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Last edited by xiph; 05-20-2008 at 02:04 AM. Reason: paranoia
I took a geology class in college taught by a guy who worked in the oil industry for quite a while. His job had been to find oil. During lectures he was emphatic about the inevitable oil crisis. Perhaps not during his lifetime, he said, but certainly during ours. And this was before Gore started his presentation circuit.
While he didn't agree with the apocalyptic doom-and-gloom scenarios often posed today, he did believe that our modern lifestyle will be dramatically altered. Oil will be increasingly difficult/expensive to acquire, and it will therefore be used for fewer purposes. There will be widespread economic localization, or an anti-globalization if you prefer to think of it that way. The easy, cheap transportation we've enjoyed will be history.
What worries me the most is the likelihood of war. As the world adjusts to painful new realities, the probability of war will increase. Will it be a big one? Hard to say. I hope not.
... I'll make it easier for you ... try to think of something you buy that isn't oil based or dependant in some way.
Food production - agriculture: Fertilizers based in oil, applied by machinery built using oil, using oil to run them.
Medication: Oil based.
Clothes: Oil in production
Food production - meat: see above regarding what we feed the animals (grains, not clothes;-))
Home decor: paints, carpets, curtains ... everything.
If you'd like a suggestion as to a fiction read you can try Alex Scarrow's Last Light. It's a bit basic but does get to the point.
Or, if you want to drive yourself really daft, type Peak Oil into Google.
SP, when it comes to doom and gloom scenarios, I actually think your prof was wrong.
Whether you are an optimist or pessimist regarding the peak oil situation the general concensus of opinion is that oil will be gone in a maximum of 50 years.
I would suggest that long, long, before that time is up (if indeed the optimists are right) then the 'powers that be' will start squabbling over what is left - I may be understating by using the word 'squabble.'
Whichever way you look at it, we are on a downhill slope from here on in regarding both the amount of oil we have left and the ease with which we can extract it, which is not exactly a pleasant prospective scenario for a western world that is completely reliant on it.
Quite funny this, because I was either sending in articles or writing on boards about the forthcoming rise in fuel and food prices more than three years ago - and I got shot down in flames.
Oh, and we are going to have problems with water shortages as well. Just my tuppence worth.
... and I wrote about house prices and the credit crunch and nobody, but bloody nobody took any notice of me ... I'm feeling sorry for myself now.
Going back to planting the neeps (turnips)
I have been Googling the phrase "Peak Oil" almost every day for nearly a month now. I never heard the term before April of 2008, but now I am nearly obsessed with the phrase.
The most important concept you really really REALLY need to wrap your head around when studying the concept of Peak Oil is that Peak Oil is NOT at all about when the planet runs out of oil. Instead, Peak Oil is about when our ability to crank it out of the ground on a daily basis slips lower than our ability to consume it on a daily basis. THAT is Peak Oil. And I firmly believe we are at Peak Oil right here and now.
And I wrote my very first Wiki article in my whole life just a few days ago. Right here:
It's a Peak Oil article.
My top three favorite web sites for my own ongoing personal studies into Peak Oil are:
1) The Oil Drum The guy behind this web site is Matt Simmons, a banking executive from Houston who has been invovled in financing oil companies for years. He came to realize the seriousness of Peak Oil about ten years ago and he's now the number one voice on the internet concerning this issue. My Wiki article focuses upon him and a public wager he made about the price of crude. He wrote a book called Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
2) Life After the Oil Crash This web site has been frequently quoted in Congress by several politicians. Check out the left-hand colummn of the main page. That column shows dozens and dozens of books and videos available for you to read about Peak Oil. The first three paragraphs on the main page of that web site make for utterly spell-binding reading. If you read nothing else, just read those first three paragraphs.
3) James Howard Kunstler This guy started off as an accidental guru of the New Urbanist movement (Google New Urbanist--you won't be sorry), all becasue he wrote a non-fiction book called The Geography of Nowhere which were his personal musings about how ugly and even downright disturbing most post WWII architecture is and how disagreebale Suburbia is. As a result he became a regular guest speaker against suburban sprawl for many years. He eventually expanded his field of study into Peak Oil when it was realized that when Peak Oil finally starts to impact us, Suburbia will disintegrate and become a $900 Billion Gehtto of wasted life savings. He vehemently speaks against Suburbia by calling it "the single greatest misallocation of resources the world has ever known." His thesis on Suburbia and its lamentable relation to Peak Oil is that the physical buildings found there are owned by MOSTLY middle and uper-middle class Americans who 1) are the primary voting base of this country and 2) have invetsed millions of dollars per household in those dispicable houses. Their power-base of votes and their desperate need to hang onto those wasteful houses will be the Catch 22 at the heart of America's inability to chage when Peak Oil starts to REALLY cause us pain (which will happen right about ......... now -- maybe even sooner than now, if that's at all possible). Kunstler was recently the featured guest book author on The Colbert Report on the May 1, 2008 broadcast where his two books The Long Emergency (non-fiction)and World Made By Hand (a novel) were discussed.
And I recently started my own blog on Peak Oil called Hitting Peak.
Last edited by Plot Device; 05-12-2008 at 07:24 PM.
It's NOT the end of steam, it's the end of CHEAP steam.
Be prepared. (Sandy said so.)
The next war over energy might not be as pretty as that one.
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THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF OIL!!!!!
There is enough oil off the West Coast and in the Carribean to last us the next 100 yhears. In addition, natural gas and oil abound in Wyoming and Montana.
The problem is the d****d tree hugers and other Eco-freaks who won't let us drill for it!!!!!
And, as for alternative energy sources, the safest is Nuclear Power Plants!!!! Again not being built due to those who think the Spotted Owl is more important than we are.
And, don't forget Teddy K who won't permit wind power off shore in Mass because IT WILL DESTROY IS VIEW!!!!
Ands finally, how many of you have tried to put solar panels on the roof of your home and cannot because of stupud local ordnances or a neighboer who's threatening to take you to court if you do so?
I've not heard of that documentary (I've watched maybe a couple of hours of "live TV" in the last year or two, and maybe a few more hours' worth of Youtube videos - not a big TV watcher), but if you look around you'll see where this is being discussed out the yinyang right under your nose. Step over to the Politics and Current Events forum and check out these threads:
My Relucant Prediction for America's Future Energy Needs. This has become the "main" discussion thread on the topic in the last week or so. Others include:
Where does your gas dollar go? and
Gas Tax Holiday, a discussion of the Presidential candidates' proposals to remove federal gasoline taxes for a short period of time in order to lower the price to consumers for that time. I only read the first page, but it gets into politics, economics and even forms of government. To quote this thread's eBay feedback, "AAA+++, Highly Rated, Would Read Again!"
As for your professor's statements and the documentary's contents, I can only wonder what all is mant by "being in trouble." I can see lots of things that could be called "trouble," ranging from our current economic condition to World War Three. Whether your prof is pessimistic or optimistic(!), things don't look good for the future.
The big barometer in recent months and years is the price of crude oil on the international market. It has been setting record high prices daily for months. The US gets much (too much in very many people's opinions) of its oil from OPEC, as does much of the rest of the world, most notably China, whose economy is booming because of its manufacturing so many goods being shipped to and bought in the USA. China's demand for energy is large and increasing, as hundreds of millions of its citizens are getting decent-paying jobs that afford them houses and automobiles, fueled substantially by OPEC's oil. Also pushing up the current oil prices are speculators, buying oil betting that the price will continue to increase. I've heard that speculators now own about a year's worth of the world production of oil, and that their purchases are also a big factor in the recent increases in oil price.
One big buzzword that's been around for years is "peak oil" which means there's going to be a time of peak production of oil, and the question is how near it is, or whether we're in it now. There are varying estimates as to how much oil remains in the ground, but there's no doubt that the "easy oil," that which is cheapest and easiest to get to, has already been pumped out, and it will cost more money to pump out the remaining oil and to search for more reserves. Over the long term (several years and longer), the cost of oil won't just go up, it will go up much faster than inflation.
You know there is a lot being said at the moment about the increase in oil consumption by China, but still, by far, the biggest consumer is the US at a quarter of all oil usage.
I really don't think we can expect other countries to reduce consumption if our own is still high and governments are putting strategies in place to make it cheaper to consume - I'm actually not in the US, but you know what I mean.
Oh, oil will never be "gone"--there's no way we can feasibly access large quantities of it, much less recover that oil in an profitable fashion. We don't need to actually exhaust reserves before we start experiencing serious problems. I know a guy who moved to Wyoming to spend his life finding oil, and he'd have a few things to say on the matter.
That said, there are numerous issues with this concept of peak oil. If, as anticipated, peak oil causes economic contraction in any way, our entire financial system will crash. The USA relies upon nontrivial annual GDP growth. Without this growth, 1929-1932 will soon begin to look like the Golden Age.
I think what people seem to focus on is how a depletion in oil will affect their own country and economy, when in actual fact, the situation affects all nations.
The funny thing is that what's given powerful nations their power, i.e. oil, has indirectly reduced their capacity for survival in the long term. We've been nursed by oil but it was only a temporary situation, nations that have a more flexible attitude to survival are the ones that are likely to come out on top - although definitions of being 'on top' are also likely to change.
Ben Bradley, interesting about the speculators. I knew Asia's sudden boom of cars and drivers have a lot to do with oil costs going up, as do new technology for oil-free electricity and power which is plentiful.
Regarding the peak, read Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse. There's a whole chapter on how the oil companies engineered the peak oil scare to - what else? - jack up prices to infinity. There may indeed be a peak but it's 50 years off at worst, and by then we will have a grassroots industry in oil free electricity. Any entrepreneurs working on it now - that don't get fined, sued and billed out of business, or killed by oil cartel thugs - will be very rich in 10-20 years, as we all get sick of paying $50 and up every other week to commute to our jobs.
... no, it's 50 years off at best, Mario.
And just out of interest, how is electricity going to help towards producing weedkillers and fertilizers that enable agriculture to provide food?
I worry more about other issues, like the Colony Collapse Disorder (web search it) that has caused bees to become ill, produce 25% less pollen, and caused a noticeably poor harvest across the board last year. No pollen, no plants. No plants, the ecosystem is REALLY in trouble. It may be cyclical, it may have something to do with pollution (*cough*climate change*cough*) or microwaves from our cellphone towers - again, I'm not a scientist. But these are interesting times.
I don't want to see honeybees go extinct, but if they do, something else will fill in. Something similar to this CCD issue has gone on before, in the '70s I think.
As for oil...it doesn't matter if we have enough in the ground to last a million years or not enough to get us through until tomorrow. It costs too much and that is a good thing. SUV sales are down, people are finally beginning to conserve in some areas. Not all, I know this.
A scientist on The History Channel said that we live like gods compared to our grandparents. That's true. We drove a thousand miles for pleasure, picked our vegetables from a well lit store, and thought of horses as show animals.
Some of our grandparents rode 30 miles all day just to get groceries of salt, sugar, flour, and a bit of something pretty for the kids. That was on their family horse. Vegetables were grown in the yard, now we waste our yards on grass. Conservation wasn't a buzz word because thrift was inate.
Now we have better science to give us streamlined niceties. I'm glad we have what we do today, but I won't mind a little bit of a return to the mindset of yesteryear.
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