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Peak Oil, Climate Change - a local guy's perspective

gasper

TRIBE Member
I've been reading this blog called PukeGreen and thought I'd mention it to the Tribe enviro-poli-types... good, honest writing by a guy named Gary from Toronto.

Here's an excerpt from his page:


About Me

My name is Gary. I’m in my early 30s and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m not a hippie, and I don’t wear sandals, live in a commune, or play the bongo drums in my spare time.
I live a normal life, and my intention here is not to preach to anyone about how they should live. I am aware that I have been as guilty as many people in our society when it comes to consuming, using, destroying, and generally wasting our resources. I believe that most individuals are well-meaning; it is our society that is structured in such a way that makes it very hard to live sustainably.
About This Blog

Our planet is dying, and we are killing it. In our collective fantasies, we always imagined that the greatest threats to humans would come from elsewhere: aliens, or maybe reanimated dinosaurs. In reality, however, we have turned out to be our own worst enemy.
Evidence that our behaviour is destroying our world has become very strong. Our behaviour is causing changes that will directly affect our lives in a serious way, and they are happening now, not in the far distant future. We are furiously consuming the very resources that allow us to live the way that we do, and we are giving little real thought to how our behaviour will affect our own futures.
The last decade has seen many of the worst hurricanes since weather events have been recorded. Almost every week, one region of our planet suffers deadly droughts while another drowns in massive floods. The recent rise in oil prices is only the beginning of a permanent trend: oil supplies will continue to dwindle even as demand for oil around the world increases dramatically. Right now, higher gasoline prices are a mere inconvenience for many people; in the near future, however, automobiles may become unaffordable to anyone but the most wealthy. Much of what we value in daily life — our cars, computers, electricity, consumer goods, long distance shipping, air travel, and corporate agriculture — will become unsupportable as oil prices rise from $60 a barrel to $100, $150, or $250 a barrel.
As a society, we are in mass denial. We think that the way we live is normal, that we can continue to live this way indefinitely, and that billions of others in China and India will be able to join us shortly. None of this is possible.
The time for debate about whether issues such as climate change and peak oil are “real” should end. These issues are all real. These problems are not myths or imaginary conspiracy theories. They were not dreamed up by evil hippies, communists, or terrorists hellbent on badmouthing our economy and lifestyles. In fact, ignoring these real and urgent problems will be the quickest way for our society to lose everything it values.
Thankfully, more and more people seem to be waking up to reality. Many journalists and authors who have been writing in obscurity about these issues for years are beginning to move out of the fringes and into the mainstream. To our horror, we are discovering that most of these people are not kooks: they are making good sense, and many of their predictions are beginning to come true already.
With this blog, my meager goal is to organize and share my personal readings and thoughts on various topics related to the environment, and issues that directly affect the quality of life of us humans on this planet. Perhaps this blog will turn some other people on to these issues; hopefully visitors will contribute and I will learn more. These issues are complex. They are not black and white, and there are no easy solutions.
I don’t know much, but I do know that no problem was ever solved by denying its existence. Now is the time for us to face reality, before it is too late."
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
I remember telling people about this five years ago and was completely ridiculed on it up until a year ago when gas prices starting shooting up.

So FUCK YOU GARY. I'm just as smart.

:p
 

gasper

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
I remember telling people about this five years ago and was completely ridiculed on it up until a year ago when gas prices starting shooting up.

So FUCK YOU GARY. I'm just as smart.

:p

Are you ridiculed as much for it now? Probably not. To me that should be seen as a sign that perhaps things are changing, or at least the hippie stigma is fading as more people start to actually understand and care.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Yeah now the same friends look at me with blank expressions "HOW did you know?"

It isn't exactly rocket science!

Anyway. Drive less.
 

gasper

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
Yeah now the same friends look at me with blank expressions "HOW did you know?"

It isn't exactly rocket science!

Anyway. Drive less.

<---- car-free since '03 :)
 
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solgrabber

TRIBE Member
Are you ridiculed as much for it now? Probably not. To me that should be seen as a sign that perhaps things are changing, or at least the hippie stigma is fading as more people start to actually understand and care.

Times are changing, the very people that used to laugh and ridicule at all these things now look to the people who have been trying to tell them all along.

I feel many are waking up everyday realizing that what we took for granted cannot be for much longer. Our ways must change.

If we would have continued on as hippie's from the get go this world would be such a better place right now.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
im weary of simple presumptions about the price of oil/gas being due to us running out of the stuff.

the run up in oil has only happened in the past few years.

remember many similar proclamations were made in the west about us running out of oil during price shocks in the 70's. many people claim "this time its different" simply because its 30 years later so we posses that much less oil.

i generally agree we are running shorter on crude, specifically light sweet crude that is ealisly refined into petro-based products. but there is also considerable mis-information in the media and from OPEC when they cite oil data in barrells and reserves.

often headlines will tell of canada's or suadi arabia's reserves, without specifying what grade of oil makes up said reseves which can be drastically different cost wise to refine. the same for discussing new production, such as Saudi Arabia announed recently something like 100,000 barells of new production coming on next year, but did not provide the net loss of production next year due to about 250,000 barells that will be lost due to aging wells. its very misleading from a bullish and bearish standpoint.

i think there are cheerleaders on both sides of the energy debate that present suspect stats to support their argument.

if we are running out of oil as so many seem to accept, why didnt the very companies drilling and exploring for oil better predict this in their business models and pricing schemes? why did some companies hedge forward against their prediction of stable or falling oil prices?

why does it seem like the recent run up has happened too quick to be attributed to simply the acceptance of the masses that we are running out of oil?

i agree from an environmental perspective we have to be more careful and conserve, not just for cost sake but for emmisions sake. but the basis from which we draft environmental and energy policy shouldnt be based on uncertain data regarding energy supplies.
im as worried as anyone else about how we will power our society in a sustainable and clear manner, but i fear the debate will get squashed should the price of oil drop significantly, which it often has historically in the face of collective agreement that it wont.

so basically im saying i think oil is at such high levels because there are legit supply concerns but also because its an inflationary reaction of a weakened US dollar, and the US administration chooses to focus on high oil prices as the fault of unstable regimes to mask the latter. Oil is priced in US dollars world-wide, why is it so difficult to envision that if the US dollar is weak, that it will thus take more dollars to buy a barell of oil, as opposed to oil being worth more because there is less of it around?

sorry for the tangent/rant!!
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
im weary of simple presumptions about the price of oil/gas being due to us running out of the stuff.

the run up in oil has only happened in the past few years.

I don't think the price run up has anything to do with rational concerns over oil running out. I think it has everything to do with supply chain issues and massive increases in current and future demand.

In two words you can cover most of this ... India + China.

Last I heard the US has about 1 car / 2-3 people, something like that. China by contrast has about 1 car / 600 - 700 people. This means they have a long way to go to even come close to the North American standard. Even if they are aiming for a more sustainable level there is a huge amount of untapped demand in the Asian countries. Not to mention the fact that the Chinese have released official party statements saying that they believe part of a stable economy is a robust auto industry.

Supply chain issues concern the creation of new infrastructure. The past prices of oil have not generated enough revenue for the creation of new refining capacity. This has acted as a bottle neck for the past 5 years or so. It was most evident when Katrina hit and took some of that capacity off line, there by increasing the price of oil drastically. This is finally starting to change as projects like the refinery planed in Alberta to process some of the tar sands oil and joint work between China and Venezuela to process Ven.s heavy crude materialize.


judge wopner said:
remember many similar proclamations were made in the west about us running out of oil during price shocks in the 70's. many people claim "this time its different" simply because its 30 years later so we posses that much less oil.

Again, the difference is that ... in my opinion of course ;), the oil shocks of the past half century have all been on the supply side due to political instability and collusion of OPEC nations. Now it's different, there are simply more people who want to drive and can actually afford too.

judge wopner said:
i generally agree we are running shorter on crude, specifically light sweet crude that is ealisly refined into petro-based products. but there is also considerable mis-information in the media and from OPEC when they cite oil data in barrells and reserves.

often headlines will tell of canada's or suadi arabia's reserves, without specifying what grade of oil makes up said reseves which can be drastically different cost wise to refine. the same for discussing new production, such as Saudi Arabia announed recently something like 100,000 barells of new production coming on next year, but did not provide the net loss of production next year due to about 250,000 barells that will be lost due to aging wells. its very misleading from a bullish and bearish standpoint.

I'm certain we are running out of oil. Anyone who argues otherwise is just plain nuts. It is clear that we are using oil faster then new oil is being created. The mis-leading factor is that some people seem to think finding a new well means we are not running out, that's not true, that oil was always there, it's not a new addition, it's just new to us. Until oil consumption drops to the rate of oil creation we are running out.

How fast will we run out should be the question. That's where we get into the things the honourable wopner's talking about above. Trying to come to terms with the numbers, in barrels, is tough. To get an idea for these numbers 100,000 barrels a day is significant enough to be reported upon but is really only child's play. "Big" oil news is in the order of 1.5 million bpd. I think Saudi is currently churning out 12 million bpd or so and they seem to be able to manage swings of 1 million or so bpd without a problem.

To get your own feel for these numbers go here: www.ssyonline.com ... it's also good for understanding coal, iron ore, and steel numbers.

judge wopner said:
if we are running out of oil as so many seem to accept, why didnt the very companies drilling and exploring for oil better predict this in their business models and pricing schemes? why did some companies hedge forward against their prediction of stable or falling oil prices?

Gambling, poor guess work / assumptions, multi national companies without a single economist on staff, focus on quarterly results, and poor communication.

From my experiences the members of this board seem to be as well if not better informed about many of the happenings of the world then some other I have met actually in industry. I suspect that there is a fairly wide gulf in all industries between those who think and those who do. Those who do seem to get burnt regularly by making bad decisions, those who think seem to get burnt by making no decisions. Until a mutual respect is built up, these types of "surprises" are going to continue.

judge wopner said:
why does it seem like the recent run up has happened too quick to be attributed to simply the acceptance of the masses that we are running out of oil?

Denial. China hit the stage in early 2003 but the rest of the world is still in a state of shock about it. The Iraqi situation hasn't helped either as attention has been diverted. Even reports from the Federal Reserve have been rather non-chalant about China's emergence, not to mention India and what looks like a looming Russia + South America.

judge wopner said:
i agree from an environmental perspective we have to be more careful and conserve, not just for cost sake but for emmisions sake. but the basis from which we draft environmental and energy policy shouldnt be based on uncertain data regarding energy supplies.
im as worried as anyone else about how we will power our society in a sustainable and clear manner, but i fear the debate will get squashed should the price of oil drop significantly, which it often has historically in the face of collective agreement that it wont.

You've got me. I don't think oil is going to drop much. That's a huge concern in a continent designed on cheap oil. Commuting culture will have to shift to mass transit. Food prices are going to rise as the distribution is based on trucks. So are consumer goods prices for that matter. It's part of inflation I think, might be aggravated by a falling US$.

I want to finish by stating again that oil is not the only commodity that has jumped in price and that is in short supply. Metals have done almost the same thing as oil and are just as important. The problem is no one fills up their car with copper twice a week so no one sees the effects of the high metal prices.
 
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DTD

TRIBE Member
Is "Peak Oil" a Fraud?
The issue of renewable oil is not the only reason that Peak Oil is a con, but a good summary has just been published on energy analysis website 321energy.com. - Fintan

If hydrocarbons are renewable-
then is "Peak Oil" a fraud?

by Joel Bainerman 31 Aug, 2005

The question is critical due to the enormous amount of coverage the issue of "Peak Oil" is receiving from the mainstream press. If the supply of hydrocarbons is renewable- then the contrary to the conventional wisdom being touted throughout the mainstream press today- the world is NOT running out of oil.

Professor Emmanuil Chekaliuk told the conference on Petroleum and Petroleum Geology in Moscow that:

"Statistical thermodynamic analysis has established clearly that hydrocarbon molecules which comprise petroleum require very high pressures for their spontaneous formation, comparable to that required for diamond...

To suggest that hydrocarbon molecules spontaneously evolve in the regimes of temperature and pressure characterized by the near-surface of the Earth, which are the regimes of methane creation and hydrocarbon destruction, does not even deserve consideration."
http://wagnews.blogspot.com/2005/09/is-peak-oil-fraud.html
 
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