Concerned about the end of the oil age?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by eclipse, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. eclipse macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #1
    I come from a Christian background, and this is a piece I had published in a Christian magazine at www.zadok.org.au on "Peak oil" otherwise known as "The End of Cheap Oil" or the end of the "Oil Age".

    I hope you enjoy if you already are a peaknik... I hope it's not too disturbing if you're not. :eek:


    PART ONE: WHAT IS PEAK OIL? — By David Lankshear
    If you plot the mining of oil from a specific oil field over time, the volumes of oil extracted follow a rough bell curve. Production starts off slow, then as more and more wells are drilled volumes increase until about halfway through the field’s life production plateaus. This is the maximum output you will ever produce from that oil field. This marks the beginning of the end of that oil field’s life. Soon, the oil field goes into decline as the deeper oil takes more energy to extract, and is more expensive to process. All the light sweet crude is gone, and you are now into the heavy crude. You have moved from a growing output of cheap oil to a decreasing output of poor quality oil. This trend can be observed for one field, a collection of fields, a state, an entire nation, and estimates can even be made for the whole world.

    Many are saying we are on the peak of world oil production. The “peak” is the most oil we will ever produce annually; only from our immediate vantage point it looks more like a plateau. We may find that 86 million barrels a day is the ceiling of what humanity will ever produce. OPEC have promised to raise daily output a number of times over the past 18 months, but just cannot. In just a few short years we may be able to see the beginning of the energy down slope.

    If we really are at peak oil production, it means we have burnt all the easy to access oil, all the “low hanging fruit”. As National Geographic puts it, “Humanity’s way of life is on a collision course with geology — with the stark fact that the Earth holds a finite supply of oil… The peak will be a watershed moment, marking the change from an increasing supply of cheap oil to a dwindling supply of expensive oil.” (National Geographic, June 2004, page 88.) New discoveries will not save us. Discovery peaked in the 1960’s, and so we are now consuming 4 barrels of oil energy for every barrel discovered.

    The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, John Anderson, and celebrity scientists Dr Karl Kruszelnicki of Australia and David Suzuki of Canada have stated that they believe we are near the peak. Yesterday Exxon-Mobile quietly announced that all non-OPEC oil producing nations would peak in the next 5 years. The world will then rely on OPEC to supply any increase in demand — which they apparently cannot do. The same article also stated that oil demand would increase by a million barrels per day each year after 2010. With China and India coming online as oil consuming nations, demand for oil has never been higher. It appears demand has already caught supply, and the price of oil is rising as a result.

    CONSEQUENCES.
    But what will happen as oil extraction actually slows down each and every year after the peak? Put simply, the economic consequences will be catastrophic. It will be like the 1970’s oil crisis, but this time it is here to stay.
    Oil is the lifeblood of our civilization. Not only does oil provide 90% of transport energy, but it also provides the feedstock for our chemical and plastics industry, the bitumen for our roads, pharmaceutical inputs, and most importantly oil provides the raw ingredients for making pesticides. Oil is food. Some have calculated that it takes ten calories of oil and gas energy to make just one calorie of food energy. (Google “Eating Fossil Fuels”).

    The cost of everything that depends on oil will rise. Airlines will become unaffordable to the average citizen and will bankrupt as a result. Once the airlines stop flying the world’s largest employer, international tourism, takes a severe economic hit. Some smaller nations dependent on tourism will become bankrupt. The flow on effects of oil prices skyrocketing out of control will throw us into the Greater Depression. We have left adjusting to the post-oil era too late. Indeed it mystifies me that governments still allow oil dependent suburban sprawl to creep ever further into once profitable agricultural areas.

    OVERSHOOT
    Hang onto your hats, there’s more. Industrial agriculture is so utterly dependent on oil for both pesticides and transporting NPK fertilizers to our farms that many peak oilers believe humanity is already in a state of worldwide overshoot. The “die-off” community (see dieoff.com) basically think our situation is comparable to bacteria in a Petri dish, which has doubled again and again until it is about to hit the walls of the dish. When that happens, the growth medium runs out and the bacteria starve. They argue that oil is the growth medium that has enabled the human population to reach 6 billion. Without oil inputs our farms have only dead dirt and our crop yields will collapse. The human population may have to “adjust” to pre-industrial revolution agricultural numbers. Die-off.

    I will not expand on the many die-off scenarios that illustrate the potential for anarchic collapse and resulting starvation. I do not hold that die-off is inevitable. However, when a conservative Republican Senator with a previous career in science teaching can stand up in the American Congress and quote: "Dear Readers, civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon", we know that something is awry. (See www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net). Indeed, if oil depletion is imminent then the outlook for civilization really does appear far more alarming than even the Pulitzer Prize winning Jared Diamond has visualized in his book, “Collapse”. He hardly mentions peak oil, even though he highlighted Australia as being on the knife-edge of collapse because of our poor soils.

    THE TECHNICAL ISSUES
    Right now I bet you are trying to remember every renewable energy scheme you have ever come across. I’ve been there, madly scouring the internet day and night studying wind, solar, bio-mass, geothermal, tidal, wave and OTEC energy. There are some truly remarkable schemes to harness renewable sources of energy. (My favourite is the 1 kilometre high Solar Chimney just for its sheer audacity, engineering beauty and simplicity.)

    However, the technical challenges are vast. Let me help you start asking the right questions before you assume you have an easy solution.
    1/ EPR.
    EPR is the Energy Production Ratio. It asks how much energy you get back for all the energy you put in to building the power plant, transporting materials, etc. For example, in the early days of oil mining you just drilled a well and hit a gusher, allowing the EPR to be as high as 100. That’s 100 times the Energy Returned on the Energy Invested. (Also known as ERoEI). A little exploration and drilling and you had an EPR of 100. Now that oil fields are so hard to find, and so expensive to drill (such as deep sea beds) the EPR of oil is only about 8, which is also another indicator that oil is about to peak. (Remember it costs more and more energy to get the last few scraps of oil, and so the energy profit ratio starts to decline after the peak.)

    But what are the EPR’s of renewable energy? Some studies argue that solar cells are net energy losers! The solar cell energy payback studies often omit such basic energy inputs as the energy required to construct the solar cells factory. That’s a bit like ignoring the dome of a nuclear power plant, or the deep-sea rig used to mine the oil! Even so, this is how the EPR figures are often “cooked”. When the energy costs are properly measured, some conclude that solar cells are merely converting cheap fossil fuels into expensive silicon cell electricity.

    In a similar fashion the EPR for many alternatives is poor.
    Most bio-fuels have a poor or negative EPR because of the high-energy input from oil pesticides and gas manufactured fertilizers. Hydrogen has a negative EPR, you have to burn more electricity to manufacture it than you get back in the hydrogen. (Second law of thermodynamics.) The EPR is one of the most important questions when considering alternative energies.

    2/ Volumes.
    Will the renewable energy produce the volumes of fuel we need? Some people recommend bio-fuels, but my current figures tell me that growing any crop for fuel would quickly compete with farmland and still only give us a tiny fraction of the transport fuel we need. It becomes a choice between fuel and food, to mention nothing of the dangers of damaging more soil. Always check if the renewable energy can satisfy the sheer quantities of today’s energy use.

    3/ Sustainability.
    I mentioned depleted soils above as one example of whether or not an energy source was sustainable. There’s no point getting hooked on bio-diesel if within a few years the soil dies and fuel crops fail. There’s no point building hundreds of expensive nuclear power plants if we then reach peak uranium in few decades.

    4/ Ease of transportation. Is the fuel easy to move and freight? Even if you managed to manufacture enough hydrogen, how do you move it? Hydrogen leaks. It needs to be condensed and frozen. It needs a different piping infrastructure. Shipping hydrogen requires a completely different and much more expensive tanker, and the road freight of hydrogen is also problematic.
     
  2. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #2
    Just a teeny bit over post size limit... sorry.

    SUMMING UP THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGES
    There are many other questions of cost, time to implement, and infrastructure needs. What will we use to replace plastics? What about power backup for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine? If we want industrial civilization to survive these technical issues must be solved quickly as we prioritise the remaining fossil fuels into renewable energy.

    We do have some amazing new technologies. We also have eco-city designs that save energy, are better for the environment and health of citizens, and would allow a very comfortable lifestyle in a city designed around communities and moving people, not cars. Yet it is all too little too late. After carefully investigating this matter for nearly a year now, I have become increasingly alarmed at how difficult it will be for our society to wean itself off our oil addiction. The Hirsch report to the US Department of Energy concluded it would take 20 years to wean off oil. Yet our governments are still sleepwalking into this crisis.

    Peak oil leaves me questioning the ethical basis of our whole first world way of life. Sustainability is now a matter of conscience affecting a Christian approach to social justice and poverty. This planet has limited energy resources that the first world has largely consumed at the expense of developing nations. Furthermore, we are taxing the next generation and leaving behind problems with pollution, topsoil degradation, depleted fisheries, rare mineral depletion, water table depletion, clear felling of old growth forest, erosion, and global warming. My own personal Christian response to peak oil is best described by the following quote. “If I cannot extrapolate my standard of living to the whole world and still find nature flourishing, my standard of living is immoral." (John Carmody, Ecology and Religion, p. 134.)
     
  3. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #3
    Yikes, that was long. I think this probably belongs in the political discussion forum.
     
  4. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #4
    Sorry... if a moderator wants to change that I'm more than agreeable. :eek:
     
  5. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #5
    Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) you aren't allowed to post yet in the Political Discussion (or the Marketplace) until you have at least reached the 100 post minimum. I can't post a message in the forums.
     
  6. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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  7. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

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    #7
    I love these kinds of posts. Makes everyone paranoid...


    What if there's a giant meteor heading our way so fast, that we won't see it coming, and we all blow up?...


    Hmm.. :confused:


    Not being sarcastic.
     
  8. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #8
    Hi moderators... again, if this is the wrong Forum thread to discuss this I'm sorry... this is a great website and I'd hate to be banned.

    Back on subject.... Yep. Giant meteors are one thing, and I could be killed by something far less spectacular like the proverbial bus.

    Only peak oil is self induced, in other words it is our own silly fault.

    It could have been mitigated if we acted decades ago. Yet it really seems to be here about now. A few quotes from my website:

    Chevron have said it! "The era of easy oil is over!" writes the CEO at www.willyoujoinus.com

    OPEC have already said that light sweet crude is in decline. (Only the sour stuff is still increasing in production.) This backs up what Chevron has already stated, the era of easy oil is over. The age of sweet oil is turning sour.
    http://www.vitaltrivia.co.uk/2005/08/26

    Exxon Mobile have announced that the entire world outside of OPEC is about to peak in its production of all oil categories in the next 5 years. That is a huge announcement. It tells us that we will be dependent on OPEC for any increase in worldwide demand.
    http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=mj05cavallo

    A senior Saudi oil geologist has stated to the New York Times that he believes Saudi total oil production will peak at about 12.5 to 15 million barrels a day. After that point, there can be no more growth in sour supply no matter what the world demands!

    "When I asked whether the kingdom could produce 20 million barrels a day -- about twice what it is producing today from fields that may be past their prime -- Husseini paused for a second or two. It wasn't clear if he was taking a moment to figure out the answer or if he needed a moment to decide if he should utter it. He finally replied with a single word: No."

    Once Saudi Arabia have peaked, then that's it — the world has peaked.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/magazine/21OIL.html
     
  9. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #9
    Oh, I forgot... I could ride a bicycle to the local supermarket... but what if there was no food when I got there? :eek:

    3/ Food depends on cheap oil.

    Modern agriculture has been described as turning oil (and natural gas) into food. Let me explain... you cannot grow anything without NPK. NPK are the essential ingredients for life, and especially for growing crops in depleted, overworked soils.

    Nitrogen comes from the air. The natural gas fired Haber process sucks Nitrogen out of the air. Oil then transports and distributes the Nitrogen.

    Phosphorus is currently mined using oil. Oil then transports and distributes the Phosphorus.

    Potassium was once called Kalium. Potassium is currently mined using oil. Oil then transports and distributes the potassium.

    " NPK are the essential ingredients for life "

    After oil peaks food could double in price and then eventually double again!

    Most of the world's Haber process is powered by natural gas which is also expected to peak — only 10 years or so after oil peaks. When gas peaks its production then dives rather than following an even bell-curve shape. Gas has already peaked in North America... peak oil and peak gas are going to hit there very hard. (It is no wonder some visualize a Malthusian catastrophe... see point 5 below.)

    Oil is also used to protect the food we manage to grow. Pesticides come from oil.... another by product of the petro-chemical industry. Oil grows our food and then protects our food from bugs.

    Without cheap oil, agriculture will change forever. The following article I have linked to is the result of years of study into modern industrial agriculture, and is 5 minutes of essential reading that could change your life.

    Please google "Eating Fossil Fuels".

    For more information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, please read about the Green Revolution.

    Now also picture this — even if farmers do manage to grow something how will it get to you as the Greater Depression starts to bite and all the trucking companies become bankrupt?
     
  10. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

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    #10
    I didn't know about the whole "oil=food" thing. But I would imagine that there would be plenty of oil for that, but that we'd be starved of oil for, say, driving to McDonalds (Which is 2 blocks away ;) :rolleyes: ) or something unnecessary like that...




    In other words, we wouldn't be driving as much.
     
  11. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #11
    There's paranoia, and there's facing facts. I am absolutely convinced of some form of readjustment coming to civilisation within the next 50 years. It may not be a crash, depending on how governments respond to the inevitable increase in energy costs. But really, as a population we are running on borrowed time. Oil is stored solar energy and we've been using far more of this energy than we can ever have hoped to harvest more directly from the sun through food. This means we're in trouble when our "free" energy source runs out.

    The analogy to bacteria is not great but it makes a point. Most mammalian populations reach a steady-state size where death and birth are matched according to the environemntal conditions. Normally there is no crash unless something dramatic happens to the environment. Some organisms - like bacteria - grow and multiply until nutrients are exhausted, and then crash to a sustainable population size. It looks like the human population is on this kind of abnormal growth curve - we're on the exponential phase in some places. It's gonna get dirty when intensive agriculture becomes impossible.

    Heck, here in the UK we're already running out of natural gas and can't import it quick enough!
     
  12. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #12
    I hear you Dops!

    Forgive me if I go on and on about this. It's kind of a passion for me.

    I'm what they call a "peaknik". That means I'm promoting peak oil awareness so that we can avoid disaster. There are plenty of disaster sites, and that side of the peak oil community are known as "Doomers" or the "dieoff community".

    These are some of the Doomer sites... and don’t laugh, because the first one really has been quoted in the US Congress by a conservative republican scientist!

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
    http://www.oildepletion.org/
    http://www.dieoff.com/
    http://www.oilcrash.com/
    http://www.wolfatthedoor.org.uk/
    http://members.home.nl/peakoil/introduction.html

    But overall I agree with you. Efficiency, and redesigning ALL of our cities around www.ecocitybuilders.com walking distance communities will be the only way to go... unless we crack Mr Fusion or something equally as Sci Fi. Renewable energy is great, but it's just not going to do the same job as fossil fuels in time!

    So as far as government awareness goes, it is just beginning to break! Roscoe Bartlett keeps talking about it in the US Congress and here in Australia I am very proud of a Queensland state minister that has organized a peak oil taskforce. He has basically concluded that the airlines are going down and we are heading into a massive Greater Depression.
    If you have good bandwidth, listen to Andrew McNamara's interview here when you next do the ironing or clip your nails or sort your socks.
    http://media.globalpublicmedia.com/RM/2005/08/McNamara.20050824.mp3

    Get out of debt people, because when the inflation goes up, so will the interest rates!
     
  13. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #13
    Interesting. I wish we had such a vocal supporter of "The Cause". I have written to my MP about our impending energy crisis, only to be fobbed off with the usual: energy efficiency strategies (great, save 10% and then just use up the savings because the energy requirements of the average home are going up), investment into renewable energy (10% by 2010... hmm, I bet we don't make it) and - this is the best bit - enough oil for 30 years. 30 years??? It takes 7-8 years to organise an Olympic Games. How long will it take to get an entire civilisation off oil?

    We have some problems coming up, and we're wasting energy as if it were free. I support your shameless plugging of your website here, if only because I think educating people is the key to addressing this issue. I am essentially pessimistic about this, but ignorance will make the problem even worse.

    Yes. The question is: when? Holding on to your cash when you could be buying a house might well be a mistake. I'm wondering when the house market here will correct itself - but that's another topic. I blame all the singletons buying up houses and thus being energy-inefficient! :p
     
  14. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #14
    About 20 years of running a big government "crash program" if you want a smooth transition, 10 years if you only want to take the edge off a really tough time. That's according to the US Department of energy Hirsch report. I wrote to him, requesting a summary of his 96 page report. This is what he sent.



    You said:
    Absolutely! That's why there is a movie! www.endofsuburbia.com — if you are in the UK you can probably buy it and other peak oil documentaries at www.powerswitch.org.uk

    Maybe, it's a bit of a gamble but many are saying 2008 is the peak of ALL oil, but note that OPEC have admitted that SWEET crude is already starting to decline in output. We don't have the refineries for SOUR crude, it's a totally different animal! It needs a much more expensive hydrogen cracker. And as for tar sands... don't get me started! There just is not enough natural gas left to fuel the high energy cost of extracting the tar sands! The EPR is not that good. Sorry... lingo... the Energy Production Ratio. In the early days of oil mining you spent a barrel of oil equivalent energy and received a 100 fold return on energy. Now days, this much closer to the peak, that energy return is probably only 8 times the energy put in to mining it. Tar sands are probably about only 2 times... rough figures all, the "layperson summary" conclusions are what I operate on.

    Yeah... public awareness of this would be great, but I seriously think there is a fear / denial response that kicks in. "It will be OK because we have hydrogen!"

    Yeah right! Hydrogen takes TWICE the energy to split the water than you get back in the hydrogen, once you count freezing or compressing the Hydrogen down to dense enough volumes to put in your car.

    Do you see anyone building DOUBLE the power stations that they used to, or are they having trouble keeping up with electricity demand in the UK (like everywhere else) let alone having another 100% capacity for when we switch to the mythical "hydrogen economy".
     
  15. MrSmith macrumors 68040

    MrSmith

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    #15
    I'm sorry but, Jeez! I just took a look at the URL you put at the top. That front page! No wonder you're so depressed. You're not the first Christian to forsee the end of the world, you know. There are plenty in Hyde Park Corner every day (unless they've closed it down since I was last there).

    Most thinking people have been aware of the finiteness of oil for a long time. It won't dry out overnight. Society will adapt. Politically, economically, mechanically. If you want to be depressed then I would suggest war and pestilence would be more in need of your attention. Most people live their lives optimistically and concern themselves with the nuts and bolts of daily existence: money, food, sex (not daily any more :eek: ) , family, home. Do you think people want to hear about how we're all going to die? Lighten up.
     
  16. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #16
    Hi Mr Smith (cool avatar... is that from Matrix?)

    I don't believe peak oil is some kind of biblical prophecy... I'm not in the "Left Behind" category of "last days" Christians. (Silly term anyway, my understanding of the Bible is that we've been in the last days for the last 2000 years! I don't want to get into a Theological debate... but IF the Bible is true, and I happen to believe it is, then the Lord could return in 5 seconds or 5000 years... we just don't know. All that stuff about 666 etc refers to things that happened under the Romans and basically illustrates that bad things can happen in the "last days" so be patient Christian! There is no future prophesized anti-Christ that we are waiting for... the bible says that there are lots of anti-Christs... anyone that denies Jesus was God is basically an anti-Christ! So in summary, it's not because of any theological understanding that I am saying it's the "end of the world". It's just the end of "business as usual".)

    Now, were you referring to Life after the oil crash? (LATOC for short).

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

    The following introductory paragraph has been read out in US Congress as a warning as to what could happen if we don't prepare now.

    Peak oil is real, it is now, it is happening. I don't believe it HAS to be LATOC, but everything is going to change. David Suzuki says,

    "Peak oil is going to cause a lot of suffering, no doubt about it."

    Doomers believe
    1/ Peak oil is now
    2/ There is nothing to switch to that will run what we are running
    3/ It is the end of civilization and 80% of us might starve to death

    Here's the thing: Try and disprove the above claims, and you will begin to understand my level of concern.

    I know too many people who have tried to disprove the above 3 concepts and are now building survivalist farms!

    First they tried to disprove 1, that peak oil was now. They could not.

    Then they tried to disprove that it was important... eg: We'd "just" switch to something else. They became convinced that there IS nothing else we could scale up IN TIME to supply what we currently demand in energy. There is going to be a few decades of extremely low power.

    Then they tried to disprove that it was TEOTWAWKI... The End Of The World As We Know It — and ended up moving out to a survivalist permaculture farm.

    I believe 1.
    I also believe 2... but that instead of trying to run what we are running we will eventually have to change how we do things, and adapt.

    Small example: instead of 500 car trips to the Supermarket each day, we will go back to smaller corner stores within walking distance, and just have 1 truck deliver goods to that store.

    I DON'T WANT TO believe 3 as I have a boy still on chemotherapy, but am fairly convinced that there might be regions that go under. I don't believe the whole Western World will collapse into Mad Max — but I do believe we have left it too little, too late to adjust to life without oil without severe economic pain, and that some cities in the USA could collapse into anarchy and panic just as New Orleans started to.

    Only this time there may not be 500 buses to take you to the "outside world" as everywhere will be stuck in a low energy, Greater Depression economic crisis.

    However, having said I don't WANT to believe 3, my greatest question is still: Just where is the food going to come from after the Green Revolution collapses?
     
  17. TrenchMouth macrumors 6502

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    #17
    am i worried? no

    do have a legitimate reason for not being worried? no

    but....this is my thought on the subject: supply and demand will work much like it has in the past. there will be oil for as long as people can afford it, and trust me, the average person will stop being able to afford it long before it runs out...

    here is a dyk: there is more oil in reserve now than in 1980...its true, it just costs more to get to the new oil, and therefore we will pay more for it. btw, i dont want this to come off as me not carring. i do not advocate peoples lax oil chugging ways. i think we should all look to buying into alternatives. i would love to get a hybrid car now, and when someone makes a hydrogen car that isnt a death trap, or a vehicle powered by some other clean means, i will buy right into it. the difference is that i am not running around telling everyone that the sky is falling...because in all reality we have bigger fish to fry than the oil industry (which you much imagine is paying closer attention to the oil levels than we are, they do want to stay in business when the oil does dry up. its not like they are going to leave willingly...)
     
  18. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #18
    So the plan is we start not using Oil NOW so by the 2030 no one uses it :)

    Either we choice to end it now or wait a few years and are forced not to use it(cuz there is none left)


    Lets start now
     
  19. big macrumors 65816

    big

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    #19
    Wow, my kind of post. To answer this question, we use the oil we have left to rebuild our cities and prepare ourselves for not having it any more. I've been following the Oil peak since 1990. I strongly believe that the Earth has peaked in 2000, the fact is, no one knows when Oil peaks, its something you will see in hind sight, which we are noticing.

    Those to foolish to keep buying tract housing like the new Martha Stewart Homes and Subdivision, exclaim "all will be fine" and continue to believe some scientist will magically produce an alternative fuel, or car when market demands it, is in for a loss. Not only is it a loss due to environmental constraints, though for the community, when you get in your car, drive to your cubicle, then drive home into the garage, you don't have to see anyone. What does this do to community life also?

    Those who have not looked at the war in Iraq as a military step for resource strategy are also covering their eyes. Every great civilization has had to look out of their boundaries to supply their food & water, the US is simply following that need to be productive. When you have a vice president that explains "Our Way of life is non-negotionable" then you know where we stand. Venezuela and Iran really should watch out!

    Here are a few things:

    What happened on Easter Island?
    “Why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?”-Jared Diamond, author: EASTER’S END
    this will be us

    Seeing nothing done to preserve a better state of oil use, I say we need a president and congress brave enough to face a national issue.
     
  20. cslewis macrumors 6502a

    cslewis

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    #20
    I was reading up, and non-OPEC, non-FSU oil production has peaked and is declining. I also beleive that world peak will happen this Thanksgiving, plus or minus a few weeks.

    As for the food question, http://www.journeytoforever.org/ has some very interesting articles about composting, organic farming, urban farming, etc. (Look on the red sidebar a bit of the way down). Perhaps those huge suburban lawns, in the future, will be at least partially converted into gardens. Maybe there will be a proliferation of micro-hydro and ultra-efficient appliances. Maybe there will be a bottleneck in the human population in countries like Japan, the UK, and parts of Africa where the population can't feed itself. I'm sure that our economy and population will become 'intensely and profoundly local' (James Howard Kunstler), our cities will condense and our suburbs decay, and our way of life change inexorably. Maybe, some time in the future, anthropologists will nickname the era circa 1940-2010 the 'oil age' rather than the proudly-proclaimed 'information age'. I'm no fortune teller, but we'll have to wait and see if these maybes turn real. Until then, anything goes.
     

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  21. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #21
    Do we reclaim our sewerage for NPK or are industry dumping too many heavy metals down the drains to risk using sewerage as fertilizer? :confused:

    As I understand it, biofarming only works when you have stacks of fresh organic input to keep the soil alive. We either have to put composting toilets in every home (and how much will that cost.. and how much disease will I get from someone else nearby not knowing what they are doing and fly's carrying 3rd world diseases around everywhere), or we have to reclaim our sewerage.

    A one way nutrient cycle from our farms, into our food, into our tummies, down the toilet and out the sea is creating huge "dead zones" at sea and turning our farmland soils into desert. Why oh why do we do this?:rolleyes:
     
  22. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #22
    Marketplace not ready for peak oil

    Trenchmouth, (funny avatar),
    did you know that the Hirsch report to the USA has concluded that the marketplace is running blind on peak oil, and cannot react accordingly? It is misinformed.

    the normal rules of supply and demand will not work in time to prevent economic chaos.

    Everyone assumes that peakniks don't understand the "invisible hand" which is wrong, we do. What the average citizen does not understand is that the current marketplace is BUILT on oil, and will not function properly without it.

    The Hirsh report has answered the question once and for all... we need a "war time economy", and emergency big government redirection of almost everything we do! Roscoe Bartlett, US Senator, has stated we need a peak oil project equivalent in size to the "man in the moon project".

    This is just too big for a marketplace advised by economic models, not geological realities.
     
  23. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #23
    umm, we are at war (over oil)

    I recently relocated my family to a very rural area with enough of a population to support a local economy and agriculture. Here in Alabama, just about everyone knows how to hunt and farm, so I think we're doing well.

    The only off shoot to this problem, is looking back in history, and recognizing during the great depression, small towns like mine (Latitude 31.51 & Longitude -87.89) had major issues feeding their population, as farmers would opt to sell their products to BIG cities, where they could charge a premium for foods, leaving the worst produce for rural populations.

    Sustainability, we should be good stewards of our land. I'm not an advocate against big cities, I love them, I loved New Orleans when I lived there, I do not think they will go anywhere, its places like Atlanta, that must pump water from Birmingham, AL to support its population.

    I have a problem with the subdivision nation, and have since begin to be a champion of many town design projects I have had the pleasure and good fortune to work on, like the Kentlands (MD), or the Waters (AL), Providence (AL). These form the backbone of what the "Green City" should be and wanted to be.
     
  24. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    #24
    Hi big,
    of course we have a military industrial complex "war time economy" doing the Iraq thing. I guess I meant a "big government directed" economy where scientific input into a sustainable way of life directed the patterns of economic activity and geared us, in an emergency fashion, into:-
    renewable energy
    public transport
    local food production
    local self sustaining energy & water & ecological resources (wood for fuel and furniture) etc.

    In other words, I agree with you... I'm not a war monger, but "war time" economy seems to be the best way to describe an emergency powers proclamation towards running a "Powerdown" program.
     
  25. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #25


    christian perspective...we are sinners, and not perfect, and tend to destroy things...like the environment...and maybe we, as the human race, fall under the influence of satan from time to time and that can explain some of our less than honorable actions

    non christian perspective...with human beings (with all their faults), who needs a satan to screw things up ;)
     

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