Man is 'Killing the Planet'

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by duendy, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    That was Louis XIV philosophy: “Aprés moi, le deluge”. Yes, it is an egotistic attitude, but it is human nature. Human nature includes people like Hitler and Stalin, Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer, Al Gore and Margaret Thatcher, Alexander Fleming and Jesus Christ – and all the gray tones in between.

    On the other hand, Rev. Martin Luther King was an exceptional man, but he didn’t go into history as a scientist, but as a politician – a good one. He was partly right, though, when said “the modern plague of overpopulation<b> is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we posses.</b>” He hit the bull’s eye when acknowledged that we have the means for giving a solution to possible problems –but he was wrong when categorized world population of those days as “overpopulation”. But politicians, no matter how good they are, sometimes will goof it. So are the rules of the game. ¿Don’t you like the game and its rules? Withdraw from society, become another Una-bomber and seclude yourself in the wilderness. The FBI will get you.

    Your graphs look impressive, quite neat. It’s a pity, though, but they are simple statistics, based on dubious data, and on an inexistent consensus. It is an ironclad rule in computing called <b>GIGO</b>, that is, “garbage in, garbage out”. If you have four variables you can get any result from any statistic. And as late mathematician Von Neuman said about statistical graphs, <b>“if you give me four variables, I can draw an elephant. And with five, I can make him wiggle his tail.”</b> And of course, there is the old famous and quite repeated saying: <b>“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics – in that order.”</b>

    Furthermore, you of course know, there is no consensus in science, <b>and there will never be</b>. Sometimes, there is consensus on some basic principles of the thermodynamics and physics, and chemistry, but even many of those basic principles have been falling down, as the “solar constant”, that is in fact, a “solar variable,” or the speed of light (as particle Omega-minus can travel faster than that).

    Go back in history and you will find that there was “consensus” in that the oil was going to be depleted in 30-50 year time. (Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Alexander King, etc). That 50-year prediction still stands, even 50 years have elapsed and oil reserves have increased three fold.

    You must not talk about “prophecies” and give ominous dates for the time we will run out of oil. By the time that thing happens, mankind will have other ways of getting energy and different fuels for transportation, and other techniques replacing the petrochemical industry. For sure, we’ll have plastics, but they will come from different sources.

    You are leaving out of the picture, and have never considered in your apocalyptic analysis that “resources” become such thing when mankind has a need for them. Sand (silica) became a resource only when men started to make glass and later, a more important resource when began producing electronic chips. Oil was not a “resource” but a thick tar that used to spoil Oklahoma’s crop land in the 1840s. When someone developed the internal combustion engine (touted as a catastrophic world danger in 1856) and someone accidentally discovered the cracking technique of petroleum, then it became a resource, because society had a use for it, society wanted it, and went after it.

    The same applies to most raw materials as uranium, and all strategic minerals (molybdenum, titanium, chromium, cadmium, wolfram, tungsten, etc) that became resources when mankind found a use for them. Be assured there are resources down on Earth crust that presently are not resources, but they will be when we discover a use for them.

    Perhaps, when we run out of oil, “tree huggers” will become a valuable resource as fuel for heating hospitals and schools. They have a lot of condensed energy inside and will burn merrily giving warmth and happiness to sick people, children and elderly people. That way they will be really serving mankind.

    We’ll be needing lots of energy by the year 2030, when the solar Double Gleissberg minimum will occur and send Earth back to another Little Ice Age. All the signs are evident, solar physicists have been warning of such event, so go out and buy blankets while they are cheap.

    It’s not me who think in those terms, but a notorious tree hugger as B. Shaw, along with another hideous character named Sir Bertrand Russell (a Peace Nobel Award – after proposing his theory of “preemptive nuclear war” against Russia in 1947, urging Churchill to drop the Bomb on Moscow.) Which makes the Nobel Awards suspicious political tools. Remember F. Sherwood Rowland, Mario Molina and Paul Crutzen got a Nobel Award for their Ozone Hoax theory.

    Then the latest Nobel Peace prize in 2004 was Wangari Maathai, from Kenya, a recognized tree hugger, and the reason for awarding the prize was: "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace". According to the Nobel Foundation, “She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, <b>human rights and women's rights in particular</b>. She thinks globally and acts locally.”

    Indeed she does. She is a well educated person, (Firsts: first woman in central or eastern Africa to hold a Ph.D., first woman head of a university department in Kenya, first African woman to win the Nobel Prize in Peace), also a professor, has a bachelor in sciences, Master in sciences and a Ph.D. in anatomy. Her curriculum is outstanding, but all the résumés you see in the Internet will never say one terrible thing: As a member of the Tetu ethnic she practices and encourages their tribe’s traditional practice of mutilation of young girls: they cut young girl’s clitoris. And she has made clear she will encourage that practice (or “cultural” trait?) no matter that practice goes against all women's right, or human rioghts. Do you see any contradiction here? Fighting for "women's rignt" and cutting young girl's clitoris? Nobel Awards are weird. Of course, she has a personal website and founded the <b>Green Belt Movement</b>. In her webpage there is, of course, this invitation: <B>“Click here to donate to The Green Belt Movement “</b>

    Another interesting thing ting is that you make claims and assertions believing they are true. As the one above. You or nobody else doesn’t know if civilization will be able to sustain itself in the future. But if we look back and see how civilization has been performing during many centuries, we see that the trend is highly positive and looks bright for mankind: we have gained life expectancy from 25 years (Roman era) to more than 80 now; although population has nearly doubled in the last century, we are presently producing more than double the amount of food in about a third of the land used in 1900, and at cheaper prices.

    So, what’s wrong with that? Why are you so angry for humankind improvements? Or would you feel better if people had a life expectancy of 40 years (USA, 1900), we gave up antibiotics, homing, cars, comfort, and rushed to wilderness to live a “plentiful” life. That’s OK but -- live on what? You, tree huggers, will have banned tree cutting so we wouldn’t have wood for cooking meals and heating our caves in winter. We couldn’t hunt buffaloes or deer, rabbits, birds, etc, because you made it illegal.

    My opinion is that you, tree huggers, want mankind to disappear so all those beautiful creatures in the wild will be free to chase them down and eat each other at will.
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  3. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    And it is in the nature of societies to embrace practices which are cohesive for their well-being and to minimize practices that threaten to unravel them.

    For instance, you don't see to many societies that advocate intentional wasting of resources (burning entire forests for the hell of it) or murder, do you?

    No, you don't. And there's a good reason for that. Societies with those kinds of self-destructive values wouldn't last very long.

    When most people think of overpopulation they only look at 1 resource: land surface area. If you take into account the full equation, that is population growth and resources that enable and support said population/growth, then the picture becomes much more different.

    So we can throw all estimates of anything anywhere at anytime out the window as total nonsense, right?

    There was a geologist back in the 1950's by the name of Dr. M. King Hubbert. he compiled petroleum data and found that the production of oil follows a bell curve and peaks around the 50% mark. Based on his model, he said that the United States production of petroleum in the lower 48 would peak in 1970. nobody believed him. And the things his critics said with glee in 1970 was "Remember that old guy Dr. M. King hubbert who said we were going to begin to run out of oil? Well the U.S. has never produced more oil than this year!", which was the year we peaked.

    And since then several nations have come across their peaks and gone down the arc of terminal decline and oil production in teh U.S. has been downhill all the way for over 30 consecutive years now.

    This is what we call a "historical precedent". Hubbert warned us, we didn't listen, and now here we are stuck with the consequences of being oil dependent on nations that don't like us very much and could pull the plug on our economy overnight if they wished. Hubbart showed that if you take all the peaks of individual wells and states, you could compile that into one bell curve and show the depletion of the whole country. The United States is proof of concept right there. He was dead-on about the oil in the U.S. and every one of his critics that were saying similar things back then as you are now were wrong.

    Now if you take the production cirves of all the oil producing countries in the world and compile them into one big curve, you get a ballpark figure for when the world's petroleum supply will peak, also known as "peak oil". It's coming up any year now. All we're seeing is a repeat of what happened here in the United States, except this time on a global level. We have a world economy that is addicted to oil, requires more of it each year, and cannot run without it, and the peak and decline means less oil every year, lesser quality oil, and more expensive oil.

    Something has got to give here, and it isn't going to be the geology.

    We have seen the President of the United States sending his Secretary of Energy on bended knee to plead with OPEC leaders to increase petroleum production so as to keep our gasoline prices from rising. For a country that boasts that it is the world’s only superpower, this is profoundly humiliating.

    Gasoline prices are rising. Natural gas prices are rising rapidly, which poses real economic hardship for millions of American home owners who depend on natural gas to heat their homes in the winter.

    The only energy proposals we see are for short-term fixes, sometimes spread over a few years, that seem to ignore the important real-world realities of resource availability and consumer costs.

    For years, scientists have warned that fossil fuels resources are finite and that long-range plans should be made. These plans must recognize that growing rates of consumption of fossil fuels will lead, predictably, to serious shortages that are now starting to appear.

    For years we have heard learned opinions from non-scientists that resources are effectively infinite; that the more of a resource that we consume the greater are the reserves of that resource; and that the human intellect is our greatest resource because the human mind can harness science and technology to solve all of our resource shortages.

    There seem to be two cultures; science and non-science. Each has its own Ph.D. "experts" and "think tanks." Each has its own lobbyists who argue vigorously that their path is the proper path to achieve a sustainable society. So let’s compare the two recommended paths.

    The centerpiece of the scientific path is conservation; hence it is appropriate to call this path the "Conservative Path." On this path the federal government is called on to provide leadership plus strong and reliable long-term support toward the achievement of the following goals. The U.S. should:

    - Have an energy planning horizon that addresses the problems of sustainability through many future decades.

    - Have programs for the continual and dramatic improvement of the efficiency with which we use energy in all parts of our society. Improved energy efficiency is the lowest cost energy resource we have.

    - Move toward the rapid development and deployment of all manner of renewable energies throughout our entire society.

    - Embark on a program of continual reduction of the annual total consumption of non-renewable energy in the U.S.

    - Recognize that moving quickly to consume the remaining U.S. fossil fuel resources will only speed and enlarge our present serious U.S. dependence on the fossil fuel resources of other nations. This will leave us critically vulnerable to supply disruptions that we won’t be able to control.

    - Finally, and most important, we must recognize that population growth in the U.S. is a major factor in driving up demand for energy. This calls for recognizing the conclusion of President Nixon’s Rockefeller Commission Report (Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1972). The Commission concluded that it could find no benefit to the U.S. from further U.S. population growth.

    In contrast, the non-scientific path suggests that resources are effectively infinite, so we can be as liberal as we please in their use and consumption. Hence this path is properly called the "Liberal Path." The proponents of the Liberal Path recommend that the U.S. should:

    - Make plans only to meet immediate crises, because all crises are temporary;

    - Not have government promote improvements in energy efficiency because the marketplace will provide the needed improvements.

    - Not have government programs to develop renewable energies because, again, the marketplace can be counted on to take care of all of our needs.

    - Let fossil fuel rates continue to increase because to do otherwise might hurt the economy.

    - Dig and drill. Consume our remaining fossil fuels as fast as possible because we "need them". Don’t worry about our children. They can count on having the advanced technologies they will need to solve the problems that we are creating for them.

    - Claim that population growth is a benefit rather than a problem, because more people equals more brains.

    We should not be confused by the conflicting expertise that supports each of
    these two paths because there is a very fundamental truth:

    For every Ph.D. there’s an equal and opposite Ph.D.

    For our U.S. energy policy, we must choose between the Conservative and the Liberal Paths. The paths are the exact opposites of each other. Each is advocated by academically credentialed experts. On what basis can we make an intelligent choice?

    There is a rational way to choose. If the path we choose turns out to be the correct path, then there’s no problem. The problems arise in case the path we choose turns out to be the wrong path. It follows then that we must choose the path that leaves us in the less precarious position in case the path we choose turns out to be the wrong one.

    So there are two possible wrong choices that we must compare.

    If we choose the Conservative Path that assumes finite resources, and we later find that resources are really infinite, then no great long-term harm has been done.

    If we choose the Liberal Path that assumes infinite resources, and our children later find that resources are really finite, then we'll be in deep trouble.

    There can be no question. The Conservative Path is the prudent path to follow.

    However, it is the Liberal Path that we are so eagerly taking today.

    If resources turn out to be infinite, then we will be OK on the Liberal Path. But if resources turn out to be finite, then today’s choice of the Liberal Path will create enormous and critical problems for us.

    There is a concensus in geology about the URR of oil, and that is 2 trillion barrels. Oil discovery has peaked and shows no signs of reversing, so this estimate has just been becoming more and more probable every passing year.

    Also consider that oil companies use their largest most profitable fields first and save the much smaller ones for later when the price of oil gets so ridiculously high it becomes economically feasible to drill for those paltry sums compared to the megaprojects the worldis running on today. That just corroborates the concensus figure even further.

    The concensus figure shows very little sign of being very inaccurate.

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    The yellow curve shows exploration drilling.

    Note that the level of activity barely affects the discovery trend. It destroys the flat-earth heresy that discovery is driven by market forces

    We know how that works. Back then, someone made a calculation about how long oil was going to last. The calculation was wrong, and therefore all calculations are wrong.

    Back then what they were doing is taking the amount of oil they knew existed, dividing it by what was then the current rate and growth of consumption, and they came up with 50 years. Now with this model you have to recalculate the figure evry time you make a new discovery. We should realize that there is a better model.

    We turn to the work of the late Dr. M. King Hubbert and he came up with a model, which so far has been amazingly accurate, that calculates the date of petroleum peak by totalling the discovered and undiscovered petroleum. We're now talking about all of the oil.

    So we turn to the geology literature and we see that the consensus figure is 2 trillion barrels and that figure just gets more certain with every passing year.

    So now we are right at the peak of world oil. This means that we've used half of the oil that was ever in the Earth to use and we're now on the second half. No big deal since the tank is still half full, right? Wrong. What happens after you hit the 50% mark is that the production of the resource declines. No matter how hard you pump or work those fields, every year after the peak you get less and less oil up out of the ground. It's also heavy in sulfur and of a much lower quality. Everyone wants premium light surface crude that is cheap and easy to extract/refine, but once you hit peak the cheap stuff is pretty much all gone. We also can't extract 100% of the oil that is there. In 150 years of geology we haven't been able to do it. As energy advisor to teh President Matthew Simmons pointed out, the old methods are still the best ones for extraction, and this trend is unlikely to change anytime soon.

    The crisis could be hitting as early as the 4th quarter of this year. Somehow I doubt we're going to have a solution to 150 years of oil-dependent infrastructure problems in the next 4 months.

    I think it's much more likely we'll be using thermal depolymerization to turn the fat "waste-as-a-virtue" advocates into limited quantities of oil enough to heat a few small villages by thermal depolymerizing them because the "tree huggers" as they were called push for aggressive alternative research practically from the beginning but others just wouldn't have any of it. The problem is that we didn't listen to them, because if we did then people might not be paying $100 to fill up the SUV war wagon at the pump like they are now.

    And you all-consuming Juggernauts are giving it to them by depleting the resources at an alarming rate and orders of magnitude faster than we're developing anything to mitigate the problem, much less allow for a seamless transition.

    The only way we're be knocked back to the dark ages is if we keep on our current course of action. Alternative energy science being a small, niche little trick pony that comes out the closet once a year during auto shows and goes right back only to come out again the next year.

    We need something much larger than a Manhattan project to mitigate the coming energy crisis and we need it yesterday. But thanks to short-sightedness, political hubris, and the general "what me worry" attitude of the idiots that have the power to change, things don't happen until they already become a problem, at which point it is too late to preempt them.

    We need to follow the Conservative Path, and right now the path we're going on is Liberal beyond imagination.

    All thanks to the Green Revolution which used oil and natural gas to explode the amount of food we could produce.

    Our population would have never gotten this large if not for the green revolution. A population can't exceed it's ability to fee itself for obvious reasons. But oil and natural gas are finite resources. They are transient. As they go, so does the Green Revolution and the increased food capacity along with it. Then you end up with Easter Island redux.

    We are eating fossil fuels. As they go, the food goes with it. And unless we find some way to quickly replace agriculture with the decline of petroleum (Which Dick Cheney, Vice President and senior oil official puts conservatively at around 5% but could be much steeper) then there's going to be a gap between the amount of food people are demanding, and what the supply is.

    In economics when there is more demand than supply, the prices go up and a thing called "demand destruction" is achieved. At a certaing price, people will either be unable or unwilling to pay for the commodity.

    In the case of food, the implications of "demand destruction" due to scarcity are pretty evident.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2005
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  5. Don Quixote Registered Member

    Golgo 13....

    Which country do you come from that so amazingly put thier life on the line for freedom?
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  7. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    The United States. Although nowadays we don't have any direct external threats that could take away our freedoms anymore. We're more into preserving our way of life now, so we have to get involved in the oil-rich Middle East since we're the single largest user of the resource and have long since depleted our domestic reserves.
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Ah yes, Easter Island, a perfect analogy for our times. They chopped down all the trees, until they could no longer even build boats to fish from or find another island.

    I agree. They are different strategies. Perhaps the bingefest will lead to revolutionary inventions that will save us in the nick of time, like inter-planet travel, or perhaps responsible stewardship is the way to go here on spaceship Earth.
  9. ReighnStorm The Smoke that Thunders Registered Senior Member

    The end result is this: The Earth and world (the way it was made) gave us life. To live on it and use it in order to live. Once we're done using everything that it gave us to use, it will destroy us all and just simply and naturally start over. Plants and trees will grow back, animals will be born. Water will replenish and life will start anew. We just won't be here to enjoy it!

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  10. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Golgo 13, I’ll try to answer your last post in two or three shorter posts.

    Of course. But I didn’t said there were societies of that kind. There are societies that advocates for other things, as Polynesian societies that kill their elders because they say elders stop them from progressing. They are still in the Stone Age. Eskimos have a similar costume of putting the elders out in the cold for getting rid of them. This is a matter of survival of the group, as the elders cannot hunt and get food for the family, they cannot be just “consumers” –they must go.

    Indeed. You must take into account the full equation. The full equation is a long and complicated one. It is composed by many variables that are not too well known or understood. But it has nothing to do with the Malthusian theory you seem to base your claims and you whining. Malthus didn’t take into account (as you do) the development of technology. You have the facts in front of you. If you can’t see them, then is because you refuse to see. Which is the worst blind?

    Sometimes estimates are useful when used in a time frame perspective. Estimates are mostly based on predicted trends, and trends are not always constant. Trends change, and change constantly. If the growing trend of a baby until two years-old continues, then we’d have a 21-foot tall teenager. When comparing old estimates with present real facts, then we gain experience and knowledge, and can adjust and tweak new estimates for the future of anything.

    But relying on dubious estimates and making worldwide political decisions based on them, is seems just crazy, almost suicidal.

    Actually, the decline in oil production in the US is more a political strategy than the result of depleting reserves. The US is buying and using foreign oil because they want to save their own for the future. It is a wise move. Especially that the price of the oil has been steady for some decades, despite the inflation. That means the oil price was getting cheaper every year. Make your numbers and you will see. I remember when I was living in the US in 1973 (32 years –Wow! Life goes away fast!), the gallon used to cost about $1.25. How much cost now? The last time I was in the US was 1997, and it hadn’t changed much.

    So, considering inflation, the present $60 dollar a barrel is still cheaper than 1974’s price.

    I agree. My opinion is, as many old environmentalists and Greenpeacers as Paul Watson, Patrick Moore, James Lovelock, Bjorn Lomborg, etc, are now promoting nuclear energy. If there’s something that has got to give is the green stubbornness and hate for nuclear energy (among other advances in technology mankind has conquered)

    You can’t see past your nose. Do you really think that the world oil prices are set by the OPEC? Wake up, man! Have you ever heard about the <b>”Six Sisters”</b>? They used to be Seven until British Petroleum (BP) bought Conoco. They are the Rockefellers, the Andersons, the Maurice Strongs, the British and Dutch families, the Rothschilds, etc.

    These “Six sisters” were the ones that with the help of the CIA ousted Mossadegh back in August 1953 and installed Sha Reza Pahlevi, because the <b>Anglo Iranian Oil Co</b> (now BP) along with its partners in the oil cartel (Standard Oil and Royal Dutch-Shell) was about to lose its grip over the Iranian oil due to the nationalistic revolution in Iran. The Six Sisters were also the ones that caused the mysterious airplane accident that killed Italian AGIP Oil’s CEO, Enrico Matteri in 1962, after he had succeeded in arranging an oil deal with the Iranians (leaving out BP and partners), and later with the Russian for the construction of a pipeline to the Baku oil fields – again leaving out the “Seven Sisters”.

    The Seven Sisters were also behind the plane crashes that took the life of Panama`s president Gral. Torrijos, and later Argentinean YPF CEO, Estenssoro, in Ecuador. Both were dealing oil agreements that left out the by now “Six Sisters”.
  11. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Simple solution. Go nuclear.

    Nixon’s Who Commission? Rockefeller you said? Big Oil. And you trust them? You fight big corporations, but when one of them says something you can use, then it’s OK.

    Who said that idiocy? It is not the number of brains what counts but how well they function. But seeing the population density in Europe, and the life standard they have, one can easily say that large populations are better than smaller ones, as for example, Uruguay, or Belize, or Andorra. The richest and most powerful countries are those with large populations. Among poor people in Africa, children are not more mouths to feed, but two more hands for work and help to bring more supplies.

    On the basis of a well informed decision. Information, knowledge, common sense, and a cool head, free of neurotic fears and emotions. Objectivity, not superstition. And, or course, free of corruption, greed, and all those things that obscure the landscape.

    Am I listening to Descartes? You better believe in God, because if there is no God, no harm was done, but if there is one, then you’ll go to Hell. No, thanks, I don’t like jumps into the abyss – at least without a working parachute. I am not a man of deep faith in miracles.

    Let us choose the Conservative path and will never be able to supply enough energy for society’s needs, and that goes also for food. We’ll be living half lives just for the future generations enjoy full ones? How will they laugh at us!

    There is an apparent consensus on what geologists <b>THINK</b> the reserves are. It is a consensus on <b>uncertainty</b>, that's equal to a consensus on <b>IGNORANCE</b>. They have merely an estimate, but how good is that estimate? As good as the model that projected it. Models, models, they are far, far away from reality. They are only good for making F-86 Sabres for hanging in our son’s den.

    And the graphs you keep showing are colorful and neat, but they keep being <b>GIGO</b>. They are trash, based on variables and estimates that a technician in statistics can arrange in a way as to <b>make the elephant wiggle his tail.</b>

    It amazes me how Hubbert could calculate the amount of oil <b>not yet discovered.</b> Cool. But I have a tendency to distrust estimates based on ignorance and futurology. Tarot cards have a better chance at predicting.

    How can we be knocked back to the Dark Ages. if we came out of the Dark Ages by doing what we have been doing: exploiting our resources? And we have been improving at it. Every year that passes we get much better at finding, processing and distributing those resources.

    Besides, every year, when the tricky pony comes out of the closet (a gay pony?) brings new technological advances and improved efficiency in m.p.g. performance of cars and trucks (among many other things). That’s another way of conservation: improving efficiency. Stopping oil consumption is the same as trying to produce wealth by stuffing your money in the mattress.

    What crisis? The only crisis I see is a moral one, what brings us to a political crisis. Not a resource crisis. Not an energy crisis –yet. The crisis will arise, of course, if greens keep opposing nuclear energy and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. If they keep opposing new oil prospecting, drilling, and use by the people.
  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    You can't run airplanes, tractors, or mining equipment on nuclear power. And you can't produce very much plastics, fertilizer, or pesticides. The quantity of oil left on Earth is about the most well studied subject on the planet. This is precisely a resource crisis.
  13. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Why not? They operate submarines right now using nuclear power ..why not airplanes, tractors and mining equipment?

    The world seemed to do just fine before they invented plastics, artificial fertilezer and pesticides. I suppose we could do it again, huh?

    Is it really a crisis if only a few people seem interested in it? I mean, and there are many, many people who stand to lose everything if/when oil is totally depleted. So why ain't they more concerned than you?

    Crises? No, I don't think so ....we've got a few more months left, I think.

    Baron Max
  14. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    These examples you have been citing, activists that want female genital mutilation and such, are extreme examples of course and are hell and gone from what I'm advocating, which is simply responsible moderation.

    Anytime someone wants to talk about cutting back a little and making sound investment for the future, people interpret it like they're advocating a return to bronze-age hunter/gatherer culture.

    In a hundred and fifty years of petroleum geology, the science behind it is understood very well for the most part and our understanding of the science behind is very corroborative.

    Right. But do well not to confuse technology with energy or resources. Those are preconditions for technology. All energy technology allows us to do is better use what we already have, it doesn't actually "create" anything in respect to energy.

    The earth's most energy dense substances which we depend on are now passing high noon and headed for the sunset.

    On the contrary. I'm the one simply relaying independent facts about energy, and you are the one saying demonstrably false and counterhistorical untruths like "The U.S. is saving up it's own oil". The U.S. doesn't have oil to save, man. We burned it up and sold it off and hit peak in 1970, much to the chagrin and lamentations of the anti-Hubbert crowd. That was a classic example of reality enforcing itself despite delusional optimism to the contrary.

    So far, since discovery of the resource peaked like I showed in my last post, we've only been finding 1 barrel of oil to every 4 we use. The consumption trend is increasing and the discovery trend is decreasing. We went out and drilled like madmen as the yellow line in the graph illustrated, but we weren't finding anything because there simply wasn't any more huge projects to find.

    I agree entirely. And that's exactly what we've been doing. We've been taking the artificially inflated and demonstrably false reserve statements of the Middle East at face value. This is why Matthew Simmons is proposing a full audit of the Middle East to have complete data transparency. Naturally they are resistant, because they have something to hide. OPEC boasts about how it can increase production to 15 million barrels a day if it wanted to. Well if they're so damn confident about their oil reserves and want the world to believe that, then why not submit to auditing?

    They don't submit to auditing because what they say and the reality of the situation are mutually exclusive, and they don't want to let it become clear. Ambiguity is their greatest ally, the truth their enemy.

    BP Reserves

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    This demonstrates how BP reports reserves, failing to backdate the revisions. It has misled many analysts. The large increases in the late 1980s were simply due to the OPEC quota wars. Nothing was actually added.

    Spurious Revisions

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    · Kuwait added 50% in 1985 to increase its OPEC quota, which was based partly on reserves. No corresponding new discoveries had been made. Nothing particular changed in the reservoir.

    · Venezuela doubled its reserves in 1987 by the inclusion of large deposits of heavy oil that had been known for years.

    · It forced the other OPEC countries to retaliate with huge increases

    · Note too how the numbers have changed little since despite production..
    But it is not quite as simple as that, because the early numbers were too low, having been inherited from the companies before they were expropriated. Some of the increase was justified but it has to be backdated to the discovery of the fields concerned that had been found up to 50 years before.

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    The failure to backdate gives this misleading popular image of growing reserves. It is widely used by flat-earth economists in support of classical economic theories of supply and demand.

    I hasten to add that by no means all economists believe in a flat-earth. There are enlightened economists who now relate economics with resources, and they are coming to the fore.
  15. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    Reality & Illusion

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    This shows the effect of proper backdating. The discovery trend shown in yellow is falling not rising.

    This is false. It is due to depleting reserves, as the petroleum history clearly shows.


    Let us start with the US-48, the most mature oil country of all.

    · It had plenty of money, every incentive with the oil rights in private hands and soaring imports

    · It had a large prospective territory

    · We can be sure that if more could have been found, it would have been found.

    · So what did Nature deliver?

    S-48 Graph

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    Discovery, shown in green, peaked in 1930 at the edge of the chart.

    Production peaked 40 years later

    N.Sea graph

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    It is the same pattern in the North Sea, but advances in technology reduced the time lag to 27 years. We are getting better at depleting our resources.
  16. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    World graph

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    This is the world as a whole.

    · The green bars show discovery, highlighting a few exceptional spikes in the Middle East.

    · The oil shocks of the 1970s cut demand so that the actual peak came later and lower than would otherwise have been the case

    · It means that the decline is less steep than it would otherwise have been

    · It reminds us that if we produce less today, there is more left for tomorrow.

    · It is a lesson we need to relearn as a matter of urgency.

    - Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal

    Also consider that we've only got a sliver of the oil pie.

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    And just a response to the idiots thinking that ANWR could make a difference in our energy needs - the Trans Alaska Pipeline is presently working on a project that will lower the carrying capacity of the pipeline from 2.2 million barrels per day to 1.14 million barrels maximum capacity. Todays throughput is approximately 970,000 BPD, and no one thinks it will ever reach its maximum again. So, to cut costs, some of the pump stations are to be shut down and the rest will use electric pumps to allow fewer people to operate the line. Construction for these changes is going on right now and should be completed in the middle of 2006. Provisions have been made for future construction to allow flow of up to 1.5 million BPD if additional pumps are installed.

    So don't ever expect the pipeline to put out more than it is right now, no matter what ANWR does.

    We don't have any cards at the poker table of oil, and everyone knows it. Our only bargaining chip is our military.

    Why do you think the oil shock of the 70's hit us so hard? It was because demand was greater than our ability to produce oil. OPEC cut us off in protest of involvement in the Ramadan war and that coincided with our domestic peak, and prices went through the cieling. That crisis was political, but also a result of us depletiong our own oil. Had we been able to supply ourselves with the amount of oil we need, it would have been done. But such wasn't the case then and our domestic oil situation has only gotten worse since, naturally. It prompted great concerns about energy when it happened, but all those concerns went away as imports resumed. Now we're facing a geological world peak in oil production, and there are no more swing-producer sugar daddies to turn to for more oil. Once the world hits its peak and goes down that right hand side of the curve, that's the beginning of "game over" for oil.

    Yeah, but it's not going to stay at 60 dollars a barrel, it's going to go up. Price will reflect the scarceness of the resource as we slide down the production hill.

    Also if you consider that the Federal minimum wage has remained stagnant since like 1997 and the cost of living has done nothing but increased, it means less dollars going into the economy and that has obvious implications.

    And when oil goes up in price, it's not like the only way that is going to affect you is at the pump. Everything else goes up in price as well because oil = the cost of doing business. As business costs go up, prices go up. Wal-Mart is the largest user of the transcontinental trucking industry and always tries to keep their prices competitive. As the price of diesel fuel goes up, the price of shipping goes up, the price of the goods goes up, etc. etc. and you end up paying more for the same.

    Just over a decade ago we used to be able to buy 6 barrels of oil for the same we're paying for 1 today. The price of oil has continually climbed since 1990 and it shows no sign of stopping. It actually may accellerate if the Saudis experience a precipitous drop in their oil production as a result of water injection on their wells.

    What water injection enables them to do is keep pumping more oil out when they would have naturally passed the peak and declined under normal circumstances, but as a result when they actually hit their limit the decline isn't a gentle, symmetrical downward slope. It is a precipitous drop.

    They've been injecting their main field, Ghawar, with 7 million barrels of seawater a day for over 30 years now. The average water cut ratio of an oilfield is between 15 - 30%. That's an acceptable level. In 2004, Ghawar was producing half seawater cut to half oil. This year it is producing 55% water to 45% oil so it's declining as around 5%. It's production is due to drop off the cliff from such aggressive secondary recovery, but even if they somehow managed to avoid that consequence entirely, a few good years of 5% decline is enough to put us all in the hurt locker. Ghawar is presponsible for 70% of Saudi production. As it goes, so goes Saudi Arabia along with it. And as Saudi Arabia peaks, categorically the world peaks and the crisis is officially in full swing then as we have nothing to replace oil.

    Many people think that traditional nuclear power is going to save us. Nuclear energy isn't energy-dense liquid fuel or petrochemicals/feedstock for fertilizers that enable our food proction, but even so that is not the main issue. It's interesting to note what the facts have to say about the future of nuclear power:

    It is at this time I'd like to point out these first two articles which go into explaining a lot about uranium production and consumption.

    Uranium production is nearing the halfway point

    Current uranium demand almost twice production

    The following chart sums up the the problem:

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    Check out the reactor requirements line and then the production levels.

    Notice a disturbing trend there?

    Peak uranium.

    As it stands, U-235 isn't exactly the most abundant fuel in the world.

    Actually, due to their depletion status, the price isn't controlled by OPEC anymore. So that's good news. The bad news is that the price isn't controlled by anyone. They are pumping flat-out, so the slightest disruption in supply will have an immediate affect on the price.

    Iran has already passed it's peak of production. They have been declining and unable to meet their quota. Russia had a big drop in their production when the Soviet Union crumbled, largely in part to us pressuring OPEC to ramp up it's production and flood the market with cheap oil, thus depriving the Soviets their key source of income, and the Soviets had been pouring tremendous funds into underground R&D of chemical and biological agents after signing the Geneva convention because they thought they would have an edge over the U.S. since we weren't doing it in accordance with the agreement and they still were.

    And as far as Shell goes, they've been caught lying not once, not twice, not even three or four times, but five friggin' times about their reserves by overstating them.

    Shell Cuts Oil and Gas Reserves for the Fifth Time

    They were saying they have more than they actually do to avoid a panic and maintain investment for as long as they can manage to drag it out for.

    They were going to just try to lie and gain more investment/capital, but they didn't get away with it.
  17. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    Because we don't want to have HASMAT teams and people dying of radiation sickness when they get into collisions or airplanes scattering radioactive debris across cities in an aviation disaster. And as I illustrated earlier, the Uranium supply is in decline.

    Yeah we got by just fine before we started eating fossil fuels, had the green revolution, and exploded the population to a whoppong 6.5 billion people with a doubling time of 42 years at current population growth level.

    And we can go back to the old methods as well, and a population comparable to what was the case back then.

    You can't support 6.5 billion people in sprawling suburbs that get their food trucked in from 1400 miles away before it ever gets to their plate and 10 calories of hydrocarbon energy going into every calorie of food they eat not including cooking and shipping. I'm sorry, it's just not going to work like that.

    The number of people interested in it have nothing to do whether it is a crisis or not. Nobody could be interested in it and it would still be a crisis situation. Interest levels aren't a determining factor in whether something is a crisis or not.

    But since we're on the subject of interest, Roscoe Bartlett, one of if not the most conservative Congressman we have, has brought Peak Oil to the United States House of Representatives and on the official Congressional record.

    This is a real problem as Congressman Bartlett illustrates as I am now and using some of the same data. He's the most energy-aware Congressman we've ever had, and he's trying to wake up a nation that is sleepwalking and headed toward a cliff.

    Oil companies are in the business for one thing and one thing only, to make as much money as they can by selling oil. As the resource depletes, the oil companies make more money than they ever will in any point in previous history because the price takes off.

    Their philosophy is "make haste while the sun shines". Get in, get your money, and have as profitable of a career in oil as possible.

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    Hah. Maybe a few more years with oil if we're lucky. But with natural gas,which makes up most of our electrical production, we're really pushing it.

    Matthew Simmons is the CEO of Simmons Company and International. It is the world's largest energy investment bank. He's a world authority on energy and even advises the Presidency on energy issues.

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    Another problem with gas is that the wells run dry virtually instantaneously. Unlike oil wells, which go from gusher to steady stream to declining stream, gas wells either put out gas or they stop. And there's no warning when they are close to running out. Because, the gas is coming out of the ground under its own pressure. As the gas wells of North America continue to deplete, we will have little warning
  18. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    To wrap things up, you need look no further than this to see where the future of hydrocarbon energy is destined:

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    Notice the U.S. is the bottom of the barrel due to our mature and heavily depleted reserves.

    "Colorado has a 3 percent growth rate...

    That's like a third-world country with no birth control!"

    - Jim Reidhead, Larimer County Rural Land Use Center, Denver Post, May 2, 1998

    We send foreign aid family planning assistance to countries that have smaller population growth rates than Colorado has.

    But like I said earlier, overpopulation is more than just land surface area.

    A better indicator of overpopulation is per-capita energy consumption.

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    What the graph here shows is per-capita production of oil, which means at every point it takes the world production and divides it by the world population that year. Now the scale there on the vertical axis is litres per person each day. There's the number 2, that represents 2 litres per person per day. 2 litres is about half a gallon. Notice that the peak ocurred in the 1970's and it's been going downhill, and in the 70's it was a little over 2 litres per person per day, now it's down to about 1.7 litres per person each day.

    So we can say with confidence that any day that any one of us uses more than 1.7 litres of petroleum, directly or indirectly, we're using more than our share.

    Now what's the average consumption in the United States? And the answer is it's up around 8 liters per person a day. So think about the inequity that's represented there.

    Now there's something even more important in this graph. That peak in the 1970's I think historians in the future will look back at this peak and say that it was a major turning point in all of human history.

    That's the point where per-capita consumption of petroleum reached it's peak before it started its inevitable decline. And there isn't any way that I see in which we can reverse that downward trend, given the world population growth and given that we're right close to the peak of world production.

    Now because of our enormous per-capita consumption of resources, we can say with confidence that the world's worst population growth problem is right here in the United States.

    But you hear all sorts of well-meaning people pointing to distant, underdeveloped nations and saying that they're the problem with overpopulation.

    An average person in the United States in their lifetime consumes somewhere around 30 times the amount of resources then will be consumed by a person in their lifetime in an underdeveloped nation.

    We are the problem, we have the responsibility and we have the authority to deal with the issue here as a domestic problem in the United States.

    Some years ago, speaking on the campus of the University of Colorado, U.S. Senator Tim Wirth said that the best thing we can do to help other countries stop their population growth is for us to set an example and stop our own population growth here in the U.S.

    We have sent representatives to international conferences to tell the underdeveloped nations that, "You're the problem, you have to stop your population growth", and they just laugh and say, "Look, you're the problem with all of your high per-capita consumption".

    And in the last hour, the world population has increased by about 10,000 people, and the population in the U.S. has increased by about 280 people.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  19. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    So which is worse ....that above or billions starving to death as you've predicted in your post due to the loss of oil?

    ....or do you want everything to be perfect and positively safe before we do anything?

    Baron Max
  20. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    That's not a prediction, it's a consequence.

    We are eating fossil fuels, oil and gas specifically, so the effect of their depletion is self-evident.

    Even if we had nuclear automobiles, which would deplete what is left of the uranium supply very quickly and we'd be right back with the same problem we started with, nuclear power still doesn't provide the essential petroechemicals that oil and natural gas do which give us our fertilizers and pesticides and enable us to feed the industrial world.

    Oil is more than just fuel for the engines. The chemicals in petroleum enabled us to create a whole galaxy of products that would have otherwise been impossible.

    Our best course of action right now is to Powerdown. Even in the best case scenarios, there is no way we're going to be able to run what we're running now the way we're running it and on the same scale without hydrocarbon fuels. If we worked hard on energy science and heavily funded it even though we didn't need it's benefits immediately, then maybe we could continue going on like we are now with alternative technologies, but it's way late in the game to talk about wanting to switch everything to alternatives now. We have to have politicians with foresight that can see past their own term limit, and so far the only one we've had like that was Jimmy Carter.

    He put a great deal into energy science, but it was promptly scrapped by Reagan when he got into office because it was, according to him "A waste of time and money". Now we don't have those decades of cumulative buildup that we would have otherwise had, and are facing this situation in part because of it.

    This problem is a result of overconsumption, unchecked exponential growth, and shortsighted politicians. We simply have too many people wasting too much energy, and that is going to have to change here in a time short.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Oh, it'll change alright ....just as soon as we run completely out! and then we'll just invent something to take its place. We did the same thing in the early 1800s when we began to run out of timber to burn in the fireplaces and steam engines.

    Believe me, this "running out" is nothing that humans haven't encountered in their history. We've come this far by not making a big deal outta' things ...we just keep going and going and going and.....

    I assure you ....the sky is not falling. ...really, it isn't!

    Baron Max
  22. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    You can't switch horses when you've ran out. That's like talking about breeding your mare when she's about to die of old age so you'll have something to ride after she's gone. There has to be a transition from oil to something else which we don't even have yet and aren't working on or there is going to be a crash. Oil enables everything we do, including developing alternatives to oil, ironically enough. We simply can't wait until the last of the resource is gone if we want to keep our economy out of total annhilation and food on the table/civil order and societal cohesion.

    The crisis isn't when you run out though, it's after you peak because once you hit peak it means less and less oil every year afterward. By the time you've pretty much ran our for all practical intents and purposes you either don't need oil anymore because you've miracled up a solution or the full scope and magnitude of the meltdown has been actualized and you don't need oil because billions have died off and we're back to using animals and hand tools.

    But either way, one way or another, we will get off of oil. I just prefer it to be by transitioning into something else rather than letting the well-documented resource depletion effect on a species and the carrying capacity retraction of the sysem happen instead.

    There are actually some people out there that welcome peak oil. Either due to religious fundamentalism because they believe that the faster we run out of resources the sooner the rapture, or because they are Kaczynski-like luddites that wish death upon Globalization and Capitalism.

    I would prefer that they not have their way with this one.

    Here's Matthew Simmons' newest presentation available in PDF format:

    Twilight In The Desert-The Coming Saudi Oil Shock And The World Economy

    A few key points I have made previously he reiterates:

    - Middle East is the bar for the world oil thirst drinking binge

    - Iran peaked at 6mpd in 1970

    - Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, and Syria are all past peak (Middle East is peaking)

    - Many giant oilfields in the Middle East have already passed peak. (Middle East is peaking)

    - Saudi Arabia has 36% of the Middle East reserves (Middle East makes up 60% of the world's reserves in addition)

    - Indonesia is now an oil importer (Was only OPEC nation in Asia. Now due to depletion is a consumer instead of producer)

    - Non-OPEC, non FSU has peaked

    - FSU peaked in 1988 at 12.5mbd

    - Most key producers have already passed peak

    - Deepwater oil in Brazil/Gulf of Mexico will soon peak.

    - Demand growth by 40mbd in 2 decades is not unusual.

    - IEA and EIA analysis overly optimistic.

    - 4 to 5 fields have provided 90+% of of Saudi oil output for the last 40 years.

    - On a sustainable basis, Saudi Arabia may have already peaked, and if so, categorically the world itself has peaked.

    - It is a crisis few understand

    - Coping requires a series of fast changes.

    - Oil prices need to soar upwards and not merely spike (to curb consumption/demand destruction, for our own good)

    - Globalization model based on cheap energy was flawed.

    - Global energy cooperation is vital.

    - We might now be beyond the peak

    - Ignoring the issue is a dangerous folly.

    - Wake up time has arrived
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  23. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Is there a uranium crisis? Are you sure? Or simply you are ignoring (or hiding) some data?

    In 1983, uranium cost $40 a pound. Uranium known reserves at such price would be enough to sustain light water reactors for some decades. Since 1983, though, new and much richer deposits have been discovered, especially a huge one in Canada. This has brought down the price of uranium to unheard levels. But even at $40 a pound, uranium contributes with 0,2 cents by kWh to electricity costs.

    Breeder reactors use uranium about 100 times more effectively than pressurized light water ones (PLW). Thus, it can be used a more expensive uranium if needed be. <b>Now Hear This:</b> At a cost of say $1000 a pound, uranium would contribute with <b>only 0.03 cents by kWh</b>, that is, less than 1% of the cost of electricity. At that price (and fast breeders, or pebble bed reactors) the nuclear fuel cost <b>would correspond to a gasoline at 0.5 cents a gallon, or $0.005</b>. Isn’t that a solution for any energy crisis?

    You may wonder how much uranium is available at $1000 a pound? In the US there are great amounts in the granite rocks in Conway, New England, and in Tennessee, also in many other parts of the world, (Canada, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Argentina (my own province is rich in uranium –we had a huge mining site 40 miles from my house), Bolivia, Peru, Australia, Brazil, Africa, etc – where you have mountains, there you’ll find uranium). And then you have all that spent fuel <b>stupidly stored</b> in water pools at nuclear stations waiting for <b>a much more stupid storage in Yucca</b>, or for recycling.

    But we could concentrate on uranium extracted from the oceans. Professor Bernhard Cohen (<a href=>Curr.Vita</a>) from University of Pittsburgh, Professor-Emeritus, considers that uranium can be extracted from sea water at less than $1.000 a pound, and consider that the best estimate would be about $200-$400/lb.

    In terms of fuel cost by million BTU generated, Cohen gives uranium (at $1.000/lb) a value of 1,1 cent, coal =$1.25, OPEC oil = $5.70 , and natural gas = $3.00 - $4.00.

    Sea water contains 3.3 x 10^(-9) --that is 3,3 parts per billion of uranium, so all those 1.4 x ^18 of sea water contain 4,6x10^9 tons of uranium. The whole world consumption of energy at 650 Gwe could be provided by uranium in sea water during 7 million years. Not bad. Is there a uranium crisis?

    However, rivers carry to the sea more uranium to the sea the all the time. In fact 2,2 x 10^4 each and every year. Prof. Cohen estimates that we could extract about 16.000 tons a year from sea water that can supply about 25 times the present world needs, and double the present world energy consumption. Cohen also claims that seen the geological erosion cycles subduction and elevation, the supply would last for 5 Billion years at an extraction rate of 6.500 tons/year. The Earth crust contains about 6,5x10^13 tons of uranium.

    Cohen maintains that, as the supply will last about 5 billion years, that is, more time than the life of the Sun, uranium must be considered a renewable and inextinguishable resource. And you worry about oil depleting in 50 years. Or it was 25?

    See a <a href=>Japanese website</a> about extracting uranium from the sea water. It is enlightening.

    My comments to Dr. Cohen idea: he dismisses uranium decay. As uranium has a <b>4.46 billion years half life</b>, by the time the Sun blows up, only half of the uranium would have decayed. And he has not mentioned Thorium, also used in fast breeders. In Earth’s crust there is <b>4 times more thorium than uranium.</b> He hasn’t mentioned fusion, neither, but he says that he does not count on it because it has not been developed yet. I guess 4000 billions years are la ong enough time to find a way to use it.

    Cheer up! The sky is not falling! Who cares if oil runs out? Not me. All plastic can be synthesized from other materials. Let chemists do their jobs. With cheaper electricty, plastic would cost the same as coming from oil.

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