US Congress: Peak oil MOST serious problem!

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by eclipse, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. eclipse macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #1
    Presented by Roscoe Bartlett to US Congress.
    (Roscoe is no dummy, a science advisor to the US Military when in the Oversight Committee).

    Roscoe points out that peak oil is the world's most serious problem, and later on highlights that tar sands are NOT going to be a "solution" to peak oil because they just cannot get the volumes into production.

    The world has never faced a problem like this!


    Tar sands no answer

    http://www.energybulletin.net/12751.html
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #2
    This is serious stuff. Add to the physical limitations of oil production the political instability of oil producing states and transit regions, and we're looking at some seriously high energy costs.

    And that shows how short-sighted we are that we'll burn more energy in natural gas to get less energy in oil.
     
  3. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #3
    Right about the myopia miloblithe, it's insane that economics works like that. But not to worry: economists can defy the second law of thermodynamics. :rolleyes:

    But seriously, the transition phase will be interesting. By necessity we will have to consider whether journeys are really worth it, and economies must slow and maybe reverse. I wonder when the stock markets will take note, because that's when the world will wake up.
     
  4. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #4
    It's interesting to compare this infromation to Bush's SOTU speech calling to reduce our dependence on oil over the next 25 years (which he then retracted). 25 years from now the idea that there was even a question that we were going to have to reduce our dependence on oil will seem insane. As demand rises and production levels off or even decreases, prices are going to continue to rise dramatically. People who buy gas-guzzlers now are going to seriously regret owning those cars (if they still run) 5-10 years from now.
     
  5. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #5
    This is a telling paragraph:

    Short-term thinking is the real problem, and always has been in human history. In addition there is the "urgency" problem: for example, while I try my best to do recycling, I can understand that "going green" is the last thing on people's minds when they are wondering where to get the next meal from. And unfortunately, a very large proportion of the world is in just such a situation.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    And average people are just lazy too. I leave my airconditioners on all summer because I don't pay extra rent for how much electricity I use.

    You're right that there's a lot to be said about current necessities. Not so much for most of us who could simply consume less and be just fine, but a lot of people do make very difficult choices between having cooking / heating fuel and destroying the environment in which they live, for example. We all value human life (I hope) and it's difficult to decide where the hard choices lie. Is it better for people to starve and suffer now so that they don't starve and suffer later?
     
  7. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #7
    It makes one wonder why the Bush administration can't seem to grasp the coming cluster****. Bush's incredibly short-sighted policies help no one and hurt everyone. The eight years he will be in office will be looked upon as the critical moment when we could've of done something about oil and terrorism, but instead we were lead down the garden path by hubris and villiany.

    Get ready for a dark, dark future.
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #8
    Well they hardly help no one. His policies are focused on lowering prices in the short term (helping consumers) and driving profits for companies. That's a lot of people it's helping in some ways. The problem is not that the policies are pointless but that they are misguided and focused entirely on the short- to medium-term (it's not like peak production means oil will disappear in 2008, it'll just become increasingly expensive).
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    I couldn't help noticing this:
    and thinking how pro-active Bush has been: you only have 2 percent of world oil reserves, you "need to do something about that". So you invade another ME country on a bogus pretext to seize another slice. Mission Accomplished.

    Only it didn't quite work out like that....
     
  10. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #10
    Yeah, I agree with everything above. The average citizen has no idea that there are 3 fundamental reasons that oil is about to become so much vastly more expensive!

    From one of my posters....

    But did you all know that Robert Hirsch has changed his take on his Hirsch report? He is now saying it was far too optimistic! He recommended 20 years of a "crash mitigation program" (read BIG government spending) to prepare for peak oil — but that was based on only a 2% annual decline. He is now saying that the time required for a smoooth transition using coal and gas to liquids programs — could actually have been as high as 40 to 50 years because annual decline could be in the order of 4% to 8%!

    In other words, head for the hills folks as food is about to cost so much more money, that you may as well grow it yourself. It does not have to reach "Mad Max" (and I personally doubt it will) for us to have wished we had taken up one of those permaculture village options. In a few years, real wealth could be the ability to kill one of your own chooks and cook it up, or having "free" rainwater now that your tank is installed.

    Everything is going up in price. And as far as my mates in economics can tell, it only takes the airlines going bankrupt to throw international tourism into a nosedive and that's it... we have a recession that will eventually become known as the "Greater Depression".

    Fun stuff hey? Feel free to download the poster above, it has tear off tabs that can refer to your favourite peak oil site, my site, or your own site if you want to print your own tabs and stick them on. (I do blanks for anyone interested.)

    This is a great list... I've mainly encountered denial before this! :)
     
  11. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Don't believe the hype. Peak oil is a myth recycled from the '70s. Oil prices are high right now because the commodity market can be manipulated through speculation. Remember the rolling blackouts in California and Enron making billions in energy trading? Same thing. There are some fundamentals driving the prices, but I'd say the increases are 30% due to fundamentals, 70% speculation.

    The truth is that there's 1T barrels of oil in the ground - proven oil reserves. That's enough for 50 years of current usage, assuming we never discover another drop.

    Now I'm not a cheerleader for the oil industry or anything - of course I'd rather live in a world run by solar power. But please don't propagate the "peak oil" myth because its junk science. There's plenty of oil in the ground, just sink another well.
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    What is "current usage" in China?
     
  13. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #13
    Easy-to-extract sweet crude is drying up. We're not going to run out of all the oil for quite a while but the costs to extract and refine what's left are going to get astronomical.
     
  14. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #14
    I'd be interested to know what the congessional response was (if any).
     
  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #15
    Do you have any sources for this?

    Oil production peaked in the US in 1971. That doesn't sound like a myth to me. Peak oil doesn't mean how long until we run out. It means when we've reached maximum production and when production declines thereafter. There is no question that this will eventually happen. The only question is when.
     
  16. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #16
    When the Saudis peak, there's going to be a world of hurt. Since OPEC limits mask capacity, we can't be sure they haven't already.
     
  17. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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  18. cslewis macrumors 6502a

    cslewis

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    #18
    What happens if that oil, that 1 trillion barrels, is acrid, sulphurous, in dangerous parts of the world, or locked in tar sands and oil shale? What happens if that oil can't be slurped and shoveled out of the ground to keep pace with the forecasted 5% to 6% growth in world oil demand each year? What happens if all the oil in those tar sands and oil shale is so stubborn that it takes more energy (in the form of natural gas, which will be exhausted in Canada in 8.7 years at current usage rates) to suck the oil out of that material then you get back out of the oil?
     
  19. eclipse thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse

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    #19
    Tristan seems to be in denial.

    If Tristan just read the reports Roscoe Bartlett is making to Congress, he'd be convinced. They are all here....

    http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/people/roscoe_bartlett

    There is so much data here before US Congress that if anyone actually bothered to read what their government was discussing, they'd be unable to deny that peak oil is imminent.

    Again Tristan... learn the facts.

    You said that we went through all this in the 1970's. Let's just explore the logic of that statement. Maybe some at the time were a bit extreme and "Cried wolf". What do we learn from the boy who cried wolf story?
    We learn 2 lessons, not one! We learn:-
    1/ Don't lie or people might not believe you.
    2/ Even if some people have lied before, when someone cries wolf it's so serious that you go and look OR PEOPLE DIE!

    Got it Tristan? "Crying wolf" is not an excuse for laziness or apathy.

    Now let's look at the 1970's "Club of Rome".
    Were some weird predictions were made by some in the "Club of Rome" group... which was a fairly large group... in the 1970's... yes.

    However, were some statistical observations mapped out in a range of scenarios by more credible sources from the Club of Rome? Yes! Just read Limits to Growth... it is a RANGE of mathematic scenarios, the average of which seem to be unfolding just as they predicted.
    Are we more addicted to oil than ever before? Yes!

    Did the Hirsch report say we needed 20 years to make a smooth transition, based on only 2% decline? Yes!

    Could the decline of all oil after 2008 be higher than 2%? YES!

    Is "deep" oil and "sour" oil more expensive to mine and process? YES!

    Are our refineries set up to process that much sour oil? No.

    Did George Bush follow through on his promises to reduce USA oil by 75% in 20 years? No... that statement was retracted the next day.

    Is there any alternative energy that can be scaled up to run what we are running as cheaply as we are running it? No! (Not for 50 or so years at least, maybe never.)

    What are the major oil companies saying?
    “One thing is clear: the age of easy oil is over,” the ad reveals in a folksy letter from “Dave,” Chevron’s Chairman and CEO David J. O’Reilly.
    www.willyoujoinus.com

    OPEC even statistically admitted that while total oils are still marginally rising in production, worldwide sweet crude has actually started to drop in production!
    http://eclipsenow.org/facts/whistleblowers.html

    There's stacks more at the link above. Sorry Tristan, but you don't know the difference between proves resources of "oils" and cheap oil.

    You definitely don't seem to understand the peaking concept. One by one the world's countries are peaking and going into decline... Burgan has peaked! (Kuwait's largest supergiant). Russia peaked decades ago, it's just they dramatically declined as the USSR collapsed politically and economically. They are now only rising in production to a second, lower, geologically defined peak... their energy minister has announced that the second peak in production should be around 2010. There is so much more evidence like this Tristan but I don't have time to list it all for you.

    50 years at today's consumption? I wish!
    But that just goes to show how little you know. We can't live off today's consumption, we have to have a constantly increasing supply of cheap oil to meet the "normal" economic requirements of constant growth. As National Geographic says... (again, read it this time Tristan)...

     
  20. cslewis macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    The one thing that many people also overlook is the fact that the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and others are pumping seawater into their fields to keep pressure high. They could ruin their fields any day...
     
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #21
    Well, guess it's a good thing we annexed Iraq to solve our immediate supply issues.

    Smart thinking...
     
  22. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #22

    India?
     
  23. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #23
    Except oil production in Iraq is lower than it's been before the invasion. And given how the war is going, is unlikely to rise very much. And the costs of staying in Iraq and providing security so that the little oil they get out manages not to be blown up - all that costs a heck of a lot more than it would have cost us to simply purchase on the free market... a cluster**** all the way around. Par for the course for Chimpy and gang. What is undoubtedly true, is that some Bush cronies made out like bandits, but that is mostly a raid on our own U.S. treasury, tax payer money going to the interests that keep Chimpy in power. They pushed to get him selected/elected, and he's been paying them handsomly by opening the treasury doors wide to the band of theives. Guess who pays for it? Iraq in death and destruction, the U.S. in casualties (don't forget the wounded), and ultimately it will be the middle/lower classes in the U.S. who will pay for it in taxes, low wages, and lost economic leadership... one day, the bills will come due for the rest of us (though Chimpy and his thieving treasonous bunch will be laughing all the way to the bank.)

    On topic: yep, Peak Oil is bunk. I'm as pro-environment as they get, and no friend of oil interests. It's appalling what happened to the world because of the totally irresponsible oil policies. But facts are facts. And the facts are, NOBODY knows or can know when peak oil will hit. And it is a silly concept. Because it is entirely possible that by the time that occurs, or indeed even if it occurs in the next 100 years, the world will be FORCED to find alternatives to oil. And even IF peak oil were to be upon us this very evening it means absolutely nothing. The decline in oil availability will be slow indeed once we hit the "peak", and in fact may not occur at all as efficiencies in use come about faster than the slowdown in getting it out of the ground. And, technology marches forward - so extraction techniques will get better too... you can't project old technology to future capabilities.

    This whole "peak" nonsense reminds me of the steady stream of similar sky is falling sloppy thinking. Did you know that once upon a time "respectable" scientists calculated that given the population and traffic growth in Paris and New York, London and major metropolises, those cities would drown in horse manure from the horse driven buggies and carriages of the time? They didn't foresee that technology will render obsolete such calculations. That's the danger of taking present day technology and extrapolating it into the future. Another example: whale oil. The whale oil industry once upon a time (late 1800's) was enormous, and pervasive. As stocks of whales were declining rapidly, scientists correctly pointed out that there is peak whale oil (when whale catches start declining), and in fact the decline was shockingly fast... well, civilization didn't curl up into a ball and shiver in a cold cave. They moved on to bigger and better. Exactly the same thing will happen with the present "Peak Oil".

    Sadly, the thinking behind "Peak Oil", while well intentioned (and quite right in raising alarms about usustainable dependance), is just a feature of how the human mind works. It's the Malthusian mistake. The smart thing to do, is to avoid such thinking and look at the broader perspective. Don't look to validate your favorite hypothesis - look to disprove it. Only if it stands up to the most rigorous examination, cautiously accept it... temporarily. "Peak Oil" in it's present politicized form, is hokum and nonsense. We can do better than that, as environmentalists and progressives. We can critically examine our most cherished beliefs... that's what makes us better than conservatives :)... let's not give up that advantage.
     
  24. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #24
    Of course no one knows when oil will peak, there are simply too many unknowns out there. What is known is that it will peak. Oil like any other resource is limited. However, the world has never, ever been so dependent upon a single resource. China and India are consuming greater amounts than ever before, it's highly doubtful that their consumption will decline in the near future.

    You are way too optimistic about future capabilities. Oil extraction takes a great deal of resources today, it's highly improbable that they will take less tomorrow. Oil platforms and tankers and pipelines need phenomenal amounts of steel and technology and labor.

    You're forgetting the single most important aspect of peak oil, political instability. It's no surprise that some of the most corrupt nations on the planet are major oil exporters. The more precious oil becomes these nations will increasingly have more pull on the world stage. Peak oil isn't just about when oil production peaks but about the social ramifications.
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    Oh, thank Random Chance for that! I can keep my gas-guzzler. Had me worried there for a moment...
     

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