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Peak Oil

 
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Peak Oil Reply with quote

All,
As soon as you start moving outside the mainstream news it seems there are certain subjects you will eventually come across and have to digest. One of these is the issue of peak oil and right now, I'm in the thick of it, metaphorically. If the subject is not familiar, try the following site:

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/PageOne.html

I recall seeing huge debate on the chat board about this and not really following it as I hadn't understood the implications of peak oil at all. Now as I read up on it, I'm struck at the size of the problem ahead of us and also at how it is not on the radar of the mass media at all.
Therefore, I ask for contributions on the subject from folk and ask if the editors would consider looking more closely and often at this issue in their alerts and research.

Best Wishes
Neil
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Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:28 pm
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Chris S



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 17

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe peak oil is really a threat; stories about diminishing resources are two a penny and ignore the ability of technological innovation to locate and exploit resources previously deemed inacessible or unprofitable.

Rather, I think the peak oil story serves the purposes of those who would resist action on climate change issues, as it allows sceptics to say, well why worry about climate change, we are going to run out of oil soon anyway.

Reducing energy use, and therefore consumption, because climate change presents a threat to our survival is of course a very real problem for our rulers because it spells the end of coporate profit maximisation as the be all and end all of our lives.
Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:45 pm
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Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris S wrote:

Reducing energy use, and therefore consumption, because climate change presents a threat to our survival is of course a very real problem for our rulers because it spells the end of coporate profit maximisation as the be all and end all of our lives.


Hi Chris - couldn't you argue the same point for peak oil? If we were to plan effectively for it, that would mean radically altering our patterns of energy use, which would reduce corporate profit across all sectors since oil fundamentally underpins the modern economy.
Best Wishes
Neil
Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:32 pm
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Chris S



Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 17

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes of course Neil, the peak oil issue can be used to reinforce the climate change arguments.

But away from the esoteric environment of Medialens the issue is a non-starter. I'm trying to engage members of the public on the issue of climate change, trying to go mainstream with the topic of climate change. And I just can't see peak oil helping in engaging joe public on this topic; most people aren't interested in very much more than the world as defined by work and the mass media. To get them to think about the reality of climate change is a challenge- to try and factor in paek oil as well is just too much. And I'm really worried that the peak oil problem simply isn't as big a problem as climate change, but will detract from efforts to instigate a solution to the climate change problem.

Kind regards

Chris
Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:01 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Again, sorry forgot to login propely before. I think climate change is on the media's agenda already and is in the public consciousness, but no where near enough so, and completely out of proportion to the scale of the problem. Terrorism, which is in reality a lesser threat, receives stupendous amounts of coverage. So I completely agree, its necessary to pursue this constantly ( especially when Melanie Phillips gets her poison pen out ) and help wake people up to the reality.
I am fully behind medialens' efforts to target the issue of climate change, but I believe its necessary to also have a frank and candid debate about peak oil very soon. I confess I don't know the full story about the subject but my initial findings make me feel that it is a pressing issue, of a similar order of magnitude as climate change.
I'm away next week so look forward to continuing the discussion soon after.
Best Wishes
Neil
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
Albert Einstein
Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:06 pm
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smash



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 12
Location: London

Post Post subject: peak oil and climate change Reply with quote

Sorry to butt in on your conversation fellas. Aren't these two issues interrelated in that they are both concerned with exploitation of the earths energy reserves?


If, CJ Campbell et als predictions become reality, then in a few years time the global energy market will switch from a buyers to a sellers market - overnight. The repercussions for a global economy based on speculation and an assumption that energy is infinate will be massive - a vast majority of specualtive wealth will evaporate. This will lead to countries without the wealth to continue buying oil switching to those fuels that are still abundant - principally coal; dirtier and so more climate damaging.

When i discuss climate issues with friends/familiy i always augment peak oil as another reason for changing our energy dependent lives; house prices/values are closer to peoples hearts than biodiversity and maintence of a benevolent climate (probably due to peoples percieved time scale).

In short both issues can be resolved with the same remedy - a re-evaluation of an energy dependent society - kill two problems with one stone. Also, action on climate change is resisted on the basis that its not good for the economy - this simply does not make sense given what is known about energy reserves.
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Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:37 am
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Monbiot write up Reply with quote

smash - interesting points, I agree that these issues are intimately linked, each exacerbates the other.

Here is an excellent write up on the subject by George Monbiot, its encouraging to see someone speaking out in the mainstream press:

http://www.monbiot.com/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=625

thanks
Neil
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
Albert Einstein
Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:31 pm
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smash



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: London

Post Post subject: Civilisation in denial. Reply with quote

Hello Neil
thanks for putting up the Monbiot link; its a shame that he is one of the very few commentators that have access to mainstream media that have taken up peak oil as an issue. What is is very striking about articles such as this is that they all quote the same data; for example, since the big discoveries in the late sixties/early seventies we have discovered one new barrel for every 4 that we have consumed. This is a claim made by Monbiot and pretty much repeated on every other source of info. on the subject (i was first introduced to the subject in detail at www.dieoff.org which i can highly recommend) Given that there appears to be very little dispute on the data that backs up the hypothesis i am at a loss to explain the reluctance of discussion on the subject - except of course oil companies wishing to maintain share holder value and such. Similarly, the Hubbert peak analysis of determining when a peak will occur is data analysis that a child could understand; if you know how much is in a well, how much has been extracted and at what rate it is simply necessary to plot this on a bell shaped curve and you have the answer; as Hubbert did in acurately predicting US production.

I see from an article in todays Observer business pages (unavailable in full text online) that OPEC are keen to up the desired price band from $22-$28 to $28-$32 a barrel.

regards, smash
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Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:29 pm
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Sword of Reality
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Post Post subject: Reply with quote

If any of you people worked in the oil industry you might understand what you are talking about. If it wasn't for energy produced from coal, gas and oil, how many of you would be here with the luxury of biting the hand that feeds you.

Shame on you!
Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:35 pm
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davman1
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Post Post subject: fossil fuels Reply with quote

i work in the biomass energy field, and you might want to know that we are not tied by matter to fossil fuels, but by economics and politics. The worlds standing above ground biomass energy supply is approximately 100 times that of the worlds energy usage.
Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:58 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi daveman1,
I can't understand the implications of what you're describing, could you elaborate a bit further? what is the ground biomass energy supply?
do you have any links to this subject?

best wishes
Neil
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Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:39 pm
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Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Neil H wrote:
Hi daveman1,
I can't understand the implications of what you're describing, could you elaborate a bit further? what is the ground biomass energy supply?
do you have any links to this subject?

best wishes
Neil


the following is a website on biomass and has loads of info on this alternative energy supply:

http://www.fujitaresearch.com/reports/biomass.html
Sun Apr 04, 2004 7:23 pm
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davman1
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Post Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.bera1.org/

this is a fairly decent website, most government energy authorities, or forestry authorities have similar websites with case studies etc.

basically the above ground energy supply includes/consists of any organic matter (trees, waste etc.). This can be converted to energy/electricity/gas by several methods (direct combustion(burning), pyrolysis, CHP (combined heat and power) etc). The benefits of this biomass fuel (in the case of wood fuel) is that it is considered CO2 neutral, in that any emissions produced by the burning of wood is offset during the photosynthesis process in tree growth. Projects have been undertaken all over the world, and due to new EU directives (can't remember the exact figures) there should be biomass power stations producing Gwatts of elect. in england by 2010 (2015......). at present it is restricted to smaller projects, powering small (usually rural) residential areas. There is huge potential in this area and with government support for farmers developing fuel crops, dependence on overseas fossil fuels is................................................


more here (infact its everywhere)

http://www.irish-energy.ie/content/content.asp?section_id=935&language_id=1
Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:39 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Recent ZNet article on Hubbert Oil curve Reply with quote

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=45&ItemID=5351
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
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Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:46 am
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Another recent article on Peak Oil Reply with quote

This article is translated from Le Monde

"The Mother Of All Oil Shocks Is Looming: Toward the Petro Apocalypse"
By Yves Cochet translated by Mark Jensen

http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_7122.shtml

thanks
Neil
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
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Thu May 06, 2004 4:00 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: 1 day conference on Oil, War and Climate change Reply with quote

details of an upcoming conference, run by SEAD ( Scottish Education and Action for Development ) http://webs.workwithus.org/sead/

thanks
Neil

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

OIL, WAR AND CLIMATE CHANGE
A day of workshops and speakers
29 MAY 2004
10:15 - 18:00
TEVIOT ROW HOUSE
BRISTO SQUARE
EDINBURGH


A day of speakers and workshops exploring the links between oil addiction, environmental destruction and global power structures. Speakers include Nick Hildyard and Larry Lohmann (Cornerhouse), and Jo Hamilton and George Marshall (Rising Tide UK).

This event is a partnership between SEAD (Scottish Education and Action for Development), Rising Tide (the climate campaign network), People and Planet, and Friends of the Earth Scotland.
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
Albert Einstein
Thu May 06, 2004 4:04 pm
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Sim1
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Post Post subject: BBC on peak oil Reply with quote

Article today on the BBC in the business section "Oil supply 'cannot match demand'"

Sad
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3707079.stm

It's a bit more complicated than just run for the hills buit it does seem that a combination of factors is looming on the horizon (the very near horizon)[/url]
Wed May 12, 2004 3:31 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 40
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Article covering oil war us etc Reply with quote

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=56&ItemID=5599
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
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Thu May 27, 2004 12:24 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
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Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Guardian article Reply with quote

New forms of energy need to be developed quickly or else the world faces a cataclysmic economic and environmental future writes Jeremy Leggett

Monday June 7, 2004

There are two reasons why society has to get out of oil, and at first sight, they seem contradictory. Firstly, oil is running out. Secondly, we cannot afford to burn it all.

Oil is running out because it is a finite resource. Optimists, like the US Department of Energy and the oil companies, estimate that around 2,600bn barrels are left in known deposits and predictable future discoveries. Pessimists, like the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, reckon on more like 1,000bn barrels.

In a society that has allowed its economies to become geared almost inextricably to growing supplies of cheap oil, the difference is seismic. If there are 2,600bn barrels left, the topping out point - or the so-called peak of depletion - lies far away in the 2030s.

The "growing" and "cheap" parts of the oil-supply equation are feasible until then, at least in principle, and we have enough time to get ready for the hydrogen age that must follow the hydrocarbon age. If there are 1,000bn barrels left, the peak of depletion may be as soon as 2007.

The "growing" and "cheap" parts of the equation become impossible, and there is not enough time to make the transition from oil to hydrogen. Economies cannot run without energy and global depression lurks around the corner.

This way of looking at oil, of course, assumes that we can afford to go on burning it for as long as we can find and pump it. Most economists and financial analysts live in a culture that assumes this. But they are wrong. We can not. The reason is global warming.

If we do nothing about our use of fuels, in particular the burning of oil, gas and coal, global warming is also quite capable of sparking the next depression, as well as adversely affecting ecosystems.

This can happen various ways. One involves the $2,000bn (1,200bn) insurance industry which, as many of its own practitioners admit, faces bankruptcy in a world continuing to pump billions of tonnes of heat-trapping gases into its thin atmosphere each year.

Massive storms, drought-related wildfires, and floods will become more frequent and hence more likely to hit cities. Just a few big hits on major cities would be enough. The effect on Wall Street's balance sheets would be catastrophic. A global insurance collapse would probably take the capital markets with it. This has been backed up by the world's biggest reinsurance company, Munich Re.

If we want to abate this threat, and the other horrors of global warming, we have to stop burning oil, or more exactly back out of it and the other fossil fuels, and move into hydrogen fuel and other renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar power.

This is the point at which the peak-depletion and global-warming imperatives for the big retreat from oil meet. The core question boils down to this: can we progressively replace oil and the other fossil fuels quickly enough to avoid economic calamity as a result of oil shock, climate shock, or both? Oil provides 40% of world energy and 90% of world transport fuel today.

The more optimistic practitioners in the embryonic clean energy industries, believe our technologies could probably power and fuel the world completely within 10 to 20 years. Given the political will directed at the war against terrorism, this should be very possible.

As the British government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King said, global warming is the greatest threat we face. We may not be able to plug the gap within four years.

So, if the oil depletion pessimists are correct and the peak of depletion is indeed as soon as 2007, we are in big trouble, whether there is global warming or not. Realisation that growing supplies of cheap oil are no longer available will dawn at some point this decade, the alternatives will not be ready in sufficient volume, and the economic dominoes will begin to fall.

So are the pessimists correct? Before the Shell reserves scandal I considered it unlikely. Certainly there were things to be worried about, especially the deeply suspicious increase of quoted reserves by leading Opec nations in the 1980s soon after an Opec agreement to tie national production quotas to national reserves.

But, in an increasingly transparent corporate environment, I could not believe that the oil companies would stoop to inflating their reserves. I was wrong. Earlier this year, Shell, the Anglo-Dutch giant, admitted to a 20% overstatement of reserves. Then the company downgraded its supplies four more times, admitting overstating reserves by 4.5bn barrels.

At current rates, that is equivalent to two months worth of global oil use. If sober Shell can cause such ignominy, then which other companies are doing the same? While we are asking this question, let us ask another equally pertinent one. How serious have the oil companies been about their own renewable energy and hydrogen programmes to date?

Have they applied anything like the entrepreneurial zeal they have shown for 100 years on the frontiers of the hydrocarbon age? If they have been falsely encouraging the view that peak depletion is distant, while holding back the development of the alternatives, then that would be a crime indeed against society.

Whatever the answer, at $40 a barrel and rising and with profits measured well above $1m per company per hour, windfall taxes on Big Oil would be a great place for finance ministers to start bankrolling a war on oil dependence.

Jeremy Leggett is chief executive of Solarcentury, the UK's largest independent solar electric company, and a member of the government's Renewables Advisory Board.
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
Albert Einstein
Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:34 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
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Post Post subject: bbc coverage of Berlin peak oil conference Reply with quote

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3777413.stm
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
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Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:35 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
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Post Post subject: ... and another article, Monbiot this time Reply with quote

http://www.globalecho.org/view_article.php?aid=551

( I read these articles via the board, many thanks to those who posted them, easily missed otherwise )
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"The greatest threat to humanity and peace is NOT corruption and evil; the greatest threat is the mass of people who watch it and do absolutely nothing about it."
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Tue Jun 08, 2004 2:42 pm
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Neil H



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
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Post Post subject: Richard Heinberg on Dwindling Oil and 9/11 Reply with quote

Richard Heinberg on Dwindling Oil and 9/11

http://www.energybulletin.net/newswire.php?id=689
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Tue Jun 29, 2004 1:13 pm
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