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For the second day in a row, a major news publication prints an important article on peak oil. After the Independent's strongly worded criticism of the numbers in BP's yearly statistical almanach, it is Business Week's turn to provide a stark assessment of the oil situation. The article is short and an excellent introduction to the issues surrounding peak oil; I can only recommned that you read it in full.

First, the meat of the Independent article (which got the full front page headline, as you can see here):

Scientists have criticised a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.


BP's Statistical Review is the most widely used estimate of world oil reserves but as Dr Campbell points out it is only a summary of highly political estimates supplied by governments and oil companies.

As Dr Campbell explains: "When I was the boss of an oil company I would never tell the truth. It's not part of the game."

A survey of the four countries with the biggest reported reserves - Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait - reveals major concerns. In Kuwait last year, a journalist found documents suggesting the country's real reserves were half of what was reported. Iran this year became the first major oil producer to introduce oil rationing - an indication of the administration's view on which way oil reserves are going.

The doubts about oil-rich countries' reserves has long been voiced by many people aware of the problem. But as people quote the BP numbers unquestioningly, and BP uses the political data similarly unquestioningly, politicians and the wider public either won't know about it or have an excuse to ignore the topic.

To rexspond to geologists, BP sent out ... an economist - who made true the old joke that "to believe that things can grow on infinitely in a finite world, you have to be insane or an economist":

This scenario is flatly denied by BP, whose chief economist Peter Davies has dismissed the arguments of "peak oil" theorists.

"We don't believe there is an absolute resource constraint. When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking."

That's the quite of dialogue we have:

  • "resource is finite"
  • "no, it's not finite"

Guess who we still listen to?

In that context, the article in BusinessWeek is like a breath of fresh air:

From Peak Oil To Dark Age?

Oil output has stalled, and it's not clear the capacity exists to raise production

With global oil production virtually stalled in recent years, controversial predictions that the world is fast approaching maximum petroleum output are looking a bit less controversial.

Here, let me add a bonus: a 1976 video of King Hubbert, the first scientist to propose the idea that there would be a peak in oil production - and who got the date for the US peak (1970) exactly right (well, within one year):

After describing the consequences of peak oil (potentially devastating economic recession, geopolitical tensions, and an acceleration og climate change as we'd switch to coal), they say this:

GIVEN SUCH UNPLEASANT possibilities, you'd think peak oil would be a national obsession. But policymakers can hide behind the possibility that vast troves will be available from unconventional sources, or that secretive oil-exporting nations really have the huge reserves they claim. Yet even if those who say that the peak has arrived are wrong, enough disturbing omens—for example, declining production in most of the world's great oil fields and no new superfields to take up the slack—exist for the issue to merit an intense international focus.

This is the most frustrating bit in the whole discussion about peak oil - the refusal by politicians and other entities that can shape policy to even consider that peak oil is possible, and that something should be done just in case.

In a way, this mirrors the reaction to climate change, but in either case, we're wasting valuable time arguin whether it's a certainty or not, whereas the potential risks are so huge that it makes sense to take preventive measures to avoid them even if their probability of occurrence is fairly low. But nope.

(As an aside here, there is a debate within the peak oil world as to whether the more pessimistic scenarios regarding climate change can happen taking into consideration that the fossil fuel quantities estimated to be remaining do not seem to make it possible to emit so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In any case, either or both will happen in the next dacades, and the good news is that there is a 'simple' solution to both: reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and the corresponding emissions of fossil fuels wastes)

And BusinessWeek notes another stark point:

The reality is that it will be here much sooner for the U.S.—in the form of peak oil exports. Since we import nearly two-thirds of the oil we consume, global oil available for export should be our bigger concern. Fast-growing domestic consumption in oil-exporting nations and increasing appetites by big importers such as China portend tighter supplies available to the U.S., unless world production rises rapidly. But output has stalled. Call it de facto peak oil or peak oil lite. It means the U.S. is entering an age when it will have to scramble to maintain existing import levels.

I've already written about the fact that amongst the top 6 countries with the highest oil consumption increase in recent years you find Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran, i.e. 3 big producers flush with cash and buying plenty of cars which use heavily subsidized gas.  

Highest oil consumption increases between 2000 and 2006 (resp. production increases)

China: +2,670,000 b/d (+430,000 b/d)
USA: +860,000 b/d (-460,000 b/d)
Saudi Arabia: +470,000 b/d (+1,370,000 b/d)
Russia: +350,000 b/d (+3,230,000 b/d)
Iran: +350,000 b/d (+520,000 b/d)
India: +320,000 b/d (+25,000 b/d)
Canada: +290,000 b/d (+420,000 b/d)
United Arab Emirates: +150,000 b/d (+350,000 b/d)
Spain: +150,000 b/d (nil)

As you can see, higher consumption has eaten up between one and two thirds of the production increases in some of the biggest oil producers (including Canada, whose net exports have barely budged...)

And the article ends up with all the right notes, including a call for gas taxes, and the nee to avoid a switch to coal:

There are many things we in the U.S. can do (and should have been doing) other than the present policy of crossing our fingers. If an oil tax makes sense from a climate change perspective, it seems doubly worthy if it extends supplies. Boosting efficiency and scaling up alternatives must also be a priority. And, recognizing that nations will turn to cheap coal (recently, 80% of growth in coal use has come from China), more work is needed to defang this fuel, which produces more carbon dioxide per ton than any other energy source.

Even if the peakists are wrong, we would still be better off taking these actions. And if they're right, major efforts right now may be the only way to avert a new Dark Age in an overheated world.

Hopefully, such wise words will be heard more and more.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 06:51 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar - 15 June (223+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeWi, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, jmart, vicki, Marek, dwellscho, pb, goldstone, GeckoBlue, ssmt, Inky, melo, SarahLee, alyosha, Sparhawk, natasha, acquittal, XOVER, Trendar, Detlef, daninoah, Pen, melvynny, Bob Love, sphealey, Shockwave, wu ming, cotterperson, democat, Jim W, Private Keepout, Midwest Meg, jdld, eeff, ZAPatty, RFK Lives, object16, mataliandy, hubcap, silence, Vitarai, Hatu, m00nchild, BlackGriffen, Wee Mama, dlcampbe, Euroliberal, megs, SecondComing, srkp23, grassroot, HippyWitch, wanderindiana, ksh01, retrograde, vmibran, Aquarius40, roses, javelina, itsmitch, dchill, wonmug, jsmagid, leevank, johanus, hono lulu, BrooklynVoice, 2dot, Dood Abides, migo, walkshills, McJulie, YetiMonk, WisVoter, lurker123, Little Red Hen, kd texan, bibble, cohe, TexH, Gowrie Gal, sxwarren, rapala, nailbender, gradinski chai, GuyFromOhio, G2geek, radarlady, pattyp, Owl of Minerva, Doolittle Sothere, Alexander G Rubio, bellevie, BluejayRN, blueyedace2, greatferm, SherwoodB, ignorant bystander, PBen, offred, tgray, Bcre8ve, karpinsky, sidonie, catleigh, kamarkamarka, jon the antizionist jew, Buffalo Girl, dunderhead, GreyHawk, lotlizard, Churchill, blue jersey mom, tamarlively, ikrisarus, Shotput8, wiscmass, Rogneid, oibme, JanL, empathy, kkjohnson, thiroy, Paper Cup, FrankFrink, esquimaux, Keone Michaels, Taunger, ainwa, Milly Watt, vigilant meerkat, Rippe, BlueInARedState, stonemason, victoria2dc, deha, Magnifico, mcartri, MJ via Chicago, HairyTrueMan, A Siegel, Lashe, warringtonclan, Bush Bites, real world chick, PapaChach, JVolvo, NearlyNormal, mcmom, CTLiberal, vcwagner, ER Doc, Randolph06, murphthesurf, txdemfem, Dianna, va dare, The Lighthouse Keeper, Cassiodorus, scoff0165, kurious, chesapeake, Snarcalita, mariachi mama, sea note, DBunn, goon 01, lams712, One Pissed Off Liberal, Iowa Boy, dotdot, marykk, Elco B, A Mad Mad World, friendlyfire, YD, Ken in MN, dotsright, Fredly, Bob Guyer, kmiddle, godislove, cfaller96, lemming22, Norm DePlume, kath25, ReadyForChange, BehereBenow, deepeco, Sean in Motion, netguyct, The Angry Rakkasan, sldulin, konscious, cville townie, trivium, WhiteCenterLib, Light Emitting Pickle, Man in the Middle, JoeW, Dem in the heart of Texas, chapter1, aztecraingod, davewill, glaser, Justus, ynp junkie, Captain C, cardeity48, oolali, I, bodymind, galaxy33, ReEnergizer, Wes Opinion, Mannabass, wagdog, Akonitum, wvablue, kN3eLb4Z0d, apostrophobia
  •  Thanks for picking this up (15+ / 0-)

    I saw the Independent article yesterday and immediately thought of you.  Since you're a diarist who draws significant readership, I held off doing a predictable "Breaking" diary about it.

    Question authoritarianism

    by m00nchild on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 06:55:36 AM PDT

  •  This is completely believable... (19+ / 0-)

    ...which means we should all ignore it entirely.

    Party at my house tonight! It's expected to be hot out, but don't worry--I've got the AC cranked up full blast.

    •  I'll bring the brats and we can pour on a couple (17+ / 0-)

      quarts of lighter fluid to get the coals going.  Make sure you mow/edge/weed whip/leaf blow your yard thoroughly.

      This space for rent.

      by bherner on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  With the doors wide open! (17+ / 0-)

      Once you get that AC on be sure to just use a screen door, or leave a door wide open -- more inviting for the guests.

      It drives me CRAAAZY to walk by all of these stores down here in Texas with the AC blasting and the doors wide open. The Petco does it. The Bath & Body Works does it. You walk near the open door and feel the artic blast.


      •  Not to mention... (20+ / 0-)

        It drives me CRAAAZY to walk by all of these stores down here in Texas with the AC blasting and the doors wide open.

        ...all those desert cities with their big green golf courses and lawns, all using energy-hogging sprinkler systems pumping water from dwindling aquifers.

        I really despair at our ability to ever cure ourselves of our insatiable hunger to always have whatever we want, whenever we want it.

        •  In my neighborhood (8+ / 0-)

          people are out mowing their lawns every other day to cut that extra centimeter off the top that just grew over those two days.  And these are 1-acre lots.  All this during a drought.  I guess they have alot of time (and money for fuel) on their hands. It drives me nuts.

          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it - Aristotle

          by gatorcog on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:31:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is a better way for golf courses (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, KansasLiberal

          I live in an area that is semi-arid and we're a resort area with many golf courses.

          Many of those golf courses now feature a system which uses many sensors across the courses to measure soil dryness. This greatly minimizes the amount of water used and is set up to independently water only those areas which need it. They apply only enough water to reach maximum efficiency in the top soil layer and then stop. And no watering in the heat of the day, when evaporation negates 50-70% of the water used. Watering periods are primarily early morning and late, late afternoon. No watering at night either - that encourages too much insect and weed growth.

          So, there are ways to maximize the impact of your water usage. These systems are generally too expensive for the home owner but would be much more effective than the random watering I see all over. Locally drip irrigation has caught on and that again focuses on the best utilization of the resource.

          These are all cost effective practices and in a competitive situation, help lower the bottom line and increase profit. They represent an adaptation of high tech sensors and computerization that has made a big difference in water consumption, one I hope will move into the general consumer market in time.

          Illumination is cheap around here.

          by walkshills on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 01:32:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Start a local protest, after talking to the (5+ / 0-)

        managers and asking them if they would close their doors. This can be helped by asking your friends to also talk to the managers, then write letters to the editor, then start a local protest/boycott. I am convinced that the addiction to carbon-based fuels must be fought at the local, then state, then national level. Then maybe, after enough publicity, the Reps and Senators will start to enact legislation. The usual lobbys will fight back, but it can be done. All successful movements start at the bottom up. Oftentimes it takes a leader to emerge: Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., AL GORE, to lead the protests. It is going to be the most difficult movement of all, because it is going to require a Congress and President have the guts to do as Europe does, raise taxes on fuel consumption to the level that people HAVE to change their behavior. If not, there could be a time in the not too distant future where there are ration books, as in WW11, which would not be a bad thing.

        I think, therefore I am, I think.

        by mcmom on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:31:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, McMom! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I will. The next time I walk to my local shopping center, I will ask. And if they say it's too cold in the store otherwise, I will suggest they... ooh, I don't know... turn off the A/C for awhile?!

          •  Try double doors (0+ / 0-)

            That's what the energy efficient stores do. Double doors segregate the coolness back and reduce the direct loss.

            That is relatively cheap and effective solution and you can point the costs savings, always a great argument with business owners, will more than pay for the cost of the construction.

            Illumination is cheap around here.

            by walkshills on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 01:16:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Even those who propagate the myth (17+ / 0-)

    that oil will (practically) never run out must know that it will, right?  I mean, I assume they are just engaging in deception, and possibly self-deception, to keep their companies in the black until the day the oil runs out, at which point they will retire on the profits they've made.

    That gets me thinking: Assuming they agree that we will hit peak oil at some point, are any of them planning their legacies to continue to be filthy-rich AFTER peak oil?  That is, is there an oil company CEO who projects that, 50 or 100 years from now, oil will be too scarce to generate earnings for investors?  If so, what are they (or their personal trusts) investing in other than oil?

    What I'm getting at so circuitously is this: If we see that those in the know are investing heavily in alternative energies like ethanol or hydrogen or wind power or whatever, that may show that they actually believe oil WILL run out within a few generations.  I'm sure they're willing to snow job the rest of us, but I doubt they would be willing to snow job themselves and their heirs.

    •  Actually (42+ / 0-)

      when you see how much money the big oil companies have returned to their shareholders (in the form of share buybacks mostly), you get a very clear message: "we think you can do better with your money than letting us invest in oil production".

      At a time of record high oil prices, this speaks volumes - about the lack of investment opportunities in the sector. The industry is dying and knows it. It will be slow, and it will be highly profitable, but it is nevertheless dying.

      •  Yep. We're the Easter Islanders... (21+ / 0-)

        cutting down every last tree...all the while sticking our fingers in our ears and going "LALALALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" when someone points out that this might not be the best idea.

        The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

        by kmiddle on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:13:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hardly (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sphealey, MJB, walkshills, Churchill, galaxy33

          Jared Diamond is an entertaining writer but to compare a small island ecosystem to the complexity and resiliance of the global economy is a prime example of Orwell's view that some things are so stupid only an academic would believe them.

          •  Well, (12+ / 0-)

            David Quammen's brilliant book "Song of the Dodo," convincingly argues that the world is, in fact, gradually being broken up into countless island habitats. Environmentally and economically, the sooner we realize that, the better.

            Of course the world economy is much more resilient than Easter Island's. But we can make the transition into a post-oil world merely painful or catastrophic--with the poor being the main victims, of course.

            Right now, my wager's on catastrophic.

            •  Your comment reminds me of a parody (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I saw in the Onion.  The headline read:

              World Comes to an End: Poor Suffer the Most.

              I am not familir with Quammmen's book so I will have to take your word for its brilliance. But it strikes me that the world ecology is becoming more closely integrated as opposed to more island-like.

              The ruling world perspective of DKos and the Democratic party is deep pessimism about the future and that is unfortunate because pessimism is not a winning political point of view.

          •  Heh, yeah (19+ / 0-)

            to compare a small island ecosystem to the complexity and resiliance of the global economy

            Obviously a ridiculous comparison. I mean, when the Easter Islanders failed, the rest of the planet didn't even notice.

            I had an argument once with a fellow SF fan, who thought it was "arrogant" to assume that human activity could "destroy the planet."

            I told him I didn't care about that -- I cared about the capacity of the planet to sustain human life. This planet existed -- and had life -- for millions of years before we came along. It will probably exist for millions of years after we are gone.

            But I'm very species-ist, and narrow minded, and selfish as well, so I kind of don't want to live through a global environmental catastrophe. I don't care if the planet survives it -- it probably will, it's survived others in the past. Heck, the human race will probably survive it. We're like cockroaches that way.

            I'm just lazy. I don't want to spend my old age scrabbling around in the post-apocalyptic rubble of a culture that refused to adapt to a changing environment until it was too late and adapting was no longer an option.

          •  No (10+ / 0-)

            Our whole economic system is predicated on the abundance of cheap oil, which is going bye-bye.  So I think the analogy fits.

            This administration is corrupt and cannot be removed. Abort, retry, fail?

            by aztecraingod on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:30:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Easter Island is an analogy (8+ / 0-)

            for what can happen when competition among elites for status, population growth, deforestation, and climate change combine to create collapse of a society. All life was not eliminated, just most human life. They over ran the base resources on which their society depended and did not adjust in time to prevent a large scale collapse.

            The island is analogous to the earth in total and the global industrial economy is analogous to the Easter island society. When the social arrangements supported by the economic operation of the society exceed their underlying natural base of support, deflation of varying degrees is inevitable.

            Our economy does not operate independent from our environmental and biological base of existence. The flexibility and resilience of the economy can not exceed the resilience and flexibility of our biological selves and the environment of which we are an inseparable part. Our achievement of the extra-biological power of the industrial age, and our management of that through our current economic system, does not change that fact. So on this one I have to disagree with you despite the framing of the issue you have already used which is that anyone with such thoughts is stupid and a victim of academic abstraction from the real world.

            Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

            by Bob Guyer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:36:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good explanation (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Guyer, Akonitum

              The world may look like a big place with boundless resources compared to tiny Easter Island, but we've scoured the entire globe looking for oil, a precious resource that fuels our transportation and has no substitutes in the short and medium term.

              •  There are plenty of subsitutes (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jerome a Paris, dwcal, Bob Guyer, galaxy33

                given time and the right price incentives. There is a substitute for everything.

                For transportation there is telecommuting, bikes, walking, car pooling, public trans, moving closer to work, just to name a few off the top of my head.

                On the supply side there are hybrids, fuel cells and electric cars all powered by solar, wind, tidal or nuclear power.  

                We are far from running out of oil, we are simply running out of the easy to find and process oil.

                We could accelerate a shift to alternatives by raising the price of oil through higher taxation, which is something we definitely should do.

                •  It is a question of acceleration (5+ / 0-)

                  Can the switch to alternative energy sources happen fast enough to slow climate change to the point where we will be able to adapt with the least damage to human life and the other forms of life that keep the planet habitable by humans.

                  We can switch from oil to other sources of energy but how fast can we do it. Incentives that capture the negative externalities of oil would help shift investment but to be realistic you have to factor in the use of accumulated capital in the existing energy infrastructure that will resist change, so it isn't as simple as putting in some more realistic price signals  so the market will correct its self.

                  I don't think life will come to an end but if we don't make a large scale shift in energy sources and infrastructure very soon the cost in human lives and suffering secondary to climate change will be much larger than I would like.

                  Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                  by Bob Guyer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:21:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Next time you go to the supermarket (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dwcal, HugoDog, empathy, Bob Guyer, Akonitum

                  Look around and notice how much plastic you see.  Everything there has been shipped hundreds, if not thousands, of miles on diesel-powered trucks driving on asphalt roads.  When you buy a pound of beef, you're really buying a bunch of oil with some beef thrown in on the deal.  

                  Cheap oil permeates every economic act we commit.  The fact that we are running out of the cheap stuff is THE problem.  Combine this with a hyper-inflationary monetary policy and you get what we are seeing today (notice the inflation numbers that came out today- if you don't consume energy or food, you're doing great!).

                  This administration is corrupt and cannot be removed. Abort, retry, fail?

                  by aztecraingod on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:11:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Same thing (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bob Guyer, aztecraingod, Akonitum

                  You said given time and the right price incentive. That effectively means long term. There are something like 250 million motor vehicles registered in the US. We bought something like 17 million new cars and light trucks last year.  Buying a new vehicle that's more efficient or uses different fuel is not a short term substitute, and it's barely a medium term substitute. I'm not even getting to other uses of oil besides personal transportation, like getting groceries to the supermarket. You want to see something scary, check how much natural gas is used to make fertilizer. Now consider that every pound of meat was fed at least 10 pounds of grain fed with chemical fertilizer and diesel powered farm equipment.

            •  And a very poor analogy at that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Guyer

              The base resource of any society is its intellectual capital. That of the Easter Islands was quite limited compared to the intellectual capital of the global economy which is massive and growing exponentially.  

              Philosophers and doomsters have been forecsting the end of world since the beginning of time. In pre-modern times it was do to some act of an angry god. In modern times, the new angry god is the environment. I don't buy the religion, nor should you.  

              •  I'm not predicting the end of the world (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                peggy, wonmug, Akonitum

                you don't need to exaggerate to make your point. Are you thinking that our collective intellect will generate a science based engineering solution to global climate change and that combined with the action of markets constrained by appropriate negative and positive incentives we will overcome the pace and degree of climate change related to oil use as a primary energy source?

                I think there are a lot of strengths inherent in our accumulated and growing capacity for knowledge and innovation but there are a lot of other factors at work in human behavior and decision making. Competition for social power and status have not changed much since Easter Island. This drive is one of the underlying factors that made societies past fail to adapt. I think we are similar in that respect and that our economic system is a place that is used in large measure to act out that aspect of human nature. So I disagree with the general idea that because we know more, we are so much different that the analogy does not apply.

                Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                by Bob Guyer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:32:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Re (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                empathy, Bob Guyer, aztecraingod

                Philosophers and doomsters have been forecsting the end of world since the beginning of time. In pre-modern times it was do to some act of an angry god. In modern times, the new angry god is the environment. I don't buy the religion, nor should you.  

                There are times when you have to understand why present times are different than previous times. The global economy we live in seems normal to you and unlikely to collapse because you've grown up organically as a part of it. But if you take the long view (of hundreds of years), our industral civilization just sprang up overnight and went from consuming virtually no resources to consuming staggering amounts of them in almost no time at all. We could vanish just as quickly.

                A guy I know drank and drove all the time. Relentlessly. Lived his life recklessly, insanely. Friends of mine were sure he would hurt himself. We figured before he was 20.

                When he was 27, he got into a major car crash.

                •  Our level of extra-biological power is so much (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  empathy, Akonitum

                  different than in our evolutionary history up until a few hundred years ago that we have created a circumstance we have never had to deal with. It follows that the ways of thinking that brought us to this point may be way off in terms of getting us through this. I agree with your summary and it really has been in the blink of an eye as far as biological evolution and even its much quicker cousin, cultural evolution.

                  Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                  by Bob Guyer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:00:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well... (4+ / 0-)

                I could agree that a base resource of any society is its intellectual capital. Another base resource is the surrounding environment on which it feeds.

                Complex modern society (including intellectual capital) feeds on fossil fuels. To continue business-as-usual growth, shift to substitutes for increasing scarcity of oil and natural gas must happen at a rate to offset production declines, export declines (likely to be steeper), growth expectations (including international competition), and new infrastructure building delays.

                It doesn't look good.

                Still, even if intellectual capital magically solves the current energy crisis, and solves (instead of amplifying by shift to coal) global warming problems, there are even more limits to growth that would need magical solutions.

                The "doomers-have-been-wrong-so-many-times" argument is a fallacy. So-called doomers sometimes have been correct.

                King Hubbert, for example, in 1956 forecast US oil production peak to happen around 1970. Although otherwise widely respected in the industry, he was widely mocked for that forecast. Turns out, though, he was right. And 35+ years of applied intellectual capital since then still hasn't turned that one around.

                The religious analogues I see are cargo cult-like beliefs in economics (higher prices) and/or technology (and intellectual capital) to solve all major problems (even to trump physics).

                The high priests and clerics of corporate capitalism (economists, politicians, and business people) mostly worship indiscriminate growth. While they continue to push exponential economic growth, they do so partly by pushing in the opposite direction with great power to prevent and erode protections against environmental destruction and pollution (including global warming).

                Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast?(video clip: 8.5 min)

                •  Or trumping biology with "Economics" (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ericy, Jerome a Paris, empathy, Akonitum

                  When I majored in business as an undergrad I could see that a lot of the dogma recited as fact was not based in science but often flew in the face of both logic and  science like the ideas of unlimited growth in a finite material world, eternal efficiency gains in production and delivery systems, etc. It seemed self serving but essentially not harmful at the time and I learned the dogma so I could fit in and make a living. Now with the reality of finite resources oil and atmosphere, the harm is coming home to roost and it will be felt keenly in biological systems, we humans obviously fall into that category. If we were actually economic creatures then economists would be right, we could live off the economy as if it was possessed of an essential self existence like the plants we eat to survive.

                  Our economy sucks up our environment, people, and government. Redesign it at Beyond Political Center

                  by Bob Guyer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:10:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  A take away from Jared Diamond... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ericy, empathy

            are societies' obvious repeated pattern of growing into an overshoot and collapse dynamic. If small island populations can't turn around before overshooting their ability to sustain themselves, it likely will be more difficult for the population on the island called Earth.

            Are Humans Smarter Than Yeast? (video clip: 8.5 min)

          •  That would make sense if it was even close (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to Diamond's thesis. He was NOT saying that our situation is like Easter Island. He was pointing out the decision making of the leaders, making large ego-boosting monuments and war between tribes and compared it to other islands that cooperated instead. He then goes on to show similar contrasts in larger, more interconnected cultures.

            He thesis was that leadership and good resource management is essential if our culture is to be sustainable and prosperous.

            "People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
            - J. Danforth Quayle

            by davewill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:45:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We Don't Have The Luxury Of Time ... (8+ / 0-)

        to wait any longer to start getting serious about alternative energy sources and infrastructure.

        With respect to hydrogen power ... if we started today to invest billions in hydrogen power R&D there are several very well regarded scientists in this area that say it would take a minimum of 50 years to overcome the significant hurdles in transitioning to that source.  We do not have the luxury of 50 years to accomplish this before we start facing economic hardships that will ensue when crude goes north of $100.

        •  Those "well-regarded scientists" (4+ / 0-)

          are plugging hydrogen technology into the current, massive, centralized "big energy" architecture.

          Which makes no sense, whatsoever.

          If we implement hydrogen in a way that takes advantage of its attributes--scalable, capable of production using solely off-peak energy (electricity or NG) or excess capacity from renewables, and consumed at the point of production--then we could reach the tipping point in transitioning to a hydrogen economy within a generation.

          In fact, GM is betting on it, according to today's WSJ.  (subscription)

          •  If GM is betting on you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ed in Montana

            I would take the other side of that bet every day. GM has a terrible record when it comes to long term investments.

            •  I had a feeling my reference to GM (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ed in Montana, dougymi, netguyct

              would elicit such a response.  And I understand why.

              To which I say this: GM has always been at the forefront of developing new technologies that ultimately prove successful.  In fact, they were the earliest developers of hybrid technology in the 1990s.  They chose not to pursue it, as gasoline prices under Clinton stayed low for years.  We all know what happened.

              In 2002, a couple of senior GM execs published an article called "Vehicle of Change" in Scientific American.  It presented a brilliant vision of the future of the automobile, based on fuel cells.  It's not that GM lacks vision, or that their strategies are not ultimately proven correct.  What they lack is a long-term focus, which has made them responders rather than market makers.

              If GM were smart, they'd be focused as much on creating the refueling infrastructure for fuel cell cars as on the cars themselves.  And I believe that within the next year, they will.

          •  The 'Go Slow' Approach Would Be Fine ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Progressive Moderate

            ... if we had 100 years worth of oil to meet burgeoning global demand (which keeps going up each year) and to replace depleted oil fields.  North Sea oil is now expected to be bone dry in 2012, and North Sea oil was really the last significant oil field discovery.

            Let's put aside all the very substantial technological hurdles with hydrogen energy that have yet to be mastered.  Focus just on the infrastructure of supplying hydrogen akin to how we supply oil/gasoline.  The idea that we could build hydrogen fuel cell supply centers in the same quantity as we currently have for gasoline is just mind boggling.

            I'm all for doing all we can to develop alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, etc.  But even the most optimistic projections on feasible production levels for these sources it is still a drop in the bucket compared to our consumption of oil.  What we need is something much more dramatic (e.g. a Manhattan Project times 1,000).  

            •  But if part of a "20 million solar roofs" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              initiative were to include fuel cell technology with it (same for wind), we could conceivably have 10-20 million H2 home/community/small business-based refueling stations by 2025.

              Focus on new construction first, as well as community applications like new low-income housing.  As investment capital comes into the sector, driving prices down, retrofitting becomes possible/cost-competitive by 2015.

              If each of the 20 million refueling stations could service, on average, 2.5 cars (the average goes up because some of these would be community-based), then we have infrastructure for 50 million FC or PHFC vehicles within 20 years.  Which is 1/5 - 1/6 of the projected U.S. fleet at that time.  That alone accounts for an 8-12 percent drop in petroleum consumption.  And the momentum is irreversible.

              Yes, it seems preposterous.  But consider the adoption rate of the PC between 1980 and 2000.  By 2000, the U.S. had perhaps 180 million PCs in service?  And in 1980, we had a few thousand?

              No question we have to take other mitigating steps in the meantime, e.g., CAFE standards.  But the only way we will solve this problem for good is a complete transformation of the energy supply system from one that is centralized, large-scale and physical to one that is decentralized, personal scale and virtual (i.e., information about small scale production/consumption is aggregated, allowing for much greater efficiencies).

        •  but we do have... (4+ / 0-)

          Solar, nuclear, wind, and conservation.

          Conservation is immediate: lower the national speed limit to 55 except in the large southeastern states where distances between towns are very large.  And we all know the usual list of other measures so I needn't repeat them here.

          Solar and wind have fast build times.  The advantage of solar is it's decentralized to every rooftop so it can be installed with local contractor labor.  Wind can be built all over the place with minimal footprint per tower, for example amidst existing agricultural land, however the limitation is that not everywhere has usable wind, and intermittency is an issue best solved by beefing up the baseload capacity.

          Nuclear has a longer build time, but the advantages of friendly fuel sources (Australia) compared to oil, and the ability to site plants anywhere needed.  Also it's the best baseload capacity for maximizing the use of solar and especially wind.

          All of these are climate-clean, safe, and well-known technologies that can be implemented starting now with no additional R&D time needed.  If we get going on this we can reduce the impact of peak oil to a more manageable level.  (Except for one thing: our agricultural fertilizers, on which most of modern food production depends, are fossil fuel products.  Uh oh...)

          Now here's a comparison for you.

          $400 billion into the Iraq war could instead have bought us:

          150 new nuclear reactors at 800 MW to 1.2 GW each,


          100,000 new utility-scale wind farms of 100 turbines each at 1 MW per turbine,


          Five million solar rooftops.  

          •  Large southeastern states? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming, mightymouse, esquimaux

            And what is Montana? Delaware-size?

            partial snark

            Who will stop this war of lies? Keith Olbermann May 23rd, 2007

            by Ed in Montana on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:08:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Electricity doesn't help (0+ / 0-)

            Oil is fuel for transportation, and electricity isn't used for transportation. Even assuming we had enough electricity to go around, it would take a 100% committed crash program starting yesterday to electrify a significant fraction of our transportation in time for peak oil.

            I agree about conservation, but speed limits are a bad plan. The original reason for the 55mph speed limit was energy conservation, but speeding is ultimately enforced as a safety violation with criminal penalties. There's no way it'll ever be enforced with civil penalties like a parking ticket. Also, my motorcycle gets 45mpg at 85mph, and diesel cars can get pretty close to that too. Automotive technology isn't stuck on 1973.

        •  Energy from Thorium. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Love, dnamj, Event Horizon, Iowa Boy

          Thorium is a safe and (relatively) clean-burning alternative to Uranium and Plutonium that is plentiful and requires little refinement.  It can substitute for some of the fuel in a conventional reactor, but the but win in safety and economy comes from its use in all-Thorium molten-salt reactors. For details see

        •  We are almost at $ 100/barrell, try $300/barrel (0+ / 0-)

          oil.  Just think about how our industrial production would stop, STOP, not slow down, but STOP!

          80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

          by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:10:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The refusal of the oilcos to (6+ / 0-)

        invest in the refinery sector in this country speaks volumes to me. That type of investment will take possibly a decade or more to pay off and it seems to me that they don't think the profitability will be there in that time. Take the money and run seems to be the mantra of the oil industry at present.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:17:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  AGREE: they don't know what to do with the $, so (0+ / 0-)

        they buy back the shareholder's stock, money back to the owners.

        80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

        by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:03:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The industry isn't dying, private companies are. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris

        Exxon isn't having some crisis of faith in oil, they're having issues with national oil companies.

        These days, countries want to run their own oil companies and pocket a larger share of the profits.

    •  Oil Barons (10+ / 0-)

      Oil barons have always been gamblers.  Prospecting for oil was for many years like trying to divine water in the desert.  And long after their profession became more grounded in empirical exploration, the oil industry still gambles.  With claims about the amount reserves vs. real world limits.  With output production and market price.  And with the very architecture of our society's ability to feed itself, produce pharmaceuticals, to package goods, and to move those goods and people from place to place.

      The consequences of this risk-taking are enormous.  And they have been granted too much power.

      They've always had too much power.  Know much about Standard Oil?  If memory serves me right it's because of that monopoly here in the US that the first significant antitrust movement began in earnest.

      They just had too much power.  And they still do.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:08:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Running low is the immediate problem, Mucho $$$$ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iowa Boy, Akonitum

      Everybody talks about running out of oil, but the real problem is that in ten years when the oil is obviously running very low a barrel of oil will cost two hundred bucks, and a gallon of gas will be ten bucks.

      That problem can occur about 2015 or so.

      80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

      by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:59:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But... (9+ / 0-)

        In some ways that's the thing that will save us. As gas becomes more expensive, our society has a powerful economic incentive to find alternatives. And nothing gets people motivated like money.

        True, we have a lot of resources invested in fundamentally unsustainable models (suburban sprawl comes to mind) but there's still a lot of room for improvement there.

        What if carpools and other types of ride-sharing simply became the norm, the expected thing, so that the idea of driving your own private car to work just seemed bizarrely wasteful, like taking a helicopter? What if suburbanites started clamoring for a change to zoning laws that keep even convenience stores miles and miles away, so that cul-de-sacs gradually came to resemble small villages? What if people became so used to walking short distances that the current suburban no-sidewalk norm simply became unthinkable? What if so many people started biking to work that there was a serious and sustained movement for safer suburban bike routes, which would in turn encourage more people to bike to work?

        Small incremental changes can actually have a huge impact.

        •  Don't give up so easily! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Churchill, Akonitum

          We can totally make this situation worse!

          Coal gassification here we come! How much do you want to bet (In 2007 six-packs) that the next thing we use to power our cars is some sort of coal by-product.

          "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

          by goon 01 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  it depends on how fast the prices rise (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris

          if it spikes too suddenly, we just collapse as a society, with no way of adjusting. if it creeps up too slowly, we'll have the time but not the inclination. what we need are a couple pre-shocks to get our attention, but with prices rising gradually enough that we can use the energy to build up an alternative infrastructure.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:53:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Say hello to 1973 and 1977 gas price rises (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            but this will be much worse.

            80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

            by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:21:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i don't think there's an industrial precedent (0+ / 0-)

              for what we're heading into. it's more like the industrial equivalent of an extended drought and resultant famine in an agricultural society. the means of sustaining civilization are going to be constricted, which is not anything we've had any experience with on a macro scale for a long, long time.

              surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

              by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 03:20:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Peak oil is a lie, but it will happen anyway (0+ / 0-)

      the oil exporting nations are being ripped off by the printing machine economy, at some point runaway inflation will happen. the question is do you want to sell what oil you have left today, when tomorrow the money you have won't be worth spit.
      the answer is pretend you're running out, and turn off the spigot. as we approach the moment of inflationary meltdown, vendors with hard assets will pull their product off the market. I mean wouldn't you do that same thing?

      "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

      by agent double o soul on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:10:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rationing in Iran is related to lack of refinery (2+ / 0-)

        capacity, not lack of oil (or so I heard on NPR) recently.

        •  another arab oil embargo? (0+ / 0-)

          good point, what exactly is it keeping Iran from using all the gasoline it wants. perhaps they have an intereest in promoting the peak oil myth as well.
          by way of analogy you see the housing market, which by all accounts is in trouble, and still prices are firm. the reason is many people are holding their property off the market. in the event of an economic crash (or hyperinflation) would you rather have a) paper stocks b) land or other hard assets. governments understand this.
          at some point the desire to hold assets off the market causes a crisis in confidence in the dollar, its not what the dollar is worth today, but what it will be worth tomorrow.

          "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

          by agent double o soul on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:46:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Most of your big customers (0+ / 0-)

        have truly hard currencies.

        One big customer uses funny money, but has the best scientists in the world.

        Do you turn off the spigot to one customer and force that customer to make your product obsolete?

        •  you simply wait to reprice (0+ / 0-)

          the big customer with funny money is able to manipulate the 'market' price of oil to a certain degree. the second biggest customer pegs his currency to the dollar, and trades primarily with big customer one, being a surrogate buyer of oil, which is why big one allows big two to subsidize muslim genocide of christians in Sudan, but proseltyzes loudly about freedom and democracy in Iraq. big one's top scientists are living in the past. they do have a greater slush fund to play around with, owing to their countries operating budget deficit. no you don't turn off the spigot, you make them pay a fair price. consider your personal health and the healthcare system as an analogy..

          "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

          by agent double o soul on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rec button is gone (0+ / 0-)

        You make a very interesting point about the "printing machine economy". I'm going to think about that. Great turn of phrase too.

        But that doesn't mean peak oil is a lie.  I've looked at this pretty hard (while not claiming to be an expert at all) and the more I look the more I don't see why it isn't true.

        The only way to make it seem not true appears to me to be either a) wishfulness, or b) elaborate conspiracy theories. Neither works for me.

        Getting back to your point about the printing machine economy, IMHO it does not conflict with actual geological peak oil. If I were an oil producer in the post-peak era, I would absolutely husband my resources and release only the amount that is strategically advantageous to me at any given time. Symbolic wealth (money) that is subject to inflation is not likely to outperform actual petro-wealth in the ground in this environment.

    •  hmmm. (0+ / 0-)

      I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Crawford ranch is off the grid. Anybody know one way or another?

      •  i found this (0+ / 0-)

        information on that. looks like it's not entirely off the grid, but uses significantly less energy and recycles its water.

        I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center. --Kurt Vonnegut

        by sadair on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:19:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree the USA needs to find alternate energy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gatorcog, ReEnergizer

    sources but I don't feel the case has been made that we're at the very peak of oil production. Cover stories of Business Week, Time, etc are often very good contrary indicators of what is[or will] happen. It's to the advantage of Big Oil, and oil producing countries, to have the public believe that there is a scarcity of oil...helps keep artificially inflated prices for their product sky high....nice diary

    •  "Big Oil" is not to blame here... (6+ / 0-)

      ...every time I hear that it drives me nuts. If those guys weren't pumping the oil, someone else would be. If people need someone to blame for high prices, they need only look into a mirror...

    •  These predictions are by scientists, and ... (3+ / 0-)

      ... King Hubbert's model is well validated for resource  extraction of all kinds, both mining and pumping.  Geographers and resource economists have been discussing and studying the oil peak since the early seventies,  if not earlier.

      •  Hubbert's model.. (0+ / 0-)

        ... predicted peak oil in 1995.

        •  Hubbert's predictions (0+ / 0-)

          Per the wikipedia :

          Based on his theory, in a paper[1] he presented to the American Petroleum Institute in 1956, Hubbert predicted that production of oil from conventional sources would peak in the continental United States around 1965-1970 (actual peak was 1970). Hubbert further predicted a worldwide peak at "about half a century" from publication and approximately 12 gigabarrels (GB) a year in magnitude.

          But you are correct; per that same article:

          In 1974, Hubbert projected that global oil production would peak in 1995 at 12-GB/yr "if current trends continue".[4] However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, global oil consumption actually dropped (due to the shift to energy efficient cars,[5] the shift to electricity and natural gas for heating,[6] etc), then rebounded to a lower level of growth in the mid 1980s (see chart on right). The shift to reduced consumption in these areas meant that the projection assumptions were not realized and, hence, oil production did not peak in 1995, and has climbed to more than double the rate initially projected.

          So, here are the latest projections: (scroll to world-production graph).

          Hubbert's 1956 predictions were accurate, both for the  U.S. peak and apparently for the world peak.  His model is parameterized, however, and his 1974 projection were likely based on the 5%-per-year increases in consumption that were prevalent prior to the OPEC Oil Embargo following the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.  That embargo immediately led to the introduction of the 55-mph speed limit, CAFE restrictions, a quadrupling of the price of crude oil, and a reduction in the growth of demand -- see .

    •  Sooooo, we should wait until we're sure we're (0+ / 0-)

      at the absolute peak, then? I'd argue that even if it turns out we can stave off the peak for another 10 or 20 years (I don't, but for argument) we would be well served to behave as if we had reached it.

      "People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
      - J. Danforth Quayle

      by davewill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:50:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "A new Dark Age in an overheated world" (8+ / 0-)

    love the doom and gloom stuff right before the weekend, it's just slightly better than the smell of napalm in the morning...

    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

    by deathsinger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:00:20 AM PDT

    •  Ah come on now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris

      Business Week has a great forecasting record. Why just last February they ran a cover story on how we were in a new era of permanently low interest rates and look how well that forecast turned out.

      •  Daisy, they retracted that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris

        with the comment that their roulette wheel was out of balance when they reported on interest rates...

        The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

        by deathsinger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:55:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  there's a difference between.... (8+ / 0-)

        ...forecasting the behavior of purely human events such as the economy, that are highly dependent on psychological facors; and forecasting the behavior of purely physical events such as fixed supplies of natural resources.  The latter behave as predictably as Newtonian clockwork.  And don't forget, Hubbert's estimate for the peak in the US was only off by one year.    

        •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't buy that energy production is some kind of Newtonian clock.

          Malthus made similar predictions of the world running out of food in 1800, Paul Ehrlich predicted that the US would face mass starvation in the 1965, the Club of Rome made similar projections of runnning out of everything in 1973. They were all based on the same Newtonian view of the world and they were all wrong.

          And if Shell is able to develop the oil shale in western Colorado we will get a new peak in oil production some time 20 years from now, making Hubbert and the other peak oilers wrong.

          •  you misinterpreted my comments... (6+ / 0-)

            and then used some poor logic to arrive at a wrong conclusion.  (Congratulations!)

            Quantity of oil reserves divided by production rate equals number of years.  That's Newtonian clockwork, and you can include a factor for change in consumption rate over time.  

            Malthus turned out to be right after all, see also Somalia and similar cases.  Iraq is another case in point: the war knocked down carrying capacity relative to population and now they are in the process of depopulating each others' tribes.  

            Populations grow until they overshoot their food supplies, then they die back to a level equal to or below the limits supportable by their food supplies.   Are you some kind of breathairian who believes humans can live on air alone and don't have to eat?

            As for Shell and shale, don't be a shill.  

            •  When Malthus was writing (0+ / 0-)

              world population was around 600 million, today we are over 6 billion. He was arguing that population growth would quickly out strip food production and produce famines that would bring population growth down. Malthus was simply wrong.

              The problems in Somolia have to do with terrible govenrance and not the ability of population growth to outstrip resources, which was Malthus's argument. The same is true of Iraq. They are not starving due population growth outstripping resources, they are simpling killing each other over ethnic and religious differences.  

              As to mischaracterizing other's arguments, pot meet kettle.

              •  Re (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Progressive Moderate, G2geek, Justus

                world population was around 600 million, today we are over 6 billion. He was arguing that population growth would quickly out strip food production and produce famines that would bring population growth down. Malthus was simply wrong.

                He was wrong, but he was wrong because fossil fuels became available, something he didn't foresee. The vast, vast majority of our food is produced by use of massive amounts of oil and natural gas based fertilizers and machinery. Without fossil fuels, our agricultural ability would probably drop like 90%.

                •  He was fundamentally wrong (0+ / 0-)

                  Everyone's born with one mouth but two hands.  Labor produces food.  Malthusian arguments were first used to excuse the conditions of the working poor (if only they'd stop breeding).  

                  •  Labor produces food... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wonmug, G2geek, Justus

                    ...but labor + lots of fossil fuels produces exponentially more food. You think with no or drastically reduced fossil fuel availability that we're going to be able to support 7 billion people on this planet? Especially when nearly all our fertilizer is made from natural gas? And our production equipment all runs on oil-based fuels?

                    How, exactly, do you think this is going to work?

                  •  all the king's horses and all the king's men... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, Event Horizon

                    ...laboring mightily from dawn 'til dusk, can't do squat without arable land, sufficient water, and appropriate climate & weather.  And today's level of agricultural productivity depends absolutely on fossil fuel fertilizers.

                    As for what Malthus may have been used or abused for, that has exactly nothing to say about whether his core poings were correct or incorrect.  You sound like the fundies who demonize Darwin because they don't like what evolution is "used for" e.g. to disprove biblical literalism.  

                    The righties and their historic equivalents will use any theory or empirical findings they can get their hands on, to reinforce their power and privileges.  

                    Meanwhile I dare you to produce all the food you need to live on.  If your hands outnumber your mouth two to one, that should be easy.

                •  Malthus didn't forsee the Industrial Revolution (0+ / 0-)

                  The McCormick reaper was powered by horses, not fossil fuels, but it helped the North win the Civil War.
                  The cotton gin made slaves in the fields a much more productive investment.
                  Water powered the textile mills of New England. etc., etc.

                  born in a poverty pocket, die in one

                  by peggy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:33:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I do like your devil's advocate contributions (6+ / 0-)

            But, did you think we wouldn't notice how you shifted the debate from whether or not we would run out of oil to whether or not we would run out of energy?

            Anyway, energy production is some kind of Newtonian clock -- well, post-Newtonian -- or don't you believe in the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

            •  Capitalists do not believe in such inconveniences (5+ / 0-)

              The laws of physics and biology are nuisances to them - the market is the only law that matters.

              I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

              by eugene on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:07:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The second law of thermodynamics (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris, back2basics, daliscar

              assumes a closed system.

              What makes the global system of energy (and the economy as well) an open one is human creativity and innovation.

              150 years ago we were worried about running out of whale oil. If you assumed a closed system, the outlook was dire, then oil was discovered in Pennsylania and the world energy situation changed.

              30 years ago, similar projections of oil depletion were being made. Go read Jimmy Carter's 'Malaise Speech' he even makes reference to it. If you assumed a closed system, the outlook was dire. Since then we have consumed more oil than were in reserves in 1977 and still have more reserves today than we did then.

              Maybe the cries of wolf are real this time. Maybe we won't be able to come up with alternatives.  But I wouldn't bet on it.

              •  Right, but those are ALTERNATIVES (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Event Horizon

                Right now, people are just talking about different ways to get to the same resource.

                And you say that our reserves are higher now than they were then???????

                Where did you get that? Really. I'd love to know.

                Our reserves have fallen 42% in the last 30 years. (API 1949-79, EIA 1977-2002)

                From wikipedia.

                "United States proven oil reserves declined to a little more than 21 gigabarrels by the end of 2004 according to the Energy Information Administration, a 46% decline from the 39 gigabarrels it had in 1970 when the huge Alaska North Slope ('ANS') reserves were booked."

                There is no avant-garde. There are only people who are a little late. - Edgar Varese - Go Sulu!

                by thepdxbikerboy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:37:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Event Horizon, Justus

                The Second Law of Thermodynamics assumes a closed system.

                What makes the global system of energy (and the economy as well) an open one is human creativity and innovation.

                If this is truly what you are saying, you are very, very, misinformed. "Open" and "closed" systems are thermodynamic terms that have nothing to do with who inhabits those systems or what they do.

              •  "Crisis of Confidence" Speech: less than 30 years (0+ / 0-)

                July 15, 1979.  "Malaise" does not appear in the transcript.

          •  heh (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming, lotlizard, MarketTrustee

            There's no way of that ever happening.

            Shell aren't even going to decide if the "economics" add up until 2011 or later - and it would take at least 4 years from putting the infrastructure in place ( which for a flow-rate of 100kbpd would require them to build the biggest power plant in Colorado just to provide the energy required to start the in-situ heating process to begin, plus having access to ALL the water in Western Colorado ) for any product to start appearing. Current assumptions require that the oil price be in the $70-95 range - so we're not talking about cheap oil here.

            Given the multi-decadal ongoing declines in US crude oil production, starting from about 10 mbpd in the early seventies to the current level of 5-5.2 mbpd, in twenty years time US production will be in the region of 2.5mbpd.

            Oil shale production will never keep pace with depletion of conventional oil sources, and given the low net energy benefits, heavy water requirements and environmental damage entailed may actually be a functionally insane concept.

          •  No actually that won't make them wrong. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ericy, Justus

            That will fit right in with peak oil.

            They did not say that one day we will simply run out.

            They said that after the apex of the peak, the oil that is still there will be harder and harder to get. Developing oil shale fits right in with that.

            Oil companies avoided it because there was too much oil that was easier to get. This means oil is cheap and the shale oil is not economically feasible to get to.

            Now that the "easy stores" are running out, the price of oil in rising and the harder sources start to make sense. But they will remain harder to get AND more expensive.

            There will be no peak, if anything it will be a mild spike on the downward slope. Similair to the "echo" peak that the US experienced around 1985. The result of a change in technology, but it only temporarily interrupted the decline.

            And let's not forget China. They are increasing their consumption at 7.5% a year. Seven times faster than the US. According to the International Energy Agency, China will equal our oil demand by 2030.

            Whistling right off the edge of a cliff we are.

            There is no avant-garde. There are only people who are a little late. - Edgar Varese - Go Sulu!

            by thepdxbikerboy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:29:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wonmug, Justus

            Malthus made similar predictions of the world running out of food in 1800

            Saved by industrialization and fossil fuel usage.

            , Paul Ehrlich predicted that the US would face mass starvation in the 1965,

            Saved by continuing increases in global fossil fuel supply

            the Club of Rome made similar projections of runnning out of everything in 1973.

            Saved by continuing increases in global fossil fuel supply

            They were all based on the same Newtonian view of the world and they were all wrong.

            What is a Newtonian view of the world? And what will happen when for the first time in history EVER we face a globally declining fossil fuel base?

      •  BW can be definitive (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene, wu ming, Jerome a Paris, lotlizard

        Find yourself a copy of the July 31, 1974 edition of Business Week (libraries have bound periodical collections) and compare the contents in that edition with what has happens in American politics, economics and society from that point in time to today.  They announced the game plan for corporate America then, and it has been executed with remarkable precision over the past three decades.

    •  Get used to it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's going to get worse as we go along.

      Sorry but that's how it is.  

      •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

        The news is going to get worse, civilization is going to better, as it has been for over 1000 years.

        The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

        by deathsinger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:52:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  nothing like a little American apocalyptic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          thinking to get the weekend started! >:-)

        •  And this infinite betterment will happen how? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Mad Kossack, Akonitum

          By magic, right? We have only to experience the need, and the miraculous forces of innovation will swoop down from heaven at the last second to provide a congenial, profitable solution, no matter what the problem or time horizon.

          I think it's likely that we will come up with some solution better than a permanent dark age, but I wouldn't take it for granted, and I would spend some time thinking about what the possible outlines of these solutions might be, and what relationship they have to present facts on the ground.

          It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

          by Boreal Ecologist on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:01:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am not giving you free investment advice (0+ / 0-)

            you're not worth it.  I don't need to start thinking about anything, it is my job five days a week.

            The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

            by deathsinger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 04:10:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and the horse you road in on.... (0+ / 0-)

              It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

              by Boreal Ecologist on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:06:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  a more polite reply... (0+ / 0-)

              I was not asking you for investment advice, free or otherwise. Something about your initial post put me in mind of what one might call the libertarian cornucopians, who I feel have eaten way too much soma.

              If, as you seem to imply, your work involves investment in technical solutions to the problems posed by impending decline in fossil fuels availability, well in all sincerity, good for you and good luck in your endeavours.

              As far as I have been able to read (lengthy book draft by Cambridge physicist most recently), there is no available (combination of) source(s) of energy on the horizon that will make the next century an easy ride.

              It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

              by Boreal Ecologist on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 07:25:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's another area of disconnect (12+ / 0-)

    between a problem and the solutions proposed by leaders.

    GIVEN SUCH UNPLEASANT possibilities, you'd think peak oil would be a national obsession. But policymakers can hide behind the possibility that vast troves will be available from unconventional sources, or that secretive oil-exporting nations really have the huge reserves they claim.

    Instead of a Mahattan project, there are drives to drill in Alaska, haggling over CAFE standards, and calls for OPEC to sell us more oil.  Reactions are either irrelevant or miminalist.

    And the market will fix everything, but only in the way markets do.  Today's Americans see economics as a happy miracle, not a dismal science, and confuse market's "solution" with a happy result.  The market's solution is going to be "you're too poor to buy fuel now, you'll die, demand will drop, market's in balance".  It's not, as American's think, "I'm guaranteed to have my cake and eat it too in ways the market will provide."

    December is the new September.

    by Inland on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:00:20 AM PDT

    •  The market solution (0+ / 0-)

      may not be a happy result, but it will be a better solution than the one provided by a government that can't shoot straight in Iraq, lies constantly and couldn't pull its own citizens out of the big muddy after Katrina.

      •  that same government -- (4+ / 0-)

        is just another market solution.  The same folks who promote "market solutions" are the ones helping to make the government into another commodity to be bought and sold.

        "This is an impressive crowd, the have and the have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base." - George W. Bush

        by Cassiodorus on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:02:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This government sucked at Iraq and Katrina (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Event Horizon, Justus

        precisely because their mantra is that the market will somehow work its "invisible hand" magic.

        Look at the rebuilding of Japan and Germany. That was a government at work. That wasn't something thrown to the "market solution."

        There is no avant-garde. There are only people who are a little late. - Edgar Varese - Go Sulu!

        by thepdxbikerboy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:41:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Upthread (0+ / 0-)

        you are calling for higher gas taxes, clearly a government solution though probably not a very effective one unless the taxes are used to fund the Manhattan Energy Project discussed above.  Yes, of course, the government has never been able to do anything right.  That's why they couldn't build the Panama canal, create the internet that you use to spread this libertarian crap or put people on the Moon.  Markets are fine for some things.  Big projects that benefit all of society require government action and vision.  Getting off of oil before it gets too scarce is one of those things.  The fact that Bush's government can't do anything right has to do with its corrupt, undemocratic nature and the fact that it embraces exactly the same kind of do-nothing libertarian market nonsense you do.

        Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

        by Event Horizon on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 01:58:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, Jerome a Paris, Iowa Boy

      But output has stalled. Call it de facto peak oil or peak oil lite. It means the U.S. is entering an age when it will have to scramble to maintain existing import levels.

      WTF? Scramble to maintain existing import levels?  

      How about, instead, we figure out ways to reduce imports?

  •  Dark Ages here we come... (13+ / 0-)


    Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:00:33 AM PDT

  •  What about "tar sands"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Venezuela reputedly is sitting on oil reserves larger than those in Saudi Arabia, though they are more difficult and more expensive to access.

    Wouldn't this shift the peak farther into the future?

    Or am I sadly misinformed?

    Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution.
    But where I live the game to play is compromise solution.

  •  Jerome (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Migeru, Iowa Boy

    do you know anything about gas hydrate and do you think it's a risk? I'm afraid that someone will figure out how to mine and process it without bothering to figure out how to mitigate the severe environmental effects and then we're doubly screwed.....

    I choked on your post. It nearly killed me. Hitler killed people. Your post is just like Hitler. - Pope Bandar bin Turtle

    by Buffalo Girl on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:00:42 AM PDT

  •  politicize science of oil reserves (8+ / 0-)

    politicize the science of global warming.

    Crazy coincidence. HOw do we get our govt to act? do the wells have to start drying up?

    I heard toyota's going to have a 100% hybrid fleet by 2010. True?  

  •  Isn't there a popular conspiracy theory (0+ / 0-)

    based on the idea of "peak oil" ?

    Not saying I don't agree with Jerome, because I do - just asking.  

  •  Mission Accomplished (10+ / 0-)

    What do the war in Iraq, peak oil and record profits for the oil industry have in common?

    They all lead to higher prices for petroleum products, higher compensation for oil industry executives, and larger campaign contributions to corrupt politicians.  But there is nothing to see here, so move along...

    •  Cheney probably knew all of this in 2001... (8+ / 0-)

      when he convened his energy task force.  It's why he was so gung-ho about invading Iraq then, and it's probably why he's so gung-ho about attacking Iran now.  He wanted US control over the Iraqi fields, and he'd like to assert control over the Iranian fields.

      Someone who acts w/ the arrogance and the duplicity of Cheney generally has some overarching goal in mind.  More likely than not, Cheney's overarching goal is control of a precious finite commodity.  Applying Occam's Razor here, it makes more sense than any other line of reasoning.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:49:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in fact they DO know (9+ / 0-)

        Bush himself was briefed by Matt Simmons, a Texas oil guy who was one of the first industry guys to understand peak oil and its deadly-serious implications.  This is well known.  Simmons' power point presentation to the WH was posted on the web.  I saved a copy as did many of us who were aware of peak oil back then (a few years ago).  Good stuff, common sense and a bit of a scare.  

        No doubt the big secret Bush/Cheney energy meeting(s) were to discuss this.  And no doubt it has something to do with going into Iraq.  My bet is that Cheney & the Neocons believed that if they liberated Iraq from Saddam, the Iraqis would be so grateful that they would be more than willing to a) sign preferential contracts with US oil companies and b) act as a quasi-swing producer in the event of instability in Saudi.  

        As it turned out things didn't quite work that way.  And once Iraq was headed down the toilet, it became more pragmatically useful to just tweak their new constitution and legal system to enable the US oil companies to go in there and extract the stuff directly, keep it, and pay the Iraqis as little as they could get away with paying.

        Meanwhile here's what we could have bought for the $400 billion we've spent in Iraq:

        150 new nuclear reactors, each rated at 800 to 1,200 MW.


        100,000 new wind farms, each with 100 turbines, each turbine rated at 1 MW,


        5 million solar roofs.  

        •  The world's leading consumer of petroleum is (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo, wu ming, sldulin, Akonitum

          the US Department of Defense.
          Michael Klare has an itneresting piece at Asia Times called The wars that oil the Pentagon's engine

          He writes

          Possessing the world's largest fleet of modern aircraft, helicopters, ships, tanks, armored vehicles, and support systems - virtually all powered by oil - the Department of Defense (DoD) is the world's leading consumer of petroleum. It can be difficult to obtain precise details on the DoD's daily oil hit, but an April report by a defense contractor, LMI Government Consulting, suggests that the Pentagon might consume as much as 340,000 barrels (53 million liters) every day. This is greater than the total national consumption of Sweden or Switzerland.

          The Pentagon, worried by rising fuel prices, commissioned a study on what peak oil may mean to the DoD:

          The study, "Transforming the Way the DoD Looks at Energy", was a bombshell. Determining that the Pentagon's favored strategy of global military engagement is incompatible with a world of declining oil output, LMI concluded that "current planning presents a situation in which the aggregate operational capability of the force may be unsustainable in the long term".

          LMI arrived at this conclusion from a careful analysis of current US military doctrine. At the heart of the national military strategy imposed by the Bush administration - the Bush Doctrine - are two core principles: transformation, or the conversion of America's stodgy, tank-heavy Cold War military apparatus into an agile, continent-hopping high-tech, futuristic war machine; and pre-preemption, or the initiation of hostilities against "rogue states" such as Iraq and Iran, suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction. What both principles entail is a substantial increase in the Pentagon's consumption of petroleum products - either because such plans rely, to an increased extent, on air and sea power or because they imply an accelerated tempo of military operations.

          And while human resources can be ‘surged’ through stop loss, extended multiple tours, using private contractors, and sending wounded soldiers back to the front, once you get to the bottom of the (oil) barrel, there are no alternatives. The study concludes:

          that there is a severe "operational disconnect" between the Bush administration's principles for future war-fighting and the global energy situation. The administration has, the company notes, "tethered operational capability to high-technology solutions that require continued growth in energy sources" - and done so at the worst possible moment. After all, it is likely that the global energy supply is about to begin diminishing. Clearly, writes LMI, "it may not be possible to execute operational concepts and capabilities to achieve our security strategy if the energy implications are not considered". And when those energy implications are considered, the strategy appears "unsustainable".

          But is this really news for the Bush administration? We're talking about oil executives here. Not only have they known what was coming down the pipeline, their national security policies and energy security policies overlap so much as to be almost indistinguishable.

          ... to ensure for itself a "reliable" source of oil in perpetuity, the Pentagon will increase its efforts to maintain control over foreign sources of supply, notably oilfields and refineries in the Persian Gulf region, especially in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This would help explain the recent talk of US plans to retain "enduring" bases in Iraq, along with its already impressive and elaborate basing infrastructure in the other countries.

          Bingo. We now know which course Cheney’s secretive energy task force decided upon BEFORE 9/11. While the talk about enduring bases and the Korean model may seem recent, this has been the goal all along.

          Klare nails it. Our military/industrial/congressional complex is cannibalistic.

          ...the US military has been transformed into a "global oil-protection service" for the benefit of US corporations and consumers, fighting overseas battles and establishing its bases to ensure that Americans get their daily fuel fix. It would be both sad and ironic if the US military now began fighting wars mainly so that it could be guaranteed the fuel to run its own planes, ships and tanks - consuming hundreds of billions of dollars a year that could instead be spent on the development of petroleum alternatives.

          Welcome to the funhouse.

          I have won the War on Terror, and so can you. Simply refuse to be afraid.

          by heiderose1 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:00:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  i have been convinced for some time (0+ / 0-)

        that the energy task force is the lynchpin to all that has happened since. the enron california clusterfuck, 9/11, iraq, tony blair going along with us, the whole shebang is quite likely bound together in those meeting minutes.

        i suspect that they laid out a long term plan for peak oil, right from the get-go.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:19:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In fact they Do know: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels per day."
        --Cheney, 1999

        "Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisure-wear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality."
        --Cheney, 1999

        "The most significant difference between now and a decade ago is the extraordinarily rapid erosion of spare capacities at critical segments of energy chains. Today, shortfalls appear to be endemic. Among the most extraordinary of these losses of spare capacity is in the oil arena."
        --Cheney, 2001

  •  So if that is the truth (4+ / 0-)

    Then policy should really be about non conventional energy sources and conservation and fuel efficiency such as mandating all cars and SUV should be hybrid.

    Then how come they are not doing it?

  •  The sooner we run out, the better (5+ / 0-)

    Global warming? Bye bye.
    Massive investment in basic research? Check.
    Huge tech surge in innovation and improvment across
    all energy sectors? Check.
    Big oil? Bye Bye.

    Cool new products like buggies for horses with solar panels for surfing the net for free. Travel times will increase so just think of the wonderful free time you will have to catch up on reading and listening to music and posting diaries on DKos about how cool things are.

    I can't wait!

    This sentence has threee erors.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:05:00 AM PDT

    •  Be careful what you wish for (13+ / 0-)

      As Jerome indicated above, Peak Oil might well motivate a switch to coal.

      CTL (coal to liquid) is being pushed as a way of dealing with "uncertain fuel supplies"-- especially by the military.  For example, the air force is considering signing a 20 year CTL contract at guaranteed price to keep their planes flying.  The military has huge influence of this sort of thing-- keep in mind that it was the British Navy (under First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill) that spearheaded the transition to oil in the first place.

      And there is more than enough coal to make the planet completely uninhabitable.

      Also, economic recessions (a probably consequence of, say, gas hitting $5 or %10 a gallon) are not exactly good for progressive politics.  The right wing knows this.  The British National Party (sort of like Le Pen in France) is trying its best to be "ahead of the pack on Peak Oil."

      •  That's the irony (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atomicBirdsong, MarketTrustee

        You have to discount the military in a scenario where we are running out of oil. If they were at all smart then the moment oil because a potential bottleneck to projecting force then they simply have to wage war a different way lest it become the exploitable weak-spot. I'm thinking lasers in space capable of rasterizing cities off the planet.
        That's what it will come to eventually. It's not like there's a shortage of energy in orbit.

        Let's not even go there.

        We're a half a trillion dollars into Iraq. If we sunk $100 billion into research for micro-generation for home and for transportation then all kinds of problems would be solved. That's almost a certainty.

        If you look at just efficiency, there is a huge upside potential. When you consider the amount of energy required to power a living cell, and the amount of work obtained from that cell then we are talking orders of magnitude in efficiency improvement is possible.

        I'm not talking about the matrix, I'm just saying what nature has already demonstrated is possible, then we have a ways to go for improvement.

        Actually, speaking of the matrix, if we took all the republicans and stuck them is some thermally conductive liquid and only kept them alive enough to warm the liquid then:

        1. We would vastly increase the I.Q. average for the nation.
        1. Congress would be able to get things done.


        This sentence has threee erors.

        by MouseOfSuburbia on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:18:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  back in the seventies (0+ / 0-)

      they used to say the biggest problem facing mankind's future would be what to do with all the leisure time.

      sounded loopy then, but with the exponential growth of the media-entertainment complex since then, i think you have accurately perceived a snapshot of what's coming, if we make it around the bend without the wheels coming off.

      or maybe if 'you' make it round..

      or: 'some of us/you'...

      attrition rates are high now in the results of appalling pollution, home and abroad, to support the 'non-negotiable' right of every 'westerner' to gobble, gobble as much as his credit card will afford.

      there will be a different form of attrition, till things settle down, the afterwards i do see a similar scenario...a fascinating blend of old and new...both sustainable, and both supporting quality of life, for those lucky or prepared enough to be still around.

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 01:42:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The politicians still just want to talk about it (12+ / 0-)

    And do nothing.

    If you see the other diary on the rec. list

    Al Gore on G-8 Deal: "A Disgrace Disguised as an Achievement"

    You'll see Gore handing out bad grades to all parties involved.  He's not happy with the progress being made either.

  •  This isn't a surprise (3+ / 0-)

    Back in 1998 my financial advisor urged me to load up on energy stocks for exactly these reasons.  At the time, gasoline was selling down towards a dollar a gallon.  We loaded up, and the rest is history.  All it took was patience.

  •  A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (7+ / 0-)

    The Sundance Channel is a great source for documentaries, especially those with ecological themes.  In that regard, they have been showing a documentary on peak oil called : A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (2006)

    I highly recommend it.  It's the best documentary I've ever seen on the subject of peak oil.  It will definitely get (and keep) your attention for its 90 minute duration.  It probably sounds like hyperbole describing a documentary on peak oil as "riveting entertainment" but that is exactly what it was.

    check it out

  •  The end of life on earth (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, mataliandy, DBunn

     People talk about global warming and they say it'll be "the end of life on earth". When pressed they will finally admit that it will be the end of their lifestyle and perhaps the cause of a dramatic decline in human population.

     Peak oil gets the same response - if we can't drive 15mpg SUVs ... well ... well ... life is over.

      I traded my 15mpg SUV (inherited, so relax!) for a Nissan Versa - 30 - 34 mpg is the best I could get. I wish it was a 50mpg two seater but I have kids ...

     Hard times, they are a comin', and no mistake about that.

    "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." - Albus Dumbledore

    by Iowa Boy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:25:44 AM PDT

  •  Peak Pentagon? (10+ / 0-)

    Michael Klare has this article up on Alternet right now, about the amount of oil the US military consumes, and the impact on strategic goals and operational capabilities. Fascinating to say the least.

    Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis -- either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone.

    Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million -- and yet it's a gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption.

    He rather dryly refers to a "disconnect" between the ambitions of Penatagon strategists and what can actually be done in a post-peak world:

    Clearly, writes LMI in its April 2007 report, "it may not be possible to execute operational concepts and capabilities to achieve our security strategy if the energy implications are not considered." And when those energy implications are considered, the strategy appears "unsustainable."

    All this would be hilarious, if it weren't so damn serious.

  •  so it's the end of the world? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Iowa Boy

    time to party

  •  Iranian oil rationing because of peaking (as the (6+ / 0-)

    Independent claims) or because of lack of refining capacity?

    Be that as it may, within less than 20 years, our lives will change radically. When we'll tell our grandchildren how, in our youth, we flew all over the world, they'll never believe us...

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:28:12 AM PDT

    •  That is exactly what I'm thinking too n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  the refining capacity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      argument is a favorite repub talking point that calls for the remedy of --wait for it-- tax breaks for the oil companies to build more refineries. So I'm guessing the argument is nonsense for Iran too.

      •  There are no Republicans in Iran (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Iowa Boy

        and the Iranians only have one oil refinery. So the problem there, like the problem here is a lack of capacity. Iran imports 60% of their gasoline.

        The limited Iranian refinery capacity makes the Iranians vulnerable to a gasoline blockade. Take out their refinery, block gasoline imports and the whole country will be back to the 1800s in a week. Not saying we should do this, but if we needed to we could.

        •  ands if we did that (0+ / 0-)

          we'd be taking 10% of the global oil supply off market in a time where all major oilfields have flat or falling levels of production. noone has the excess capacity to make up the difference, which means we'd be looking at the price effects of a bidding war where everyone plays petro musical chairs in hopes of not being the sucker left with that missing 10%.

          more than iran would be set back to the 1800s.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:30:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Iranian refining (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Iowa Boy

        Iran is the world's fourth-largest crude oil producer but is also the second-largest importer of gasoline, due to a lack of refining capacity and rapidly growing demand, fuelled by a young population and the world's second-cheapest pump prices.

        we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

        by Lepanto on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:05:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They've run their oil industry into the ground (0+ / 0-)

      The embargo isn't helping.  You'll probably see the same thing with Venezuela in the next couple years.

  •  and so it goes (5+ / 0-)

    Sticking our heads in the sand, pretending that there is no problem. Whistling past the graveyard, pulling the sheets over your head to stave off the monster under the bed.
    Although I gre up a SF fan, and used to yearn for the life predicted in shows like Star Trek, the problem with all those rosey SF scenarios is that they presume that we will act rationally to solve our problems.
    The long sordid tale of Human history sadly shows just the opposite. Our powers of reason are most often used to justify the decisions we have already made based on greed, fear, and lust for power.
    The easiest way to rationalize away the need for dealing with a severe problem is to ingnore the evidence that a problem exists, and the willingness of most of the worlds governments to pretend that the made up numbers from OPEC mean anything at all, shows that little has changed.
    Human beings evolved in condidtions that rewarded relatively short term planning. We react best to immediate, right in front of our eyes, sorts of problems.
    Dealing with peak oil and global climate change in a way that will prevent most of the worst upheavals requires long term thinking from a large portion of the world, therefore it won't happen.
    We will do what humans have always done. We will wait until the problem is so big and so severe that we can't possibly deny it, and then we will chose from the much smaller and much more unpleasant list of possible mitigating actions.

  •  World oil production peaked last July (12+ / 0-)

    According to our own Energy Information Administration, world oil supply (largely, but not entirely, crude oil) actually peaked last July at 85.377 million barrels per day.  During the first 3 months of this year (the most recent months for which figures are available), it averaged 84.125 million barrels per day.  That's not only below last July's peak, it's below the average for the first 3 months of last year of 84.216 million barrels per day.

    There have been month-to-month, and even year-to-year, fluctuations before, and it's possible that we'll yet see higher production than last July's levels, but it seems quite likely to me that we're nearing peak production capacity worldwide.

    During the first three months of last year, Saudi crude oil production averaged 9.42 million barrels per day, and was down to an average of 8.652 million barrels per day during the first three months of this year.  It's pretty much the same in most of the OPEC countries.  The statistics for all countries are available here.

    Given historically high crude oil prices, I seriously doubt that this reductions in production are the result of a deliberate decision to restrict production.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:34:16 AM PDT

    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Migeru, MarketTrustee

      To a certain extent that may be true, but there are other mechanisms at work:

      Back in 2003 OPEC had a target price range for oil supplies of $22-28 per barrel; in 2004 they moved this to $30-35 per barrel. The prevailing conventional wisdom was that the "market" would not support prices at higher levels and that consumption would be affected.

      The last couple of years have led to a radical re-evaluation of oil pricing strategies, as it has become clear that it takes sustained prices above $70 per barrel to impact consumption. Arguably, the OPEC nations have re-worked their revenue maximisation models and are tailoring their production levels to keep prices in the $55-65 price range. The big question that has yet to be answered is whether the OPEC nations will adjust their production levels upward to "cover" for falling production from the US, the North Sea and Mexico. Obviously, the "above ground" problems in Nigeria and Iraq all add to the uncertainty.

      At current pricing levels, the non-OPEC nations are producing at their maximum rates - but their production profiles, with a few exceptions ( Canada non-conventional and Russia ) all show year on year falls. My expectation is that that in the next couple of years, in the absence of new supplies coming onstream, we'll see OPEC ( or more specifically Angola, Iran and Saudi Arabia ) raising production to cover for depletion elsewhere - whilst maintaining their $55-65 target price range.

      •  If OPEC is aiming for $55-$65 per barrel (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Iowa Boy

        If OPEC is aiming for $55-$65 per barrel oil, they're missing their target.  As of this moment, the Brent spot price is north of $71 per barrel, and NYMEX crude futures are above $67 per barrel.

        "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

        by leevank on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:44:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jabberwocky (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, Akonitum

    When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking."

    Is he suggesting that worldwide oil consumption levels will peak ahead of peaking oil production? And as a result, oil producers wont need to produce as much?  Perhaps they'll be somewhat related.... when the amt of oil production peaks and then begins to slide, the amt of oil available to consume will be less.  Ergo, a drop in consumption. Its

    •  Jsbberwocky is charitable (6+ / 0-)

      BS might be a more apt description.  I've got a friend whose wife was born and raised in China, and they go there every couple of years to visit her parents and siblings.

      He said that when they made their first trip, most people had bicycles, and were hoping to save enough money to buy a motorcycle.  Then, it got to be the case that most people had motorcycles, and were hoping to save enough money to buy a car.  Increasing numbers of Chinese now have their own cars, and Chinese automobile production is continuing to grow explosively -- still almost entirely for their domestic market (up 25% in the first 8 months of 2006 compared to the same period a year earlier).  I understand that much the same thing is happening, although less dramatically, in India.

      With the increase in demand from the developing world, I don't think there's any way that we can reduce demand in the west sufficiently to cut worldwide demand.

      "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

      by leevank on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:57:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  most chinese demand is for industry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not transportation. while the % of car ownership is increasing, china will never see a car density analogous to america, if just because the population density makes such a thing impopssible as well as unworkable. new york city would be a medium-sized chinese city on the east coast, and even backwards provincial capitals out west are in the 8-10 million range. even in a non-peak oil world, the likely model they'd follow would be japan, not america.

        chinese yuppies will buy their luxury cars and sit stuck in traffic, but they remain a pretty small proportion of the population. most people in urban areas still ride the bus, subways, or bicycles, or trains for long distance travel, and will continue for the forseable future.

        that being said, china's industrial use of oil is increasing at a pretty fast clip, and we are indeed about to run into a brick wall, globally, as a result.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:40:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  2045 based on CIA worldfact data (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Baseline  1,326,000,000,000 Barrels As of 01-Jan-02
    82,590,000 bbl/day At 2004 Rates
    1,991 Days since Baseline
    164,473,601,880 Barrels consumed since baseline
    1,161,526,398,120 Barrels in Earth Left
    14063.76557 Days of Oil Left
    38.50449163 Years Worth of Oil left
    Out of oil in 2045
    As of 06/15/2007 10:43

    Be carefull what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:43:47 AM PDT

  •  EVERY resource is finite. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, SarahLee, Sparhawk, wu ming, JML9999

       *  "resource is finite"
       * "no, it's not finite"

    What kills me is the sheer, sheer ignorance of those who claim that oil (or any other resource -- coal, nuclear, even solar) is infinite. Everything on this damn planet is finite! Look at a picture of it  -- there's only so much stuff here! Just as we're rendering plants and animals extinct at a terrible rate, so are we using up fuels.

    Heck, even the sun is going to burn out in a few billion years. There is nothing infinite.

    Except maybe stupidity and ignorance, but they haven't been harnessed as energy. (Perhaps peak-oil deniers could be forced to run on giant hamster wheels? Nah, too much energy consumed in feeding them.)

    •  The urban legend version was that Oil (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, mataliandy, Iowa Boy, kath25

      came from dead dinosaurs now apparently it's from dead microbes/single celled creatures from that period. The point being what ever oil came from they're not making any more of themselves.

      Be carefull what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

      by JML9999 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:50:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And even if they were (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene, mataliandy, Iowa Boy, JML9999, Akonitum

        could we really wait the millions of years neccesary for them to turn into oil?

      •  There is actually another "theory" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, evilpenguin, JML9999

        It seems to me to have all the plausibility of "New Earth Creationism," and the "Flat Earth theory," but some of those who insist that we've got nothing to worry about in terms of petroleum supply insist that large quantities of oil are continuously being produced by abiotic processes deep within the earth, and that there is essentially an infinite supply of oil.  That "theory" is debunked here, among many other places.

        "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

        by leevank on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:11:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a rational argument for deep oil... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but it remains completely unproven.

          I commented on it above. I do recommend that anyone with an interest in oil and energy read Gold's book. It is every bit radical as you think, but it isn't typical economist "irrational exuberance." He puts forth a cohesive and testable theory that really ought to be put to the test.

          Note that he really doesn't argue for an abiotic origin. He argues that there is a deep earth biosphere, older and larger than the surface biosphere that is essentially geothermally and geochemically powered. Gold was a very respected  astrophysicist, and a daring one. He has been brilliantly wrong (as in the steady-state universe theory) as often as he has been brilliantly right (as in co-discovering that pulsars are rotating neutron stars). He is well out of his discipline in writing "The Deep Hot Biosphere," but unlike many "cornucopians," he isn't nuts. In fact, he never argues in his book that we can go on forever extracting and burning hydrocarbons, he merely argues that the prevailing theory of the origin of oil and natural gas is wrong.

          I would agree that the burden of proof is on the radical and non-prevailing theory, but it is wrong to dismiss Gold as glibly as does your citation.

          Believe it or not, the wikipedia article on abiogenic petroleum is actually pretty good, presenting both the theory, the main points against the theory, and the way political groups have sort of "jumped on" either side and made a hash of the science.

          Understand: I am not a promoter of the abiogenic oil theory. I just think that when you look at the scientists talking about it, it is more reasonable than the political and economic noise about it. And I think the theories should be tested and not so readily dismissed. And I think that it little matters anyways since only two things really matter here:

          1. Does the rate of production equal or exceed the rate of extraction?
          1. Can the surface environment survive the ongoing transfer of carbon from a deep-earth cycle to an atmospheric cycle?

          Since the answer to number one is "probably not" and number two is "certainly not," I think we have to break the oil addiction even if Gold is completely right, and he remains just a theory.

          I just don't like the way people who have not read his book dismiss him as a nutcase. Put it this way: do you have respect for Freeman Dyson? Well, he wrote the foreword to Gold's book. These are reputable scientists, not right-wing shills.

      •  If you don't believe in evolution (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, MarketTrustee, JML9999

        can that stuff or any stuff evolve into oil?


      •  Oil is being produced all the time... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Iowa Boy, kath25, JML9999, Akonitum

        ...through natural processes. Just about at a rate of about 1/100,000 compared to our consumption rate.

    •  Only the will to promote capitalism -- (7+ / 0-)

      -- is infinite...

      "This is an impressive crowd, the have and the have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base." - George W. Bush

      by Cassiodorus on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:54:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But here's the fun thing... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris, Akonitum

        "Capitalism" isn't something that must be abandoned. Blind capitalism must be abandoned. The notion that maximizing wealth is the only measure of the good must be abandoned.

        I've have come to admire the work of the economist Lord Layard of the LSE. He has pioneered the economic measurement of happiness. He recognized that happiness tracks with increasing wealth only to a point, and that beyond that point increasing wealth does not track with increasing happiness. Read up on his work.

        If we start to measure non-money elements of quality of life, I think private property and free markets still have a constructive role in human society. But blind "more for me, devil take the hindmost" capitalism clearly do not.

    •  The only resource that really matters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, kath25

      is the human imagination and that is infinite, hence the fact that any one resource is limited is irrelevant.

      For example, the sun will burn out in a few billion years, but by then we will have either killed everyone on the planet or moved out into space. Either way, the sun's burn out won't matter.

  •  There's no "resource constraint," per BP. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, BWasikIUgrad, migo

       This scenario is flatly denied by BP, whose chief economist Peter Davies has dismissed the arguments of "peak oil" theorists.

       "We don't believe there is an absolute resource constraint. When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking."

    Peter is in good company; that's exactly what the Mayan's thought.

  •  1st sentence "almanach" is spelled almanac, great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris

    article, though.  I always appreciate you Jerome.  Did you see Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs wrapping himself in his native France's tricolor flag? Viva la France!

    80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

    by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:51:32 AM PDT

  •  Peak uranium, peak coal, peak NG (7+ / 0-)
    I hope people realize there is also the concept of peak uranium, peak coal, peak NG (natural gas).

    The danger period is just after peak production, because after that there is only decline, but not a decline in demand. The market will adapt, if possible, but prices will go up rapidly. A point will be reached when trying to squeeze more efficiency (e.g., higher MPG) from the resource will not be possible, and it will not matter anyway when the resource becomes too highly priced for people to buy. Do you want to pay rent this month, or this week's gasoline?

    Of course, there are optimists such as Cambridge Associates, who preach that there is no decline, and that we have enough to last for 150 years. But then what? Back to the Middle Ages.

    Let us work hard on solar, hydro, wind, and tidal power right now!

  •  Peak is not near (0+ / 0-)

    Read "Armed Madhouse". In there Greg Palast lays out a great argument for the oil companies lying about there reserves. If we only knew how much oil there actually is gas would be dirt cheap.

    Kind of like the diamond industry holding back.

  •  Will the ever-timid Corporate Media pick it up? (0+ / 0-)

    Now that a business magazine has covered it, I hope the ever-timid and lazy corporate media will pick it up.

    •  Not unless there is a sleazy angle (0+ / 0-)
      to the story. There was that news item about the BP CEO resigning after it came out that he was hiring male prostitutes.

      The establishment media will pick it up if they can frighten people with headlines like "World Panics, Can't Find Oil". Or perhaps, "US to Run out of Gas this Year."

  •  Peak oil is a big oil dream come true (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and a myth to boot.

    "The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil."

    Sheikh Zaki Yamani, Former Oil Minister for Saudi Arabia

    This is all so tiresome. Big oil wants you to believe that we are running out. It justifies higher prices and keeps any politician who might want to raise taxes on the stuff at bay.

    What we need is substantially higher prices for oil to encourage conservation, and research into other energy forms.

    Finally, just west of where I live in Colorado, Shell has a large oil shale project underway. They are projecting over 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil as long as prices stay above $30 a barrel.

    Like I said, Yamani is a man who knows what he is talking about.

    •  Its never been about "running out" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But at a certain point the costs of extraction (due to potential field collapse, water saturation, or the economic catastrophes that may occur) outway the potential recovered profit.  Like in tar sands where we have to burn oil to get oil, or use nuclear power.

      And the biggest problem is a lack of new oil fields - this is where cost of extraction is real low.

    •  The oligarchists love peak oil (0+ / 0-)

      because, duh, it allows them to always increase their own profits on a product whose pipeline to consumers they control completely.

      Careful about the shale optimism, though.  Shale production requires a lot of water, and the shale-rich areas, like Colorado and Alberta, do not have water in abundance.

      A coalition of conservation groups has called on companies proposing to develop oil shale on the Western Slope to disclose how their operations will affect Colorado water.

      Using data from independent researchers, the coalition projects that oil-shale development would have a dramatic effect on water supply and quality.

      . . .

      The coalition points to a 2005 analysis by the Rand Corp. that concluded the Colorado River and several of its tributaries would be "highly impacted" regardless of which oil-shale- extraction technologies are used.

      In addition to water needed for production, water will also be needed to run new power plants that will be necessary for commercial production of shale.

      So this is how liberty dies -- with thunderous applause.

      by MJB on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:49:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am very familiar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Love

        with the water issues of oil shale. And yes, Colorado is a water poor state.

        The Shell shale oil technology actually uses very little water, the concern is that it will create problems for ground water pollution. They are currently running a test project to show that their latest technology 'solves' the ground water problem. What I hear is that they have been successful on a small scale, the question is whether they can scale the project up to a size that makes it economically feasible.

        The other issue for oil shale here is the impact such a large scale industrial project will have on the communities it will be located near wrt housing, congestion, work force and growth. Colorado is a very environmentally consious state and this much growth in this small of a place will create a lot of political backlash.

    •  Last time I checked Big Oil (4+ / 0-)

      is doing a lot to discredit Peak Oil as a myth.  Look at projections by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, statements in the above article attributed to BP, etc.  

      BTW, just to be clear, Peak Oil is NOT about the world running out of oil.  It is the ending of the world's ability to continue to increase production rates of oil.  Since economic growth depends on increased use of energy, peaking production rates have dire implications for the long-term future of our current economic model and debt-based monetary system.

      The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

      by mojo workin on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:07:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  This is true (0+ / 0-)

          Chevron is a notable exception to Peak Oil awareness.  You've highlighted the dangers of gross generalization!  Nevertheless, I stand by my statement so long as the biggest in the industry like Exxon, its supporters in the Bush-Republican government Energy Information Agency, and leading industry consultants who have no trouble getting press, like CERA, propagandize against Peak Oil and its "theorists."  I find it absurd in the extreme to suggest the industry is pushing Peak Oil awareness!

          The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

          by mojo workin on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 07:32:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong wrong wrong (0+ / 0-)

      Oil companies (and oil producing countries) want you to think there's a LOT of it left. Otherwise, you might develop alternatives.

      Actually, they probably don't even care if you develop alternatives. Someone will buy the oil regardless. No matter what.

    •  Peak Oil Deniers (0+ / 0-)

      always fail to point out that global crude production peaked in May, 2005. THey never provide any data to back up their assertion that crude production will increase int he future.

      Chris Dodd is our man to stop the Huckabee stampede!!

      by GW Chimpzilla on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:44:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The idea of "peak oil" still baffles me (6+ / 0-)

    It's always seemed like common sense that fossil-based oil is not a renewable resource.

    I don't know why people find this so disturbing. The only thing frightening about it is how fast it's coming.

    •  First you have to think that (0+ / 0-)

      oil is fossil based....The evidence is pointing to a combination of sources.The notion that oil stopped being created once it was discovered is simply unscientific,

      •  Can you offer some of this evidence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, evilpenguin

        Im really curious.

        •  Oil is constantly being produced (0+ / 0-)

          from the cracking of carbohydrates, fats and other mostly algal remains. Production rate is kind of on the slow side, but if we could match our consumption to production it would be a renewable resource.

          We'd also be walking and riding horses to get places. Maybe coal-fired "iron horses" for long distances.

        •  Jiffypop is referring to the ideas of... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BWasikIUgrad, terrypinder, Justus

          ...Thomas Gold, author of The Deep Hot Biosphere

          Gold was an astrophysicist and planetary scientist. His ideas are radically outside the mainstream of thought on oil geology, but he is no crackpot and some of his "nutty" ideas have proven to be right. He was a smart, original thinker, and I do recommend his book.

          His theories remain that, theories. And he is outside is his field, but then so was Wegener and he proved to be right.

          In any case, I think we need to get off oil anyways (because even in Gold's theory it would not be being prodced at the rate we are extracting) and although, if his theory is right, there should be practically inexhaustible natural gas down there, there is still the climate issue. If Gold is right we would be transferring carbon from an incredibly dense subterranean biosphere and dumping it in to an incredibly rarefied atmospheric biosphere.

          The main import of Gold's theory would be the implications for a catastrophic peak. If Gold is right, we are looking in the wrong places for oil. We are finding "accidental leaks" of oil into sedimentary rock and assuming that oil originates there. If Gold is right, we should be looking in deep bedrock and at much greater depth.

          But even if Gold is right, if we extract it faster than it is made, we face a peak anyways.

          I happen to buy in to peak oil. And I think we need to move to a sustainable rather than extractive economy over time anyways.

          Gold's book isn't full of evidence, it is full of theory backed by reasonable scientific fact and reasonable speculation based thereon.

          Finally, I hope the commenter is referring to Gold's work and not to Huber & Mills because of read that too and, unlike Gold's work, theirs is a bunch of thermodynamics by way of economics (in other words, just plain misunderstood and misapplied energy law).

      •  You must be kidding (0+ / 0-)

        There is a finite amount of material that goes into fossil-based oil reserves. Once it's gone, it's gone.

        And there are other oil sources, that's why I specified fossil-based.

    •  Hurry Captain, we must find dilithium crystals (0+ / 0-)
    •  The difference between "peak" and "gone." (3+ / 0-)

      Peak oil is important because of the economic implications. Virtually everyone recognizes that oil is a finite resource. What many, even in the oil industry, do not realize is that the resource becomes constrained not when it is almost gone, but rather when half of it is gone. When half the recoverable oil is removed from a field, the maximum amount that may be produced from the field per unit time steadily decreases.

      In other words, long before we run out of oil we will start producing less and less.

      Right now the world's economies are predicated on constant growth, and this means constantly growing energy consumption. But when we reach peak globally (half the world's oil produced), we will be in a situation where the energy available to the world's economies is smaller every year.

      We haven't faced a situation like this on such a scale before. (We have faced it, however. The decline of whale populations. The deforestation of Britain. In each of those cases, a "fossil fuel" replacement was found. In the former, Pennsylvania oil, in the latter, Welsh and Newcastle coal. Other civilizations faced it without finding an alternative. Easter Island. The Aztecs.)

      Some people think we can keep drawing as fast as we want until we hear that empty straw sound. But it isn't so. Every oil field so far has followed the Hubbert curve and no one has yet shown otherwise.

  •  Thanks, and what's Really Awful is seeing (0+ / 0-)

    ourselves years from now looking back on the days of driving gas guzzlers and wasting these resources like theres no tomorrow...thinking, "gee, if only we had..... "

  •  There is an obvious solution (0+ / 0-)
  •  What kind of investment in Iran (0+ / 0-)

    is big right now?  Who is investing in their expansion?  It must be China?  Just a question when I see your table of consumption.  Iran must be booming.

  •  Businessweek is on a roll (4+ / 0-)

    Good articles the last few weeks on phantom GDP from trade, health care and now peak oil. Posting in a rush, but I'll dig up the links if people want.

  •  Business Week story is outside commentary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, loudGizmo, FishOutofWater

    Before we get excitied about a seemingly enlighted story from Business Week, please note that the story is in a section called "Ideas - Ouside Shot" and followed by this disclaimer: Views expressed in Outside Shot are solely those of contributors.

    This story is like Colmes on Fox - a little place for a dissenting view.  I'm not saying the article is wrong.  I'm saying we shouldn't think that the business world is 'getting it' because Business Week printed this story.

    •  They have had some surprising content (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      lately though.

      Last month(?) I was surprised to be reading an article in there that detailed the many misdeeds of lenders targeting people of low incomes for cars, electronics, furniture, etc.

      I had to look at the cover, twice, to make sure I was reading what I thought I had picked up.

      Maybe it has all become so obvious now that anyone with any intellectual honesty can't help but notice these glaring problems with our society.

      "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

      by Bcre8ve on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:08:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BW (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geronimo, Bcre8ve, Akonitum

        I've read BW for a long time, just to keep up on what the business crowd is saying about energy and environmental issues.  While no one will confuse BW with Mother Earth News anytime soon, they have shown some sparks of awareness.

        I think they have no choice but to start talking about this stuff in reality-based terms, even if only through guest op-eds, or they risk looking utterly clueless, which would be a death sentence for a business publication.

        I've written to them a number of times about their implicit assumption that oil is infinite.  E.g. they did a long article about the airline industry that completely ignored the fact that jet fuel will be much more expensive in a few years, and that the survival of modern aviation as we know it hinges on the development of a way to convert coal to jet fuel.  (There's a big R&D push by the DoD (surprise!) to do this, but it's still years away from being technically viable.)

  •  Not finite? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, FishOutofWater

    The only way oil reserves are not finite is if BP is planning on using that cool Stargate technology to pump oil to earth thru a series of galactic-wide wormhole pipelines.

    And if we come up with the wormhole technology - we really won't need petroleum products for energy - cause we'll have Naquadah instead . . .

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:36:28 AM PDT

  •  The Klausbot Responds (0+ / 0-)

    (See here and here for background.)

    Business Week is politicising business news.  This loud minority is overwhelming the silent majority and we need to oppose the consensus.  Instead of speaking about Peak Oil we need to be attentive to it in our personal lives.  Otherwise we are trampling on individual freedom.  Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous generation of oil.  

    "...[one] must still have Chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Nietzsche

    by ATinNM on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:38:57 AM PDT

  •  Future: Coal electricity, lotsa pollution, hot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    God will save us, Allah willing, the Pope said so, Om!

    We've by and large forgotten how to think.

    Охранное отделение

    by ormondotvos on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:40:43 AM PDT

  •  BizWeek Poetry (4+ / 0-)

    [oil exhaustion] is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.

    That way of saying "the corporate government is lying" is pure poetry. Because it compresses into its few words the detailed and well-understood background situation to which business readers can relate.

    They know that governments and oil companies need through preparation to admit any bad news in which they're complicit (even by inaction). The (Republican) government and oil companies don't prepare for anything but immediate exploitation. They're pure predators. Business people see this all the time, in their own businesses, vendors, customers and competition. Businesspeople know that governments and oil companies procrastinate and just move glacially (stretched pun intended) in face of any longterm threats overbalanced by immediate gains. But businesspeople also know that oil exhaustion is coming.

    Poetry is word economy. Businessweek has sung the swan song of the petrocracy, headed to the top of the charts with a bullet.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:58:03 AM PDT

  •  Remeber, 1 Gal. of Gas => 20 pounds of CO2 !!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc, SecondComing, MarketTrustee

    Since each carbon atom binds to two atoms of oxygen, and oxygen is a little heavier than carbon, you more than double the weight of your gas in C02! There is a very approachable explanation of this in How to turn 6 pounds of gasoline into 20 pounds of carbon dioxide

    Octane contains 8 carbon atoms (hence the oct- prefix, like Dr. Octopus) and 18 hydrogen atoms. Carbon has a molecular weight of 12 and hydrogen has a molecular weight of 1, so octane has a total molecular weight of 114 (8 x 12 + 18 x 1).

    Oxygen has a molecular weight of 16, so CO2 has a total molecular weight of 44 (12 + 16 + 16). Every molecule of octane makes eight molecules of CO2, with a total molecular weight of 352 (44 x 8).

    6.25 pounds x (352 / 114) = 19.3 pounds

    "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values" - Bill Clinton, 2004 Democratic Convention

    by AceDeuceLady on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:07:45 AM PDT

  •  Madness. (5+ / 0-)

    There is only one solution to this - we must change the way we live, and wean ourselves off of nonrenewable sources of energy. Simple as that. The solution to peak oil is not to flock to some other finite and ruinous source of energy just because we want to continue the party that is industrial capitalism. The solution is to wake the fuck up and realize it's time to make some rather fundamental changes to the way we live.

    The longer we put off that change, the more painful it will be.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:14:53 AM PDT

  •  Malthus (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericy, sclminc, Iowa Boy, Justus

    Everytime I read about this, I think of Malthus--at some point in time, he's right.  Eventually too many people and too little resources is inevitable--and thus, all nations should also think about population restraints.  Much of the industrialized Western world has seen population stabilization--as has China-- but religious fundamentalism is a problem that must also be addressed in this context.  It seems they love large families.  It keeps the poor content to be poor.

    •  You are required make yourself available... (0+ / 0-)

      for stoning at 6:00 AM this coming Sunday. Heretical thoughts like yours can not be tolerated.

    •  A man Truly ahead of his time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But some technophiles argue that humans are an inventive lot and just as we have pushed food production beyond anything thought possible 200 years ago, humans can also learn to produce goods with new technologies.  Hence, peak oil is not a threat, but an opportunity (rolls eyes).

    •  whoa .... this is a little creepy .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First,  the WHO and others have definitively shown that the number of children a woman has is directly linked to the level of education she has reached (statistically, in aggregate).  Thus, we see that overpopulation is a women's empowerment issue.  The single most effective way to limit family size is to educate and empower women.  Inasmuch as religious fundamentalism oppresses women, I agree with you.

      Second, the earth can actually support a huge population, IF that population lives very, very simply.  No meat.  No two hour daily commutes.  No flying food in from Costa Rica and water in from Fiji.  Eating low on the food chain, local economies of scale, community based agriculture, green technologies -- the whole spectrum of permacultural systems that have been designed by those in the sustainability movement.

      As Gore and others have pointed out, the Chinese character for "crisis" is composed of "danger" + "opportunity" ... peak oil and global warming could either plunge us into a terrible Mad Max world (unlikely, in my view) OR spur people to create more sustainable societies  based on earth-friendly principles and mutual support.

      May all beings be free from fear.

      by shakti on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:07:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oil will run out eventually (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Justus

    If it's 10 years or 50 or 100.  I think it's safe to say we won't have oil for another 1000 years.  What is more interesting is what we do about it.  What are the ramifications?

    Cars, trucks, trains, planes, ships will no longer exist as we know them.  Perhaps we will see a return to some limited steam power for ships and trains.

    Most warships and submarines are nuclear powered so those may remain similar to what they are today. I'm sure they have much need for oil based products.

    No airplanes, unless some synthetic fuel can be developed.  This will be limited.  So much for air superiority.

    Electricty will get way more expensive. Solar will become more viable.  

    Construction costs will skyrocket.  Construction is made much cheaper because of power tools.  What will power the tractors?

    Florida becomes virtually uninhabitable in the summer.  This place thrives because of air conditioning.  The heat in the summer is oppressive.  Children don't even want to play outside.  Think you will cool off in your pool?  How will you power the pump?

    •  Electricity needn't get that much more expensive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, Jerome a Paris

      It'll get a little more expensive, but it doesn't need to be all that much more expensive.  We haven't begun to tap the potential of renewable energy sources, especially wind power.

      There is a program in Maryland where, through an arrangement with a subsidiary of Washington Gas Corporation, you can get 100% of your electricity from wind power.  (Electrons being fungible, you're actually getting it from the grid like everybody else, but through trading of renewable energy credits, it finances the construction of wind farms.)  My wife and I just signed up for it, and I figure it will cost us between $50 and $75 per year more than we would be paying anyway -- and that price is guaranteed for the next two years, unlike the price of regular electricity.

      I've seen estimates that nationwide, 20-25% of our total electricity could EASILY come from wind power, whereas most areas are now below 1%.  (Denmark already gets more than 20% of its electricity from wind power.)  When I was a kid in the Midwest, almost every farm had a windmill to pump water, but there are very few of them now.  While many areas arent's suitable for wind farms, most of the United States has sufficiently high average wind speeds that "small wind" generators are practical.  With net metering (where your electric meter runs backward when you're sending power into the grid, rather than using it from the grid), large numbers of farms and even large-lot homes could become electricity producers.

      Between making maximum use of wind power, solar power and geothermal power, and increased use of nuclear power (which I think is going to be necessary), I think electricity doesn't need to get all that much more expensive, at least if we start making the national investment now, rather than when the crisis is fully upon us.

      "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

      by leevank on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:09:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I live in Florida (0+ / 0-)

      and I often go out to go shopping at about 3PM.

      It's hot, but if you are in the shade it is quite bearable with a breeze.

      I have valuable books, so the air conditioner stays on from May to late October.

      It takes almost two barrels of oil [84 gallons] or equivalent a year for the air conditioning.

  •  Hi, My name is Lee, and I'm an oilaholic, Hi Lee! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Iowa Boy, Justus

    I have been using fossil fuels for the last 40 years.  There have been alternatives like a bicycle,

    80 percent of success is just showing up - Woody Allen.

    by Churchill on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:41:29 AM PDT

  •  Peak Oil Doc "Escape From Suburbia" released (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, Akonitum

    I just got word that "Escape from Suburbia," the follow-up to the peak oil documentary "The End of Suburbia," has just been released. Check it out here:

    Escape From Suburbia

    Thank you, Howard Dean.

    by thinkdouble on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:51:45 AM PDT

  •  The old saying (4+ / 0-)

    It's clear as a freaking bell on this issue that, in a Democracy the people get the government they deserve.

    Candidate A:
    We have to have an immediate $1 per gallong tax on gasoline.  It will help reduce consumption, contribute towards reducing emissions, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and prod automakers into better mileage.  It's good policy.  It's strong medecine.  The future demands we act responsibly.

    Candidate B:
    Forget all that gobbledygook.  My opponent's plan will thwor the economy into a recession and cost many people their jobs.  I promise to lower gas prices at the pump.

    Who do you think is going to win that election?  Seriously.  Even if we had an MSM who reported fairly on this issue and the facts were laid out for all to see.... who's going to win that election?

    People are going to vote for lower gas prices every time, whether or not it's a good idea.  That's a fact we have to live with, just as global warming and the coming energy shortages are.

  •  WAIT! Price Gouging! Price Gouging! (0+ / 0-)

    Price ... gow ...

    Uh, whatever.

    I am the federal government.

    by mateosf on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:28:02 AM PDT

  •  after the antartic ice sheet is melted off (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Justus

    are they expecting to find oil there?

    Just wondering...

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:33:22 AM PDT

  •  So to be clear.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Jerome a Paris

    .. this diary is based on an opinion peace in a fringe section of Business week. A kind of "just throwing this wacky idea out there" section of business week.

    The good news is that the peak oil doomsters are probably wrong that world oil production is about to decline forever. Most analysts believe that world petroleum supplies will meet projected demand at reasonable prices for at least another generation.

    Most analysts? But Jerome doesn't, and if he says something lets rec it up! Because "most analysts" are all in bed with big oil.

    The bad news is that much of the world’s oil reserves are in the custody of unstable and sometimes hostile regimes. But the oil producing nations would be the ultimate losers if they provoked an "oil crisis," since that would spur industrialized countries to cut back on imports and develop alternative energy technologies.

    Oh so there is actually something a little more worrying than the peak oil conspiracy? Let’s forget about that and get back to opinion and conspiracy.

    In response, the federal government imposed price controls on oil and gas in the 1970s and established fuel economy standards to encourage the sale of more efficient automobiles. The sense of doom did not dissolve. In 1979 Energy Secretary Schlesinger proclaimed, "The energy future is bleak and is likely to grow bleaker in the decade ahead." The Global 2000 Report to President Carter, issued in 1980, predicted that the price of oil would rise by 50 percent, reaching $100 per barrel by 2000.

    $100 by 2000? Any relation to JaP? The point being that peak oil is based on consumption outstripping supply, and when oil gets so high people will reduce usage through necessity and new technology. That’s right! No dark ages!

    Consider the Kern River field in California, which was discovered in 1899. In 1942 it was estimated that only 54 million barrels remained to be produced there. During the next 44 years the field produced 736 million barrels and had another 970 million barrels remaining. For geological reasons, petroleum engineers cannot pump every drop of oil out of a reservoir. But by 2004 technological advances enabled them to recover 35 percent of a conventional reservoir’s oil, up from an average of 22 percent in 1980. If this recovery factor can be increased by another five percentage points, that would boost worldwide recoverable reserves by more than all of Saudi Arabia’s current proven reserves. Economides points out that in 1976 the U.S. was estimated to have 23 billion barrels of reserves remaining. In 2005 it still had 23 billion barrels of oil reserves, even though American oil fields produced almost 40 billion barrels of oil between 1976 and 2005

    Wait so if Iraq, African nations and Saudi Arabia use this technology they can recover 30% more oil? Did JaP include that in any of his figures? I mean that’s sounds like a huge amount.

    Matthew Simmons *(and JaP)* claims to have found that the Saudis are greatly exaggerating the size of their reserves. If true, this is bad news, because the Saudis have more than 30 percent of the world’s reserves and have served as the world’s supplier of last resort for a couple of decades. Simmons argues that the Saudis and others are exaggerating what they have because the supply quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were tied to the size of a country’s reserves—the bigger its reserves, the more oil it was permitted to sell. But the desire to boost quotas cannot account for the fact that non-OPEC reserves grew nearly three times faster than OPEC reserves between 1981 and 1996. And whatever incentive OPEC members had to lie about their reserves should have dissipated as the price of oil rose during the last couple of years. Economides notes that the Saudis are investing $100 billion in new production projects, which undercuts the notion that they know they are running out of oil.

    Yeah you see how crafty those Saudi’s are. They try to cover up their oil running out by spending $100 Billion in new production projects! Just to fool the American public in to thinking the dark ages are not upon us! Thank GOD we have JaP to bring us back down from our rosy vision of the future.

    You know we have some pressing issues. But is it really worth so many opinion diaries such as this, that cannot possibly even beginning to prove or disprove Peak Oil? And when will people stop lying to themselves that JaP’s diaries actually prove anything? They only re-enforce an existing belief in some people. This is such a complex issue, and JaP’s diaries only cover one side. They only cover the talking points from peak oil web sites and researchers. They never cover the positive effect $100 oil would have on conservation. They don’t include the positive effects $70 are already having and how those changes will effect consumption in the future. And I don’t blame him for that, its impossible to know, which is why these diaries are pure speculation.

    I have done little to nothing to disprove peak oil doomsayers here and JaP has done little or nothing to prove it in 3 years. He has show a small part of the big picture, and in it there is some truth. But there is much missing from this debate.  For some reason its very seductive to think the end is near, or that all we have to do is educate people and they will change faster. They will not. They never have. They change, when forced to. And for some that’s happening now. I for one look forward to the day oil approaches $100, we will see some real action then.

    Yeah yeah I know big pharama are poisoning our kids with mercury and there is a huge cover-up and this no different! "Most analysts" are just in bed with big oil. The only one we can trust here is JaP! But are they? Most work for investment companies, risk management companies etc. Independent of big oil.

    Finally, here is a more balanced view, by somebody who believed in Peak Oil. It includes many items of data JaP and just about every peak oil site you care to find will also ignore. But the reality is we just need to match the downward trend of oil production with technology. And we still have time. And all hail a new economy. Our work is not to be a profit of doom. It makes us look stupid and sensational in my view. Our work is to be a conduit of change in our own lives. Get those solar panels. Look in to geothermal heating systems. You and your people will be better off, giving you a monetary advantage over the people who continue to drive SUV’s! This is an advantage to us. Not something to fear as JaP wants you to believe. I don’t want to get into a pissing match. I just want you to think about it in a different way. It’s an opportunity, not the end of the World. Also there are many sites out there that deal with peak oil and peak oil skepticism that do a far better job than the few diaries that are posted here. If you are interested in finding out far more detail than JaP’s diaries go and take a look at it. It’s really not as scary as you think, or have been lead to believe. And it’s one of those areas, that conservatives kick butts at, because we have a tendency to go down the "end of the world" route, when they are more pragmatic (which is why I posted a Reason article, before somebody calls me a neo-con or something).

    In short, intellectually I believe we are wrong on this subject.

    •  Very strange (5+ / 0-)

      Don't know where you got your "most analysts", but fine, we'll go with that. Most analysts also only recently were willing to acknowledge that oil is not an infinite resource. It was only last year that Daniel Yergin and CERA would go as far as to allow (grudgingly at that) an "undulating plateau" before decline. Even now ExxonMobil cannot openly acknowledge the possibility that oil might be finite. "Most analysts" also do a fine job of ignoring the discovery-consumption trend.

      Re: EOR. Saudi Arabia, whatever else they may or may not be good at, is state of the art in enhanced oil recovery (which that article conveniently overlooks). Reserves will grow, perhaps even reaching or exceeding the claimed reserves today. But it's worth keeping in mind that all forms of EOR are money and energy intensive. The necessity of increasingly sophisticated EOR is evidence for the approach of peak.

      I also do not know why you think increased Saudi investment in production is evidence one way or another with respect to peak. Saudi oil getting increasingly sour and heavy -- early last year they claimed they couldn't find buyers for some of it it. The sour and heavy stuff is difficult and expensive to refine, and while they had plenty of light sweet the heavy and sour fields were shut in -- but were counted as reserves. Now they're running out of light sweet and if they're to get value from the heavy sour they have to invest in producing the stuff. They also have a giant field they call Manifa, mothballed because of high vanadium content.  They keep talking about reopening it, but keep putting it off because of the cost. But Manifa, useless today and expensive to produce tomorrow, counts to reserves.

      In case you haven't noticed, there has been a lot of pressure on Congress to reduce the price of gasoline. There have been diaries here to that effect. I understand where that is coming from: to some the price of gasoline is a real hardship that shouldn't be trivialized. But one overriding criterion of any possible solution is that it has to have a chance of working. JaP's diaries here point out that there is only so much oil in the world, we are far too dependent on it, and it is well past time to reduce our vulnerability to the ever increasing discovery-consumption gap which, unless something changes Real Soon Now, will turn into a production-consumption gap.

  •  More Peak Oil rubbish (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shane Hensinger

    I love how they plan on claiming world oil production will decline right as prices seem to have reached a plateau.  Guess they're still going to pretend economics don't apply.

    One thing most oil analysts agree on is that depletion of oil fields follows a predictable bell curve. This has not changed since the Shell geologist M King Hubbert made a mathematical model in 1956 to predict what would happen to US petroleum production.

    ...which assumes that oil demand is inelastic.  Which isn't true.  The economist was dead right:

    "We don't believe there is an absolute resource constraint. When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking."

    "It reminds me of the way no one would listen for years to scientists warning about global warming," he says. "We were predicting things pretty much exactly as they have played out. Then as now we were wondering what it would take to get people to listen."

    Well, yes, except for the being right part.  Which they haven't been, as we've still never hit the hump they predicted.

    As Dr Campbell explains: "When I was the boss of an oil company I would never tell the truth. It's not part of the game."

    ...a tradition he continues to this day.

    How tiresome these unfounded alarmists are.  I wonder how they'll still manage to sell books if the oil price drops off its speculatory premium?

    •  peaking demand? devoutly to be wished (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris, A Siegel

      The main point of "alarmist" is that we SHOULD be more elastic in our oil consumption.  We have a choice:

      live through demand driven peak of oil consumption and enter a bidding war with Chinese for the remaining supplies

      reduce the consumption of oil products, and entice other countries to do as we do, so that the demands drops faster than the production capacity, and the prices go down

      The funny thing is that we the second strategy is successful, the associated investment look like wasted.  If you pay 300 dollars to save 1 ton of oil, currently at 400 dollars, you profit.  But if you do it so many times that the price drops to 200, than your actual savings are up, but on paper you have a loss.

  •  one reason why china's looking increasingly (4+ / 0-)

    towards middle eastern oil imports is that their own major oilfield, the daqing oilfield up in manchuria, is getting pretty depleted just as their demand is increasing. as oil producing countriues tap out and stop exporting so that they can use it for domestic demand, and then are forced themselves to go on the global market to buy more, the price of that remaining oil is gonna to get extremely high.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 12:48:09 PM PDT

  •  National Security is the issue not "Peak Oil" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, daliscar

    US oil use reduction has to be sold as a current National Security issue, which it is, not based on future theoretical point of "Peak Oil".

    "Peak oil" a term coined by Shell Oil geologists is used by the oil companies to lobby against US energy legislation to cut US oil use. It focuses on supply of oil not the problems created for US by use of oil.

    1. Peak oil is used by oil companies to push more oil drilling such as in Alaska or currently by VA Senator Warner to drill off US Atlantic coast.
    1. Peak oil is in the future while US national security threats are NOW.  Terrorism, war, deficit, debt, trade imbalances, global warming, pollution.
    1. Peak oil is theoretical and debatable as we see from Jerome's reference. New technology can change the equation so real problem of US oil use is never dealt with since "peak oil" is a moving target.
    1. Peak oil supporters say market will solve the issue no matter when it arrives so no reason to cut oil use.

    US cutting oil use must be based on real current threats to US national security from our inefficient oil use. Middle East control of oil supplies, terrorism due US oil policy, $2T in oil trade deficit, war costs of $3T to wage oil wars, global warming, US economic decline (Ford and GM dying due to energy inefficient products).

    Peak oil allows oil companies to distract attention from real current problems.

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