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lucidnightmare
Pro Snowflake

Registered: Nov 2003
Location: North Myrtle Beach SC
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what about this ?

quote:
Peak Oil


Ever hear the term "Peak Oil"?

Peak Oil (or Hubbert's Peak) is the theory established by M. King Hubbert that oil production follows a bell curve.

The theory proves correctly that on the up-slope of the curve, production costs for each barrel of oil are significantly lower (cheap) than on the down-slope where costs are increasingly higher (expensive). The peak is the point at which we go from up- to down-slope, sorta like a roller coaster.


The peak does not predict when we will run out of oil -- that's not the problem. Rather, the peak predicts when we will run out of affordable oil. At that point, dramatic and catastrophic changes are likely to occur.

While the peak cannot be predicated precisely, it is projected to happen early this century. Some experts predict as soon as 2004-2010. Even scarier is that we aren't certain the peak has happened until a few years afterwards so it may have already happened!!!

You can read a very informative (and long, despressing) description in Life After the Oil Crash.


quote:
Oiling Ourselves To Oblivion

It's All Downhill From Hubbert's Peak

By Nick Mammatas








Attacks in Iraq sent oil prices soaring again last weekend, and some are saying we could see gasoline pump prices go as high as $3 per gallon this summer. That probably doesn't sound cheap, but it is.

In a few years, however, we'll run out of cheap oil, according to a growing number of geologists and economists. And high gas prices and having to give up the SUV will be the least of our worries.

Oil is the very basis of society, and when it goes, civilization as we know it will go with it.

It will be too late to carpool or even just ride the LIRR instead of driving; it takes oil to lay track, build and ship train cars, and keep the tracks electrified. Without cheap oil, mass production, electricity, running water, travel, large-scale industrial agriculture, all will grind to a bloody halt. We'll be back to the 1890s. And in the 1890s, the world economy could support only half a billion people, suggesting that a massive die- off of the human species is imminent.

Or not.

We've heard that the end of civilization is nigh since the beginning of civilization. The economist Thomas Malthus predicted that population would outstrip food supply in the 19th century, leading to mass starvation. Yet here in the 21st century, the world economy supports a population that has doubled in the past 30 years, and millions of tons of food are destroyed or stored in order to keep prices high. In the 1970s, the limits-of-growth school of thought predicted food riots in First World cities, and we only had ten years of oil back then as well. The difference between these failed predictions and the current oil scenario is that domestically, the prediction has already come true.

In the 1950s, the geophysicist M. King Hubbert described what's now called the "Hubbert curve." Oil production starts at zero and climbs as more oil is discovered. Eventually, given that oil is a finite resource, discovery peaks, and soon after that, production peaks, then declines. Hubbert predicted that oil production in the U.S. would peak in the early 1970s.

To the shock of the oil industry and many of his colleagues, Hubbert was absolutely right. The actual peak year for American oil production turned out to be 1970.

Now some geologists are predicting that world oil is reaching its Hubbert peak.

"All of our experience with any mineral resources tells us that supplies start at zero, grow rapidly at first when we start to exploit it, but slow down and reach a maximum as the resource gets depleted. The supply declines forever after that," explains Dr. David Goodstein, vice provost and professor of physics and applied physics at Caltech and author of Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil. "It's true that predicting the end of cheap oil is like the little boy who cried wolf, but don't forget, at the end of that story, the wolf does show up."

Goodstein is a moderate when it comes to the effect of the end of cheap oil. He believes that the world can shift its economic base to natural gas and nuclear power with only some political and social crises. In the worst case, he writes in Out of Gas, "runaway inflation and worldwide depression leave many billions of people with no alternative but to burn coal in vast quantities for warmth, cooking and primitive industry.'' Of course, both nuclear material and coal are themselves prone to production peaks. Wind and solar power are too inefficient to run the entire planet's economy.

Nor can Hubbert's theory be dismissed as just a theory; he has been right too many times about too many things.

"I'm a big fan of King Hubbert," says Teng-fong Wong, professor and chair of the Geosciences Department at Stony Brook University. Hubbert's work was seminal across a number of different concerns in geology: His papers in the 1940s on ground water flow and later work on hydrocarbon entrapment are classics in the field. Even the practical issues of Long Island's own water table are informed by Hubbert's theoretical work, which has been unchallenged for more than 60 years, Wong explains.

But not everyone believes in peak oil theory. Dr. Thomas Gold, an astrophysicist at Cornell University, has a theory as controversial as Hubbert's once was. Unlike most geologists, Gold does not believe that oil comes from decomposed biomass, i.e., dead dinosaurs and the like. Instead, he has an abiogenic theory of oil production, believing that oil comes from far deeper in the earth than we recognize, and that thus there is a lot more of it than we can currently predict. While certainly a minority opinion, the discovery of bacteria at far greater depths than previously known and the claim that some oil fields are actually refilling lends some credence to his theories.

"Hubbert's peak is an arbitrary invention," Gold says. Gold's own book on the subject, The Deep, Hot Biosphere, explains his theory that oil comes from the very same "stuff" from which our planet was formed billions of years ago. We're sitting on a world full of black gold and won't ever run out.

Goodstein is less impressed by Gold's theory: "I think tales of magically replenished oil fields should be treated with the same skepticism as apparitions of the Virgin Mary," he says. "Modern instruments make it possible to detect what kind of organisms went into creating different oil fields." Goodstein says he is planning for what he sees as an inevitable crisis in the near future: He bought stock in oil companies, drives a hybrid car, and serves as an advisor to Energy Innovations, a solar energy company.

For the rest of us, Goodstein holds out a little hope as well. "I am not resigned to the winding down of civilization. If I were, I would not have bothered to write the book. I am not optimistic that we will develop the kind of leadership that would prompt us to kick the fossil-fuel habit before it becomes absolutely necessary, but I do hope that the crisis when it comes will serve as a wake-up call, and that we will succeed in bridging the gap with temporary solutions until a real future nonfossil technology can be developed."

Wong, on the other hand, gives Gold's theory a bit more credence. "There are some intriguing data" suggesting links between abiogenic oil and oil fields refilling, he says, but no hard proof. Wong, like most geologists, believes that oil comes from decayed biomass, but says of abiogensis, "I wouldn't call it a crackpot theory." Wong also notes that the American Association of Petroleum Geologists is holding a conference on the controversy between the two theories this July. Perhaps there is a near-infinite amount of oil under our feet after all. And if not, save this issue of the paper. You may need it as fuel in a decade or two.


Is this like the Y2K thing ? I did find some doomsday sites about it , but I did try to get the information for reasonable sources .

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Aydin
El Fugaz

Registered: Jul 2001
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Coal is where it's at, man.

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lucidnightmare
Pro Snowflake

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It kills birds and makes babies choke you heartless beast !

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I hope you run out of butter too, Dane.

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Aydin
El Fugaz

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quote:
For the first time in a generation US power companies are turning back to coal amid fears about the availability of alternatives. To the consternation of environmentalists, dozens of new plants are planned, writes Dan Roberts Fight for clean fuel enlists technology


FT

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lucidnightmare
Pro Snowflake

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and I thought you were joking .

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Aydin
El Fugaz

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Not in this forum.

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Old Post 08-18-2004 07:51 PM
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GimpyDivo
I DRIVE WOMEN CRAZY!

Registered: Oct 2002
Location:
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what could possibly be so bad about running out of oil?

seriously, lets explore this for a bit.


  1. this will stimulate the development of new (or recycled) ideas for energy production. perhaps cold fusion isnt such a far feched idea.
  2. there will be no reason to fight in the middle east except amongst the indiginous peoples over whatever ancient skirmishes they used to fight about. this might be overly simplified but it serves to illustrate the decline of power the middle east holds right now.
  3. the decentralization of society. once they develop a power source small enough and efficient enough to provide energy for individual homes, there will be no reason to live in heavily populated areas anymore. once you can power your own water purification unit, what reason do you need to live around anyone and in relative comfort?
  4. taxes would be obliterated from our vocabulary. no need for publicly funded utility services anymore. our society would become retail driven and all taxes could be collected thru retail sales taxes with enough left over for universal medicare.
  5. the environment would become much cleaner. with the fall of fossil fuels the focus on vehicles would turn to hydrogen or electrical powered cars. your own power system could supply power for a hydro eletrolyser to refuel a vehicle with hydrogen. all youd have to do is collect and purify the water from run-off or rain.


perpetuation of this societal paradigm can only lead to bad things for the human race.

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lucidnightmare
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Registered: Nov 2003
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quote:
We'll be back to the 1890s. And in the 1890s, the world economy could support only half a billion people, suggesting that a massive die- off of the human species is imminent


heres some more

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?control=1519

http://www.keepmedia.com/ShowItemDe...10032&oliID=213

I don't know that I buy it , that is why I posted it , just to see if anyone else had info I didn't.

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Talarohk
Quaffmaster

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Vista, CA
Posts: 5545

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
what could possibly be so bad about running out of oil?

seriously, lets explore this for a bit.
...list of good things...

perpetuation of this societal paradigm can only lead to bad things for the human race.


No argument here that reducing our dependence on oil would be grand. One thing you didn't consider, though: if I understand correctly, we need oil to make plastics. Any plastics, barring recycling. Thus, very expensive oil means very expensive plastics and synthetics. I suppose we will need to find either another way of making plastics/synthetics, or alternative materials.

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CHiPsJr
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quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
what could possibly be so bad about running out of oil?



Massive resource wars and global economic collapse causing hundreds of millions to starve?

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
[*]this will stimulate the development of new (or recycled) ideas for energy production. perhaps cold fusion isnt such a far feched idea.


It will. But there is nothing resembling a guarantee that the alternatives will be as efficient as oil. If they aren't, massive downturn and many die. If they are, massive downturn during the transition and many die anyway.

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
[*]the decentralization of society. once they develop a power source small enough and efficient enough to provide energy for individual homes, there will be no reason to live in heavily populated areas anymore. once you can power your own water purification unit, what reason do you need to live around anyone and in relative comfort?


Pretty heavy assumption with regard to your hypothetical alternative--there's never been an alternative energy source of any kind that works at this kind of efficiency. That aside, I don't see much of anyone choosing to abandon the power grid anytime soon--there is, for instance, stuff to do in cities, and that's where jobs are.

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
taxes would be obliterated from our vocabulary. no need for publicly funded utility services anymore. our society would become retail driven and all taxes could be collected thru retail sales taxes with enough left over for universal medicare.


What percentage of YOUR tax bill is your utilities bill? You must inhabit a different universe than I. My taxes still pay for entitlements, defense, and deficit financing above all else. People like yourself will presumably scream bloody murder about the regressivity of your sales tax...I really just don't know where this claim is coming from.

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
[*]the environment would become much cleaner. with the fall of fossil fuels the focus on vehicles would turn to hydrogen or electrical powered cars. your own power system could supply power for a hydro eletrolyser to refuel a vehicle with hydrogen. all youd have to do is collect and purify the water from run-off or rain.


Those best be some hellified hydrocars--if they're less efficient than what we drive now, that's another big economic problem. Will we also fly hydro aircraft? We'd better, unless we want some real craziness economically. And what of the mighty war machines of the future? Big problems for tech dependent armies.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 01:40 AM
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GimpyDivo
I DRIVE WOMEN CRAZY!

Registered: Oct 2002
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quote:
Originally posted by Talarohk
No argument here that reducing our dependence on oil would be grand. One thing you didn't consider, though: if I understand correctly, we need oil to make plastics. Any plastics, barring recycling. Thus, very expensive oil means very expensive plastics and synthetics. I suppose we will need to find either another way of making plastics/synthetics, or alternative materials.


is suspect that many of our medical problems are caused by exposure to synthetic materials and items made of plastic. up until a few years ago, i hadnt heard of anyone with a thyroid problem. all of a sudden i now personally know of at least 5 people who now have thyroid disorders. perhaps its the materials we surround ourselves with that have an adverse affect on our health. i dont know really its just a suspicion.

im now purchasing only natural fiber clothing (no synthetic blends) and furnishings that are made of natural materials to reduce the contact i have with plastics.

besides, once we stop driving gasoline vehicles there is more oil for plastics right? we just wont be horribly dependent on oil to get us around and heat our homes.

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Smug Git
Arrogance Personified

Registered: Aug 2001
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quote:
Originally posted by CHiPsJr
It will. But there is nothing resembling a guarantee that the alternatives will be as efficient as oil. If they aren't, massive downturn and many die. If they are, massive downturn during the transition and many die anyway.



Efficiency of oil isn't that great, actually (efficiency is measured by wasted energy, in effect). It is effective as an energy source, though, and, often, convenient.

Power stations are relatively efficient (about 70%, as I recall, but I think that doesn't include the effort to extract it, although I guess that is a small fraction of the energy released) but automobiles aren't (about 30%).

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zim
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Boston
Posts: 3119

quote:
Originally posted by GimpyDivo
is suspect that many of our medical problems are caused by exposure to synthetic materials and items made of plastic. up until a few years ago, i hadnt heard of anyone with a thyroid problem. all of a sudden i now personally know of at least 5 people who now have thyroid disorders. perhaps its the materials we surround ourselves with that have an adverse affect on our health. i dont know really its just a suspicion.
I think its more likely that the problems people had simply went undiagnosed. The thyroid's an interesting contraption.
quote:
im now purchasing only natural fiber clothing (no synthetic blends) and furnishings that are made of natural materials to reduce the contact i have with plastics.
hemp makes strong rope! no really! it does!


hippy.
quote:
besides, once we stop driving gasoline vehicles there is more oil for plastics right? we just wont be horribly dependent on oil to get us around and heat our homes.
depends why it becomes expensive. if its a matter of getting it out of the ground, you still have to do that.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 02:44 AM
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Fiend
Medically crazy

Registered: Jul 2000
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Gimpy you are forgetting everything about big business, its all about the buck. even if cold fusion would come into play, they'd just charge us a bundle and say Research and Development took billions to impliment.

I'm a little more cynical.

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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

Registered: Jan 2002
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quote:
Originally posted by CHiPsJr
Massive resource wars and global economic collapse causing hundreds of millions to starve?


has no one here heard of gas?

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lucidnightmare
Pro Snowflake

Registered: Nov 2003
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wow

I was hoping someone could tell me why the Hubbert's Peak theory is bullshit .

anyone seen Mad Max ?

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DevilMoon
passive stalker?

Registered: Jul 2000
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I was going to post a thread on the new Fortune magazine. They have a special issue dealing with oil.

They came up with a four part plan to at least slow down the rapid increase of our oil consumption. They took certain things off the table as being politically unfeasible: ANWR, tighter CAFE standards and a gas tax.

"There are certain things politically that you don't break your lance on," says former Democratic Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado. "One is CAFE. You don't break it on ANWR. You don't break it on gas taxes. None of these is going anywhere." Each year, he says, intrepid legislators "mount up on their steed, put on their armor, lower their lance, and ... they go charging into the wall. It's just unbelievable. Every energy bill does that. And the knight gets blown off his horse, skewered on the lance, and nothing happens. That's where we are today."

It goes something like this:

- Tax credit for hybrids. Help increase hybrid penetration into the marketplace and drive demand. Remove small business tax credit for large SUVs. This has more long term ramifications than short term, with average car life at 15 years. Also, phase SUVs into corporate CAFE standards, since they get the same use as passenger vehicles. These measures would give incentives to buy and build more efficient vehicles. Fortune thinks one step to pay for this is to remove all current subsidies for oil companies. They have been posting record profits, the fact that they are heavily subsidized is stupid.

GM vice chairman Robert Lutz complains that the rules discriminate against domestic carmakers, which rely more on bigger, less-fuel-efficient vehicles. Says Lutz: "It's the equivalent of fighting obesity by making the clothing manufacturers produce only small sizes."

- Subsidize alternative fuel programs. They say that corn ethanol is mostly known for the size of its subsidies, but that there are better forms of biomass fuels being developed. They also want more hydrogen research, but acknowledge it is a long ways off. These technologies and ideas deserve some fleshing out.

Says Dan Reicher, a former Clinton energy official: "Fossil fuel is old biomass. Biomass is simply young biomass."

- Tighten efficiency standards. Fortune notes that some large companies have saved millions by turning off the lights at night, or using computer controlled lighting and HVAC systems. They also point out energy savings in more efficient appliances which were mandated years ago. They say experts say we could squeeze even better performance out of our refrigerators.

- Get the 37 states that don't require a minimum of wind and solar power generation from their utilities to do so. I am not sure how this one would work, as not every place is very windy or sunny. I guess the minimums would just be adjusted.

It's well worth a read (9 pages on their site). I don't know if I am logged in with subscriber access though.

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DevilMoon
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Registered: Jul 2000
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quote:
Originally posted by philjit
has no one here heard of gas?


The Fortune article linked above:

quote:
Unfortunately, the prognosis for natural gas is only marginally better than for oil. Just a few years ago it was being promoted as the cheap and plentiful alternative. But natural gas isn't so cheap anymore—it went from about $2 per million BTUs in the late '90s to more than $6 today. And it won't always be so plentiful here. The U.S. produces about 85% of its own natural gas, but net imports will rise 100% between 2000 and 2020, according to the Department of Energy—and 1,000%, if you believe the International Energy Agency. To accommodate the imports, we'll need to invest some $220 billion in pipelines and terminals to convert liquefied natural gas, which can be shipped from far away by supercooling it into viscous form. Both spark intense resistance from environmentalists and not-in-my-backyard types.

The need for gas imports also means the U.S. will face the prospect of a gas version of OPEC, argues Amy Jaffe, associate director of the James A. Baker III Public Policy Institute at Rice University. Russia and Iran alone control 42.6% of the world's natural-gas reserves. Throw in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the figure rises to 61.3%. Says Jaffe: "By 2020 they're going to be pretty much in control of that market." Not only did we not learn our lesson with oil, it seems, but we're now ready to repeat the experience with natural gas.

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CHiPsJr
Ginger-headed Troll

Registered: Sep 2000
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quote:
Originally posted by philjit
has no one here heard of gas?


Put it in your auto engine and see what happens.

One can't make up oil shortfalls with gas or coal, economically. Nor vice versa.

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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

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quote:
Originally posted by CHiPsJr
Put it in your auto engine and see what happens.


the engine starts.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 06:33 AM
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lucidnightmare
Pro Snowflake

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A different opinion and a good article .

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?control=1519

quote:
Reliance on Empirical Findings

The problems with Goodstein's conclusions, and this applies to Hubbert's followers in general, begin with his reliance on empirical findings to generate the Hubbert curves. He projects decreases in the rate of growth of oil production into the future and then estimates the date of Hubbert's peak and the resulting decline in available oil. However, empirical findings do not always support this thesis.

Many countries' oil production curves are not shaped like Hubbert's bell curve. For example, some oil production curves have multiple peaks. This does not discourage Goodstein. The exact timing of Hubbert's peak is not the essential issue. The important lesson is that "the crisis will come . . . when the rate at which oil can be pumped out of the ground starts to diminish" (p. 37).

However, oil production curves that do not conform to Hubbert's model create insurmountable problems for Hubbert's followers. Since oil production curves have multiple peaks, the problem then becomes one of determining which peak is the final peak. A Hubbertarian needs to know the timing of the final peak in order to determine the start of the crisis.

One cannot predict that the crisis is near unless one knows that the oil production decline is a permanent one. Oil production declines will tend to lead to increased incentives to find more oil reserves preventing the decline from becoming a crisis. In order to predict a crisis, Hubbertarians need to be secure in their assumption that the decline is permanent and empirically this assumption is suspect.

The alarmists have repeatedly underestimated future production capabilities. Even recent predictions about future oil reserves have been revised upward due to the discovery of the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan and the Azadegan field in Iran. Any upturn in production anywhere seems to take the Hubbertarians by surprise. Simply put, Goodstein and his kind continually underestimate future oil projections (and much oil remains undiscovered.)

Goodstein also limits his analysis to conventional oil reserves. While he notes that there are unconventional sources for oil, he dismisses the possibility of finding economical methods to recover this oil. The world contains more unconventional oil, as far as we know, than conventional oil.

Venezuela's Orinoco heavy oil belt is estimated to have over 1 trillion barrels of reserves and the reserves in Canada's Athabasca Tar Sands are estimated to be as high as 1.8 trillion barrels. In addition, there are large deposits of oil shale in the United States and several other countries. While most of these reserves are not financially viable at this time, we know these reserves are in place. Higher energy prices or advanced technologies might make it feasible to use this unconventional oil.

Empirical refutation does not deter the Hubbertarians, however. One Hubbert acolyte, Colin J. Campbell, anticipating a negative response to his changing data sets, defends himself: "critics relish pointing out how the assessment has evolved over time, taking it as evidence that depletion studies are meaningless. A good response would be to quote the famous economist, Maynard Keynes, who on being accused of inconsistency replied. "When I have new information, I change my conclusions. What do you do? Sir."[4] I suppose that it's encouraging to find a Hubbertarian quoting any economist given their lack of understanding of the fundamentals of economics.

Geological Considerations and Market Forces

An even more critical failure of the Hubbertarians, including Goodstein, is their assumption that geological considerations in oil producing regions are the deciding factors in determining available oil reserves. For Goodstein, a decrease in reserves indicates a lack of potential exploration opportunities.

He overlooks the role that investment plays in oil exploration. While Goodstein recognizes the argument that market forces will respond to a potential oil shortage, he dismisses this possibility out of hand. While geology is a factor affecting oil reserves, investment in exploration, driven by the demand for energy, determines reserve levels.

If the demand for oil begins to exceed available oil production, oil prices will rise. This price increase indicates that there is a need for more oil, or energy substitutes, and provides an incentive for oil producers to find more oil reserves. A potential oil shortage will lead to an increase in existing oil reserves in three ways.

First, higher oil prices will lead to more exploration and the discovery of new oil fields.

Second, higher prices provide an incentive to improve production and exploration technology. Better exploration technology will make it easier to find more oil and improved production technology will increase the reserves in existing oil fields.

Third, rising oil prices increase oil reserves even without any additional exploration or changes in technology. Reserves are the estimated amounts of discovered economically viable oil production. At higher prices it's profitable to recover more of the oil available in previously discovered fields. We therefore have more oil reserves simply by having higher oil prices.

Higher oil prices may also make unconventional oil reserves economically viable. Again, it's estimated that there is more unconventional oil available than there is conventional oil. Any potential oil shortage will tend to spur oil producers to find a way to use these unconventional oil sources. Goodstein correctly notes that given current technology, unconventional oil cannot be profitable because we currently use as much or more energy to recover this oil than we gain from the oil itself. New technologies will be required in order to make it worthwhile to use tar sands and heavy oils as a fuel source. Higher oil prices, however, provide the incentive to develop such technologies.

Regarding the possibility of finding non-hydrocarbon substitutes for oil, Goodstein concedes that we will need to use energy substitutes, he prefers solar and nuclear power, but apparently rejects the possibility that free markets will solve this problem. According to Goodstein, energy markets failed us in the past and we can't rely on them in the future.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 06:47 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by philjit
the engine starts.


Yeah, you can have cars that run off of gas.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 01:39 PM
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Nutrimentia
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www.dieoff.org

recommended by Bondo, the oilman in our midsts.

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Old Post 08-19-2004 01:59 PM
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Nutrimentia
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quote:
(and much oil remains undiscovered.)


How do they know this?

re: higher prices make oil recovery more viable and profitable. Isn't this backward logic? Because oil is becoming more expensive to procure, prices are higher. There are other factors involved (warfare, threats to otherwise stable supplies) but those aren't the issue here. Even absent these instability factors, oil prices would rise as a result of decreased supply, not as a leading indicator of demand.

But while we are talking about demand: The amount of oil in the ground isn't the first problem. Production is. Global demand is going to outstrip production long, long, long before we physically run out of oil. This trend is exacerbated by growing and oil-thirsty economies in China and India (the next two world powers, and likely combatants in the Great Oil War to come).

It is true that 1) we don't know how much oil is in the ground and 2) better techniques for recovery will lead to expanded reserves. It is a possibility that oil might never be depleted for whatever reason. But just because we can't answer these questions doesn't mean we should work with the knowledge that we have.

Imagine yourself on a flat stretch of freeway in the middle of nowhere: You could just floor the accelerator and close your eyes. You don't know for sure that the road is going to curve, you don't know that the road isn't completely empty ahead of you. And even if there are obstacles, maybe you'll run out of gas and the car will slow down, or maybe you'll coast off to an easy stop in the ditch rather than crash and burn. But you wouldn't act on that knowledge that way.

What is to be lost by moving off of our dependence on oil? Nothing, really. What is to be lost if we don't? Perhaps nothing, but odds (based on what we know today) are much greater that we'd lose almost everything. Faced with these choices, why not make the safe and sound decision?

On a side note, fresh water is likely to become a greater global flashpoint, be it death, disease and warfare, earlier than oil. Even without global warming messing things up, pollution and local overpopulation is seriously stressing water supplies. And then if we factor in global warming...whoa momma!

quote:
Climate change heralds thirsty times ahead for most

New Scientist vol 182 issue 2448 - 22_May_2004, page 16

FRESH water will be in ever shorter supply as climate change gathers pace. A new modelling study suggests that increasing temperatures will dramatically affect the world's great rivers. While flows will increase overall, with some rivers becoming more swollen, many that provide water for the majority of the world's people will begin to dry up.

Some of these predicted changes are already happening. A second study shows temperature changes have affected the flow in many of the world's 200 largest rivers over the past century, with the flow of Africa's rivers declining over the past 10 years.

Veteran climate modeller Syukuro Manabe and colleagues at Princeton University modelled what effect a quadrupling of atmospheric carbon dioxide above pre-industrial levels would have on the global hydrological cycle over the next 300 years. That looks further ahead than most climate models, but the scenario is inevitable unless governments take drastic action to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Rising CO2 levels will trigger higher temperatures not only at the Earth's surface, but also in the troposphere, the team says. By factoring this into the models, together with changes to levels of water vapour, cloud cover, solar radiation and ozone, the team predicted the effect that climate change would have on evaporation and precipitation. Both would increase, the researchers found, causing the discharge of fresh water from rivers around the world to rise by almost 15 per cent.

However, while water is going to be more plentiful in regions that already have plenty, the net effect will be to take the world's water further from where the people are. "Water stresses will increase significantly in regions that are already relatively dry," Manabe reports in the journal Climate Change (vol 64, p 59).

Evaporation will reduce the moisture content of soils in many semi-arid parts of the world, including north-east China, the grasslands of Africa, the Mediterranean and the southern and western coasts of Australia. Soil moisture will fall by up to 40 per cent in southern states of the US, Manabe says.

The effects on the world's rivers will be just as dramatic. The biggest increases will be in the thinly populated tropics and the far north of Canada and Russia. For instance, the flow of the river Ob in Siberia is projected to increase by 42 per cent by the end of the 23rd century. This prediction could encourage Russia's plans to divert Siberian rivers to irrigate the deserts around the Aral Sea (New Scientist, 7 February, p 8). Similar changes could increase pressure from the US for Canada to allow transfers from its giant Pacific rivers to water the American West. Manabe predicts a 47 per cent increase in the flow of the Yukon river.

By contrast, there will be lower flows in many mid-latitude rivers which run through heavily populated regions. Those that will start to decline include the Mississippi, Mekong and especially the Nile, one of the world's most heavily used and politically contested rivers, where his model predicts an 18 per cent fall in flow.

The changes will present a "profound challenge" to the world's water managers, Manabe says. They are also likely to fuel calls for a new generation of super-dams and canals to move water round the planet, like China's current scheme to transfer water between north and south.

Some of the findings are controversial. The UK Met Office's climate model predicts that flows in the Amazon could fall this century, while Manabe's team predicts greater rainfall could increase its flow by 23 per cent. And while Manabe foresees a 49 per cent increase in the flow of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers that drain the Himalayas, an international study reported that the Ganges would lose flow as the glaciers that feed it melt away (New Scientist, 8 May, p 7).

Meanwhile, a team of researchers in France say that climate change is already affecting the world's rivers. David Labat and colleagues at the government's CNRS research agency in Toulouse reconstructed the monthly discharges of more than 200 of the world's largest rivers since 1875. They took discharge data held by the Global Runoff Data Centre in Germany and the UNESCO River Discharge Database and used a statistical technique to fill in gaps left by missing data, or changes to run-off caused by dams and irrigation projects (Advances in Water Resources, DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2004.02.020).

Their findings reveal that changing temperatures cause river flows to rise and fall after a delay of about 15 years, and the team predicts that global flows will increase by about 4 per cent for every 1 °C rise in global temperature. However, climate change over the past few decades has already caused discharge from rivers in North and South America and Asia to increase. Run-off in Europe has remained stable, but the flow of water from Africa's rivers has fallen.

http://www.newscientist.com/news/pr...p?id=ns99995011

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Old Post 08-19-2004 02:49 PM
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Smug Git
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The argument, or variants, that when the oil price is high enough, we can profitably extract oil from, for example, US shales, is a dubious one, in my opinion, because as Nute points out, if the price is that high, we are fucked. The argument that miraculously demand will drive a new technique of extracting it cheaply is also dubious; it is, of course, entirely possible that it will happen, but there is no reason to expect that it will, really. Some things just aren't possible, and it isn't always easy to tell what is and what isn't possible.

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