Fast breeder reactors are one solution. Thorium is another.

Maybe but nuclear imposes extraordinary burdens on future generations. Like climate change, it's a form of extreme inter-generational exploitation and I don't think maintaining our current living arrangements comes within a million miles of justifying the imposition of that kind of burden on the future. The problem isn't how to sneak past resource constraints whilst nature isn't looking; it's how to live with what the world gives us.

Why is it that if I don't agree with your point-of-view that I'm automatically branded a materialistic heathen seeking to burn the rain forest and destroy the world for my own evil amusement? I own a 1988 Buick, and rarely actually drive it. I do not own an ipod. The shirt that I'm wearing in my avatar picture was one of several that I found in the garbage 8 years ago. Yes, I go dumpster diving, even though I can afford to buy new stuff. There's lots of perfectly good stuff that others throw away. I'm not a materialistic person. I just don't agree with your point-of-view.

I have no problem with your disagreeing with my point of view. If you think Spurs are a better team than Arsenal, you'd be wrong but I can live with that. What I have a problem with is the consequence of beliefs and the consequence of your beliefs is ... well ... something much like the burning down of the Amazon to fuel a Hummer. If all you want to do is keep the lights on, fine. But if you want a world of super-abundance with desk-top factories printing out whatever it is that your fancy desires, that's rather different. And if you start defending climate change denialism or denying the reality of resource constraints, you've got to expect a response from people. These are, after all, issues which provoke deep, deep moral questions - the deepest moral questions of our time. Lives - many, many lives - hang on these questions so blithely dismissing these concerns, as you seem to have done in a few posts, is going to provoke people, as you've provoked me.
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Annapurna » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:40 am

Tex wrote:Is wind a viable future energy source? (I know next to nothing about this stuff)

I recall oil gazillionaire T. Boone Pickens proposing a plan for massive wind farms out in West Texas, but he's apparently had difficulty getting funding.

Does wind hold any promise as a solution?

Yes, Tex, and we also already have the technology for it.

Germany doesn't have much oil, so we have windenergy
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:36 am

Hi, Tex,
Here are some (reasonably) solid figures to back up Anna's response.
http://www.energyrefuge.com/blog/denmark-leads-wind-power-ranking-in-europe/
You might like to review Poto's first response to your question in the the light of what is said here.

:thinking:

Kim
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby poto » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:42 pm

Lampang wrote:Did the economy survive the OPEC embargo? Yes, in one sense but oil quadrupled in price and as consequence the West experienced a major economic contraction when - at its greatest extent - the embargo cut supplies by only a quarter and then only for a relatively short period.


Gas was at $5/gallon not too long ago. $20/gallon would be a quadrupling in price from that level. If we survived a quadrupling once, we can again. Also, $20/gallon for algae bio-fuels is a worst-case scenario if all fossil fuels ran out today and we had to use current technology. In the future, when the peaks are actually a problem, I would hope that the technology would have advanced enough to make it a bit cheaper. That would make the economic shock far less. There are people working diligently on getting algae fuels to the $1/gallon price level. If they are successful we will be able to transition to bio-fuels far earlier and with no price shock.

Lampang wrote:As as side note, it's worth noting that the IEA admit that decline in mature fields is something like 9%. If you look at the decline in the North Sea and especially at Cantarell you can see what's in score. At Cantarell, for example, production peaked in 2003 at 2.1 million barrels; only six years later it's producing a third of that. Cantarell was the fifth largest oil field in the world. If you want to argue against peak oil, you've got some work to do.


I know mature fields are declining. I'm not arguing against that. I know oil will eventually run out. I just don't think it's going to be the end of the world or the end of our civilization.

Lampang wrote:
As for peak uranium. Fast breeder reactors are one solution. Thorium is another.

Maybe but nuclear imposes extraordinary burdens on future generations. Like climate change, it's a form of extreme inter-generational exploitation and I don't think maintaining our current living arrangements comes within a million miles of justifying the imposition of that kind of burden on the future. The problem isn't how to sneak past resource constraints whilst nature isn't looking; it's how to live with what the world gives us.


How is it extreme inter-generational exploitation? We have the capacity to recycle most of our nuclear fuel and waste. Sadly, the US lags behind countries like France in this area, but I'm certain we'll catch up in time.

Lampang wrote:I have no problem with your disagreeing with my point of view. If you think Spurs are a better team than Arsenal, you'd be wrong but I can live with that. What I have a problem with is the consequence of beliefs and the consequence of your beliefs is ... well ... something much like the burning down of the Amazon to fuel a Hummer. If all you want to do is keep the lights on, fine. But if you want a world of super-abundance with desk-top factories printing out whatever it is that your fancy desires, that's rather different. And if you start defending climate change denialism or denying the reality of resource constraints, you've got to expect a response from people. These are, after all, issues which provoke deep, deep moral questions - the deepest moral questions of our time. Lives - many, many lives - hang on these questions so blithely dismissing these concerns, as you seem to have done in a few posts, is going to provoke people, as you've provoked me.


It's not my intention to provoke you. I'm not trying to poke you with a virtual stick, just expressing my viewpoint. I used to be a very negative person. I spent a lot of time dwelling on the things you mention, global warming, peak oil, etc. Before becoming Buddhist, I even went so far as to stockpile food and weapons in case the worst came to pass. The gloom and doom of these problems was a great hindrance in my mind. Fortunately, I've had experiences that have allowed me to let go of my attachment to those things and change my perspective on the world. I post the things I do because I don't want to see others suffer the same way I did, stressing and worrying about impermanent things.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:07 pm

I said I wouldn't but I can't help myself, this is serious business.

Outcome Grim at Oil War Game
"The exercise, called "Oil Shockwave" and played out in a Washington hotel ballroom, had real-life former top U.S. officials taking on the role of members of the president's Cabinet convening to respond to escalating energy crises, culminating in $5.32-a-gallon gasoline and a world wobbling into recession"


"The American people are going to pay a terrible price for not having had an energy strategy," said former CIA director Robert M. Gates, who took on the role of national security adviser. Stepping out of character, he added that "the scenarios portrayed were absolutely not alarmist; they're realistic."

- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01896.html

There is no time to sit round and start working on a plan B once demand exceeds supply. If you want to talk plan B, it should already have been underway now.

Wishful notions about rescuing our way of life with "renewables" are also unrealistic. Solar-electric systems and wind turbines face not only the enormous problem of scale but the fact that the components require substantial amounts of energy to manufacture and the probability that they can't be manufactured at all without the underlying support platform of a fossil-fuel economy. We will surely use solar and wind technology to generate some electricity for a period ahead but probably at a very local and small scale.

Virtually all "biomass" schemes for using plants to create liquid fuels cannot be scaled up to even a fraction of the level at which things are currently run. What's more, these schemes are predicated on using oil and gas "inputs" (fertilizers, weed-killers) to grow the biomass crops that would be converted into ethanol or bio-diesel fuels. This is a net energy loser -- you might as well just burn the inputs and not bother with the biomass products. Proposals to distill trash and waste into oil by means of thermal depolymerization depend on the huge waste stream produced by a cheap oil and gas economy in the first place.

- http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/ ... _emergency

If oil reaches $20 a gallon, and that's a pretty conservative estimate for the future, then bare in mind that the price of food is almost 'pegged' to the price of oil. So if the price of oil is going up 800% then you're looking at, at least a 400% rise in food prices.

What happens when the basic necessities that 1/6 of Americans are already struggling to afford at $2.50 a gallon suddenly rise 400% in price?
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Peak Oil

Postby BlackBird » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:50 pm

"The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking."

- Robert Hirsch, from the Hirsch report comissioned by the US Department of Energy.

Now if most of the experts laid their bets on a peak of circa 2010, and we needed to be initiating serious action more than a decade in advance of 2010, then we're down shit creek without a paddle (if you will please excuse my language).

Also please bare in mind that the IEA has been thoroughly distorting it's figures for many years now, and there is a lot of evidence to this accord
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... rgy-agency

Again, I urge you to examine what all the experts are saying on this matter, it's not a pretty picture.

metta
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"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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