Peak Oil and World Population

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by jmpet, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    The question of how much spare production capacity Saudi Arabia has is critical, because it's the one nation that can increase supply by a significant amount if the world needs a lot more oil in a hurry. Nearly all other oil producers, with the exception of Iraq and a couple of others, are already pumping as much oil as their infrastructures will allow, and for good reason: With prices in the $80 to $90 per barrel range, oil is highly profitable now. Oil traded Thursday up 53 cents to $87.17 per barrel.

    See full article from DailyFinance:

    Not the best source for info, this document cites Wikileaks to suggest we have less oil than we thought.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    To put it succinctly: The most effective contraceptive has turned out to be prosperity. People who live in a place with long life expectancy and a healthy, surplus-producing economy, and who, themselves, have a comfortable income:
    • Don't need to have twelve children to make sure a few survive to carry on the family name, to keep the family farm/business running, or to support them in their old age.
    • Have more free time, and more options of things to do with it, than staying home to raise a large family.
    The second derivative of the population curve turned negative in the last century. Population is now predicted to peak--still with only ten digits--in this century, and then start decreasing.
    A better example, then, would be India. It has no such draconian policy and its birth rate is higher than China's, yet it is nothing like it was in my own lifetime. My friends from India assure me that 2-3 children is rapidly becoming the norm, even in remote villages.
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  5. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    Surveys done in third world countries show that the vast majority of women do not want more than 2 to 3 children. The reason why some societies have high birth rates is very simple. No contraception. Make contraceptives readily available and the birth rate will drop.
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  7. paygan Registered Member

    I'm quite a follower of Mike Ruppert's Collapsenet. He reckons we are using 6 barrels of oil for every barrel we find and in a year from now we'll be using 8 barrels for every one we find!

    The world does have some enormous upheavals to go through by 2050, when it'll probably have run out.
  8. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

    I agree with Skeptical and SnowSportsSid: the problems are overstated. Population growth is already slated to top out around 11-12 billion and then decrease. It could be less if poverty in developing countries is eradicated earlier than expected.

    I recommend THE RATIONAL OPTIMIST by Matt Ridley and WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE by Stuart Brand. Both books dispel a lot of this negative gibberish with hard facts.

    Here's a mind game to ponder: if you were presented with a time machine that would take you back to any year you chose, but you had no control of who you would be or where you would live (think gender, nationality, ethnicity), would you go? Would you take the 50/50 chance that you would be female in any of the increasingly misogynist societies the further back in the past you look? What about the greater chance of being a slave? Or dying in childbirth? Or living in filth? Or eking out a meager existence? Or contracting diseases and being infested with parasites? Or living under a ruler who dictated your religion and could behead you at any time? Would you want a doctor who bled you? Or a priest who sacrificed you? Or an elder who mutilated you?

    Today, we can sample the word's foods, see its sights affordably, watch millions crawl out of poverty every year. We can watch scientific progress, enjoy the art created by those with leisure time and talent, stroll through the billions of acres of protected lands, worry more about obesity rather than starvation.

    For those who worry about us going backwards, think about where we came from! We crawled down from the trees and made computers out of sand! What do people worry we'll go back to? We came from nothing. Our brains are our salvation; they are the most amazing things we are aware of in the entire universe (so far). Our offspring will continue to have this tool if nothing else. With that, we can hope to one day explore the stars rather than worry the sky is falling.

    Are fossil fuels a dead-end? Perhaps. But then, look at the amount of energy being radiated on us daily by the nuclear fusion reactor in the sky. Look at how much we can wring from the atom. Energy will never be a problem; we just need to choose wisely what we do with it. I, for one, am excited about the future. Democracy continues to spread. The Internet everywhere brings access to knowledge. Capitalism brings economic freedom, wealth, and glorious interdependence.

    For those who think a wonderful future will be one in which we hand-make everything, where we live in poverty, where billions less humans get to live and breathe and enjoy existence, where local is better than an inclusive whole -- to them I say: use the time machine. I dare you.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The figure I keep seeing is just short of 10 billion, by the end of this century.
    The number of people living in poverty has fallen by 40% in the last 15 years. The poverty rate in Africa is now less than 50%, for the first time since anyone has been keeping track. When I was a kid millions of people were starving in China, now they all have TVs and cellphones. The Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest-growing on Earth.

    They have actually redefined "poverty" in South America to "living on less than four dollars per day." In the rest of the world it's one dollar. Well except here of course, where the federal government defines it as $11.64 ($17K per year for a family of four.)
    Until the Industrial Revolution, 99% of the people on earth in any era were doomed to "careers" in the "food production and distribution industry." I.e., farmers. In most cases subsistence farmers but also yeomen who earned no real income from their work (which was as much as 100 hours per week), and in many places in many eras, slaves. No thanks!

    The most important thing in my life is music, and before the Electronic Revolution people were lucky to hear professionally composed and performed music once or twice a year. The small fraction of the population who lived in cities might be able to hear the mediocre pianist play the same songs every Friday night in the saloon, and the greater number who lived near a church could hear the even more mediocre choir sing the same hymns every Sunday morning. No thanks!
    During the post-Roman era women had a longer life expectancy than men, who were always off killing each other, and during those long lives they developed knowledge and wisdom that earned them a certain respect. The phallocrats put a stop to that by labeling them "witches."
    Infant mortality was as high as 80% before the discovery of vaccines and antibiotics.
    Europe underwent an enormous backslide after the collapse of Rome. The public health technologies they invented, such as sewers, atrophied. Their streets were all open sewers and the city fathers' idea of street cleaning was to run a herd of pigs through town once a year to eat it all. The water was so polluted that everyone who could afford it drank beer, which explains the economic and cultural dysfunction we affectionately call the Dark Ages. It wasn't until coffee was brought back from Ethiopia that the working IQ of the continent rose back above 100.
    We rewrote evolultion by creating civilization, a superorganism of which we are the cells. Its advance has not been monotonic, but it has never failed to recover from its temporary reversals and burst forth with new creativity.
    The Post-Industrial Era may very well allow people who want that kind of life to choose it. There will probably be more individuality and less mass-production. Food production will become even more automated than it is today, and we can already socialize with our friends on other continents without leaving our desks. People who want to pretend it's the Stone Age can do so, without having to actually undergo the rigors of a Paleolithic or Neolithic life.
  10. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

    That's weird. Did you just go line-by-line and sorta agree with me?

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  11. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Limits to Growth is the smoking gun . It is what drives Smart Growth and agenda 21 . 2 guys that changed the world and it is all bull if you ask Me. Go ask the people that live in Santa Cruz
  12. The Esotericist Getting the message to Garcia Valued Senior Member

    Why is it when it comes to discussions about oil, we are always so concerned about how much the Saudi's have left?

    Seems to me, the Russians just keep finding more and more and more of the stuff every year, eh? Other than the Baku region, weren't they just about the most oil poor nation sometime after WWII when the politburo decided to make oil a top priority? When is western oil science going to stop being so stubborn and quit swallowing the "big lie?" :shrug:

    Perhaps they will when they have enslaved the world's populations with this cap-n-trade slavery bullshit. I'll bet our overlords, the top ruling elites, are already well aware of the truth, eh? What what? ARE YOU?
  13. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    Sorry Esotericist.

    That is a load of codswallop.
    Abiotic theories have laregly been discredited, and they have never resulted in testable predictions that were shown to be correct. In particular, they have never resulted in any new oil discoveries.
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I actually agree with you on something, Skeptical!

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    In addition...the infant/child mortality rate needs to drop, such that women need to not expect to lose babies. A lot of the excess they have may well be about making sure they have survivors.

    Furthermore, women's social position in the given society needs to be such that they can use birth control without suffering coercion to have more children (on a widespread basis). Men *may* have more of an enthusiasm for a big family...especially in cultures where he's not held directly responsible for the kids' economic upkeep or daily care (There are cultures in Africa where it's her family that does the bulk of caring, or just her...)

    (Wiping a butt covered with runny poop will dampen your enthusiasm for making more babies.
    Although more people should go see )

    The most effective contraceptive has been giving women access to education, jobs, and means of controlling fertility...besides the fact that that creates more prosperity in and of itself...along with healthier kids and stabler families.

    Regarding abiotic oil...even if it were true...there's no evidence that oil forms in anything less than a millions-of-years time frame.
    So even if it is (unlikely so) formed abiotically, it still takes WAY, WAY too long to save our bacon, bucko. Gotta run the Machine on something else.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  15. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Because they have the biggest field ever, and it is dying. The Russians probably discovering more fields thanks to new technology what has been aviable in the Western world long time ago.

    There is no big lie, except the Arabs about their reserves...

    P.S.: Anybody who mentions abiotic oil should be punished by shooting his balls off....
  16. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    You see, OPEC sets production allowances by stated reserves, without requiring that those reserves be independently verified...just stated.

    (If you go to the below page, I beg pardon in advance for the drawing on it...I find it racist.)

    So the Saudis aren't the only members of OPEC padding the books.


    Which means the world cumulatively has less oil in the ground than we'd thought.
    (again from the above linked page)
    Personally, I found out about this back in '09 from reading Paul Robert's excellent book "The End Of Oil," in which he lays out the magical OPEC reserves jump. It happened in one year-the year they linked production to stated reserves.

    Glaring, that. Why the numbers were just blandly accepted as legit, I don't know.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  17. Rocks Registered Member


    I'm no expert, but I do know that pharmaceuticals must be VERY precise in their chemical composition *and* structure. Think of molecules (and hormones and receptors for chemicals in our bodies) as puzzle pieces. They must fit EXACTLY the right way, or the message is garbled. Many biomolecules have "handedness" which can make them safe or harmful. Handedness means that in some part of the chain of elements in the molecule, certain ones attach facing in one direction which is desirable, but the other is not (eg: I remember l-tryptophan being taken off the supplement shelves in the 90s because some of it was r-tryptophan and could cause problems). I don't know if this is the issue with the kinds of oils used in pharmaceuticals (just a relatively educated guess), or revolves more around the difficulties in getting out impurities in the heavier stuff, but it came to mind and I saw that your question wasn't answered.
  18. Rocks Registered Member

    And, it's getting more costly and less energy efficient to extract and refine, thereby increasing the costs per barrel, while doing little to replace our dependence on it with alternatives. Not very smart of of monkeys.
  19. charles brough Registered Senior Member

    SKEPTIC wrote:
    "Human ingenuity being what it is, we will see a wide range of new methods of providing personal transport. Already the first electric cars, or plug in hybrids are available, and they will become more and more a feature of personal transport. Biofuels, synthetic fuels, and hydrogen based fuels will become a part of the transport story.

    I know that many people will dispute this, because there is a strange and insidious emotional attraction to predicting disaster. However, the one thing I am certain of is that science and technology will continue to advance, and this means lots more tools for humanity to use in the future. This most definitely includes transportation."

    I for one know how difficult it is to predict human fate, but the earlier writers who predicted over-crowding were only wrong in timing, the hardest part of predicting. And regarding the above faith in modern science, ours is not the only civilization in history and all the previous ones suffered a decline and end in their prosperity and science. This is true of Ancient Egypt, Babylon, Rome, even Islam since the 12th century. Now, strict Muslims regard getting a good education to be memorizing the Qu'ran.

    Why would we be an exception? We are riding the technological wave by exploitating the Age of Pure Science we developed way back during the first half of the last century. People are becoming more conservative abandoning evolution, for example, which less than half the population now accepts.

    civilization-overview dot com

  20. Skeptical Registered Senior Member


    Re evolution. Your statement applies only to the USA, which is a rather backward nation, in many ways. Evolution is widely accepted in my country.

    Modern science dates back further than the beginning of last century. The definitive writer, who described the scientific method first, in a form that approaches our current knowledge, was Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626). Since his time, science has grown and grown.

    You compare modern civilisation to numerous previous civilisations that eventually fell. I am sure you are smart enough to see lots of differences between what we have today and what humankind had then. Modern civilisation may fall, indeed. But there is no real reason to suggest that it will. Knowledge is so spread today that any inheritors of such a fall will quickly rise once more. Personally, I doubt there will be any fall, apart from minor hiccoughs such as economic recessions.
  21. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    That would be D-tryptophan, and that's incorrect...–myalgia_syndrome

    BTW, you can now get L-Tryptophan, although it's usually a special-order item. It's safer than 5-htp.

    I agree, and I'm not saying it's going to be easy.

    Hmm...although petrochemicals were, at one point, to not put too fine a point on it, marine animal remains and poop, before said pile of remains/poop got buried in the right sort of geological formation (a sealed one) and cooked for a couple hundred million years or so at the right geologic depth.

    We might need animal fats for pharmaceuticals. But I suspect we'll come up with something...profit margins on pharma's just too dang good. The motivation's there.

    Besides that-there's this-the FDA may allow repatenting when they do that.
    There's precedent.
    When the feds required asthma inhalers to switch over to a non- chlorofluorocarbon propellant-even though it's the SAME EXACT DRUG the FDA allowed the maker to repatent the inhaler as if it were a new drug.

    This more than doubled the price of albuterol inhalers.
    This was when my asthma was good enough that I was using albuterol (and not combivent) and was paying out of pocket at the time for same. :grumble:
  22. charles brough Registered Senior Member

    Hi Kunstler, I sent you one of my books earlier this year and wondered if you got it (The Last Civilization). Was it after the National Geographic show on the decline?

    We both agree on this general assessment. It is a good sign that it is happening when even the popution of the very nation at the helm of the civilization believes we are in decline! .. .over 51%

    It is taking ever more energy to extract oil and oil still costs less than the other forms of energy. Its a matter of trying to get more and more out of less and less. We might have been able to keep ahead of the curve if we had real leadership in the world and birth control was exercised, but with about a billion people still have 9-kid families, we are over-crowding the Earth.

    Our secular ideology stresses tolerance and common cause in its efforts to over ride the religious disunity of the world, but the advent of 9/11 shows that the seperate religious blocks are tending to go more their separate way, meaning more and more brutal competition for the diminishing resources.

    It is common for over-crowded small group animals to wage war between groups. We are included. . .

    civilization-overview dot com
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    "... In 2010 relative to 2009, Chinese oil consumption soared by 10.4%. This was not simply a rebound from lower consumption in 2009 as was the case in many other countries, relative to 2008 consumption was up 14.1%.

    Since 2000, Chinese oil consumption is up an astounding 90.0%. China is now the world’s second largest oil consumer, burning 10.6% of all the oil burned in the world in 2010. That is up from 6.2% of total consumption in 2000. India’s oil consumption growth was a bit more subdued in 2010, rising 2.9%, but it is up 8.2% over two years and up 42.0% over the decade.

    In absolute terms, of the 10.777 million B/D increase in world consumption since 2000, 4.291 million (39.8%) was due to China, and 1.058 million B/D (9.8%) was due to India. In other words, almost half of all the increase in consumption over the decade was due to just these two emerging giants. ..."
    From:, U.S. Oil Production Rises in 2010

    Billy T comment: In the US each new car sold typically reduces gasoline use as is replacing less fuel efficient car and relative few sales at to first time buyers.

    In China and India, quite often the new car is replacing a bicycle or motor bike = A huge increase in gasoline use and China alone is selling more cars than the US is by a couple of million annually now.

    Little wonder US gasoline use is static and China's is growing by double digits annually. Oil production is static or up only a percent annually and more of it is coming from expensive sources every year. I.e. even if their were no rapid growing demand, the price of gasoline would be increasing faster than inflation. The worst part of the story for Americans (and best part for Chinese) is that China can afford to paid more than the US can so will be buying the greater share of global production it needs, and some American cars will spend more days without leaving their garage.

    World will never run out of oil - what happens is only China can afford to buy what it needs.

    Not to mention that China has many paid-up-front contracts for two to three decades of oil delivery. A relatively small one, made several years ago at cost of 10 billion dollars has Brazil's PetroBras sending China 200,000 barrels /day (on average) for 20 years. The world's largest reserve of oil is shale oil in Venezuela. China is building two heavy oil refineries there (and PetroBras a third for 40% of its production). China will be getting paid in oil, including the very same oil that now represent ~10% of US imports. US is planning large new pipeline to bring Canadian shale oil to the US refineries on the Gulf coast that now process Venezuela's oil but approval of it is uncertain.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2011

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