why little talk about peak oil?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by furcalchick, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

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    #1
    i was talking to somebody about this yesterday, that there are probably two major issues that are going to impact our very way of life in the next century or so, global warming and peak oil. what we were saying more directly was that global warming gets lots of talking, yet in reality we won't see the direct impact of it for some time (that will force us to change or die), in contrast to the peak oil, where we'll have to change our methods within a decade or so before oil becomes scarce.

    my question is that why is there little talk about what to do about a potential oil crisis which is probably coming in the next decade compared to something we won't see the harsh impact for quite a while? i'm not saying global warming is nothing to be concerned about either. but what i'm really saying is leadership, especially in the us, going to use a patch up solution (keep on depending on oil) or are we going to find something more lasting (building a sustainable oil-free community). it's time to decide if we're going to wean off oil or not.
     
  2. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #2
    First, I don't think that Oil peak will last a century. In ten years, all those SUV are gonna be CHEAP! :D I was in France a few days ago, and Gas cost 8 dollars per gallon... And yet, Mercedes was selling more SUVs than ever before... :rolleyes:

    What can we do? Make Page and Brin even richer buying Teslas en masse.
    The right thing to do, though, would be to make a revolution, forcing our leaders to make a third millenium public transportation network, making useless to have a car. The problem is that without the revolution, it would be so unpopular to "ban" cars that they won't do it until it's too late...

    Me? I plan to buy a sail boat, and buy land in some politically stable third world country (I know it's oxymoronic).
     
  3. furcalchick thread starter macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

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    #3
    to further clarify what i said, the world (unless we start drilling willy nilly in alaska or something, tampering the ecosystem, etc) will be having a severe oil shortage within a decade, 20 years at most. the most oil dependent areas will fall first (like many cities in the us with massive sprawl), while those that don't will withstand the oil shortage.

    this is the point. there is little mainstream talk about building a mainstream society that is independent of high oil use (self-sustainable communities), compared to the talk about making everything 'green'. it just surprises and frightens me that we're not even talking about something that will directly impact us in the next few years, and yet talking about something else that's also important, but many of us will not see the impact of with most of the changes happening later this century. i just wish that there was more talk about building our new communities as walkable and car free places, removing the oil-infrastructure as much as we did about going green.
     
  4. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Peak oil is something we should worry about and we should be seeking solutions since our world is structured largely around oil which will make for a messy conflict when oil gets much more scarce.

    The fact is, when oil production is no longer growing, in order for people to get oil some must give oil up, with India and China on the rise in consumption, we're going to need to make this shift quickly.

    One solution is for more hybrid cars and it must be a plug in. With a hybrid that plugs in, and with more investments in cleaner energy like wind and solar, our dependence on oil will sharply decrease, although creating a large infrastructure and getting the American population to adopt this is a challenge in itself which will need to be encouraged with incentives. It just makes sense, when you park, you plug in. Like a parking meter, you pay for electricity to charge your car.

    At least in the US, it will take a long time to develop a culture that isn't based on the automobile (high speed trains :drool: and other forms of public transport). In the mean time we'll need to find solutions.


    Peak oil doesn't seem to be as polarizing as climate change, I'm perplexed on why it has not gotten more attention, but sadly when it does it may be too late.
     
  5. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #5
    Yeah, I'm pretty worried about it. Global warming, I've pretty much just given up at this point. We're royally f!@#ed over on that part. But when oil starts to decline, we gotta do something about it right away and not ignore it for 30-50 or so years.

    Why don't we use solar power? Put panels on the roofs of our cars and have them charge the car's batteries? Is it just that no one's willing to "uglify" thier car, or is solar not powerful enough?
     
  6. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Bingo.

    It takes lots of energy to get 1.5 tons to move, and lots to keep it moving fast.

    it's possible http://www.wsc.org.au/ but it's not practical (see picture)
    [​IMG]

    The solution consists in reducing the world population drastically (a one child per couple policy, for instance), or in great scale, efficient and free public transportation: public, so you pay it with your taxes, and thus, it's "free" to use, so people stop using cars. With some kind of renting service for the few times you really need to have your own vehicle (when you buy furniture at Ikea, for instance :) )
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    The solution to all our problems is to find a military use for solar power.
     
  8. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #8
    People keep going on about public transportation and need to understand that in the US there are HUGE factors against it. The big one being urban sprawl that was caused by the car. Look at the cities not on the east coast and you will see they are more spread out. Population density makes it difficult.

    Then there are people like me. Even though I am close to public transportation and it could easily get me to my main office and current job site. While 4 out of 5 days a week it could easily work for me it is that 1 day a week that forces me to have to drive. I do not know in the morning if I will have to be able to drive to several location though out he city or back up up to the main office. I can not do my job if I can not get quite easy and transportation.

    I work in construction hence the reason I need to be able to move around. Right now I at least help out by driving a compact car but in the next few years that might easily be changing to me moving to a small SUV or a truck because I need to be able to hope cubs on a very regular bases and I am sorry but a compact car just is not designed to be able to take that kind of pounding. But unlike most of the population who drives trucks and SUVs I at least have a good valid reason for needing one.
     
  9. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    furcalchick, do you have any links that back up your claim that there will be an oil shortage in 10-20 years? I would love to see that information. From what I have read, most people predict that our current usage and estimated increased demands will use up all our oil reserves in 40-60 years.
     
  10. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #10
    It's not talked about as much as you'd expect because it's been a long time in the making. But I think you're right that it will be hugely significant. One thing you don't mention that I think will be important is that as OPEC oil runs out, there will be fundamental political reordering in the Middle East.
     
  11. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #11
    The cash flow to the Middle East dry up in my lifetime? I couldn't be so fortunate. I think that the 50 year ballpark number you mention is more accurate. Doesn't mean we have that much time to plan ahead for alternatives though.
     
  12. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #12
    Some of these countries will dry up earlier. UAE expects in the next 10 years, though it is by no means the biggest player.

    Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, they've got a while to go yet. I think your number is right, but it will be interesting and important to see how the smaller, less oil-rich countries react to their reserves drying up. These might be important bellweathers for what we'll see when the bigger guys go down.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Whether or when oil supplies "dry up" is somewhat beside the point. The reality is supply is going to be increasingly outstripped by demand, and the price will continue to rise, perhaps even more rapidly than it has during the past two years. The more the price rises, the more oil will function as a hand-brake on world economic growth. This is why in another thread I asked the rhetorical question about why Republicans haven't been actively pressing for the development of alternate fuels technologies in the US. It's in our own economic self-interest to become the world leaders in these technologies. Instead we're doing almost nothing.
     
  14. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #14
    I'm interested in seeing how the battle between agriculture for fuel versus agriculture for food works out. Although I think that using corn for fuel - especially if for ethanol - is inefficient, but if the likes of switch grass, hempseed, etc. were grown for biodiesel and were more profitable with less water, fertilizer, etc. wouldn't the competition for farmland be steep? What if we could only grow enough to supply our own needs?

    It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
     
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #15
    There are really two issues at work. The first is how much oil there actually is and the second is whether it can be pumped out of the ground fast enough to supply demand.

    The first is somewhat fluid as we've seen with the Canadian tar sands projects. It wasn't that long ago that the tar sands were economically unviable.

    The second is much more concrete. Mexico is running out and due to PeMex' lack of investment in exploration and drilling, their output is plummeting. Brazil has discovered vast deposits but much of it is 200 miles out and way, way down below the surface. Due to a lack of deep sea drilling rigs, they're having a hard time developing it.

    Many of the new fields are located in geologically or politically unstable areas. It's all fine and dandy to say that we have 40+ years left but in the end, that 40+ years may not be available when we need it.

    There's also the issue of a growing car culture in China, India and even Africa. Does the 40+ year estimate take into that into account?

    I think furcal is probably correct, a major shortage is in the works and people like rodimus who have created lives dependent upon single occupancy vehicles are going to be in for a rude awakening.
     
  16. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Interesting. I was not aware of the peak oil idea and it is rather scary what could happen in the next 20 years or so. I agree that the US should be investing heavily into alternative energy sources and leading the industry.
     
  17. furcalchick thread starter macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

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    #17
    either that or developing sustainable communities that doesn't rely on oil infrastructure as a plan b in case we can't develop that alt. fuel on time. i find it interesting that if we go the route of a traditionally built community (walkable, like alot of european towns), it will also solve alot of the global warming issues.

    i personally think the leaders will not think about this until it's too late as they keep on debating about other things that are far away.
     
  18. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    It is awfully hard to create a traditionally built community when the communities are already built. Yes, new construction can be more sustainable, but so much of our country is already developed with the car in mind. Living in Texas, life without a car would nearly impossible unless you wanted to live in crime ridden areas of town.

    The leaders that will actually have a chance to affect this are local leaders, city councils, mayors, etc. National leaders have little effect on community development.
     
  19. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #19
    I read an article a few years ago explaining predicted oil use aged over the next 100 years of so. We are no where close to running out of oil. We know where a lot of it is. What we have left is the end of cheap oil. We are starting to target reserves that have an 80+ dollar a barrel finders cost.


    As for peak oil use aged it is predicted to hit in the next 10 years. After that point we can expect a very fast drop in how much we use because it will be very expensive and the cost will force alternative sources to really take off.

    thinking that we can keep up with the growth in demand we have right now is not smart thinking. Just pull up the information on where we are getting our oil currently. Most of it is coming from old reserves that we been pulling from for years and those out puts are dropping. We are not finding more oil reservse but just pulling from known ones. I want to say we past the peak of finding new reserves a very long time ago.
     
  20. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #20
    Yes, I recognize that this energy situation is a very important environmental and sustainability question. But it is also a crucial question of geopolitics. And when it comes to understanding how oil shapes global politics, distinguishing between high prices because of high demand and high prices because of low supply makes all the difference.
     
  21. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #21
    As near as I can tell, the issue is less about oil as oil, but "What will be our future transportation fuel?". As petroleum increases in per-barrel cost, sources such as oil shale, coal and tar sands become competitive in the marketplace. The chemistry is known. Since it will take many tens of billions of dollars to bring such sources on line, the demand-and-cost picture will have to become more clear to the transportation-fuels industries.

    'Rat
     
  22. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #22
    so true. we would get so much better tech if the military were to push this
     
  23. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Yeah, but then we would be fighting wars over the sun.
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    I don't think we'd have developed nuclear power for civilian use without a military application.
     
  25. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #25
    Community leaders are often in the pockets of developers or greenies. The community I live in is dedicated to sustainable development and they mostly do a pretty good job. There's lots and lots of infill, lots of vertical instead of horizontal construction. However, many new projects are forced to reduce density simply because the greens in power are unable to see the big picture.

    What's needed is a national program, funded from the top to help local government to achieve the necessary density for mass transit and cycling.

    I think a lot of communities in the US are simply going to become ghost towns in the future. Montana, Wyoming, Texas are filled with itty bitty towns, miles from nowhere. Unless those towns can grow, they're simply going to dry up and die.
     

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