free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 307. CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-DOOMER

Thursday, July 06, 2006

307. CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-DOOMER

If you're reading this, you are aware of and probably concerned about the depletion of earth's finite fossil fuel resources, on which modern technological civilization is almost completely dependent, popularly called "Peak Oil" or PO for short. Good for you! By becoming aware of the issue and seeking to learn about it, you are already ahead of the vast majority of people. By trying to find out what, if anything, you can do about it, you're even further ahead. I'm betting you are more likely than average to be open-minded and someone who thinks for him/herself. My advice: don't stop thinking for yourself by adopting without question the dogma of PO doomerism.

I consider myself to be a person of above-average intelligence and a critical thinker, and yet I was sucked in by the 21rst century's equivalent of a doomsday cult. I was ripe for the picking.

I first became aware of the unsustainability of modern civilization in the 1970s, during the so-called oil shocks. I was a kid, but reasonably bright and with a scientific bent, so I read almost everything I could find on energy in general and oil in particular. What I discovered wasn't comforting. We had just 30 years of oil left! We needed it for all the chemicals and plastic things I had previously taken for granted. And here I was, burning this valuable stuff up in Dad's lawnmower! There had to be a better way.

I looked at renewables, but at the time, they all looked like losers. I wouldn't hear the term EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Input) for another 30 years, but even a teenager could see that if you put more energy into something than you could expect to get out of it, it wasn't going to solve the problem. That was true for alcohol fuels, and it was true for solar (photovoltaic) panels. Fusion power sounded good but again even a teenager could see that if you don't yet know how to make something work, it would be foolish to gamble the future on figuring it out in time.

Then I found coal and nuclear power. There was lots of coal, at the time, 500 years worth. And nuclear power, we couldn't ever run out of that (not necessarily true, but I believed it at the time). I had the answer - we were saved! You see, I liked modern technology, and I still do - to me, it was (and is) worth saving. I set the snooze alarm for 1990 (a few years before the oil was due to run out) and more-or-less forgot the whole thing.

In 1987, I first heard about global warming. This was surprising since during the 70s I remember people saying we were heading into a new ice age. Still, I looked at the CO2 and temperature data, and it did seem as if the cooling trend had ended and the earth was gradually warming up, and of course the rise in CO2 levels was clear as a bell. Although the causal relationship was yet unproven, it seemed to me that we'd be better safe than sorry, and so this just looked like another good reason to cut down on using fossil fuels. Unfortunately, mainstream thought seemed to have gone strongly against nuclear power, apparently (to me, having read a lot about it) without much more reason than that Hollywood had made it the spawn of the devil. Since I had already concluded renewables weren't going to do the job, I was resigned to the idea that we would burn through the remaining fossil resources until there weren't two carbon atoms left clinging together, and only then switch to nuclear power.

By the mid-90s it was time for my wake-up call. I discovered and started reading BP's world energy report. The forecast oil doomsday hadn't occurred, in fact there was a comfortable increase in the reserve numbers and the R/P (Reserve-to-Production) ratio had expanded to 40 years. It was beginning to look like this wasn't going to be a problem in my lifetime. The price of oil had crashed and headlines talked about an oil glut. All this extra oil was good news, but it looked as if, instead of counting our blessings at having another century or so of petro-chemical production, the US was hell-bent on burning it up in monstrous, wasteful trucks. What happened to the conservation programs? And when exactly were we going to start building nuclear plants? What about global warming?

About ten years later, I was debating energy issues with one of my greenie friends at dinner. While we both agreed on the need to kick the fossil fuel habit, her contention was that we could get all the energy we needed from renewable sources, whereas I was convinced that we needed nukes because renewables were a Hollywood eco-fantasy and that if you "did the math", you'd probably need a solar cell the size of the entire desert southwest to meet the energy needs of the US. She challenged me to prove that, so off I went to the web to do some research. In doing so, I found...

LifeAfterTheOilCrash (LATOC), Matt Savinar's oil doomsday site. It knocked me out of my chair. Everything I had believed for over 30 years was true, only it was worse than I thought! I had thought that even though we appeared to be stupidly squandering our fossil resources instead of switching to new energy sources, we still had, well, 40 more years to get our act together. But I had foolishly assumed that we could keep producing oil at today's rate until we got close to the end, at which point there would be a steep drop to zero. In fact, though, it was much more likely that a gradual decline in production would set in well before the end, and that while the oil would never completely "run out", production levels far below the ones needed to keep our present technology running would be devastating. Doh!

That's like finding out that the exam you haven't studied for is being given tomorrow morning. But that wasn't the worst of it. LATOC makes the case that it's too late to switch to new energy sources because the effort of switching will itself take energy, energy we won't have as oil production declines. LATOC also argues that we can't get enough energy from the alternatives to power our civilization at current levels. It knocks them down one by one. In short, too little, too late, to save technological civilization. But that still wasn't the worst of it. LATOC makes the point that the so-called green revolution that has enabled us to feed the world's booming population is entirely based on fossil fuels. As bad as it would be to see technology collapse, the doomsday scenario had expanded in the blink of an eye to include a dieoff of billions of people due to either starvation, or wars over the world's dwindling resources.

I went into a black despair. I became a doomer (hence the pseudonym). Well, I was sort-of a doomer - sort-of, because I'm not one to just surrender to fate. I soon learned that there were at least two different types of doomers, the fatalists and the powerdowners. The fatalists figure you might as well bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye. The powerdowners seemed to view the end of industrial civilization as a good thing and are looking forward to some sort of new agrarian age, albeit one where lots of people have to die to make room for the survivors. It's a little hard to tell them apart, frankly. Powerdowners claim to have a plan to wind down civilization to sustainable levels. But the plan seems to involve lots of people dying, and most of the survivors becoming a new peasantry. If you like modern technology and don't like death, that plan is hard to distinguish from the doomsday itself. Plus, powerdowners are convinved a powerdown is inevitable after wars and such have played themselves out - thus, fatalists are powerdowners who are foolishly not getting ready. One thing they have in common is the inevitability of the end of modern life.

As I said, I'm not one to surrender to fate. I had to do something. At the very least I could warn people! I told friends and family. I joined an on-line discussion group. I started looking at my own lifestyle to see what I could do to reduce my energy consumption. There wasn't much - after all, I'd been aware of the depletion issue for 30 years. I don't drive much, and I don't use much electricity. I avoid disposable plastic stuff. I recycle everything. I got a motorcycle license and a small motorbike to cut my driving even more. I put compact fluoresent bulbs in the lights I use. I started looking for inefficient appliances to cut my power needs even more.

I also continued my research into energy alternatives. After all, I still hadn't answered my friend's question about how big a solar cell it would take to run the US (answer: for electricity alone, it would be about 1/7 the size of Nevada, according to one solar power site). What I found was encouraging. Renewable technologies had advanced considerably since the 1970s when I'd last looked. Wind turbines had emerged as the most cost-competitive technology, and were being built in Europe. Even solar cells were no longer energy-losers; you could get back the energy needed to make them in a few years and then get decades of free power from them afterwards. Fuels made from waste products, or crops grown specifically for fuel, were energy winners now, given the right feedstock. In particular, vegetable oils could be used in diesel engines, and produced with an energy payback of 3 for 1. Brazil was making a go of ethanol from sugar. Nuclear power still looked attractive, despite decades of Hollywood's best efforts to brainwash me. And there was still lots of coal (250 years worth at today's production levels in the US, because we're burning it up faster than we were before). I started wondering just how impossible it really was to switch from fossil energy sources to a combination of these alternatives using coal to bridge the gap, and I started finding flaws in the logic behind LATOC. In due course, I found four whoppers.

First, doomers tacitly assume that anything short of our current energy consumption level would be catastrophic. They also count as a shortage the expected growth in energy demand from industrializing countries like China and India, perversely using an expansion of modern civilization (that they don't believe can occur!) as further proof that it will collapse. Truth is, there is tremendous waste in our current use of energy. A trip to the grocery store is like going to a monster truck rally these days. Is it really necessary to drive a 5000 pound vehicle to buy groceries? To go anywhere? Huge amounts of food are wasted. In fact, a lot of food is grown to feed animals for meat, a very inefficient way to produce food. (I like meat - I just don't eat that much of it.) We could cut back a lot and not miss it. In an emergency, we could cut back even more, just like we did to win World War Two. It wouldn't be much fun, but it would be possible, and no one would have to starve.

Doomers usually respond to this by making the silly argument that conservation won't work because of something called Jevon's paradox. In 1865, Jevon, writing about coal resources in England, argued that improving the efficiency of use of a resource would only cause demand to increase for the resource as the price dropped. Ergo, conservation causes demand to go up and you run out anyway. Doomers are dead wrong about conservation, though. In fact, surprise, they're dead wrong about what Jevon actually said, too. In the 1970s, conservation efforts and efficiency improvements in cars alone made a big dent in oil usage, enough that you can see it in the world's oil production statistics. Europe made the changes permanent by using taxes to keep demand down. The US didn't, so when the bottom dropped out of oil prices in later decades, we went back to our wasteful ways. Europeans use roughly half the oil per person than the US does. This all proves two things: conservation can enable us to get along with less oil if we have to, and people respond in predictable ways to price changes. Doomers forget that Jevon's so-called paradox assumed that the resource in question was still abundant. But once it runs short, all bets are off. If oil production started falling, the price is not going to go down unless demand goes down even faster. Even Jevon predicted that the price of coal would soar eventually, as the resource became scare in the 1930s - doomers don't know or don't mention that. Incidentally, Jevon was wrong about the end of coal spelling doom for industrial England - he couldn't forsee the switch to oil.

The second flaw is in assuming that because we use oil to do something now, we have no other way to do it. In particular, doomers argue that none of the alternatives will work because they all require oil to implement. Wind farms and nuclear plants require oil to produce the materials they're made from, to transport the materials to the site, and to run construction equipment. Electric cars take oil to manufacture. Even coal mines need oil to run mining machinery. Once we run out of oil, we won't be able to do any of those things anymore, goes the argument. The most obvious problem with the argument is that while these activities require energy, the energy doesn't have to come from oil. We use oil for many of them now because it's cheap and convenient, but that doesn't mean we can't use another energy source when oil's no longer cheap or available. Another problem with this argument is that many of these activities don't even use oil now! They use electricity or natural gas (natural gas will also eventually start to run short, but most likely a decade after oil does). The final problem with the argument is that if things really do start to get as bad as LATOC would have you believe, building energy infrastructure will have much higher priority that most of our present transportation uses. In an all-out emergency, rationing could be implemented giving first priority to food production, energy infrastructure, and long-distance transportation of goods, especially food. The annual road trip to see Aunt Tilly and the annual vacation getaway to the Caribbean would be below the line.

The third flaw in the argument is a bit more subtle. It is the assumption that the energy required to switch to alternatives must come on top of what we are using energy for now, rather than instead of some of it. For example, Savinar argues that we won't have the energy to power a crash program of building efficient cars. This ignores the fact that we are already building cars, millions of them every year. The energy used to build them is already counted; the energy needed to build efficient cars doesn't just add to the total. It takes roughly the same energy to build an efficient car as an inefficient one. It would take 10-15 years to turn over the automobile fleet - it doesn't have to happen all at once. Another example: we are today using energy to expand the infrastructure associated with oil consumption, things like roads, airports, and shopping malls. If things get as bad as LATOC says, we won't need those things anymore. That energy and construction equipment could be used to build power plants instead.

The fourth flaw in the argument is even more subtle. Perhaps you've guessed it by now. Doomers argue that there is no energy source we can switch to that can take oil's place in modern civilization. That might or might not be true, but it's beside the point. No single energy source has to, provided we can put enough of the others together. LATOC and others knock down alternatives one by one. But if (for example) we can produce biodiesel from fuel crops, why can't that be used to run construction machinery to build power stations? I've come to believe that no single energy source will take oil's place, but rather that by combining all the ones we know about, we can put together a workable solution that will be good enough to last 200 years or more - enough time for our descendants to come up with something else, or, if they can't, to gradually reduce their numbers without letting anyone starve.

By now, I had become what the doomers call an optimist, defined as anyone who doesn't think a collapse and dieoff are inevitable. I prefer to think of myself as a realist. The real optimists think the peak in oil production won't happen for another 10-20 years. They could be right, but it almost doesn't matter because we need to act now either way. A later peak just means we have more breathing room to get our act together. It's like finding out that exam you haven't studied for was postponed a week - you still need to study for it, only now you don't have to pull an all-nighter cramming! I personally think we're at or very near peak production now, on a plateau that will probably not be enough to satisfy the newly industrializing countries while supporting our wasteful usage.

I began to see the doomer viewpoint for what it is: dogma. A dogma is something you have to believe, without questioning it. And I began to see the hidden agenda of the powerdowners, namely, to bring about their utopian vision of the neo-agrarian society, no doubt with themselves its leaders. They know that most people won't willingly accept a return to centuries past, because most people are like me. We like our modern first-world lives! Some of us wish more people in the world could have the same lifestyle, even if it means sharing what's available a bit better. But if people can be convinced that a powerdown is as unavoidable as gravity, they may bring it about simply by surrendering to it and not looking for alternatives. Scratch the surface of the powerdowner philosophy, and you'll find Marxism dressed up in radical environmentalism.

The doomers may or may not be correct about our inability to switch the energy basis of our civilization, but their case is far from proven. The mere fact that people are debating what to do shows that a lot of people (even the doomers) don't believe the future is totally out of our hands. The track record of doomsday forecasts is poor - no one can really know the future. The smug certaintly of the doomers that they've got all the answers is what finally shook me out from their midst. The doomers are right about one thing - fossil energy sources aren't going to see us through the 21rst century. But if we don't change course soon, the way forward isn't going to be an agrarian utopia. It will be powered, at least in the US and for the remainder of my life, by coal. The environmental effects of that (primarily sea level rise from global warming) aren't the legacy I want to leave to future generations.

If going back to the land is appealing to you, that's terrific! No one's stopping you, or any of the doomers either. In fact, it's a good thing to have people make some worst-case preperations, just in case the doomers are right. But if, like me, you think technological and industrial civilization is something worth preserving, then let's get to work. Don't be fooled by doomer technobabble. This stuff isn't really too hard for the average person to understand. Look for yourself. And not just at the self-serving prophets of doom, many of whom simply cite each other in a kind of circular support system. Check your prejudices at the door and actually look at sites from the nuclear power industry, renewable power advocates, and environmentalists. Sift them for biases to get to the facts. And keep thinking for yourself.
-- by Doctor Doom

208 Comments:

At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 4:07:00 AM PDT, Blogger Disgorge! said...

A sign of the fragility of the Cult of Doomerism is the fact that peakoil.com, the Internet's home of Doomers, now routinely sees the shouting down and banning anyone who voices a contrary opinion. The PO.com forum has become a meeting place for the disaffected, the maudlin, the jaundiced of view and the panicky by nature. Avoid at all costs, or lurk for a laugh.

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 6:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Timmy Mac said...

Wow. This is an incredibly thought-provoking essay, Doc. You've caught me right as I was starting to buy into the doomer dogma. Thanks for the reminder to keep thinking critically about this stuff.

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 7:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger Gareth Doutch said...

This is why I left the forums at peakoil.com about a year ago (the bickering after 7/7 was too much) after about 6 months of posting.

I've only lurked in there a few times since. Some of the doom cult showed their true colours after Buncefield went up with statements such as "That will finish the UK"...

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 4:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

Nice essay DD.

I'm currently banned from PO.com for an ad-hom attack. Well, let's be quite frank for pointing out the lifestyle of someone didn't quite fit in with what they were preaching.

You'll note things are regularly edited and people booted out if one doesn't comply with the morning prayer worship that's it's all going to go bad any day.

Happily, things aren't anything like that simple as most people will conclude after a few months on the forum with some critical thinking. It's a very dangerous situation to be in to not only convincing yourself of the forthcoming doom, but others, some of whom may be venerable such as teenagers who may get quite depressed. Believe it or not there is hope, maybe more than some of the Doomers are willing to admit.

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 10:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger davejas said...

I discovered Peak Oil last year around this time and
I think it was even the same site. I actually had to
SHUT the computer off and I told my wife I felt sick
just so I could emotionally deal with it. It was a panic attack, I guess.

Then, I found "The Long Emergency" in a bookstore
and it got worse. I felt anxiety everytime I drove past
a gas station and the prices were creeping up.
Then, i did more reading and learned that there
were many similiar such warnings of doom throughout the oil age! I learned that not everyone has a doomer view.

My main question now is about the Peak Oil
Bell Curve: Is this really a valid assumption
that global oil production is going to follow
Hubbert's Curve? There is some controversy
over whether its' even applicable.

http://www.gasresources.net/Lynch(Hubbert-Deffeyes).htm

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 10:56:00 PM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

Someone recently brought my attention to the doom logic as having conveniently deleted any market feedback whatsoever. Out of curiosity today I was reading reviews on the movie Syriana, and watched the trailer for it. "Imagine $
20/gal. gasoline at the pump, and 1/3 of the US unable to heat their homes"

and I thought.....

at $20 per gallon nobody would buy gas so how could it stay at that price?

and was their a die-off of innovators or did they just get lazy or Jaded from 50 years of McLife? How can you be creative in a culture that chastises you for not just keeping your head down and being a quiet satiated sheep?
wasting talent designing copy-protection schemes or home theater systems rather that energy production and distribution.......

at $20 per gallon for heating oil, I would make a $1000 one time expenditure and move to florida. wouldn't that make people cluster in
more productive climates shortening supply lines and concentrating people closer to their work?

I think we may have reached peak convienence or peak lazy, but the fatalism of peak oil is just too sexy....

 
At Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 11:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jon said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent post.

When I first read LATOC I too felt sick to my stomach. I read it at face value thought 'we are all f*cked and there is nothing we can do about it'. Of course, taking a critical step back and analyzing reality versus dogma you begin to see that Savinar is painting a 'black' picture. Likewise, those continuing to live with their heads in the sand about energy use are painting the 'white' side of it as well...

Nothing in the history of humankind has been black-and-white and neither is PO. Taking an extreme approach to either side of the situation will ultimately be proven wrong.

Fundamentalism in any form is bad. We have all seen this in many places in our lives and PO is just another one of these.

I really wish anyone who is in the least bit interested in PO could read this blog. It really is a breath of fresh air in what has become a drowing sea of negative thoughts.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 12:10:00 AM PDT, Blogger LATOC said...

"But if, like me, you think technological and industrial civilization is something worth preserving, then let's get to work"

Not sure why this is on Peak Oil Debunked, but it is good to read something so well expressed from any kind of PO optimist.

I think I especially like it because I just know if the agrarian future is the one we need to embrace, then much as I admire its adherents' passion and skills, for me, a lazy urban klutz, it would have to mean drinking the Koolaid.

In the spirit of practical actions in the face of the challenging energy landscape ahead, what work are you doing, ex-doomer, to preserve this technological industrial civilisation?

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 2:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger Eugene said...

You obviously haven't read Monte Quest's book or the best of Monte Quest. Read that, he's a genios.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 3:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger OilBurner said...

Well said Dr Doom.

How many of us disaffected ex-PO devotees are now sitting back, shaking our heads in collective disbelief of the continual decline to cult-dom of PO.com.

It's good to be out and free!

Remember guys and gals, you don't need to accept the doomer argument to recognize and understand Peak Oil.
Change is inevitable and likely to be all encompassing. But since when in history have we not experienced rapid and continual change? Never.
We will get through just fine. Surprise, surprise life will be different in 20-30 years time, but it's NOT the end of civilization - far from it. This could be the beginning of a much better balanced and harmonious world with Peak Oil and Climate Change as a major catalyst. We don’t need a return to semi-feudalism, but hard work, brave leaders and innovative application of technology. Bring it on!

Yours,
Oilburner

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 5:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger Stephen Gloor said...

JD - I see now that you are not a Peak Oil Skeptic but a Peak Oil DOOM skeptic which for me is fine. I do not subscribe to the doomer view as well - I think that we will get on reasonably well and I have also fought with doomers as I have a more balanced view on Peak Oil.

There are only 2 problems, as I see it, with a smooth transition to alternatives.

First of all there is the EROI problem. Our society with the density and pace of activity that occurs is only possible with the energy return on fossil fuels. We need, to transition to alternatives, to make quite large efficiency gains to keep present commerce at it current rate.

Secondly, and this is related to the first, is that TODAY, NOW, there is no alternative to oil in volume production. There are no electric trucks etc and while there is some small scale alternative fuels none of them are really of a scale that could replace fossil fuels at this time. It is really a problem with timing. If we do not start now with a radical program to change transport to electrics and power generation to renewables there could exist a gap period between te time where oil is not meeting demand and non-oil based economy. As oil is so vital to our global society the gap could cause distruptions to the world economy.

While this is not a doom scenerio, as I do not subscribe to this view, it could be period of serious problems while economies transtion.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 7:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Well, Stephen, I think it's honestly just a question of market trends. while Greenspan is completely out to lunch on the realities of market mitigation, I DO agree with his assertion that government meddling with energy transitions is an ultimately pointless endeavor. Pouring pork into the barrel as a "Manhattan Project" for new energy sources before those sources are ready for prime time is simply an awful idea, considering the current political character of the nation's leadership. We can't pull our heads out of our asses enough to stop a minor bout of genocide in one of the country's most beloved cities after a hurricane; how the hell can the govs be trusted to implement a national plan to transform a million infrastructures to technologies that they aren't even clearly subscribing to?

No. It's the crunch of capitalist dollars and the market drive to get in on the most profitable new energy technologies that will propagate advances in EROEI issues. Case in point: the ethanol fuckabout. If, indeed, the limitations of the corn boondoggle were determined by the government and left at that, then we'd be up shit creek without a paddle. The push for cellulosic technologies and newer distilling methods isn't being funded by Bush and company; as a matter of fact, despite all the tough talk, it'd doubtful that the Administration is doing action one in regards to solutions and advances in this "miracle fuel" they're pushing.

So, who's got a legitimate shot at making things like ethanol work? Oil companies looking for new fuels to pimp, private investment, out-of-country researchers. The beauty of the situation is that the argument of "mitigation not happening and therefore we're going to die when the oil runs out" is total bollocks; the money and interest for mitigation fuels is here now, while petro's price remains an INCONVENIENCE rather than a full-blown crisis.

I agree that we have no singular oil-substitute technology TODAY, but I also believe that Freak has an excellent point. A huge stopgap and economic crash from oil prices is unlikely, because demand constantly dictates supply. Barring some major global event, the "trickle-down" effect will cause problems long before oil reaches $200. As clearly demonstrated through the "crunch" in Spring gas prices, casual usage goes down cyclically as price goes up, a pattern which will only be exacerbated by continous political jitters and other extenuating circumstances. It's going to get worse before it gets better, but that's actually the best-case scenario for a soft landing.

Because in response, car companies seeking to remain competitive will have to employ their existing hybrid and fuel-saving technologies (And as outlined at Jim's Energy Blog and Green Car Congress, they DO have plenty of them gathering dust while gas remains cheap) which optimizes fuel usage. The supply-demand paradigm is dragged out again, feasibly for years.

And in the meantime, the growing awareness of oil being finite (And maybe global warming, to boot) continues to promote public interest and investment dollars in alternative fuel sources. The tangent for this research and development continues has gotten stronger and stronger over the last few years, and the sheer amount of technological advances being made on a weekly basis are STAGGERING. All without federal meddling or the support of the public at large.

Summarizing, I agree with your points. But I do believe that a strong and sustained market for these alternative fuels is tantamount to successful installation into society; expecting the govs to do anything but completely muck up the works with oversubsidizing for the wrong players is a red herring as far as concerns go. It's competition that results in the best kind of scientific progress these days (Unfortunate as that may be), and ultimately, the best solutions will stem from it.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 11:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger Nick said...

Mel, I think you're too pessimistic about government. We would be in much worse shape if not for the energy research at the DOE/NREL of the last 30 years.

Ethanol is primarily an agricultural subsidy, dressed up to get past the WTO. The reason that ethanol is so confusing is that everyone has to pretend that it's an energy program, to keep the WTO out of it. Now, of course, GM & Ford are getting into the act and using ethanol to delay the effects of CAFE regulations. This has raised the noise and confusion level even further, as Detroit doesn't care about ethanol, but they have to pretend that they do.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 12:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

what if society is collapsing but you all are too busy watching star trek to notice.
http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/7/7/9452/73756#77

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 1:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger KronA said...

A very interesting blog. I had read some of the peak oil sites and whilst finding what they had to say concerning I also came to some of the same conclusions that you did. The main one was we currently have a huge capacity in 'first-world' society for increased energy efficiency. This doesn't mean that economies have to suffer either as things can be made using less energy and first-world economies move more towards services. Other economies will continue to see increased energy demand but I still think there's enough spare capacity in the world as a whole.

I also remembered the phrase 'Necessity is mother of all invention'.

Finally, projects such as ITER show that the whole world(or significant portions of) are able to work together to look for energy solutions.

As you pointed out, no-one can predict the future, but one thing is certain, humans don't lie down and give up when faced with problems. We wouldn't have made it this far if we did!

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 2:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

MQ is not a genius. He has some interesting thing to say, but on some aspects is fundamentally wrong. An easy example is this:

‘Waste? There is no waste of energy that is not paid for before it is wasted, creating millions of jobs. Waste is part and parcel to GDP. Cutting waste cuts the income of those it is wasted on.’

Nobody who runs a business or even in government would agree with that, ever.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 2:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger Kevin said...

What about the argument, though, that the human race has become a detritus based ecosystem? The only way we manage to feed this population of 6.5 billion people is by turning oil into food. What was the earth's population at the turn of the 20th century? One billion? Is there any way our population could have exploded as it has without the cheap fuel? Prior to the industrial revolution, populations were limited by what could be grown and hunted annually plus what could be had through limited trade. Is there really a replacement energy source that can meet our global food needs? I'd like to be convinced that there is.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 2:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

Historically incorrect. Oil was not important for food production until the Green revolution just after the Second World War. Even now agriculture uses a small fraction of total production.

The rise of road transport/and food miles around the same time is another reason for consumption gains. Even though trucks are relatively fuel inefficient, they use a relatively small proportion of total production. Nevertheless, it's quite possible to move large qualities of food about without using a drop of oil.

When you take into account the shear waste of food (supermarkets throw away about ¼ of food and individuals another ¼) plus the fact western populations (especially in the US) are generally consuming too many calories, a lot can be done. Indeed, climate change is a bigger threat to food production, than oil supply.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 3:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

"Nobody who runs a business or even in government would agree with that, ever."

Beautifully illustrated.

And Kevin, I personally believe that there's some merit to that notion. No singular fuel source is going to facilitate a population explosion like the one the planet witnessed over the last hundred years; which, for my dollar, is a GOOD thing. We need to deal with the food on our goddamn plates as a race and get wise about our world before inviting ten more people to the table.

But for the semantics of the species' future in the face of adversity? I really dunno. The decline of birth rates globally suggests that there's already a downward trend in population expansion; adverse effects of PO and global warming will have a continued effect on whatever the catalysts behind these trends are, IMHO. Which isn't to buy into the FAMINE FANTASY or jerk-off propaganda about government-sanctioned genocides. Not by any means.

Those chips can fall in a number of different ways. Just depends on how smart we're willing to get about truth and consequences, you know?

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 3:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

I’ll demonstrate the idiocy of some of these remarks, here’s another one from Monte:

‘No, to re-employ those workers, the energy will have to come from the remaining available supply. But it is all required to meet existing demand, you say? Yes, so once again the standard of living will have to decline to free up the energy to re-employ everyone. $10 an hour wages cut to $5 so two workers can now work.’

The whole idea of you need more energy to produce more GDP is so intellectually bankrupt - it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Simple example, compare the wages of a taxi driver to a top IT professional. Who is using the most oil? Then compare the wages. Do Microsoft make more money or do GM? Exactly.

And specifically if we are talking about oil, which is primarily private transport orientated, how the devil to I produce far more GDP than someone without a car? Well of course I don’t, at least in any uniform sense, only in the purchase of the vehicle (which maybe imported leading to a negative balance of payments) and the necessary servicing, fuelling etc. But that’s actually a relatively small proportion of the economy and it doesn’t mean those jobs couldn’t be replaced by alternatives.

When you consider that commuting is actually a waste of energy, and serves very little purpose other than to get to work, the argument falls flat on it’s face..Certainly with the external costs.

The purchase of oil from nations who are hostile to the west may mean a rise in terrorist attacks (better funding) and greater tax take for the military all of which cause a drop in GDP or a negative balance of payments.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 5:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Thomas said...

Doctor Doom,

Truly one of the best, if not *the* best posts about Peak Oil I've ever read. And an echo of many of my own findings and opinions as well.

Your third (subtle) point is one that I've often raised agains the much appraised Hirsch report.

I was never allured by LATOC or any of the doom sites, but I guess that living in Denmark with 20% wind power, far away from suburbia, made me feel less vulnerable in the first place ;-)

After the initial shock of realizing just how much we currently use oil for, I was excited that here was another reason to switch to renewable energy other than reducing pollution and CO2 emission.

I was also spared the initial let-down of renewable energy in the 70's :-)

I cannot panick about a plateau followed by a gentle decline in oil production given the massive current waste and the future gigantic (several times current energy use) potential of renewable energy (+ nuclear, later fusion).

Thanks again for summing up nicely the flow of emotions for so many of us following PO.

-Thomas

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 5:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger Stephen Gloor said...

mel - You make some intersting points and your faith in market forces is touching and I hope that you are correct.

Yes you are correct that we are trasitioning to alternative fuels however ethanol etc cannot possibly replace the 83 million barrels per day of oil consumption that we presently use. Similarly the Oil sands and other heavy oils will be contributing about 20 million barrels per day by 2020.

The problem is that market forces however powerful may not provide incentives to transition quickly enough. If the projections of peak oil depletion are sort of correct by 2015 the oil situation will be getting very tight. For us to transtion to this situation we should be replacing farm transport and personal transport on a large scale now. The fact that this is not happening except a sort of token effort is partly because in the larger public perception, reinforced by most of the popular press, is that there is plenty of oil and it is just greedy OPEC is holding back lots of production to make priced higher. For most people Peak Oil is a distant thing that they do not have to worry about.

Right now only really enviromentally minded people have sufficient motivation to buy one of the possible alternatives the Prius. In the USA the move to alternative fuels is not becuase of Peak Oil but to reduce the dependance on foreign oil.

If problems with oil supply do become apparent as early as 2015 then we really should be now at least 50% based on alternatives NOW not in 2015 when it could be too late. Market forces are not at the moment pressing for change fast enough hence it could lead to the gap time where we do not have enough oil for our oil based economy and the alternatives are not ready.

Anyway we will see what happens. I would like to see large scale deployment of electic transport (PHEVs and BEVs) starting now along with deployment of solar/wind to provide a sustainable energy future for Australia. However what we are going to get is a nuclear reactor if our government and larger coporations get their way.

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 6:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

i love it the guy says the doomers are losers and nobody can predict the future then goes on to predict a coal powered future. Wow how many cities will be under water 100 years from now due to global warming after that dr. doom

 
At Friday, July 7, 2006 at 11:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

I wouldn't really catagorize it as faith, Stephen. Just the pessimistic awareness that money talks, and while the government is good at rattling sabres and making grand allusions towards brighter futures, they're doing jack and shit in comparison to private industry. The amount of research dollars loosened up for the next two years for cellulosic ethanol doesn't even trump the investments being made by oil and energy companies in alternative sources in two MONTHS. If you liken that to a moonshot or the arms race, the feds are a buck short and a mile away in the runnings.

The problem is, that the actual peak date is going to be seriously affected by the market trends of the next five years. If we have a similar skew in prices next spring and summer, gas is up to $4-$5 a gallon. What happens to demand as a result? And the next year, if it goes up to $6-$7? Each major bump causes an inverse reaction in what the consumer is doing, whether said consumer is small businesses or individuals.

Demand goes down, supply evens out, prices drop again. It's a rubber band, the crux of what Doc's talking about in his essay, here. We saw a MINOR version of the square dance over the springtime blend-switch, and those gas prices didn't even get to a point where society's conscience was affected, yet alternative fuels are suddenly all over the place. What happens to this same scenario when you add a buck a gallon? Or two? Or, if you're Matt Savinar, an overnight spike of ten or fifteen dollars?

And really, problems with oil supply are happening NOW. The market doesn't need to wait out the peak for the money-handlers to realize that there's blood in the water. Supply is compromised right now, but by extenuating circumstances such as the Iraq clusterfuck and Katrina; these outside forces of a political and natural-disaster variety are only going to worsen over the next few years, as we get a reach-around by situations like Venezuela and Iran. And frankly, I welcome them. America is proving itself incapable of doing the right thing if it causes any compromise on its own part, so the more their fat asses get cut off at the trough and, as wildwell noted here, a forced fast is a GOOD THING.

But again, I'd postulate the question of what benefit a major government program at this juncture would serve. We've heard our current administrations' philosophies on the matter: ethanol at its current EROEI-loser stage, nuclear, and some assorted rhetoric about wind and solar scattered in there. Is that a start? Sure. Is that nearly ENOUGH to constitute a national infrastructure switch?

Oh, hell no.

If we were talking butanol, algae, light solar, geothermal and biodiesel, I'd be in total agreement. These projects all demonstrate some merit, and need major investment, but they aren't even on the feds' radar.

Mitigation should be a serious event, not a paranoid stab at independence based on unripe applications. I don't want to see an "infrastructure migration" in two years, followed by the need to do it AGAIN in ten, because global warming has destroyed the output ability of the corn pimps.

And that's hardly touching faith or raw optimism. Just the worst kind of pessimism, which actually comes all the way back around to hope. :D

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 3:41:00 AM PDT, Blogger Stephen Gloor said...

mel - yes you are probably right. I am pinning my hopes on Vehicle to Grid. To allow large penetration of renewable energy it must have storage. Electric vehicles can provide this. THe beauty of this is that you slash CO2 emissions to possibly safe levels by using renewables in a huge way and solve the oil problem by having largely electric transport that is doing 2 jobs.

I wrote a bit about it here
http://stevegloor.typepad.com/sgloor/2006/07/can_we_replace_.html
I haven't actually finished this post yet. I am going to add that there is probably enough land to grow enough ethanol etc to power a minority of plug in hybrids however possibly the best thing is what I wrote here - cellular batteries.
http://stevegloor.typepad.com/sgloor/2006/04/musings_on_nucl.html

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 5:39:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

I'm personally pulling for EV/PHEV as well, but have to concede that it seems like a dark horse candidate at the moment. The weird stigma in social consciousness of "a car must be fueled by a petro or petro-knockoff energy source, otherwise it loses something" is an absurdly rigid hurdle, and one that car companies and the feds don't seem keen on debunking.

However, the recent boom in hybrid awareness and acceptance seems--at least from the general movements within the car industry at the moment--to be working in favor of an eventual transition. You might agree that the issue clearly isn't technology; as illustrated in the regular buzz over at GCC and stories like these on Jim's Energy Blog:

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/07/altair_batterie.html#comments

The potential is there, and already in fantastic shape for further breakthroughs. It's a clear contender, but for WHATEVER reason, is taking a back seat to the dead-heat scramble for cellulosic ethanol and other biofuel projects.

But if I had my druthers, I'd bank on the same horse as you are. Regardless of how long market trends dictate the layoff of PO--two years, five years, twenty years--an integrated national network of renewable charging systems both for homes and businesses sidesteps nearly every major "WHAT IF?!?!" issue that's surrounding other alternative energy sources at the moment. The EROEI is a non-issue, the emissions issue is handled (Provided that the EV infrastructure is constructed wisely and incorporates a robust contribution from renewable sources, rather than stinking up the joint with more coal burning), and it's already INSTALLED in a basic form in every modern home and facility in the States.

The major drawback seems to be its simplicity, to my naive and constantly-pessimistic brain. As though the challenges of a national EV grid are almost so subtle in comparison to something like ethanol that nobody's even willing to throw their cards on the table.

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 3:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

DD,

You say nobody can predict the future.

Why then are you predicting that technology will prevent the collapse of industrial civilization?

If technology can't subdue the insurgency in Iraq, if we can't manage to get back to the Moon, if we couldn't figure out how to evac those peopel from New Orleans, what makes you think we're gonna figure out what might be the biggest challenge in human history?

Hoarding A.

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 4:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

Obviously the better altern. to hope is hiding behind a gun in a shed somewhere. No doubt you will be spared the fate of millions in armageddon due to your few jugs of water and all that hoarded ammunition along with all the rest of the po posters.

The only solace in your predictions and cult mind is that youre guaranteed to die with everyone else HA. If that is the limit of your vision then you might as well spare one of your bullets and blow your brains out NOW.

Or do you not really believe your own hype enough to do something that brave?

Gotta love doomeys. Humanity is going to die and civilization has collapsed but Im going to stick around like a bad penny just in case my predictions were full of shit. Get some conviction. Sheesh

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 4:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

And seriously

*Technology stopped winning wars of attrition a long time ago. You seem like one of those modern gun loons so youve obviously read your sun tzu. America f*cked up and this was not a global crisis just one country getting kicked in the balls. Bad example.

*We CAN go back to the moon and other countries are. Theres no point commercially unless you think NASA retracing its steps is somehow relevent. Bad example. Going big and saying Mars would have been funnier. lol

*The incompetence of government is nothing new. Technology has never stopped nature. It didnt evacuate vesuvius or san francisco or 9/11 or the SP tsunami. Its called a NATURAL DISASTER because the effects are DISASTEROUS and unpredictable. Did you know that the levies would break HA? Or did you think that the city was razed because of the hurricane itself? Another mcguffin.

Pretty standard stuff tho. Looks scary at a glance but then turns out to be about as tough as a piece of paper to punch through. Hysteria only gets so many MPG. lol

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 10:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

Chris,

The levies did not break. They were never completed in the first place. The "we didn't know the levies were gonna break" was the line fed by the Bushies to the media and they took it. Good to see you have no idea what you're talking about.

The disastorous effects of a massive hurricane were predicted for 30 years prior to Katrina. Heck the year before both national geographic and Scientific American ran articles saying "we better deal with this NOW." but the money still wasn't there to complete the levies despite the fact the city is an extremely important part of American's economy.

Now if we can't get our act together for that, what makes you think we're going to get our act together for the biggest challenge in history?

HA

 
At Saturday, July 8, 2006 at 11:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger DC said...

It is indeed a cult. I just got kicked off of their site for refusing to acknowledge Heir Forest Ranger's fundamentally flawed accusation that I authored an ad hom. Apparently its ok to drag Dr. Doom's name through the mud, but as soon as I point the flaws in their arguments I get slapped with a conduct violation! Yeehaw!

Chalk me up as one more person on the list of people being banned from that site on questionable grounds. In reality, it smacks of a desperate attempt to rationalize their fanatical devotion to their intractable mindset. They seem increasingly rattled by the fact that the economy hasn't tanked, we're not eating each other and change is already in the air. Boy, I guess there's something to actually earning a degree in Physics/Geology/Economics/etc. before you annoit yourself an expert and try to pawn off your uninformed opinions as immutable facts! Ah, but what can you expect from people whose inbred circle of so-called "experts" include a new age musician (Heinberg), a Hunter S. Thompson wannabe (Kunstler) and a 250 lb version of the Morpheus character from the Matrix (Ruppert)?

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 1:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

Oh god. I apologize HA. I thought for a moment that you were a real POD freak instead of the ever popular armchair conspiracy theory jackoff.

If by "the levees were never finished" you mean that they were in a constant state of repairs then youre right. But of course thats not what you mean. You mean that the levees were somehow incomplete due to federal incompetence and we KNEW ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND, ETC. ETC.

Have you ever been to Orleans HA? Have family there? Or are you talking out of your ass? As someone who has visited family there for the last eight years I can tell you that the awareness that the city was sinking and in a risky position below Ponchartrain was WELL IN PLACE BEFORE THE HURRICANE. The levees were completed you pompous idiot. They were just a preventative measure and not a magical cure all against.... say it with me....

NATURAL DISASTERS

Like all POD freaks you rely on fantasy and paranoia to support your lack of any real information. Like how you ignore ninety percent of my posts to niggle over one sad lie that you probably read over at PO.

Go back over there. We will all be happier.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 1:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

Another Ad-hom? That’s how most people get banned.

My scenario: I get attacked for ‘doing nothing’, then when it was pointed out that I had ‘done something’, and what about you ‘doing something’, I get a ban. It’s quite clear from some of the lead manure fairies posts they don’t get moral integrity and leading by example. Do as I say, not as I do. They want a crash and are looking forward to a good die off, and somehow think they will be elevated above this. Classic cult behaviour.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 5:58:00 AM PDT, Blogger EnergySpin said...

Wildwell

"They want a crash and are looking forward to a good die off, and somehow think they will be elevated above this. Classic cult behaviour."

Man I am surprised they ban you, after all you were convinced that nuclear was a bad deal and they like "converts" to the anti-nuclear crusade they fight over there.

OTH you are right that it is a classic death cult behaviour, with their preasthood. Trust me, if they had met in real life their SUV driving preasts, would have sampled the virgin daughters of the cult member (taking due precautions to avoid multiplying like bacteria on a petri dish).

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 12:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger byofoels said...

Peakoil.com and The OilDrum.com are both populated with intelligent, humorous, kind, and emotionally balanced people who have the wisdom to consider a very serious event. There is no agenda at these sites, just an effort to expose the truth, debate the consequence, and allay some fears.

This site on the other hand has a stated agenda and an implied function. The former is to criticize the peak oil theory (as suggested in the blog title)and the latter is to encourage denial, release and dissipate anxiety through ridicule of other sites, and to discourage structural and paradignamic change in self and society.

It is obvious the peak oil sites have succeeded and continue to succeed at their missions, and that this site is a complete and total failure.

who are you going to believe?

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 3:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

lol. I actually thought for a few blissful days that youd shown an ounce of balls and blown your own head off, byo.

you really are the epitome of why doomers are darwinian shit stains. you bitch and bitch and bitch and bitch and sell your bleak visions of the future. yet here you are, sticking around in the hypocritical hopes that your wet dream doomsday wont come around. if you had any conviction in your religion youd martyr yourself now. if youre so damn sure about everything.

but you wont of course. doing that as statement of faith would require real conviction and you guys are all whiny internet pussies. why put yourself out of your misery when you can try to spread your failure at life onto other people?

do the right thing, borrow some of HAs ammunition and save yourself some grief. wuss.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 3:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

Chris,

If sites like POD were worth the sweat off my dick, they wouldn't be populated primarily by 16 year old punks like you.

HA

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

And yet here you are, responding like a bitch to everything I say without even trying to defend how stupid your 'points' are.

youve been exposed and debunked and its all just posturing now. go back to sticking a gun up your ass and admit defeat. if youve got the balls to.

which i doubt. you and byo are practically the same guy. gutless whiny pricks who dont even buy your own hype.

thank you, come again.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

It's good to know that even the subject of possible apocalypse results in a bunch of retards posturing like this was a thread on ESPN.com.

Have a little dignity, guys. I know it's a stretch. But please.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

Hi all. Im new to this site and relatively new to peak oil and all its offshoots. This is without doubt one of the best sites related to the issue. And this is one of the best essays/posts i have ever read on what is wrong with doomer culture. I notice that Mr Fear himself Mat Savinar has now set up Savinar solar, selling energy saving products. Didnt he say that saving energy only made it worse? Perhaps he is doing the doomers a favour by hastening the end. Or perhaps its a great sales pitch. Picture it..."You are all going to die and there is nothing you can do about it...by the way here is a book about how its going to happen".Remember folks....there is no way out...everything you do will make it worse....and Savinar will get richer and richer. If he really believes that there is no hope then why doesnt he suck on a 12 gauge and leave this mortal coil? Same goes for you byo and hoardingammo. End it now and save the rest of us the trouble. See the bullshit of Savinar and Kunstler for what it really is...propaganda. Yes peak oil will happen. Yes it COULD be bad. But then again it might not. We dont know. And neither do they. There have been MAJOR breakthroughs in hydrogen technology recently http://www.abc.net.au/ra/innovations/stories/s1243804.htm.And the higher the oil prices go the more investment in alternatives and stopgaps increases.
Doomers make 2 massive assumptions. 1) They are the only people who know this is going to happen. They actually think that they are privy to some kind of secret information that governments and business are not privy to.
2) That no one is doing anything about the problem. They are. The problem is that oil is good business at the moment and prices arent high enough to curb demand....yet. One of the biggest investors in alternative fuels and energy sources in the world is.....wait for it.....BP!!!! (The hydrogen bus project in Europe is partly funded by BP) Because they know this will happen and they dont want their business to collapse, so they are furiously investing in alternatives. What did you think these oil companies were going to do? Lay down and die??? Give up and wait for the apocalypse??? Of course not. Their is way too much power and wealth involved for these bug companies for them to let it all just go down the drain. To think that they will just roll over and die is naive to say the least.
Remember...people do know this is happening and steps are being taken. I have no idea whether it will be enough but neither does anyone else. Next time someone preaches doom to you, point out the paradox of their preaching : If there is no hope then why are you still here?

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

Setite,

Of course the oil companies aren't going to lay down and die. T

That's why they're the ones who will be pumping the oil from Iraq, the last swing producer, not Saddam and his friends in France and Germany.

Do governments know about this. Of course. Dick Cheney can do math you know. $200 per barrel times the 100 billion barrels in Iraq equals a whole lot of money for Halliburton and a tidy little retirement for him. (He's invested in Halliburton stock options.)

HA

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

Tared? As in RETAReD? Get lost.....

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 4:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

That's why they're the ones who will be pumping the oil from Iraq, the last swing producer, not Saddam and his friends in France and Germany.

Why bother?? Civilisation will end remember. Armageddon. Mass die off. All the money they make will be worthless wont it? Inside 25 - 50 days according to LATOC. Why are they bothering? Dick Cheney wont be able to retire because he will die with the rest of us. No exceptions remember??? You cant get past this im afraid. Its either armagedon or its not. Why hoard money if there is going to be a massive depression? It will be worthless. If there is no way out why do anything? Their prosperity requires civilisation to continue. Period. Those in power desire nothing more than to keep power. And that requires a civilisation through which to exercise that power. Doesnt it?

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 5:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

Mel,

If this blog was worth so much as a bucket of sweat off a hog's ass, it would attract a higher caliber of poster.

Doctor Doom, Chris, and their ilk would be tarred, feathered, and run out of town by posters on A-list peak oil blogs such as The Oil Drum. Deep down they know their intellect is inferior at best so they coagulate on fourth rate, d-list blogs like POD.

I feel dumber for having even interacted with these individuals.

HA

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 6:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger lance sjogren said...

I've just begun looking at the peak oil issue and consider myself an agnostic at this point.

Here are a few thoughts I have on this so far.

1). I would have assumed that peak oil skeptics (those skeptical of the dire forecasts, not that it will occur period, which most everyone seems to agree on) were people with a Cornucopian perspective. However, judging from this blog, that seems to be far from the case. For example, Dr. Doom (is that the same as JD?) definitely doesn't seem to be a believer in Huber's view that ever-increasing energy use is a characteristic of the advancement of human civilization.

2). It seems to me the peak oil advocates trip themselves up an awful lot by making predictions involving very specific and short term timeframes, which tend to prove wrong, thus undermining their credibility.


3). The whole thing ultimately revolves around how viable are the various alternative energy sources.

It seems pretty clear that all the potential sources out there suffer from some mighty exasperating shortcomings- intermittency & diffuseness for solar & wind, ability to easily store in a concentrated form in the case of hydrogen, etc etc.

Kunstler seems to me to seize upon these shortcomings and conclude that the particular form of energy in question has no potential.


But they are big nuisances at the very least. Maybe our future is to get a little bit here and a little bit there from a whole slew of rather crappy energy sources.


Sort of rambling here but one other point, Lomberg comments "Skeptical Environmentalist" about how the more primitive forms of energy can be quite environmentally adverse- e.g. for wood-burning you have to level forests. I always thought wood was an environmentally benign way of heating but I get the feeling now that it is a horrendous alternative.

One point some peakers make (I believe Heinberg mentioned this in "The Party's Over" which I'm reading right now: More concentrated forms of energy are more efficient.

Thus, if we have to revert to more diffuse sources, e.g. devolve from oil to coal, etc, then that would seem to indeed be a step backward.

One other point:

EROEI seems like a rather nebulous concept since its significance is different depending on what form of energy is input to get the energy output.

The most obvious case would be electrolysis which has an EROEI less than 1 but nevertheless makes sense to do.

A more extreme example would be if you tried to apply EROEI to solar, there your EROEI is like 0.1 or so, but the solar energy in is "free" so it's a different story.

At some point of someone hasn't already, there needs to be some expansion of the concept of EROEI so that it isn't trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

If no one else has done that, maybe in a couple of years once I've studied this issue further I can take a crack at it.

 
At Sunday, July 9, 2006 at 9:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger MattCordes said...

Wow, am I glad I found this site. I stumbled onto LATOC about two hours ago, and the whole site is so damn hopeless that thought I was going to puke. I did find people talking about the "myth" of PO, but a lot of them were wacko conspiracy-types. Thankfully, I found DD's post, and now I can go to sleep tonight.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 12:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Yeah, but you're still hanging around here, HA. That doesn't exactly put you on pious ground to be making fun of opposing fanatics.

If you hate the site and its posters so much, then you'd probably be better off hanging at PO. Nobody's mind was ever changed by getting into petty name-calling contests.

For my buck, the anti-POD rhetoric is as bad as the Doomers. Take it out on the playground or something.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 12:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Interesting post, Lance. I'd like to see your conclusions, if you'd be willing to blog them or share them with sites like this one and Jim's.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 12:47:00 AM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

HA you havent answered my question. Why are they bothering to make a ton of money if collapse and die off is inevitable? It doesnt make sense.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 3:11:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

Jesus Christ!!

It cost me $70000 but I just filled my swimming pool with Diesel fuel, that should run the VW for a while, and I can trade it for food, medicine and protection!

A-list PO site!!??!! WTF?? How can you rank any source or site's accuracy or TRUTHINESS based on an event that hasn't happened yet and effects are complicated by so many convoluted variables and feedbacks. It's like Video killed the Radio star and peak-oil killed the video star. Oil is Arbitrary on so many levels, as are fungible sources of energy. All this focus on HOW but never WHY?? I argue that innovation in society was not competetive with crude at $12 a barrel and doomers are lazy chicken littles to blinded by panic and fatalism to contribute anything other that intellectual, and psychological entropy!

what's the EROEI on telling people most of us are going to die?

The peak-oil meme is more dangerous than peak oil because the reactions to it deactivate rational ways to acheive a consensus on approaching a potentially difficult and elusive situation. I curse the day I ever heard peak oil, and the thoughts that followed, "this is my last cup of coffee" "I'll be lucky to sustain myself on moldy gruel in 2 or 3 months from now" "What is gruel?"

I can buy a scooter tommorow for under $1000 that gets 200 miles per gallon and go about my business. and personal transport is the most inefficient use of fuel.

If a truck spends $30,000 to transport $250,000 worth of product, whats the issue?

Tip the Pizza guy, he brought dinner to you and 3 of your neighbors so you didn't all have to get in seperate SUV's and go to some impersonal Turn and burn Cliche-Grill family restaurant.

Spending $3 in fuel to bring out food that has less value than the fuel it cost to transpoort in Real terms but people pay $20 for it anyway?

Economies are irrational and short sighted and bizarre and the doomers sight that as why they will collapse due to peak oil, I sight those reasons as exactly why they will weather the transition, maybe even strenghten them as we will need to produce, trade and trasport goods with actual value not novelty or catering to spoiled eccentricity. Now if you will excuse me I have to order some Tuscan silk blankets shipped overnight express.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 5:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

"what's the EROEI on telling people most of us are going to die?"

Line of the month.

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 8:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger lance sjogren said...

setite asked:

"HA you havent answered my question. Why are they bothering to make a ton of money if collapse and die off is inevitable?"


Probably because of an eternal principle I learned a long time ago.

Unlike the future of energy which is murky, this principle is absolutely ironclad:


THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE TO MAKING MONEY

 
At Monday, July 10, 2006 at 9:55:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

Which is why new technologies will explode over and over again. There is no down side to making money and where theres a fire theres also a hundred people selling a way to put it out.

Armageddon < profits

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 12:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

‘Peakoil.com and The OilDrum.com are both populated with intelligent, humorous, kind, and emotionally balanced people who have the wisdom to consider a very serious event. There is no agenda at these sites, just an effort to expose the truth, debate the consequence, and allay some fears.’

The vocal PO community (that’s not the real experts: Geologists, economists, technologists, investment bankers) is littered by quack eco-fairies, journalists, writers, park rangers, IT pros and media studies students who know nothing about oil, economics, transport, manufacturing.

While is always good to have discussion and build up public awareness about envonmental issues, which are important, one should not get into the idea that everyone who starts a website actually knows what they are taking about. The internet is littered with sites with hidden agendas, and money making scams. There is one or two PO sites about which just want to make money.

There are no right and wrong answers.

Time will tell, in 10 years time we’ll know the full ramifications.

But to say POer have the answers and government and professionals in the field don’t is arrogance. Here in the UK the Government are about to release the next energy review, which takes a long term, helicopter view.

While it’s important to ‘do your bit’, and everyone can cycle more, recycle, so on and so forth. The really big stuff is not worth worrying over because you cannot do anything about it, I for one am not going to worry my little head about it and get on with real life.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 5:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger Big Gav said...

When I was reading this post I was thinking - wow, this is the best post JD has ever written - its a shame this wasn't the first and only post on this site.

Even though I was disappointed to see that JD wasn't the author, I'll still say well done, to whoever "Doctor Doom" is...

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 8:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

Chris,

What if selling and making weapons to fight over the remaining oil and gas is more profitable than developing alternative energy technology?

HA

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 9:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger Jev said...

Dr. Doom and all other so-called ex-doomers: You are currently just experiencing another bout of denial again, only it's a subtle version you haven't identified yet. Let me help you with it (since I've been shaken by this one myself about a year ago)

I call it the second-stage of PO denial. It's kind of like a bonus round in the PO realisation process.

In the first stage of denial you generally almost forget about PO because you're busy with other matters that helpfully push PO to the back of your mind. (This was the period between 1999 and 2004 in my case.) Whatever your heard or read about it fades so you don't worry about it.

Then after a few years you check up on PO or hear about it again as a matter of chance and are this time fully shocked by it. This is the shedding of first phase denial. You research everything vigourly, not trusting public concensus this time round!

However, you read about a lot of quacks and wacko's within the PO crowd and become ashamed to be associated with them. Already you fear talking about PO because people naturally put you down as a crank at worst or a pessimist at best. Also, the whole thing is dragging on and getting nowhere fast: it 'll be years before 'peak oil hits' after all.

Finally, after months of remaining silent about peak oil and steadily losing touch with the happy sheeple around you you crack and your mind plays the following trick on you:

It tells you you must have missed something in your painstaking analysis. It tells you that there probably really is no problem, because technology X, legislation Y or geopolitical/economic event(s) Z will *almost certainly* prevent most of the problems you were so shocked about when you first researched PO.

This is the second-stage denial I think the ex-doomers here are experiencing.

This denial can be a real life saver though. It allows you to 'trust' human ingenuity and enterprise. It allows you to 'believe' that the world ecology and it's balances are much less fragile than you though them to be. You can again 'hope' that enabling concensus on appropriate action to simulataneuously save the planet *and* secure more cheap energy will manifest itself despite. It gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling about the prospects of your children, where before you had only worry and fear for their future.

Well, have fun in your return to complacency and relaxation. Don't overcook your steaks and remember to watch those calories.

Who knows? When after this current denial phase you return again to rational, balanced sanity about the ramifications of PO in a few years time there might be a sort of 'PeakOilDebunked-Debunked' website for you to huddle and snigger about the 'pathetic clowns' who worship the ex-doomer dogma over at POD.

PO will lead to - and exacerbate - a coming Grand Depression. Due to this, national and global stability will be challenged, then broken. International relations will deteriorate and dissappear. Nations will cease to exist. Myriad wars of pillaging, razing and extermination will be fought. Tribalism and feudalism will reign among the smoldering embers.

Other than that it's all peaches!

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 12:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger HoardingAmmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 1:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

PO will lead to - and exacerbate - a coming Grand Depression. Due to this, national and global stability will be challenged, then broken. International relations will deteriorate and dissappear. Nations will cease to exist. Myriad wars of pillaging, razing and extermination will be fought. Tribalism and feudalism will reign among the smoldering embers.


And you know this how?????

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 1:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

I was laughing at your post until I realized that you were serious jev. you summed up the inherent lunacy of pod mentality better than anything i could ever come up with as satire. rationality totally undermined by a closing statement that is as bad as any "star trek/fairy dust/koombyeya" post ive ever seen on this blog. terrorists do the same wacky stuff, maybe po.com should start a military arm.

and HA, you cant be serious. Come on. so selling weapons--which takes huge amount of petrol for processing and even more to actually use--will become more profitable than building a new global energy market? to what end? more "oil wars" to power the car based economy of the winning country? provided theres enough oil left at this point to even HAVE an economy? or are we talking full out waterworld wet dreams where dennis hopper rides around in the exxon valdez looking to keep his own narrow interests going by stealing oil to power..... yep..... MORE oil stealing efforts.

because he was running out of gas in that movie too. silly.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 1:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

"And you know this how?????"

because hes read from the gospel of po.com, verses whatever through whatever. never mind what you see outside your door. if its on the internet, it must be true.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger The_Setite said...

THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE TO MAKING MONEY

There is if its worthless. Which it will be if your apocalypse happens. So there is no point in making money if die off and collapse is inevitable. This is why i have trouble taking the doom nuts seriously. All this talk of Halliburton et al profiting from Peak Oil and simultaneously saying that that it will lead to the end of the world/massive depression/hyperinflation. This is inescapably contradictory.
If I accept your point i have to think that these people are utterly blind to what is happening. They arent. They know. There is no conspiracy. Get over it.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 3:36:00 PM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

Oh yes, the mythical oil wars, to secure to oil, even though it’s been impossible to secure the damn refineries let only the cities of the middle east. Obviously the military strategists screwed up with the regime change – clash of cultures - but yet we’re still waiting to hear how the oil is supposed to actually be secured (and shipped) by the ‘experts’ over at PO.com and at what cost.

Overall we’re still waiting for ‘the figures’ over at PO.com, the macro and micro economic analysis, the engineering expertise. Instead, we see a load of googlebationists looking for every negative story going to propagate their world view.

If you’re worried about PO, get out your damn car.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 4:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger Martin said...

I am worried about peak coal.

 
At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 5:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Sendak said...

Overall we’re still waiting for ‘the figures’ over at PO.com, the macro and micro economic analysis, the engineering expertise. Instead, we see a load of googlebationists looking for every negative story going to propagate their world view.

Why bother with that when you can, as has been done in this thread, avoid debate with phony gospel and insults. you see it time and time again. case in point:


PO will lead to - and exacerbate - a coming Grand Depression. Due to this, national and global stability will be challenged, then broken. International relations will deteriorate and dissappear. Nations will cease to exist. Myriad wars of pillaging, razing and extermination will be fought. Tribalism and feudalism will reign among the smoldering embers.


Might as well have just written

And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder. One of the four beasts saying "come and see". And I saw. And behold, a white horse. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts, and I looked and behold.. a pale horse. And the name of that who sat on him was Death. And hell followed with him.

Same baptist preacher BS. You find more sense in a Jack Chick comic.

 
At Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 5:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger Jev said...

I have no difficulty in seeing an adequate habitat around me, and expect to do so indefinately. But only because I think our side will win the war on terror, meaning that our side will successfully lord it over the bulk of humanity in the coming half century.

We will succeed in:

1. keeping our level of consumption and standard of living highest.
2. preventing aliens from infiltrating our side.
3. preventing or breaking alliances against us.

So although I don't go out to collect weaponry like HA, I trust that my government is doing so for me.

IMHO this is the most rational position to take: not ex-doomer, not doomer per se, but a doomer who expects the doom to be absorbed by the bulk of humanity and knows he is part of a privileged few.

Kind of like jehovahs witnesses only without a conscience.

 
At Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 6:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Wildwell said: “ If you’re worried about PO, get out of your damn car.

LOL, this is so true! It seems that all these PO doomers are merely addicted to their cars and can’t imagine how life can possibly continue without cars. And it seems that most optimists are people that have divorced their cars and realized that car culture is an unnecessary evil.

I was once a doomer. Then I bought a bike and got fit.

Of course cycling isn’t an option for everyone, and I suppose apocalyptic collapse is preferable to buying a bus pass…

 
At Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 11:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

"But only because I think our side will win the war on terror"

We will succeed in:

1. keeping our level of consumption and standard of living highest.
2. preventing aliens from infiltrating our side.
3. preventing or breaking alliances against us.

So although I don't go out to collect weaponry like HA, I trust that my government is doing so for me.


And you call other people Sheeple?

Have you ever considered that you World with terrorists, and illegals magically materialised less than a decade ago? And you just accept it? You never wonder why in 1997 everybody's doom theory had something to do with asteroids? and so on.

You just accept your synthetic new realities, full of enemies and challenges 2.0, why? because you need it because you are to ignorant for peace, or sustainable prosperity regardless of what form it takes.

Wear a condom and don't vote.

 
At Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 11:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger Wildwell said...

I think that's generally quite true. JD doesn't own a car either. Notice Americans who have a heavily car centric way of life are generally more worried than say Europeans.

Once you get away from the idea that you have to have one, PO doesn't seem quite such a serious problem, especially as it's highly likely that the governments of the world will allocate any oil during a crisis - the private motorist won't be first in the line. It’s 50% of oil use after all, and restricting use would cancel out any real crisis while companies respond with the alternatives.

When you actually look at the stats and see cars have replaced walking/cycling and a lot of bus/tram travel more than another else, being careless is quite 'dobable' for most people. And whilst not quite so convenient in some cases, it's exactly the end of the world. I was speaking to a woman just the other day who remembers when the first car arrived in her town. Some people seem to think they have been here since time began.

I'd say to any Doomer, try and do without your car for a month, see how you get on. Also visit countries like Germany, Switzerland, France or Japan with heavy mass transit usage.

Sometimes I think PO worries are the preserve of the middle class who are used to driving everywhere, and really the issue is some of them are spoilt rotten rather than the end of civilisation. Obviously some need cars more than others, but with a little imagination it is quite possible for 90% of people to be car free.

I’m not against cars, I like them as it goes, but when I hear some of the rants from the motoring lobby or car addicts and you look at some of the problems we’re facing it really does fall on deaf ears. Transport enables the economy to happen for sure, but in a lot of cases your own two feet will do just as well and keep you trim.

 
At Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 5:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger popmonkey said...

jev, i have to say that's a very very honest statement. i'm glad you posted it. i think many "doomers" are hiding the same exact thoughts even from themselves.

which is why they want dieoff to happen while their country is still relatively strong. the sooner the better, right?

nice!

wildwell, great to see you back in these haunts. i always liked your commentary and even looked for your and energyspins posts on PO from time to time.

 
At Friday, July 14, 2006 at 1:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

It seems like the definition for car could even be tweaked by neccesity....

I remember reading an article about the challenges with EV's.
I read that a viable EV would need the same range, speed, comfort level, and safety as it's petroleum powered counterparts....

So, it's a Mercedes SUV or nothing?

Personally I could replace the old Chevy with a modern golf cart if it were street legal, and get along fine. Whats the problem?

 
At Monday, July 17, 2006 at 12:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger adamg said...

One need only look at the massive increases in bio-fuels occuring to see that doomers are wrong.

For Bio-diesel, which can be most efficiently created from oil rich algea, (10,000-20,000 gallons/acre/year and only 1% of arable land equivalent needed to replace all transportation oil use), there are currently 59 production plants with 31 under construction and 65 planned for ground breaking in 2006.

These 155 plants will have an annual production capacity of 2.1 billion gallons.

Source: http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=943


For ethanol, (cellulosic is 2X efficency of corn, and wild switch grass needs no watering, no fertilizer, no pesticides. Also, starch rich algea can also supply all the ethanol we need for very little land use.)

There are currently 106 Ethanol plants, 42 under construction and 116 planned for 2006 groundbreaking.

Totaled, these 264 plants will have an annual capacity of approximately, 13 Billion gallons.

source: http://www.ethanolproducer.com/plant-list.jsp?country=USA

Together, biodiesel and ethanol can replace 12.1 billion gallons of petro fuel,(ethanol has energy density of .8 Gas)

which is 6.7% of total fuel needs. (180 billion gallons in 2004.)

And while these fuel needs will rise with time, so too will the refinery/plant capacity of biofuels.

With the soaring price of oil, the pressure on Washington and State and Local governments to subsidize and support biofuels is enormous.

How many new plants will be opened for biofuels in 2007, 2008, 2009?

And with organizations such as EcoGenics working on commercialization of algea for the production of biodiesel,(their goal is decentralized production and coops that can keep the price BD at a permanant low price.) the holy grail of energy independence is only 5-10 years away.

http://www.ecogenicsresearchcenter.org/

The fact is that the state of california alone could, useing sea water, grow enough algea annually to supply America with all the biodiesel it needs.

Then there is the potential wind power of North and South Dakota, as well as high altitute turbines and offshore units.

The porteguese already have a workable wave power generator.

Last month's issue of popular science has an article about 10 different alternative fuels.

They calculated how much each could provide the needed US energy.

with conservation, (meaning doing the same with less, no need to give up your plasma screen, just make it run on 1/10th the power, ect.) providing 30%, things like solar, wind, wave, geothermal (that can be drilled anywhere, just deep enough to heat water to 180 degrees or so) and biofuels provided 110% if I remember correctly.

As long as oil production dosn't fall off a cliff tomorrow, the doomer scenario will not come to pass.

 
At Monday, July 17, 2006 at 12:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger adamg said...

One need only look at the massive increases in bio-fuels occuring to see that doomers are wrong.

For Bio-diesel, which can be most efficiently created from oil rich algea, (10,000-20,000 gallons/acre/year and only 1% of arable land equivalent needed to replace all transportation oil use), there are currently 59 production plants with 31 under construction and 65 planned for ground breaking in 2006.

These 155 plants will have an annual production capacity of 2.1 billion gallons.

Source: http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=943


For ethanol, (cellulosic is 2X efficency of corn, and wild switch grass needs no watering, no fertilizer, no pesticides. Also, starch rich algea can also supply all the ethanol we need for very little land use.)

There are currently 106 Ethanol plants, 42 under construction and 116 planned for 2006 groundbreaking.

Totaled, these 264 plants will have an annual capacity of approximately, 13 Billion gallons.

source: http://www.ethanolproducer.com/plant-list.jsp?country=USA

Together, biodiesel and ethanol can replace 12.1 billion gallons of petro fuel,(ethanol has energy density of .8 Gas)

which is 6.7% of total fuel needs. (180 billion gallons in 2004.)

And while these fuel needs will rise with time, so too will the refinery/plant capacity of biofuels.

With the soaring price of oil, the pressure on Washington and State and Local governments to subsidize and support biofuels is enormous.

How many new plants will be opened for biofuels in 2007, 2008, 2009?

And with organizations such as EcoGenics working on commercialization of algea for the production of biodiesel,(their goal is decentralized production and coops that can keep the price BD at a permanant low price.) the holy grail of energy independence is only 5-10 years away.

http://www.ecogenicsresearchcenter.org/

The fact is that the state of california alone could, useing sea water, grow enough algea annually to supply America with all the biodiesel it needs.

Then there is the potential wind power of North and South Dakota, as well as high altitute turbines and offshore units.

The porteguese already have a workable wave power generator.

Last month's issue of popular science has an article about 10 different alternative fuels.

They calculated how much each could provide the needed US energy.

with conservation, (meaning doing the same with less, no need to give up your plasma screen, just make it run on 1/10th the power, ect.) providing 30%, things like solar, wind, wave, geothermal (that can be drilled anywhere, just deep enough to heat water to 180 degrees or so) and biofuels provided 110% if I remember correctly.

As long as oil production dosn't fall off a cliff tomorrow, the doomer scenario will not come to pass.

 
At Friday, August 18, 2006 at 7:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger stevesadlov said...

Look at all the links at a site like http://www.dieoff.org and it immediately becomes clear that there is an agenda afoot. It's the same old, angry, self hating agenda that the 5th Column has always touted. They've simply gussied it up in new garb. Some pretty sick stuff linked to Dieoff.org.

 
At Monday, September 4, 2006 at 6:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger doomernz said...

Why is oildrum.com never mentioned on this blog?I've read both peakoil.com and the oil drum and have come to the conclusion that the quality of post is far higher on oildrum than peakoil. I challenge any of you here to go there and test out your arguments on this site.

 
At Monday, September 4, 2006 at 7:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger doomernz said...

Hey I know that because of my username this will look real funny, but what exactly is a doomer? I think that when oild production starts to decline we will have recession. It makes perfect sense, afer the oil shock on 1972-73 there was a recession, same with 1979-81 oil shock. In fact any time there has been an oil shock it has been follwed be a recession. The main thing that helped us puul out of those recessions was the regrowth of oil production. Except that won't happen when we're on the other side of the hubbert curve now will it? To me that means massive unemployment, inflation - general economic instability which wil make economic planning very difficult for goernments. This will cause investors to loose faith in stock markets, causing a mass pullout of stocks then we have a stock market crash like you've never seen. Where it wil end who can tell?

 
At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 3:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger Enigma said...

I'm not sure what effect the depletion of fossil fuels will have on us in the next generation.

In 2005 the world hardly noticed another 10 million people being added to the number of people the UN say are hungry.

I do think it is possible that people will start to starve to death in greater numbers when the economic impact of fossil fuel depletion cut in.

Does that make me a 'doomer'? Does it make me dogmatic?

Apparently only if I entertain the possibility that the deaths might occur in one of our industrialised societies.

 
At Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 5:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger lawnorder said...

I wish I was as optimistic as you. But the lack of action I see on US and other governments gives me the creeps.

Do you know how long it takes to build a nuclear power plant ? How vulnerable a nuclear plant makes us to terrorists ? Hint: See what would have happened if one of the 9/11 planes had "landed" at Indian Point. Mercifully plane #2 just flew by it on it's way to hit the towers.

I was never a doomer. I refuse to just give up. But I just can't be as optimistic as you. :(

 
At Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 2:47:00 AM PST, Blogger its mortgage magic said...

Don't be stupid, get many types of loans with 1600 lenders, all credit scores welcome. click here

 
At Friday, June 15, 2007 at 9:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger Dan said...

Seems to me that the *worst* case scenario (i.e. doomer and starvation) has *no chance* of taking place even in the US.
In the absolute worst case (i.e. the USA is producing NO oil and has to rely only on Canadian current production from tar sands as well as biofuels then at current mpg we can still run 1/10th of the current vehicle fleet.
Doubling efficiency of the fleet (20mpg -> 40mpg) over ten years means we can have 1/5th of the current vehicle fleet.

But if there is a corresponding growth in hybrids and especially plug-in hybrids then we could theoretically run the entire fleet off of electricity.

The downside of course, is that we'd need to burn a sh!tload of coal to do it because we can't build enough nuke plants and wind etc fast enough. The upside is, that if we do, some of the discarded battery packs can be used to solve the intermittency problem in renewables.

But it won't happen of course and we'll all die instead, right?

Whatever.

 
At Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at 3:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger savetheworld.tw said...

It is part of modern human nature to avoid & deny negative realities.

Under the current state of the world, Optimism is pure naivete. If you really think "modern" humans are capable of avoiding the catastrophe in front of us, then why are humans so incredibly slow to act?

Peak oil, global warming, pollution, wars, you name it - humans can avoid all these problems, and yet... where is the action, attention, and awareness?

Optimism is simply a pathetic excuse for inaction and letting others be responsible for solving future potential problems.

Human beings do not deserve to live on this earth - and if you think so, then you must be completely ignorant of the human record on this planet, and oblivious to all the warning signs.

 
At Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 3:54:00 PM PST, Blogger skintax era said...

Thanks for that Dr Doom, I might take a couple more and call you in the morning. I've been racing thru a souped up version of your road to Damascus for the last couple of years, and have gone thru the same frustration at the doomer attitude. So dogmatic, so utterly, omnisciently sure of how it's all gonna play out, so bludgeoning in delivery of argument-and yet at heart so f*cking pointless! As freak says"what's the EROEI on telling people most of us are going to die?"...if you doomers are right, and we're all gonna die-what are you still talking for? maybe because you're getting the same weird thrill of excitement people get looking at a road accident...Having said that there are some good people with good intentions at those sites, they just tend to get shouted down. I dunno, maybe I'm just experiencing my "second phase of denial"as some bastard wrote earlier, confusing me just when I think I'm getting a handle on this sh*t.
More posts from freak please, the idea of the peak oil meme being more dangerous than PO itself is superb dunno if youre right but it's sure an infectious little SOB.
Finally, I'm not much good on detail and numbers, which is what makes it so hard for me to evaluate all the conflicting ideas and figures in this massively complex subject.
When I try to look at the big picture, what freaks me out is this. Going right back to our hunter/gatherer ancestors and working forward, it seems to my simple mind that we have been growing in population all that time thanks to energy we didn't generate-first prey species and wild growing plants, then wood, then coal, now oil.
If we were acting within the normal energy confines of an ecosystem, when the animals and plants we depended on as hunter/gatherers became scarce, because of our increased numbers, we would have suffered hard times. Some of our number would have died off, and the prey animals we depended on would have recovered in number. This is what happens with all other animals.
I guess that's when we stepped outside the normal confines of the ecosystem-thru agriculture we found a way to deplete our resources and not suffer die-back. And our population has been growing ever since. It seems to me that this massive population we now have has been created in largest part with energy we didn't generate. We are now slowly tapping out the last and biggest source of energy that we don't have to generate. How is it possible that that population could now, for the first time, just when our energy requirements as a species are at their most massive, support itself with energy it has to make itself? Very clumsily put I know which probably reflects how clunky my brain feels when I try to process it all. Simple, concise explanation appreciated on back of postage stamp please. cheers

 
At Thursday, November 29, 2007 at 5:45:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I would like to say this is a well thought out article, much along the lines of my own conclusions.

I to, bought into the doomer-theory for a while. In utter disbelief I was born into the "collapse" of society. But I began to ask myself a few questions and realized a few important things.

1. A graph of the "bell curve of production showed it dropping off steeply with demand rising to something like 120 million barrels/day in 2030. The thing is, how can you demand 120 million barrels a day if it isn't there? Further more, how could demand increase to 120 per day, wouldn't it be logical to demand, say what we use now? which is around 85. If we were running out, why would we demand more than we already use.

2. China and India. Yes their economies are booming right now, and they want oil. Its in my opinion as if they were the US 50 years ago. Well, good for them. So would they also have an increasing demand of oil per year that doesn't exist? In order to have an increased demand for more oil in the following year you have to have the economy grow, otherwise the demand would just be for enough to sustain.

3. Now some might say that the increase in demand is to replenish lost supplies from shortages last year, but thats assuming everyone in the US clings tightly to their GMC Yukons and H2s without even thinking of picking up a few people on their way to work. That there would be no rationing, no walking, no home gardens.

Would you buy gas if it was 10 dollars a gallon? I doubt it, especially with the average fill up costing 160 dollars.

BUT EVERYTHING IS LINKED WITH OIL INCLUDING FOOD

We had a home garden, a small one at that, probably 10 feet by 5 feet. Didn't need to buy tomatoes, squash, zucchini and cucumbers the entire summer. Made 3 big jars of pickles. Imagine, everyone doing that. Individually, its not a lot, but countrywide, it makes a huge difference.

TEH FERTILIZER IS BROUGHT TO WAL MART WITH OIL!!!111!!!!

Ok I admit it, I used some fertilizer. To get things started. But the bulk of my fertilizer came from a compost heap in my yard. Everything that could rot, went into that heap. Eggshells, coffee grounds, if it rotted, in there it went. Makes a good spot for finding bait for fishing too, lol.

The key is not to become oil independent tomorrow or suffer the dire consequences. The key is to work these simple things into our daily lives, coupled with new technology.....I think we can make it.

Just look at what we did to global oil production after the oil shocks in the 70s by using smaller cars.

-Former Doomer

 
At Monday, December 3, 2007 at 2:18:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read LATOC, etc for the past couple of years before finding this blog. I'd say both sides are half right and to assume that anyone, even the "experts" of which also, fifty fifty are composed of both genius prophet types and the rest Marxist agenda doom hopefuls wishing it would all come true to further their own agenda. I myself am a fifty-fiftier at this point. I'm cautiously changing my habits to be prepared for a spike and scarcity of petroleum. I just got a Prius (getting solid 50 mpg, and I drive, for my construction business, a Chevy Duramax diesel which gets about 20 mpg). My home is super insulated and I use CF's and a high efficiency heat pump, 19 SEER which I use only on the hottest and coldest days and my utility bill averages around $70 USD. For the doomers I just have to ask, when they talk of Jevons Paradox, etc, are they aware of how much production for frivolous consumption that could be quickly diverted to energy conservation? How many Americans do you know, yourself or your neighbors who just bought a $1000 flat screen, whose kids have $200 game units, $6000 jet skis, $20,000 bass boats, on and and on and on. Think about diverting all of that bullshit consumption toward energy saving devices, (the toys in the average, middle class American garage could buy a rooftop solar panel system that provides 80% of the home needs). Think plug in hybrids plugged into that rooftop solar. Oh , BTW, China is ramping up production of high grade silicon and in about 10 years solar panels will cost about 1/10 of what they do now. Is there any reason a flat screen hi-def TV should be cheaper than solar panels? I say keep your radar ears on, change your life as you can and Peak Oil will not be the end of the world. Some of us will be ahead of the curve and those that are not can just divert their toy money when they have to to energy conservation, alternatives, etc. Mmmmkay?

 
At Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 3:35:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, upon reading your essay I have a few questions and thoughts.
I am having trouble understanding why you are so adamant about separating yourself from so called "doomers", and "debunking" peak oil. I'm not sure what it is you are proving; that oil production will not (or hasn't) peaked? Being a "doomer" is just admitting we are rapidly wasting an incredibly valuable resource and life will not be the same without it, no matter how you slice it.
The comparisons you draw with England and coal are silly at best- we replaced coal with oil, and now may make the jump backwards to coal. In either case, these are fossil fuels, with an extremely FINITE supply, on the order of centuries (maybe 2-3) of use. Considering the United States itself, one of the youngest countries in the world, is 230 years old, I think we need to look for something with a little more longevity.
More than likely that will be the result of many things together, no single magic replacement; but don't even think of letting nuclear power be part of that answer. You want to talk about long term? Some of these by products have half lives of thousands of years- roughly the time that has passed since the ANCIENT PYRAMIDS were built. And that's one half life, you need many to pass before safety is achieved.
I just want to say we need to focus on using our intelligence a little more before jumping into any more of these ridiculous band aid fixes.
If you have a response for any of this, please post here or feel free to email me at mattyb54@hotmail.com
Thanks.

 
At Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 5:10:00 AM PST, Blogger JD said...

but don't even think of letting nuclear power be part of that answer.

matt, nuclear power is going to come back in a big way, and you're going to need to adjust to that. Abandoning growth is not an option.

Here's the plan for the future in a nutshell:

1. Polish off the rest of the fossil fuels
2. Massive worldwide shift to nuclear power, supplemented by solar and other renewables.
3. Shift to space-based solar power.

The flows of power in space are gargantuan, and will allow our species and industrial machinery to continue growth into the solar system.

 
At Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:45:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless we get a nuclear war I will stick my neck out and make a bold prediction:

The WORST we are going to get is a recession/depression where a whole bunch of the middle class get made poor, liquid fuel becomes expensive and people have to start taking (hybrid-electric) buses.
Delivery vehicles will be hybrid-electric too.
We will probably also electrify existing rail-links.

As the recovery gathers pace more and more people will buy (on credit- provided the banks extend credit that is) either hybrid-electric or fully electric vehicles.

Why?
Because they WORK and there is no realistic choice otherwise.

 
At Monday, January 21, 2008 at 7:45:00 PM PST, Blogger Joe said...

It seems to me that most of the talk about nuclear power is focused on the relative safety of the radioactive material itself... I don't want to focus on this. My question is, what actually goes into obtaining and refining the Uranium and Constructing the plant? Most of what I have read on the subject suggests that though there is a net energy gain, there are still great amounts of fossil fuels and environmentally harmful techniques used. I'm not writing off nuclear here, just asking questions. I have to admit I am a bit of a doomer. The currently wasteful lifestyle and materialism exhibited in many of our societies is what I believe to be doomed if peak oil predictions stand true. I believe that it is important for all people to understand what goes into all of the products they rely on and how to sustain themselves, if only for the sake of being a well rounded individual.

 
At Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 12:55:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem about PO is not about oil itself, it is about switching the infrastructure whether it happend now or whenever later. At the moment when people decide to move on from oil and to rationalize the economy, because no more abundant energy is available, i cant see how the whole-world-GDP-drop would be avoided. And that would certainly drop the entire purchase power of anyone and made the transition, relocalization, and technology rebuild more difficult for a vast majority of people, if even possible. It is easy to create alternatives with petro-dollars, but what is the price of the new technology without or with reduced global trade, mass-comuting,...

 
At Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 7:50:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like your argument is wishful thinking in hindsight, huh? We're about to see what can happen when something slows down the economy. We're looking at a big crash right down the barrel. And you think that we can just switch gears at the last minute to make everything work and there will be no damage, death, or disorder? I admire your logic and your deductions, but you're not seeing the forest for the trees. I, along with most doomers, hope that you're right and you laugh at us for the rest of the century. However, we won't laugh at you when you're in your grave because you lacked preparations. And yes it will be a better world after the dieoff, that's the only thing keeping me together at this point.

 
At Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 1:09:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was a nice aread- but that's all- there was no analysis of the effects of not driving to the grocery store or eating less meat on gdp and employment figures in both industies- there was also no indication of understanding of the money supply and why it needs to grow, and the why our economy has to grow, and fianlly there was no mention of the direct link between gdp growth and the consumption of fossil fuels. many people are going to successfully adapt to the era of scarcity- it is the first 20 years of this adaptation i am worried about...

 
At Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had some great laughs reading this site. Thanks so much!!!

Here's my $0.02 worth:

1. It is my perception that the debunk PO community lacks a fundamental understanding of the concept of nonlinearity. It also lacks a fundamental understanding of lag effects. It also has blinders on with regards to history. Dieoffs have happened in the past many times. What hubris to think that this time will be any different? Our economy just has $150 trillion in derivatives added last year. Is this a good sign, or a bad sign???

2. Oil at $100/bbl confirms peak oil. Oil at $200/bbl confirms a likely imminent population crash, because the system cannot adjust quickly enough to avoid a collapse scenario.

3. Peak Oil may not be the real problem. 2012 and our solar system crossing over the galactic plane may be a bigger problem. If y'all feel warm and swarmy having pissed on the doomers, go have a whack at the Horizon Project. After you watch the DVD, peak oil and a 95% dieoff won't look so bad after all ;)

And while you're at it, don't forget the Electric Universe crowd. Velikovsky must be howling in his grave ...

 
At Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 5:15:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is truely one of the funniest websites I'ver ever seen that says nothing to debunk PO!! Where are your facts son?? Why can't you debunked the facts laid out by Salizar which he based his opinions upon?? You stated the US has 500 year supply of coal which means nothing.. But what's really funny is that people will believe you have debunked PO when you have done anything but launch a couple of ad hominon's at people..

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 10:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha. Haven't been back until now to see if there was a reply to me.
mattyb54@hotmail.com from January 1.

Interesting- "abandoning growth is not an option"? Really. That's funny, because eventually that will be the ONLY option. Anything Finite-e.g. THE EARTH- will eventually run out of space, which will be the last of our problems because any usuable resource will be so far in our chronological rear view mirror.
Abandoning growth is actually what we HAVE to do. We can establish a healthy balance between man and environment if we do.
Let me make one last statement. People say global warming, peak oil, etc. is a myth, and that the earth will survive.
They're right. The earth will still be, no matter WHAT we do. The more relevant question is... will we?

 
At Monday, April 21, 2008 at 11:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger Alexandre Costa said...

Dispite being long, I enjoyed very much reading this post, specially because I feel like you felt when you became aware of the problem.
I'll just say this:
Things are a lot more complicated, I tend to be a doomer sometimes, however this is something unpredictable, there are too many variables. We live in a global world and the economy walks on a thin line... this problem has no precedent in history, so there's no comparing with nothing. I agree with you in many points, not all. I think Savinar site is too gloomy too, I preffer The Oil Drum (a bit more technical though). Still I'd like to hear your thoughts about the recent developments in early 2008...

PS. Just because doomers failed throughout history, doesn't mean that doomsday is impossible.

 
At Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 2:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger Branch-me-do said...

This post cannot be indicated strongly enough on this website.

I had a virtually identical experience (discovering LATOC) via a link from (I think) Wikipedia. I'd been reading about peak oil on there as a result of being given the megaheebie-jeebies by the doomer intro sequence to Frontlines: Fuel of War (the doomer first person shooter! East vs West over oilfields in the PO-ravaged depression of 2024!) and LATOC sent me into shock as well.

Suffice it to say, discovering this blog with its more positive point of view did a lot to help me.

I don't deny PO is inevitable. I also don't deny that I am taking a few precautions just in case of rough patches (a solar powered battery, a motorcycle, some home fuel storage) but I don't dread the future like I did for that depressing week.

It's also opened my eyes to the sickening waste of many first world nations.

Excellent, excellent essay, Dr Doom.

 
At Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 8:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chief said...

Great essay, Dr. Doom. It certainly is very close to my own experience in researching and examining peak oil and life thereafter. (Albeit my experience began only a few short months ago) I just stumbled upon your blog a few days ago (ironically searching for a Dick Cheney quote), so it will take me a while to begin to digest all these posts. I look forward to perusing more of you and your reader's viewpoints. Everyone feel free to check out my blog (in its infancy).

Tragedy of the Commons

 
At Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 1:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anarcho Primitivist Steve said...

WOW! This blog just highlights the idiocy of hipster science and bullshit solutions to grave problems. It also reminds me of the new issue of wired which says we need to "concentrate on cutting carbon" and "make tough decisions". You all sound like policy makers instead of human beings. Mining coal versus oil production?! Is this serious? Destroy entire mountain eco-systems or promote global warming? What options you give! Asshole. Nuclear power is consider a public "disaster waiting to happen" because it is. Not because of safety issues, but because in the worst case scenario it is the most singularly destructive technology to exist. It is perfectly reasonable for people to reject something that could have devastating effects. Are you not familiar with the numerous… near meltdowns, takeovers by crazed military generals, outdated reactors? Of course civilization will hold on for dear life, and running out of oil does not logically equal 'end of civilization'. And nor does an end mean a total and forever death. Pathologically civilization must continue its expansion over more resources. It is the necessity of its existence. This does not mean that it can continue forever. And this is where the real problems with your blog come together. You avoid other environmental issues (like the fact that the midwest may look like the middle east from salinization). Global warming and oil consumption may be huge environmental problems but our ecocide is much more ‘ancient civilization collapse’ style. We do the classics: erosion, deforestation, over population, total top-soil destruction, and now that we added a new one people are on it like white on rice (not necessarily a bad thing) but it will all be futile unless we actively dismantle civilization. It will make the crash easier. We are on the brink of a societal collapse, oil collapse, soil collapse, and increasing police state measures. Power is the problem. We can no longer perceive the world as resources if we wish to survive. Go ask easter. Good luck blogging when the internet dies...or in the words of some "see you on the cover of the last newspaper those motherfuckers ever print"!

 
At Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 5:09:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting story of one woman's experience when the world failed to end in 1975.

From http://www.exmormon.org/exjw3.htm

"Freedom from Fear
In the fall of 1968, a special meeting was called at the Kingdom Hall in New Albany, Indiana. Everyone was expected to be there. I sat in the front row with my best friend. We always sat there. We were ten years old and as good little Jehovah's Witnesses, we believed that all new light sent to us from the Governing body was straight from Jehovah God. There was going to be new light passed on to us tonight.

You could have heard a pin drop as everyone sat in anticipation waiting for the speaker to talk. He started by telling us of new light sent to all congregations world wide, from the Governing body in Brooklyn, New York. He said that in the fall of 1975 the great Battle of Armageddon would take place. He told how the society had come up with this date, but I was too young to understand. But I knew exactly what Armageddon meant. That was something I had heard about all my young life. But tonight, it seemed so real. I was so very scared. I automatically started to figure up how old I would be in 1975. I would be 17 years old.

I can still remember the long ride home. It was a quiet ride, with each his or her own thoughts. Mom and dad said nothing to each other. Everyone's face was emotionless. It was as if even my little brother and sisters, ages 8, 6 and 4 knew that something very serious was about to happen. Of course, they were too young to understand, but when I looked at their innocent little faces, my heart was aching. They're so young, I thought, surely Jehovah will not let anything happen to them. Then I started to think of my unborn sibling that was due in a few weeks. I couldn't keep from crying.

From that day on, we were at the Kingdom Hall everytime the doors were open. We never missed a meeting. We were constantly in the field ministry trying to bring as many as we could into the "truth" before it was too late, all the while hoping Jehovah would look favorably on us a Armageddon. School work or material possessions were of no importance to us. Just the basic necessities, because the time was short. For the next seven years, the elders were constantly talking of how we should be working as hard as we could for Jehovah, so we would be prepared for Armageddon.

The Watchtower and Awake had graphic pictures of what Armageddon would be like. I can remember sitting for what seemed like hours, looking and studying every detail in these pictures. The little babies being destroyed, old men and women sucked into the earth, people screaming with their arms outstretched, as if pleading for help. I did not see these as being wicked people like the society told us. I felt sorry for them. It broke my heart. I had nightmares all the time for several years. I worried constantly that myself or one of my loved ones might not be good enough to make it.

I can still remember the first day of 1975. This was the year. I was a junior in high school. Everyone was anxious and we were all walking on eggshells. Everyone was careful not to do anything that could get them disfellowshipped, and also ones that had been disfellowshipped were doing their best to get reinstated. Every Thursday, it seemed there was someone getting reinstated. The time was getting shorter.

I can also remember the date December 31, 1975. This is one of those dates that will be frozen in my mind forever. The Watchtower Society had said that they could not see beyond 1975. This had to be the day. Mom made all of us go to bed early that night. By this time, there were six children. I lay in my bed wondering what the world would look like the next morning. I never ever for even a moment doubted that the end of the world would come this night. While everyone that I went to school with were out celebrating the coming of the new year, I laid in my bed with tears in my eyes and my pillow over my head, silently praying. Please, Jehovah, keep my family safe, I prayed over and over, until finally I fell asleep.

When I awoke the next morning, much to my surprise, everything looks the same. Nothing had happened. Armageddon did not come. I was so confused. What happened? Mom and dad, nor any of us kids talked about it. It was never mentioned. But something had happened. I didn't realize it at the time, but a small crack had developed in the foundation of my belief of the so-called "truth". This crack so small, that I didn't know it was there, would grow to the point that one day I would be able to free myself from the bonds of the Watchtower Society."

 
At Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 6:29:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out:

"Unfortunately, mainstream thought seemed to have gone strongly against nuclear power, apparently (to me, having read a lot about it) without much more reason than that Hollywood had made it the spawn of the devil."

Perhaps the Chernobyl incident had something to do with the public's disenchantment with Nuclear power.

Nuclear power is vunerable to accidents - especially natural disaster. Take Japan - a seismically unstable country with numerous Nuclear power stations. What happens if a *major* earthquake occurs at the location of one of these?

Nuclear power is the kind of thing that, when it goes wrong, can go very wrong

Aside from that, good & thought provoking essay. Personally I think you lean too much on the side of optimism, and tarring anyone who believes in a bleaker side of peak oil as being secretly marxist is a bit silly.

Perhaps if you were in Africa, where food riots have begun breaking out, you'd have a slightly different opinion.

 
At Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 1:00:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Rod said...

It seems that most people think oil is used only for producing energy: energy to drive their car, energy to generate electricity, energy this, energy that. But oil is used to physically lubricate the wheels and gears of factories (and cars too), and it physically gets synthesized into the products that we consume everyday. Oil is ubiquitous in our modern world.

When the price per barrel of oil is so high that you can't afford to fill up your car, just give a thought as to how much it will also cost to buy your everyday products that are made from oil.

The Earth is finite in size and that means there is only a finite amount of anything that the Earth has. We can recycle some things, but we have to use large amounts of energy to do that - and this invariable always comes from oil when you follow the chain of processing back to its beginning.

Now some people mention using coal, but it isn't anywhere near as efficient as oil - for any use - so we will always need more units of coal to equal the same amount of work that we currently get from one unit of oil. What will all that coal burning do to the environment of the Earth?

When the oil is gone, it's gone. That may be in the next 10 years, or maybe the next 1000 years. But all the same, it will be gone oneday and then what will we do?

So maybe we should be burning some of our oil right now to capture and consume those carbon-rich asteroids that are up there floating around in our solar system? There are plenty up there and this could also lead to a human expansion into space - it's not science fiction anymore. But I'm thinking that we, as a species, will leave it until it is just too late...

 
At Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 5:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Michael said...

This isn't an incredible essay, it's a fantastic rationalization!

It says I'm tired of considering the overwhelming scope and consequence of this situation and my complete lack of personal control or any ability to imagine life without the technologies (conveniences really) oil has afforded me. So I'll deny it and go boating this weekend. I want to enjoy the idea of my kids in college and the new car I'll buy them when the graduate. In other words "I feel entitled to the life to which I've become accustomed and anything else is not an option."

Peak oil or the end of the oil age is not in and of itself the problem. We lived without oil for quite some time. We'll do it again!

There is so much bad logic here I really don't know where to begin.

For instance one person said "at $20 a gallon for gas no one would buy it so how could it stay there?"
Is this guy for real? Is this the little teeny tiny bit of ridiculously flawed logic he used to make up his mind.

I too feel sick quite often. When i imagine my government not preparing us for this absolute disaster. The question I have is why. Why are they not? Politics? Business interests? Are they so intertwined they are one and the same?

There is a commercial running right now, constantly it seems, that say "we have enough energy right here in the US to power 60 million cars for 60 years. That sounds very comforting! I can pick this apart from the end but i don't need to. Ok, from the end, 60 years! are you serious? That isn't even a human lifetime. Worse though is that it isn't true. By that I mean to say it's the kind of half truth we've become accustomed to in our political and social environment. Do the math yourself "112 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil." Now divide that by what we use in a day (22 million barrels a day folks - 10 times what most other modern industrialized countries use) I come up with 14 years! Not 60, but we knew that was a qualified figure didn't we. Alaska, that huge reserve that we fight over constantly would last something like 2 months if we could produce it as fast as we were able to use it. The half truth is it will last 60 years. And it will but only because thats the speed at which we can deliver it to market.

So why lie? Well the site goes on to say 43% of oil and natural gas stocks are owned by mutual funds. Thats you and me folks. If you can't at least begin to imagine the

 
At Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 6:11:00 AM PDT, Blogger Michael said...

the economic disaster that is looming you are the dead man walking. The relative values have changed incredibly. (the price of oil, to the the original poster - and gold for that matter) The wars have started. (we started the first one) The layoffs have begun. (ford and gm this week) The cost of fuel for the airlines has nearly doubled in just a few short years. (their layoffs are next)

Our government is $9 trillion in debt and continues to devalue your assets/wealth every day by printing more currency. Did you get your check yet? Where do you think that "money" came from? Bill Gates.

Yep, we are on the Titanic. We've been assured it cant sink by even God himself. We've struck the iceberg and we are being told to return to our rooms and stay calm. "There is nothing wrong." (remember, that was while the wealthy were filling the lifeboats)

It's a well known concept termed "social proof." If your friends and neighbors do not seem concerned you must be wrong. After all they are all returning to their rooms. The band continues to play on deck.

Forgive me, i digress.

This thing is so comprehensive limited space "good comment oildude345" blog comments just cant begin to address the reality.

 
At Friday, June 6, 2008 at 2:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Neal said...

I disagree with you micheal on the simple fact that you nor any other doomer can predict our future none of can. Whatever happens will happen when it happens. it's that simple. So to you and others there is no need to insult someone because they hold out hope. Do you think that The U.S. won the American revolution on pessimism? And "reality" as some of you like to say. No. We (I'm an American) won because we had hope and optimisim to make a change for the better. We were against all odds. I'm sure had you been a colonist back then you would have stated as fact that the British would claim victory with out a doubt. However you would have felt and looked foolish once the results of the actual war played out. Do you see where I am going with this. The main point is that for without Hope and optimisim, dreams we will fail. We will not make it. You would be surprised in what an impact this can have upon the people. In the early stages of the American Revolution we were losing and losing. But did we ever give up? No, we pushed on. I know that you fire back at me. something like "well Oil is a much larger problem" But consider this. This is during the 18th century and we're going to war the worlds largest super power at the time. We were greatly outnumbered, yet we prevailed. And now America herself is seen as the worlds largest superpower. See the moral of this tale? And during these times this was a great challenge to overcome!

The same can be said about the efforts that went into WW II. Peak Oil could bring up many, many different forms of challenges that soldiers were never faced with, right? Perhaps you do not know of the life of a soldier in either war. Food shortages occured quite often.
In WW II Americans on the home front gave up all of thier luxeries to give more to the concentrated effort of overcoming the Axis powers. You know that no cars were produced in America from the time we went into war?
Yet, people made it, made due. We prevailed. Did we not? Humanity has been faced with many great challenge on a great scale and have overcome them, were htere losses and great sacrifices, yes. But we came out on top. We face our largest challenge of this century, now. Where you see utter disater I see hope, please respect my opinon and do not insult for holding such an opinon. These are my view and they are my right.
In conclusion I think Dr. Doom has many good points. I once fell for it as I too unwittingly stumbled onto LATOC, but as I am a Military Historian and research is my passion, I soon found that we have a viable chance in overcoming this. I do acknowledge that we could fail and chaos. I've not ruled this out History is full of violence and chaos through out the times.
I do hope that you can see the moral to my tale. And I also hope that you too will have some sort of hope the more hope we've got the stronger a people we become. The more chance we have to overcome our problems.

And I am taking action. I drive a Toyota Prius. I hardly dirve, when I do it's only local, I live quite close ot my job. My energy company is green mountain. I use green energy to posswer my home. My home is very energy efficent. I recycle all goods that I can. I reuse the ones that I can reuse.
I don't buy everything in sight. Although I do enjoy a good book every couple of weeks, so I guess you might say I'm wasteful of paper.

P.S.
I feel we may be on the verge of an energy revolution, a green one :) I hope so!

 
At Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 4:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger French Wanderer said...

Thanks for that post. Demystification is all but uneeded in that doomer's area.

 
At Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 2:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger rivera151 said...

Well, I'd have to say I'm still somewhat between the doomer and this author. The truth is that May and June 2008 has been an interesting month for oilers. The cutbacks on AA, United and Continental are especially bothersome. The author has a point, we always find a way. But the flip side is the drop in quality of life that the collective suffers from the drop in productivity related to a drop in energy availability. Even though I do agree it will never be "the end", the coming times are by no means easy.

 
At Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 10:13:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously easy oil will peak sometime. Nothing lasts forever. It's really not a matter of if but when. So the real question is, how long have we got? Again, anyone's guess.

If you want to find facts and experts by the handful that state that we have enough proven reserves to last another 100 years or more, you'll find them. On the other hand, if you're looking for the opposite, you'll find that too, in spades. What's your pleasure?

The facts, or as close to 'facts' as anyone can really be about anything, are few and easy to remember:

1) Oil is a finite resource

2) Oil demand is rising quickly

3) We have less oil now than when we began

4) No one really knows how much oil is left. Production is falling in some places but new oil is being found in others. The question is whether the new finds can accomodate the loss of production in existing fields as well as covering growing new demands for oil

5) For alternative energy to be any kind of substitute, it would have to be either varied (i.e. cover the whole gamut of the worlds energy needs - no one will be making solar-powered airplanes anytime soon) or made in vast quantites to the tune of 100 million barrels a day or more depending on how well it works

I'll tell you something I've learned the hard way: If you want to know what's really happening in the world on ANY subject, avoid extremists of every side like the plague. They have their preconceived beliefs, desires, notions and getting anything like accuracy from them is about as easy as walking through walls.

 
At Monday, June 9, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger xardas said...

the best texts are those that achieve to express your thoughts in words. That's what I experience by reading dr. Doom.

 
At Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 1:50:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. We hope the LATOC site is wrong.

My husband and I just read the LATOC site the other night, and seriously were despondent afterwards....didn't sleep much that night, and my husband is still very deeply effected now....I mean HOW DO YOU GO BACK to living a normal life, when you think the great die off and Mad Max scenarios are just years away?!!

They seemed to lay out the facts very well, and he became even more concerned as he checked sources, and found them to be credible. I was hoping he would shoot the whole thing down as a conspiracy theory, but he didn't!!--It has scared us silly.

It's good to be prepared in life either way, but their absolute doomsday predictions could literally make people suicidal!! I wish our nation and our planet could start a serious dialogue about the issue of peak oil, so that we can alter our habits significantly NOW. There is no question we are in for HUGE CHANGES, but I sincerely hope your optimistic views on alternative sources and American ingenuity are right.

Any comments appreciated.

 
At Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 8:42:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pretty much am in line with the husband of the anonymous poster above me. I came across the peak oil theory about a month ago. I can't sleep, I have a hard time eating. I actually got to the point where I made an appointment with a therapist because I feel such utter despair. I feel like a doomer, but I don't want to be a doomer. I search every day for news that will tell me that it won't be that bad... that we'll have to make adjustments, but it won't have a profound impact on our quality of life. I can't find any good news. Sure, some of us might be able to buy EVs, PHEVs, scooters, bikes, etc before things get really bad. But society as a whole has no time to adapt. I'm dying for someone to put forth a scenario that will help me sleep at night, but I just can't find a convincing case. I'm honestly not trying to be a wet blanket, but I just feel total and utter despair (and that is totally not in my nature). Sorry for the rambling, just hoping someone can shine a few rays of hope down on me.

Sincerely -ScaredOfPO

 
At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 7:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ScaredofPO--

There are some really good comments in this blog, basically what I come away with is this:

1. Try not to believe in extremes!! Things are rarely as good or as bad as people predict.

2. Look at your own life, and make the kinds of adjustments that will reduce your stress and make you feel good that it is a more sustainable lifestyle...(ditch the Hummer, downsize the McMansion, bulk up your savings, etc if that applies)

3. Live in the NOW, and don't worry about the stuff that you just DON'T have control over. If the world tanks because of peak oil, you will have plenty of time to worry about it...in the meantime, make the adjustments you can, and enjoy what is good in life.

Hope this helps!! Go out and enjoy the weekend and remember--

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine!!

XOXO,

Jennifer

 
At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 5:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Letting the time pass me by said...

I believe that the peak oil theory can happen, but when we look at the history of metals, for instance like tin, we are not so sure about whether it will happen or not?

The Peak Oil theory itself have a different sub-theory in its theory. Whether the production will decline steeply like a bell curve or whether it will plateau for sometimes i.e. maybe 10 years before the steep decline occurs.

History tells us that as long as there is alternative for energy, there will be new development that could greatly affected the world economic trend.

100 years ago, maybe people do not have so much idea for the use of oil, but today, as the result of enhancing technology, oil and hydrocarbons have been used to produce plastics, ethylene and others. Hydrocarbon products has been a major breakthrough which have substitute the tin, steel and other materials...

With so much factors are being link to the oil price and oil consumption fundamental, I think it will be very difficult to determine the exact supply and demand and oil peak theory.

Even at USD140 pb oil, there are so much arguments, theories and assumptions on the behaviour of the oil prices. Some people still believe it is speculation and other still believe it is fundamentals and some others think it is a bit of both...

But whent its come to planning, there is no much better options to have a concrete Plan A, B and C options. It is much better if we really have a good Plan B to address the issue..

Well these measures to create Plan B is not for the ordinary people to work at, as it may need the changes in policy making and other type of things...

 
At Friday, June 13, 2008 at 9:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger volterwd said...

Wow your nuts. More energy efficient windows... bigger windows... more energy efficient cars... bigger engines and more features...

Jevon's paradox is real

From wiki.

"In his 1865 book The Coal Question, Jevons observed that England's consumption of coal soared after James Watt introduced his coal-fired steam engine, which greatly improved the efficiency of Thomas Newcomen's earlier design. Watt's innovations made coal a more cost effective power source, leading to the increased use of the steam engine in a wide range of industries. This in turn increased total coal consumption, even as the amount of coal required for any particular application fell. Jevons argued that increased efficiency in the use of coal would tend to increase the use of coal, and would not reduce the rate at which England's deposits of coal were being depleted."

Seems you completely misrepresented Jevons paradox in your post.

 
At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 8:58:00 AM PDT, Blogger ttaz4dqm said...

Thank you, DD, for your essay, and thank this thread for giving me a good look at the cross section of views and ideas out there on this subject! I am an ex-doomer, nowadays I'd put myself at about 80-20 in favor of our overall survival...as an Objectivist I tend to believe that our collective self-interest as a species will out. Carry on the debate, people, I love this place! - taz

 
At Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 9:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger taz said...

OK, I know we all saw or read about the speech today. God knows I hate to agree with Bush about anything, but we do need to access more domestic oil sources in order to buy time to develop other technologies and make the transition(s). I just hope we(Americans) actually DO IT as opposed to squandering the opportunity and just letting the good times roll like we did during the 80's and 90's... - taz

 
At Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 2:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL...Well, you know Bush...Mr. "Let the good times roll".....your kids can pay for it all someday..

It is easy for him to talk big now, as he is on the way out the door. He will leave the whole tanking mess to a lucky successor.

God, I just can't imagine this planet in another 10 years...I am more worried about global weather shifts by the day...

 
At Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 8:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one's mentioned the fact that Henry Ford designed and produced an automobile made to run on hemp. Hemp grows like a weed, meaning just about anywhere. It also revitalizes the soil of wherever it is grown. People could grow their fuel in their own backyard- they could even have community gardens full of fuel. AND it's a plant, which eats up CO2, for those of you who actually buy into this "global warming" stuff. Nuclear is not a viable option.

 
At Monday, June 30, 2008 at 3:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous jev said...

It has been interesting to read the recent comments on this thread. I think the point about being a doomer is that you should realise that deadly dangers and disaster have always threatened and changed human history.

I think for many people who are scared shitless about peak oil, the reason they are suddenly so terrified is because of the radical break in their general happy and confident outlook. However, if you've read your history and know a thing about what is currently happening in the world it is much easier to take peak oil in stride. To conclude: Peak oil does not make us depressed and terrified, rather it is the wreching liberation from our conditioned feeling of safety and general well-being that causes us distress.

Ask one of the three billion people currently living in utter poverty about peak oil, and they will just shrug their shoulders. Deadly danger to us all? What's new? Stop wimping and get back to work. And I agree: bring your own sunshine.

Incidentally: I believe that society will crash due to peak oil and related problems, and that billions of people will die in the coming decades. It just doesn't phase me as much as it used to. Dust to dust, and all that.

 
At Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 4:39:00 AM PDT, Anonymous http://www.myspace.com/suncliffmusicfactory said...

Some people feel truly depressed by the whole PO thing, so I guess its' time to come to the rescue.

Hi, I am The Economist (that's my nickname at LATOC). I found the LATOC forum just a few weeks ago, and it blew my mind. There are a lot of intelligent and scared people in there. They have some great points and they are going to be very helpful in pushing the mainstream to the conservation side. They also behave a bit like a religious cult and, like them, are generally good-hearted in their intentions.

Personally, it made me start riding a bicycle and getting fit, which is a great thing.

I was also very rattled by their scenarios, until my training kicked in, thank God, an made me realised that:

1. In all the PO forums there is great stuff and lots of logic, but there is one HUGE factor being constantly understimated: Demand goes down as prices go up. As the Economy gets destroyed it also allows for the more efficient parts of the economy to get some breathing space and flourish. It's Darwinian.

2. I agree that we are heading for a huge economic depression. Get ready for it, and try to live without depending on ridiculous comforts. Remember that it will also make us rediscover the pleasures of less traffic, more time with our family and friends, more reading, etc.

3. Don't expect any die-off in your family or nearby. Latoc forum's logic is "we are feeding 7 billion people with oil. So if oil goes, then 6 billion have to die".
Not so. Here is what happens: "Poor" people in the planet (say 5 billion) live and feed themselves with a fraction of the energy per capita that the "rich" people use. Conservatively, your average Chinese, Indian, or Mexican person
uses only 10% of what your average US or European uses. Forget about the fairness implications for now and concentrate on the numbers for a second: It means that the world feeds 5 billion poor, and 2 billion rich TEN TIMES more than what would be strictly necessary. Think about it, that means the planet feeds the 5 billion poor, the 2 billion rich, plus the 18 billion "excess" needs of the rich.
It is those 18 billion "excess" needs that are going to die. And I don't mind too much. Remember that poor people are, at heart, as happy or sad as everybody else. Besides malnutrition there is a lot of love, dancing and music in Africa. And Who thinks present Western diet is proper nutrition anyway?

4. Let me make a more general case. Doomers are certainly right about the inability of people to grasp the exponential function (although they forget that fuel replacement can be exponential too). What they don't consider is
another very powerful observation: the 80/20 rule.
You can easily survive on 20% of the food calories you eat, the 80% left is for flavour (meat instead of cereal, kiwis from around the world instead of local fruits, etc.)
You can easily survive on 20% of the transport energy that you use (bycicle for close errands, public bus, no planes, business videoconference, etc).
You can easily see 80% of the stuff in the mall dissappear without being the end of the world (unless you are Paris Hilton).
You can easily enjoy your life on 20% of the energy that you use (read a book about Bali instead of flying your body there, organise your kids for neighbourhood sports instead of taking them to Disneyland, go for a walk instead of going shopping on a car, grow some beautiful food garden instead of a useless lawn, smoke a homegrown joint instead of a glass of whiskey distilled and flown from Scotland, etc.)

Doom "converts" think everybody else (they call us the sheeple) are stupid and will not do the above, but they are wrong. It does not even depend on the people, it depends on the market and the price of energy: When petrol hits $500/barrel suddenly veggie gardens and riding bicycles become very fashionable.

And if I am totally wrong, I will die. Well, my destiny was to die from the moment I was born, so no big loss there.

Hope it helps.

I am going to post this at LATOC forum, let's see how long it takes them to ban me (there is a rule there of not arguing against doom. They call you TROLL).

 
At Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 4:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

As some of the posters have said, I also went through a mini "omg we're doomed" phase a couple of months ago. I started reading about peak oil, ended up on LATOC and was very depressed for a couple of weeks. (As it happened, I was already kind of in a sour mood, so I was vulernable.) I dwelled and dwelled on it for days, then mentioned it to my therapist. He indirectly implied it was a conspiracy theory, and while I disputed that, I did start to realize it has elements of that.... Nothing is really hidden, but there is a very strong "We know the real truth that either the government is hiding or denying."

I re-read the propaganda again and a few things bugged me too...

1) What difference did the shape really make? Why did a peak matter at all? Wouldn't supply vs. demand be all that mattered.

2) Coal in Pennsylvania peaked long ago... so what, there is a plenty left there, oil just became cheaper.

3) Obviously a vast amount of oil/gas is wasted. Even at gas prices today, go out to a busy street and watch all the SUVs drive by with 1 person in them. Take 4 people out of 4 SUVs and stick them in a Prius, and you get something like 12X savings.

4) Oil use dropped from something like 18 mbpd to 15 in the US due to the 70's oil shocks and those were very temporary. The early 80s wasn't the funnest economic times but it was hardly doooom.

More doubts like that began to surface. Then I realized of course Peak Oil Doom was really just an economic prediction... see many of those that are accurate? Also, why aren't the Warrent Buffets out there loudly warning of it? Many doomers insist "the numbers speak for themselves". Of course they don't.

One thing ignored by Doomers is that oil is used for so many things like plastics because there is so d**** much of it, not that it's actually required for that stuff or that we need plastics in the amount we use them.

Part of the problem that is also addressed with this blog, is that Doomers have a 'gotcha' with the term 'peak oil'. It's hard to disagree that oil production will at some point hit a maximum that is never reached again, but that hardly means that curve is an accurate prediction.

Living in LA, it's been amusing to see just how quickly mopeds have popped up.

Doomers assure us that there are 200 million cars in America alone and that they can't be changed fast enough. Really? It doesn't have to happen overnight. If s*** hits the fan, lots of carpooling and less wasted trips will occur.

I've become somewhat on the other side now, because it's clear a lot of economic activity will be needed to transition out of oil . This means work, which means jobs.

I still do have some concerns though... Many suburbs probably will collapse if gas stays high. The distance allowed from a urban center to a suburban is definitely tied to the price of gas, and it's been cheap for a long time. Also, America is very vulnerable because we import so much, and if the dollar continues to decline, it may not be pretty.

 
At Monday, July 7, 2008 at 4:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger jose said...

wch, you are right.

Totally true that some suburbs will become economically non-viable. Like the US downtowns decay in the 80s in reverse, hardly Armaggedon.

Also true how doomers say it is impossible to change the US fleet to save petrol. Funny thing is that the US fleet WILL replace itself over... 5-10 years? If oil gets scary, those SUVs will change into small diesels or prius or bicycles, and if oil drops those SUVs will change into Hummer Mega Enormo. No big plans needed.

My point is that the world economy is headed for a major recession (like Japan has had for the past 15 years), but hiding in a hole with a big gun and lots of dried food is hardly the answer.

And that is why the "sheeple" think that Doomers are whackos and a cult.

 
At Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 5:15:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your assessment of the "powerdowners" had me laughing out loud, mostly because I know a couple and it's true: they almost get off on these apocalyptic scenarios. Anything you suggest that might at all ameliorate the forthcoming doom is quickly and condescendingly rejected -- out of hand. They are end-of-the-world dystopians, indeed, just another doomsday cult. No offense but I would rather check out of a future where I'm hand-tilling some rock bed plot of earth for a handful of organic carrots and washing my hemp homespun underwear in my own recycled urine. They love that "eventuality", though, and many have already headed off into the hills, reeking of self-righteousness and paranoia. I knew a few nuts who holed-up for Y2K. Funny, they don't mention it now, except with a twinge of psychotic regret that it didn't come to pass.

Oil is finite and will end. Undeniable. Living in Texas, I know quite a few people who make a very, very, very nice living managing global oil companies and they are making long-term investments in their careers and in their lives -- getting 30 year mortgages, planning for their kids' college funds, etc... They, better than anyone, know the realities of "peak oil" but know that there are many available energy options, when combined, can see us through the transition off of oil. Civilization is not going to collapse tomorrow. It is going to change, for ever, and some of it may not be a walk in the park, but it's hardly going to be cataclysmic.

Look around you. People who would never be described as green are being forced to cut back on energy use, if only because they don't want their entire paychecks going to gas for their cars. The mindset has already changed. When oil stops, we will not automatically revert to pre-petroleum society. There is too much technology out there, too much accustomed use and demand for that to happen. Do you really think the Stone Age was the apex of human potential in relation to this planet and its vast array of energy resources, most of which were not even considered until a few decades ago?

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 6:39:00 AM PDT, Blogger Stephen H said...

There seem to be two views expressed by the participants on this site. Those who feel that peak oil production is near are Doomers and revel in the thought we all going to die; and the Saved, who are relieved it’s not true, and don’t have to worry. While I tend to believe that peak oil will occur before 2020, I have adopted this point of view after eight years of studying the issue. It’s neither an impulsive reaction to a single dramatic piece nor is it a remnant of childhood traumas now manifesting themselves as the need to identify with a dramatic cause.

However, rather than a dialogue of “Your all Nuts” vs. “We’re are all going to die”, I would like to suggest a pragmatic approach to addressing a rapidly growing problem of what energy source will we use to power our society both now and in the future? To keep this post short, I will leave out footnotes and extended references. However, if you’re interested, send me an Email and I’ll be glad to discuss the situation with you in a calm and rational manner.

The one thing I have learned from looking at this issue for many years is just how hard it is to get a handle on the complete picture because there are sooo many moving parts. What I urge the readers of this and all the others blogs is to develop an analytical ear. That is, when you hear dumbed-down 9 second news sound bites like “Ethanol take more energy to make that it provides” (It doesn’t) or “Peak oil occurred in 2005” (It may have but we won’t know for sure for several years) or “There’s lots of oil left in the world” (there is, but can production keep up with demand?), file it with the realization that you don’t have the facts to tell whether its correct or not, and if it is, under what conditions? You need to know more.

Solving our energy problem requires the answers to two key questions:

1) When will peak oil occur, and ,
2) What will the drop-off rate in production be after the peak?

The reason is if Peak Oil is far off (after 2050), and the decline in oil production is slow (less than 2% per year), then there will be enough time for market forces to transform the US and the world’s economy to sustainable energy sources without a crisis.

On the opposite end, if it’s already occurred (2005) or will occur before 2050, and/or the drop-off is more than 2% per year, then as a society, we will need to take coordinated and focused actions to ensure there isn’t a crisis. The nature and severity of the actions will depend on the timing and severity of the drop-off in oil production.

The actions I urge the readers here to take are to continue to education yourself without taking sides in the debate. Critically analyze everything you learn, and repeatedly challenge your elected officials to answer the two above questions, research their answers, and then challenge them again. For example, if they say “Opening up off shore leases will solve our problems”, then ask “Yes, but oil industry estimates are that only 20% of US reserves are on the continental shelf, and the rest are on land”. How will drilling in the ocean for only 20% of what’s left help, especially when it will take 10 years get the first production on line (industry estimates too).

You can Email me if you are intersted SMH 740 at Gmail dot com

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 7:41:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The doomers are generally self indulgent narcissists, W. Gann said "Bears and Bulls are born that way". However there are facts to be had and if you think the current economic environment in commodity inflation and economic recession is another conspiracy then you are probably more mistaken than the doomers. I think the die off and us all going back to the fields is hysteria, but the peaking environment would cause a long slow grinding recession leading into depression, people will get by and the world system will adapt, but it will not be easy. Whatever free market systems are left will generate solutions, never underestimate the ingenuity of man, we landed on the moon nearly 40 years ago because we had to (unless you think that was a conspiracy too). Solving an energy problem, if peak oil is true might be the best thing to happen to mankind. Currently the entire planet economic system is predicated on energy, until that limit is removed we will always be petty, primitive hairless apes with cars.
So in conclusion you don't have to flip to the opposite and ignore the likely reality of peak oil, ignoring it is a foolish act. Believing in it is a perfect hedge, if you are right you prepared for it, if you were wrong, now you have even more energy and break reliance on oil. But if you ignore it and it's true you really are screwed.

 
At Monday, July 14, 2008 at 3:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger Baba McKensey said...

I actually enjoy seeing the lefties throw temper tantrums. It always weakens their case except maybe with the other temper tantrum throwers. I don't try to troll. Its the lefties who are the trolls and see me as a troll when I don't agree with them. Global warming catastrophism is a hoax and a scam to create world-wide communism. Its claimed that the earth warmed 0.6 degrees in one century. As a chemist with lots of experience with thermometers and thermocouples, I have doubts about the accuracy and meaning of this. In my area, there are temperature swings of at least 80 degrees between summer and winter and there's no disasters because of it. There's not enough water on earth to cover everything either. The peak of conventional oil isn't a problem. We have plenty of heavy oil, coal, oil sands and oil shale. All we need is the political will to use them and defeat the enviro-commies.

Vogelzang

 
At Monday, July 14, 2008 at 5:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i cant beleive people still discussing if peak oil is a myth or not, how much longer can you keep your head under the sand?

At 1950s EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) for oil(average for all oil production) was around 100 to 1.

Today its 5 to 1 and dropping

When it reach 1:1 , it doesnt matter what you call it ,what you beleive it or how fancy you defend against it, our civilisation will end ,its not doomcult morning prayer its mathematics.

Whenever an organism have an abundant amount of food/energy it increase in numbers and when that source is deplated it return to original numbers.

 
At Monday, July 14, 2008 at 5:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger taz said...

Hey, Anonymous, why don't you just drink a nice hot cup of STFU? "our civilisation will end" - And you say you're not a Doomer? Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells! Ass...

 
At Monday, July 14, 2008 at 6:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for insightful comment taz.

Forgive me because i am not intelligent enough to figure out how to feed our current population without agricultural machines, pesticide ,fertilizers and transportation.

I would also be grateful to you if you can enlighten me on subjects like clean water and healthcare system dependent %100 on oil.

 
At Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 7:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger taz said...

My only insight, Anon, is that you are only here to cry "Doom", and I called you on it. No system is "100% dependent" on anything, even oil. Have a little faith in human ingenuity and just plain common sense! If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, Troll.

 
At Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 3:15:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well even though i know it will be a waste of time to discuss with a person like you here i go:

I am only talking about food problem since we wont be able to live much longer without a constant food source and all other following problems wont matter.

First of all i dont understand your attitude and why you are trying to insult me ,am i breaking your pink glasses or something, please open your eyes and look at oil prices raising from 40$ to 150$ in 2 years ,look at american banks crumbling one by one ,do you understand what kind of fall we will take in few years when most american banks go bankrupt ,do you understand the effects of weak dollar and greedy idiots buying oil to compensate whenever dollar take a fall.

Most funny thing is your accusing me of beeing not part of solution when all you do is growling to me.

What did you do to become help to `ingenious humanity`?

Did you learn anything about home made agriculture , did you learn first aid ,do you know the basics of community organisation in case of an emergency?.

My dear taz ,do you understand that you are a part of that `ingenious human` population?

Who do you think will change this bad situation for you ,when all you do is sit and wait and hope to everything be allright?

But dont listen to me since im just a troll and evading your logical questions with insults.

 
At Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger taz said...

Anon, this will be the last time I dignify your ramblings with a reply, so listen up. Firstly, if you are insulted, it's only because you Doomers are so full of self-hate to begin with. Second, what do you know about me, what I do, or who I am? I happen to live a very energy-conscious, frugal lifestyle, and I am not a wearer of "pink glasses" as you put it. I am a realist - in that I look around and see a lot of people, including myself, who are working towards solutions to the problems facing our little planet. It certainly beats your approach. Your condescending attitude and narrow-mindedness are astounding. Oh, and your spelling and grammar both suck. Have a nice day! - taz

 
At Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 7:43:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see who is full of self-hate and anger..

English is my 3rd language sorry for my spelling and grammar errors ,also i strongly recommend you to take an anger menegament course for your own good.Have a good day.

 
At Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 3:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger WCH said...

I see little point in arguing with anyone, especially those so adamant and the response is basically "no, you fools, we've done the calculations and we assure you there is no hope." My post, and obviously this blog itself, is to point out the problems of doomers arguments to those who are just finding out about this and are not sure. Some of the arguments are persuasive, but on the balance I believe an extreme scenario is very unlikely. I can certainly see how running low on oil can reduce the overall standard of living for many, but very little oil is needed for food production and transport, and most if not all of that could be changed. Clearly we are not going to have jumbo jets flying across the oceans if it really came down to that much of a problem, then there would be plenty of oil even if it actually were needed for produce.

Sure, losing any industry would be challenging for the economy, but there are always challenges and transitions in the economy. Suddenly trains would likely become needed all across the country, for instance.

There is just sooo much room to change and reduce. For instance, meat is extremely energy intensive compared to vegetables, so maybe more and more people eat less and less meat.

There is something similar to the is/ought problem in doomer arguments. Basically, they are assuming that because oil is used for so many things, it has to be used for all of those things.

Also, production hasn't matched that curve without some very flexible plotting, and there is no reason to believe that such a simple model can predict the future production and decline of oil.

Again, I'm arguing that oilpocalypse/mass dieoff is not likely at all. Losing cheap oil may well make many things that are fun like having a personal automobile out of reach for a lot of people, so why not enjoy it while we got it?

 
At Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 7:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger taz said...

Well said, WCH, Bravo! I'm afraid my frustration with all the nay-sayers brings out my argumentative side at times, lol...taz

 
At Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 9:42:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole 'Peak Oil' argument in my opinion hides what is really the underlying problem. There are too many PEOPLE on the planet. Everything is at a premium these days - or getting there: (Oil, water, food, arable land...). It just seems to me that there is a limit to how many people this planet can support and we are getting there if not past it.

 
At Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 7:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are too many people, and that is why doomers predict a massive die off.

Honestly, I think we may already be seeing the starts of that in places like Africa and other places most impacted by global warming....the habitat is shriveling up and can't support the vast numbers of people...

Sad days.

 
At Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 10:48:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Errors over errors over errors.

1. Nuclear energy is a disgusting menace to everyone, that fact has nothing to do with "Hollywood". Chernobyl? Harrisburg? Forsmark? Thousands upon thousands of other accidents, explosions, poisoning and pollution? Are you JOKING?
We can't keep them working, nor safe. They are sitting ducks for attacks. They are running only because they are highly subsidized by a nuclear mafia. You can't finance them (unless you steal public money), you can't insure them, they produce massive CO2, we have no idea where to with the waste that is poisonous, radiating for thousands of years, already the first dump sites are poisoning the enviroment. And we're running out of uranium as well. You are absolutely ignorant.
2. You are absolutely ignorant about Marxism and Enviromentalism as well.
3. You completely forget that prophets of a collapse have enough other problems on their side that you seem to forget totally: Nuclear war, financial melt-down, the Greater Depression, pandemics, false-flag terrorism, biological weapons, population numbers, etc.
4. You argue that Aunt Tilly could stay unvisited once the energy gets scarce. That claim that adaptation would take place is so far from reality that I wonder where you live? On Mars? 100000 people starve to death each day, no adaptation. People starve in the US, but Aunt Tilly still gets visits and billions are still burnt to ashes, no adaptation. War crimes that cost 1,5 billions a day are fought when you could provide basic health care to every USan for that money for the whole year, no adaptation. You could feed the world with 0,1% on what is spent on illegal mass murder machines, no adaptation. WAKE UP! The elite is not trying their best to solve the problem, they ARE the problem, so stop resting your whole argument upon their action!
5. And so on...
You REALLY have to think a little harder and learn a thing or two about the things you annoyingly drivel about!

 
At Monday, July 28, 2008 at 9:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger Tyler Neill said...

Thanks for the post, Doctor.

I have had the same reservations about most forms of environmental alarmism. However, based on what little i've learned while exploring different ways of life that incorporate agrarian work (through "WWOOF" USA), i take issue with what here is called "agrarian utopia." Rather than allow any shift toward agrarianism to be taken to a utopian extreme, i'd prefer there to be room for both preservation of much or most of technological/industrial society AND more do-it-yourself food production, which goes a long way toward dealing with fossil fuel shortage.

Doctor Doom uses World War Two to demonstrate that an emergency could be dealt with by cutting back, although it wouldn't be fun. As an example of how dealing with a materials shortage might not be a entirely miserable exercise in belt-tightening, i'd like to suggest looking into the Victory Gardens of World War Two. Folks grew around 40% of America's produce in their backyards, and it was empowering, too. This was not about back-to-the-land utopia, so much as it was marshalling untapped agricultural and moral resources. Not everyone had to do it, but many voluntarily and happily did.

I'm optimistic, too, and i think we'll preserve valuable technologies (and the socioeconomic systems that depend on them) in one way or another. But having greatly removed myself from consumer culture, most modern amenities do seem superfluous to me. If it so happens that widespread ownership of iPods become untenable, i think the human race will be just fine.

What really matters is avoiding a lot of suffering when less affluent folks, who've never heard of an iPod, get caught in the crossfire of resource conflicts. Worrying about the "First World's" technological luxuries seems less appropriate to me in the greater context.

 
At Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 1:37:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the LATOC types are nothing new, it is simply the culture of death reinventing itself. They couldn't use reasoning and logic, so they resort to fearmongering.

"THERE MUST BE A KILL OFF OF ALL THESE USELESS EATERS" they say.

Where have we heard this before? The echoes are creepy.

 
At Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 4:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger Baba McKensey said...

I tried to log in to that temper tantrum throwing forum and was delighted to find that I hurt them bad enough to get myself banned. They can't stand the truth. It hurts them too badly knowing that they will fail because of their incompetence while more conservative people will succeed. There are plenty of substitutes for conventional oil which I posted links to on the forum. I was going to post this link http://www.rentechinc.com/ but discovered that I was banned. I saw the CEO on Kudlow & Company this week. He said they can make diesel for less money from natural gas and coal than from oil.

http://www.mightyrighty.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=27

Vogelzang

 
At Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 7:51:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God for your post. After stumbling on to LATOC, I have been freaking out doing research for the past week - and getting more panicky with each new Doomer discovery - on the peak oil problem.

This essay was the first (and thus far, the only) shining light in a sea of internet darkness. Thank you for preventing me from being brainwashed by a cult before it was too late!!!

 
At Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 6:11:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, so it makes sense to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

The way Doomers deliver the information is very depressing, but the reality is, much of their research is conservative in it's predictions, and factually accurate.

The reality is--our standard of living is going to change radically....with all of the catostrophic financial issues we face alone!! Get your financial houses in order, and at least be prepared to live lean...then just enjoy what you have while you have it!! Life is short, live it, and spend less time worrying.

 
At Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 9:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

You know there are lots of doomer type cults around, and it's interesting that a recent anon essentially said (paraphrased) "you forget that even if peak oil is wrong, prophets of a collapse have Nuclear war, financial melt-down, the Greater Depression, pandemics, " etc. What does that mean? We're doomed no matter what? It's hard to hide that we will all die some day, but it has to be a dramatic way that we all go at once? (Personally of all those, nuclear war is the one that used to keep me up at night, but not much I can do about it so I decided to say screw it.)

What really interested me though is why 'normal' (non cultish/conspiracy types) tend to get sucked into peak oil. I thought through it, and the reasoning I came up with is:

People who aren't aware of the concept of energy depletion are shocked when they become aware of it. The Doom talk is definitely based on some realities, and it's pretty easy to see that if oil declines in availabilty, the lifestyle of the car-driving public will change dramatically. It's possible that alternative energy will allow this to continue, but hardly a given. I think that's all pretty undeniable.

The problem for a newbie who hasn't learned much about this is that it's easy to get sucked into the Doomer extrapolations like on LATOC that we won't be able to grow enough food, etc, because it's all so dependent on oil.

So basically I'm suggesting that noobs get pulled in so readily because there is a strong grain of truth that they weren't ready for, and when they research it, most of the info on the net is "omg we're doomed" from the Doomer crowd. There is little rebuttal, aside from this blog which they may not find.

And it makes sense. During my brief panic, I was reading everything I could about peak oil, but when I thought through it and realized it wasn't likely to be much of a big deal, I almost completely lost interest in the subject and only drift by here from time to time out of curiousity. My interest level dropped about 99%+. There is little incentive for debunkers to debunk, which is why there is so little of it.

Also, there is a bit of a booby trap in the name "Peak Oil" which is referenced by this blog's title bar, in that the term is used to mean both a mathematical certainty AND an "OMG We're Doomed" platform.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 6:56:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like folks who have just read about Peak Oil and all the Mad Max and "DOOOMMM!!!" predictions at sites like LATOC are still hitting this post, so I want to point out a couple of things for them before they start trying to horde food and gas.

1.) Geological Peak Oil, as an actual concept, will happen. Oil is a finite resource, so yes, we'll reach Peak Oil at some point. Like others have already posted here, when that will happen is still anyone's guess. BUT, the doomers have said multiple times that we've ALREADY hit Peak Oil...and they've been wrong. Folks at the Doomer sites have been talking for some time about how we hit Peak Oil in 2005. Well, we apparently repeaked or something, since we hit a new peak of 87.8 million barrels per day in July of 2008. Point? Doomer predictions are often wrong. They've been saying that the Saudis peaked already, yet the Saudis just started pumping more oil recently to, what, 9.6 million barrels a day or something like that? Guess the doomers were wrong about that as well.

Doomers predict that we can't readjust demand curves to supply curves, and so the American economy/suburbia/whatever will fall apart. Point: Demand for gas in the U.S. is down, what, 4.3% or something like that, in the first 8 months of 2008. And there's plenty of room for more conservation. Where I live, in an American city of around 4.5 million, trucks and SUVs that average MAYBE 16 MPG are still about half of what's on the road, and I see plenty of idiots driving those at 80 on the freeway. We could seriously cut demand by just slowing down to the posted speed limits. We could cut it more by driving 55 MPH. We could cut it more by actually keeping the engine tuned up, the air filter changed, the oil changed and the tires inflated properly.

And as others have pointed out elsewhere, there are plenty of cars availble in large numbers NOW that get more than double the average US passenger fleet fuel economy...which means that if folks bought those and drove them, US passenger gas demand could drop in HALF. I kinda think that before Mad Max shows up at their doors, folks might actually be persuaded to do that.

Last Point: Peak Oil doomers are often wrong about the details, so those of you scared senseless by them, just breathe again and start calmly studying the problem. The problem is real, it may very well have serious economic affects, and the biggest thing that could be quickly accomplished to ease demand on oil CAN be accomplished by individuals (especially if you drive in the US)...keep your car maintained and drive sensibly.

Dr. Steel

 
At Monday, August 25, 2008 at 7:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another aspect relating to oil use is transport policy. People that drive are only paying 25% of the costs for roads directly. The rest of the funding for roads comes from income & property taxes.

If people had to pay even $1 for every mile that they drove, less gas would be burned and we would pay less taxes over all.

Big oil & big government go hand in hand with each other.

 
At Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Baba McKensey said...

http://co2sceptics.com/forum/

By Dr. William J.R. Alexander, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a former member of the United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters.
South African Scientist: 'Climate alarmist theory has collapsed' - Compares Climate Models to the Nigerian e-mail scams
Dr. Alexander’s Key Quote: “I have no more faith in global climate model (GCM) predictions than I have in all those emails from Nigeria advising me that I have won the Lotto, or those proposals from rich widows in Dubai who have just lost their husbands, or from the less frequent emails from my bank asking for details of my banking account. These GCMs are mathematical dinosaurs.”

Excerpt: These alarmist predictions have backfired. Environmental extremism, and now plain terrorism, is causing tremendous damage to the image of science. It is exacerbated by the failure of conscientious scientists to raise the alarm. Remaining silent is a deliberate decision for which they can be held accountable. […] Climate alarmist theory has collapsed. Where did they get it wrong? The answer is simple. They boarded the wrong vehicle (process models) and headed in the wrong direction (they ignored the road signs). To put it simply, their models replicate the complex atmospheric and oceanic processes and their interactions. For given input assumptions they produce a single set of outputs. The models are fundamentally incapable of detecting changes in these processes. This is why the IPCC has been in existence for 20 years. It has yet to produce statistically believable evidence of progressive climate changes in sub-continental Africa or elsewhere. The best that they can do is to produce model projections of unverifiable and therefore unchallengeable consequences. This is also why it has to resort to terrorist approaches based on mathematical models instead of an analysis of real world observations. It is intended to create media attention ahead of the Accra conference. The Royal Society adopted the same tactics ahead of the Nairobi conference two years ago. I have no more faith in global climate model (GCM) predictions than I have in all those emails from Nigeria advising me that I have won the Lotto, or those proposals from rich widows in Dubai who have just lost their husbands, or from the less frequent emails from my bank asking for details of my banking account. These GCMs are mathematical dinosaurs. Modern laptops are not only more efficient but they are more understandable. The public no longer have to rely on the edicts of the high priests with their questionable objectives and lack of real world knowledge and experiences. The model-based predictions of the inundation of parts of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula by rising sea levels are an example.

http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1724

 
At Friday, August 29, 2008 at 6:39:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I studied all of the same references shown in this blog as well as the scientific papers written in studies commissioned by the German Government, USGS and IEA.

It appears that your arguments are specious and uninformed. Also, re-examine your logic. There are ways out, but we must act to build an alternative energy infrastructure now!

Good luck with the blog but don't turn people away from the truth. We should be spending $500 billion per year for the next 10 years to be prepared.

 
At Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 7:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Libbie said...

I was actually losing sleep over the doomers' dogma. I am so glad I found this site. It's so logical and refreshing in a sea of frail dogma arguments.

My husband and I have decided that a better way to cope with our changing future than abandoning all modernity and becoming Doomers is to help teach those around us about smart and effective ways we can reduce our impact and support the alternative fuels that will carry us into the future culture where we can reduce our global population non-catastrophically. We plan to build a sustainable permaculture farm, not because we're afraid of Mad Max showing up at our door, but because we've both had a dream of sustainable farming since childhood and it would be the realization of a very sensible and admirable life-long goal.

This is the way to proceed into the future: Maturely and with an attempt to educate those around us in a realistic, non-fear-mongering manner.

Thank you for this blog - it has helped me to overcome the fear that was mongered.

 
At Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 2:39:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Frankie said...

WCHFILMS,

"There is little incentive for debunkers to debunk, which is why there is so little of it."

Bingo!

 
At Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 10:16:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After posting only once and reading the greetings of some of the PO.com nut jobs, I ran for my sanity! If all those clowns do is spend their hours spewing about how bad it's going to be, then they are indeed in trouble. One idiot, Cashmere, is especially pessimistic. According to him we're all going to die. Very little discourse about useful solutions seems to be discussed. I say let them wallow in their misery. As for me, I'll take the optimist's route and do something about it!

Bay Area Science Teacher

 
At Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 3:10:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Phil Atio said...

Awesome job. I only just stumbled upon your website; as coincidence would have it, however, there's a remarkably similar thesis, also very well-argued and closely reasoned, at the-thinking-man dot com. I hope purely for interest sake you'll allow me to post the link (there's nothing for sale, or anything like that); just more good data:

http://www.the-thinking-man.com/peak-oil.html

Keep on keeping on.

 
At Monday, September 8, 2008 at 11:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger R.J. Bullock said...

Something else that "Life After the Oil Crisis" overlooks: the cost of building a hydrogen car has dropped incredibly. From WikiPedia:

"Fuel cells are generally priced in USD/kW, and data is scarce regarding costs. Ballard Power Systems is virtually alone in publishing such data. Their 2005 figure was $73 USD/kW (based on high volume manufacturing estimates), which they said was on track to achieve the U.S. DoE's 2010 goal of $30 USD/kW. This would achieve closer parity with internal combustion engines for automotive applications, allowing a 100 kW fuel cell to be produced for $3000. 100 kW is about 134 hp.[9]"

We will achieve this goal! Huge advances have taken place in just a few years... the Cult of Doomers are wrong, wrong, wrong! Utopia is at hand but it won't require that we all live in the woods, grow our own food and read by candlelight.

 
At Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 8:56:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also felt sick to my stomach after watching "A Crude Awakening". But after some rational thought, I have come to the conclusion that humanity will adapt as oil fades as our main energy resource. Just with this last oil price spike, it was amazing to see how fast our society will change behavior when forced to do so. It was also interesting to see that the effect on the economy was not as dire as many predicted.

Mankind's ingenuity is the ultimate renewable resource and always has been.

 
At Monday, September 15, 2008 at 12:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU DEBUNKING FUCKTARDS NEED TO GET A CLUE! HAVE YOU EVEN BOTHERED TO CHECK THE NEWS?! ALL THE INVESTMENT BANKS ARE FALLING LIKE DOMINOES. WHERE IS THE MONEY FOR ALL THIS NEW ENERGY WIZGADGETRY GOING TO COME FROM? LEHMAN BROTHERS? BEAR STEARNS? WHO DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO INSURE THE PROJECTS? AIG? FAT CHANCE ON THAT. WHAT A BUNCH OF FUCKING ASSHATS ON THIS BLOG.

IDAHO SPUD FARMER

 
At Monday, September 15, 2008 at 3:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Frankie said...

I was planning on actually responding to your post but then I realized that your post does not even justify any type of intellectual response whatsoever.

 
At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 3:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger affert said...

"the cost of building a hydrogen car has dropped incredibly" ~quote from rj

I'm still not sure how quickly PO will happen, by which I mean I don't know if I'm a doomer or not.

However, building a cheap (or even free) hydrogen powered car today would not solve PO. At its heart, PO is about energy. Right now, about 50% of our total energy comes from oil. Having a cheap hydrogen cars only allows you to do personal transportation using electric energy rather than liquid fuel energy.

The advantage is you can produce electricity using methods other than burning oil.

But stating that "hydrogen cars are getting cheaper" therefore "PO won't cause widespread problems" is a false claim.

~~(completely different issue)~~

Coal:
The main article claims that coal reserves will last 250 years at current levels of consumption. This is contradicted by the World Coal Institute (http://www.worldcoal.org/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=100) which claims "over 130 years at current rates of production"

Is "at the current rates of production" a valid idea to base anything on? When was the last 5 year period where coal usage did not grow? Well, according to the DoE, it was 1960. When was the last time usage when down 2 years in a row? 1958. Only 30 years ago, we were using half as much coal as we are now.

So should we really bet our future plans about coal that coal use will suddenly flatten out at our current levels?

Go and watch the lecture about exponential growth by Dr Albert Bartlett. You can see it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY). The presentation is boring, but the topic is scary.

Overall, I'm encouraged by what I have read at this website. But it rubs me to wrong way to see bad thinking (regarding "250 years of coal") and makes me wonder what other bad thinking am I missing...

 
At Monday, October 27, 2008 at 11:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The doomers are so fond of statistics. They should pull up some of the numbers that rate the accuracy of huge world changing predictions of the future.

 
At Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 4:37:00 PM PST, Blogger steven said...

Funny that is all about who is right. The debunkers of the doomers themselves. But of course reality will lie somewhere in between.
We should also not discuss about peak oil (when oil production is at its peak), but about the time that demand at normal oil prices will surpass supply. That will increase the price of oil so much that we will get into a real recession.
Of course we have not created enough infrastructure for renewable resources at that time to fully being able to switch without a scratch. Mankind has alwasy been ad-hoc right?
The recession will probably be much bigger then the one we encounter at the moment. A recession or depression does only not mean the end of the world. It will just mean a real setback in economic development. Probably more wars and more starvation. (also giving climate change problems at the same time) But after a while things will settle, and we will go on with our economic and technological development.
How big this setback will be is only a matter of guessing. But people should get rid of the idea that we have only two options: end of humanity, or encountering no problems at all. Those thoughts are all very naive.
Econimic setbacks have happended in the past a lot, and also will happen in the future. This one will probably only be a real big one.
Then by the middle of this century we will ecounter the 'singularity' and we will have again other things to worry about.

 
At Monday, December 1, 2008 at 8:12:00 AM PST, Blogger gene said...

well peak oil went down now what. all the oil that was stored in tanks at cushing, oklahoma. some banks will have to eat., but they made a small bundle several bid B,s as the price went up. and O yes they had several million bls. in storage. not thousands. as we store clost to 100,000,000 bls here. the storage is owned by enbridge, bp. and semi crude. google,  CUSHING, OKLAHOMA OIL STORAGE. this is all i have to say now.    from the dumb okie.

 
At Monday, December 1, 2008 at 8:16:00 AM PST, Blogger Carl Carlson said...

"They know that most people won't willingly accept a return to centuries past, because most people are like me. We like our modern first-world lives!"

Beyond being in complete Peak Oil denial, you are making the classic mistake of confusing technology with energy.

"and you'll find Marxism dressed up in radical environmentalism."

Ahem, citation please?

Furthermore I object to the tags Doomer, Doomerist, etc. I am a firm believer in the scientifically proven and accepted theory of Peak Oil (like the theory of relativity) and am glad that Peak Oil willl force us to cease expanding our populations and economies.

I am an optomistic Peaknik and proud of it.

 
At Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 6:28:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD, you are a complete idiot

 
At Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 1:29:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you make of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 oil production figures? They seem to show a decrease in production? Why are you not saying that peak is now?

I so want to believe PO is not true but the doomsdayers have more facts/numbers behind them.

 
At Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 4:20:00 PM PST, Anonymous Carl Carlson said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "307. CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-DOOMER":

What do you make of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 oil production figures? They seem to show a decrease in production? Why are you not saying that peak is now?

I so want to believe PO is not true but the doomsdayers have more facts/numbers behind them.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Anon - JD is right on one thing, use a handle.

Thank goodness you are asking for data driven statements. Every time I ask a debunknik to prove that enough adequate alt.fuel options exist to maintain (even) current transport and agricultural requirements, I get no answer.

SO I'll ask again. JD and freaknik cultish followers: Please provide a model for maintaining JUST the present agricultural system's total [field cultivation, field irrigation, pesticide production, pesticide transport, pesticide application, fertilizer production, fertilizer transport, fertilizer aplication, etc] petroleum consumption with ALL moderatley realistic alt.fuel options.

I know - the Debunkniks won't. Too lazy to round up the data. Too easy to just poke fun at me for asking. But I like double triple dare you to try, I'd love to be proven wrong. With citations Puh-Leaze.

Anon - ask your self this. JD calls this the Peak Oil Debunked blog yet the second most popular content is 'The Solution to Peak Oil' post.

Apparently this site is for smart people that believe the theory of peak oil to be true (to some degree or another) but the probable socioeconomic ramifications of Peak Oil to be false. Big River Syndrome.

Essentially these folks are in the 3rd or Bargaining stage in the 5 stages of grief. They believe that Peak Oil is real but the consequences are overblown so they are 'bargaining' for a better outcome than ration and reason suggest is possible.

Hence the complete lack of data to support the orderly transition to business petty much as usual they universally expect but can not support with hard data.

Punching holes in PO theories is pretty easy. Building credible models for orderly transitions away from fossil fuels is most probably impossible so do not hold your breath looking for viable petroleum substitution models here or anywhere else.

BTW - stage 4 is depression (JD got there then hopped back to stage 3) and stage 5 is acceptance. Stage regression is completely common during grief acceptance.

BTW II - Being a Peaknik does not require being a doomer. Most Peakniks I know are pretty optomistic people trying to make the best of a incredibly grim data set.

BTW III - JD and crew will probably tire of me and ban me so they can go back to their SOMA...

 
At Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 5:43:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I registered a comment nick at the LATOC site and began posting, using links and showing where the severe doomers were without question, wrong in many of their statements. Case in point, everyday many particular posters, would predict that the market was going to crash that particular day. No amount of evidence was ample enough for them to change their views, not even considering that, day after day, the markets failed to crash as they had, just hours earlier predicted. I used the LATOC comment user nic (Nephilim) and was instantaniously attacked and then accused of attacking others, while being attacked by those accusing me of attacking others. Then they banned my statements by reducing the text to "Blah bla Blah blah blah bla" As late as yesterday (12/5/08) they pre market, predicted that the DOW/S&P/NAS would crash and yet the DOW was up 3.1% and the NAS up 4.4%at the close. The MOD,s and thread starters then proceed too wipe away all traces, by deleting the thread and begin all over again the next day.

I also had comments deleted over at TOD by a mod who accused me of anti-semitism in my posts. I asked politely for them to post a quote of the supposed anti-semitic comments I was accused too have made....no response.

The comment in question was exactly this, verbatim..."A semite is any person who speaks a semitic langauge, wears semitic dress, listens to semitic music, eats semitic cuisine and typically comes from a semitic culture, this means Palestinians, Morrocans, Lebanese, Arabs in general and a host of others."

In conclusion, Iam a doomer, in as much as, the PO movement has been taken over by a cabal of individuals who have a hidden agenda. They have and use many useful idiots as their foot soldiers.
Should any feel I have said too much or spoken too harshly, I havent said enough and actually have purposely not mentioned the names and nics of those who are guilty.

I end by saying "Doomer porn is tantamount to the sexual variety, it degrades the viewers and the actors, also the makers and distributors, but its the makers and distributors who profit and therefore the destructive cycle continues"

Nephilim.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 2:08:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephilim says;
I should clarify that, doomer porn is not the manner that Oily Cassandra or Kriscan utilise in their videos. Their employment of sexiness is modest and clearly is used to convey the Peak Oil message, using a humorous association, clever as it is, I applaud their efforts. They seem sharp and will no doubt, after having reflected a little, come too realise, that many in the Peak Oil community, use the occassion to "turn a buck".

This is exploited by Peak Oil charlatans, who utilise what is known as "doomer porn". Doomer porn is that which conveys too the readers base emotions, fear, urgency, sudden climax, for the only purpose of selling something. The doomer porn industry is exploited, to sell the "marks" "rubes" "suckers" packages of freeze dried foods, preps, perpetual motion energy machines.....and books.

Its all hype (Not peak oil) all side show and all for profit. Doomer porn is as destructive to soceity as is its cousin. Not only in its greed but in its distraction, also in its distraction and in its waste of precious time.

The typical peak oil Pornogragher promotes a smut that induces an urgencey to purchase worthless crap, have their audiences heads filled with useless and destructive thoughts. The peak oil Pornogragher preys on a persons natural and base emotions, for profit.

I am Gary Nephilim Gelormino, Seven Hills Ohio, 44131

 
At Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 6:16:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just started reading about peak oil and I watched a youtube video called "The most important video you'll ever see" by a physics professor.

It seems that he addresses the things that you speak of in this article (especially the amount of coal being used "at the current rate") which in the light of population growth is much, much less than you state.

Right now I'm believing him, but I'll continue reading more at your site and maybe I'll change my mind.

 
At Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 2:30:00 PM PST, Anonymous Steve said...

Interesting viewpoint. Yet it did not really convince me. Thanks any way for your comments and opinions, i guess you are entitled to them despite the evidence to the contrary. ;-)

 
At Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 12:23:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both sides can be over-emphasized and dogmatic.

Peak Oil side. All is lost and we are doomed to a dieoff. This is based on all raw materials and energy resources being used at a finite rate. The Fossil fuel battery is the term I'd like to call this. Ore and fossil fuels being stored in a battery of wealth. Everyone admits there are limits and of course there is recycling that takes energy as well.

The Peak Oil crowd I have found and dabble with as a peak oil doomer (a measured doomer as well) on the LATOC boards have some interesting points, but these are mostly against the macro-economic and large scale use of energy resources that seem to be unsustainable. The Hockey stick curves and huge uses of energy due to population growth, fuel growth and credit bubble growth and spending, see "The Crash Coarse - by Chris Martenson" (do a google), to see this. Explains peak oil ramifications and economic ramifications in a more sane approach.

There is a definite appeal to doom and doomer negative types that peak oil has. As with any bad news a doomer is drawn to peak oil as one of many conspiracy or factual based theories. We know that eventually the sun will burn itself out, so an obsessed doomer could worry about that. We know that the earths magnetic field is decaying. How long before the magnetosphere disappears and we are cooked with Cosmic rays? Probably to far in the future to worry about. We may have global warming, which peak oil solves by the way. The globe may warm up 3 to 5 degrees in the next 100 years or so, but if peak oil early or mid theories are correct, then much of that will be resolved when the world runs out of oil, natural gas, and coal. So eventually all these things will equalize out.

I like to think of peak oil as a possible problem, and give it a weighted chance of happening. For example if the world has as much oil as Ambiotic conspiracy oil thinkers post. In other words there's as much oil in Asia in the Former Soviet Union as Saudi Arabia and Alaska has as much oil as Saudi Arabia, then we have perhaps 100 years of oil. The positive we have plenty of oil and energy crowd, but it's some kind of "oil company conspiracy" who make up the majority of the US public believes all oil crisis are man-made or the result of oil sheiks, oil companies and insiders holding oil production down and inflating prices via. oil futures trading. Which was a theory most recently put out by the Republicans.

So to get back to my weighed chances theory we have different peak oil curves. I'll describe them in a few quick points, with probably several variations which are available between them.

1. Ambiotic oil. Never run out. The oil itself is renewable based on carbon (which never peaks) being crushed by the tektonic plates. These create natural gas that has micro-organisms deep in the earth that fix the gas into oil byproducts. Thus oil renews itself and fields renew. These conspiracy theorists feel that old oil fields are held by companies, because the fields will refill and become productive again. I'd give this a 1% chance of being reality.

2. Ambiotic oil or creation of oil by creation. Meaning oil was created as a resource and is not a fossil fuel. Oil is something that is a part of the store of creation, it can be called a fossil fuel, but it's not really a result of stored fossils being crushed and creating oil eventually. (This is creation dogma.) I'm not going to worry about putting a percentage of truth or falsehood on this, because it doesn't affect the peak oil argument at all. Whether God created oil or fossils did is not a matter of debate, because in both cases we don't have new creation of new oil. In Genesis God rested and isn't in the normal business of creating new oil, unless your an Ambiotic tecktonic plate renewable dogma believer. So this point is not relevant to peak oil.

3. Peak oil late crash. We have 30 or more years before hitting peak. This is the view held by most oil companies, as demonstrated by their quotes of 3 trillion recoverable and we've only burned through 1 trillion in the past 130 years. But we will (barring world wide depression) burn through 1 trillion the next 30 years. These see peak as actually not happening until perhaps 20 years from now.

30% chance they are right (my estimate)

4. Early peak oil predictors. (Peak oil was either 2005 or July 2008). It seems they have modified their predictions based on huge amounts of output. These have a few flaws in their arguments. One flaw is they admit that at times oil companies will underestimate a field to pay less taxes. That is happens and makes oil finds appear smaller than they actually are. This is a minor point they admit in some rare posts, but overall they feel that the Saudi's and most middle eastern companies are lying and overestimating their reserves and did this for aid purposes. So BP drilling off the coast of some Western country would underestimate a find, but the Saudi's inflated it. They go into a lot of discussion and speculation as to how much oil is in a field and point out that these are estimates.

The Matt Simmons interview about the IEA is a classic example and he quotes 9% depletion without all out drill baby drill efforts and 6.1% depletion rates even with an all out effort. This is from the IEA report.

(40% chance this is right, my estimate)

The quote that we need the equivalent finds of what is in Saudi Arabia to come online every 18 months due to a 9% decline rate, just to stay at July 08 figures is very disheartening.

The Post Carbon Institute assessment (which I'd admit sounds an awful lot like a Marxist dream scenario) is that we have to run away from energy usage as much as possible and get into doing things like going full out for light rail, and organic farming getting 50 million people in this country to move to small organic farms ASAP. It's really odd, that when you see the results of a oil supply shock that they predict due to the fall of the dollar, they want to rush to a solution that gets rid of industrial farming to save 25% of the energy and move 50 million to the countryside, while leaving the cars at first and of course the cutbacks would transition to rail. There are four basic 25% energy uses for oil and energy in the USA, personal transportation, industry, farming and home heating/cooling. If the dollar fails as many on the economic forums predict in the LATOC (myself included) we could lose 50% of the energy we import easily next year all of a sudden. Because the US dollar would cease to be the oil currency and the USA would slip into hyper-inflation and forced isolation (or war.)

This would mean we'd have to cut two of the four basic energy using items from our list : cars/transportation, industrial farming, home heating/cooling, industry. Pick any two from the list. Post Carbon institute apparently picks Industry and farming from the list and wants us to drive and build railroads and go to the farm life. This is the same as the Chinese Cultural revolution and as a solution which probably comes from, "local eco-logical and organic solutions being emphasized" seems Marxist. I feel that is ridiculous. But if the US dollar fails (like Icelands currency) we will see possibly a cutback of 50% of our energy usage in 2009 or 2010. Likely sometime in 2009. This means we'd have to have immediate cuts. But with the economic grid and debt needed to be serviced, we need GNP output. It's far easier to shut off the gas pumps and stop electricity and heating going to the homes, than to transition to organic farming. So I'd bet that we'd lose, personal transportation and home heating/cooling first. So in my own little 'Nightmare" scenario, in order to preserve the GNP output of farming and industrial production, we'd need to sleep in an unheated and uncooled house and walk to work. We'd rather have soup lines we'd walk to than drive and starve. And the Post Carbon Institutes solution is very much like the "How Cuba dealt with the Peak Oil Crisis" video. Or more precisely how African leaders deal with throwing white farmers off the land, and get rid of corporate farming operations. Then put the new squatters on the soil, and as they cannot farm, the entire country starves. This happens in Africa all the time. So the Post Carbon Institutes solution to power down and I heard it first hand at the 2008 Peak Oil Conference in Michigan is akin to the Communist Chinese move to collective (small family in our case) farming on organic farms. This would cause a massive shift in population and would also cause a huge expense in building houses on the new "split up" farms which were corporate and used large tractors but these would sit as farmers on 160 acres or less would be subsidized for the family organic farm. They admit that it would take 3 to 5 years for soil to be usable for organic. So I guess we'd all have to starve for those 3 to 5 years and perhaps that dieoff in the USA could be seen as some kind of repayment for our past deeds. But this is just my speculation.

In a compartmentalized point of view at times, they appear to be sane and make some interesting and out of the box thoughts. But it's a weird mix of fringe folks on the cutting edge of their own little studies and habits. You have organic farmers, old hippies, back to earth drop outs from the 70s, new age witch types, some average doomers, computer programmers a whole slew of folks. But the overall "solution" isn't one that is known. A lot of unfocused thought with perhaps 10% thought toward a solution and it's being paraded as some kind of fully realized solution. The threats from their half baked ideas is as bad as peak oil itself.

However there is some good information to be had from it all and some really good figures as well. For instance there's a 2000 watt footprint for ecologically sustainable housing. In other words if you can heat and cool your house using 1000 watts for heating/cooling and the other 1000 for appliances per day, your within your ecological footprint. This is good information and useful as a goal for small footprint living.

I'd say the early peak oil theorists still have the arguments won with the current IEA figures and report. To me the evidence weighs in their favor. If they were purely dogmatic and rabid as this site seems to think, then they'd say the current economic recession and soon to come depression was caused by Peak Oil. But they don't say that. They had a panel talk about the economic bubble and basically they stated that high prices might have been a small part, but this recession didn't even happen as a result of peak oil. Which is actually fairly scary when you think about it. We are entering a Great Depression which is greater than the 1930 depression and most people are in denial about this. Most of the press is behind the Peak Oil and other doomer boards, but the mainstream press is only 2 months behind the Peak Oil economic shrills. The mainstream press therefore is simply in denial and waking up 2 months after the LATOC economic forum doom predictions. It would seem that the supply destruction due to the economic problems will hurt future production even more, because it will limit the infrastructure. There are two reasons for peak. One based on Geology and the other based on infrastructure. If you lose either one your in for a rough ride. Right now the infrastructure is threatened because of insurance costs, low oil prices and the lack of demand of oil. The temporary glut and backlog of oil, there has been a backlog since refineries were shut down due to Texas hurricanes in the Golf. We see that a huge glut of oil has entered the supply system and hasn't been refined and that backlog hasn't been depleted because people aren't driving and just couldn't for a while. As depression and recession shocks hit the economy, which is a different problem, it lowers oil usage.

But as other economies adapt, China and India. If they continue to grow their economy internally and produce and create more vehicles, the overall load of vehicles in the road in the world will increase and continue. This causes the demand for oil to increase. The early peak oil theorists have said oil will go back and blast through $147 a barrel rates like a hot knife through butter. The only thing we need to know or ask is will global demand increase and outstrip production. It looks like it will, so prices are bound to rise. I'm afraid that in spite of the lack of "solutions" from the early peak camp, they are making the correct identification of the problem. I'd give the early peak oil doom predictions a 40% chance at being true, which is a pretty big chance.

Now I have seen the cry wolf scenario as a matter of fact the world was running out of oil in 1914 and in 1974 etc. There have always been those who cried wolf and caused panic. That is to be expected. This doesn't mean all their facts are wrong, or that the wolf or bear isn't coming to town eventually. We have been so afraid of being wrong and so used to our modern civilization (the machine) that we cannot imagine a world without cheap oil. We try to figure out a substitute. But looking at the massive mix, and the amount of oil and BTU from a global perspective, there is no one answer for the replacement of oil. There are many approaches and moves we must make. A Honda Civic would take about 70hp average to drive it around town. That's the equivalent of having 700 rickshaw pullers or slaves pull me around town in a Honda Civic to buy groceries or travel to the coffeehouse.

It's simple not sustainable. When you try to point this out at a local level, people in the west react out of fear and of course our own lifestyle. We don't want to be poor, but we are all rich in the USA. We each use the equivalent of 100 slaves a day every day in BTU energy. If we wanted to go green and get back to slavery and had slaves that didn't even eat we could not do it. Let's take a billion Chinese, make them slaves and have each US citizen get 4 of them. That's still a cutback in BTU energy. Can you see how rich we are in the USA.

I was chatting with one guy for a short time at the Peak Oil conference who was a college professor from Canada. He mentioned peak oil is caused by the top 20% richest in the world, and not the 80% lowest in poverty. He said Peak Oil isn't even a problem for those bottom 80% because they are already sustainable. I thought that was very interesting, but also not exactly true, if they are getting food from the "green revolution" or aid from the top 20% - modern technology.

Conclusions: The next 30 years we'll use as much energy as the last 130. This means a compression of wealth and GNP will also be much greater and more opportunity in the next 30 years. However our population will be greater and we'll have challenges. This is based on the Big oil predictions of energy usage and Energy usage equals GNP.

What we do with this energy us up in the air. The hard core NEO-CONS want war, elites and mass confusion as they try to keep the party going. The eco-peak extremists dream of bambi worlds that end up looking a lot more like the Cambodian killing fields, with humans killing each other in eco farms as they starve and the eventual come back of nature (if it lasts) and bambi returns to the forest over the deaths of most of the worlds population. A green revolution without man, as some think we will all just be extinct. Both these solutions are obviously far extremes and won't happen.

The Peak Oil folks have some things right, but the neo-con elitists have control and will manipulate others through wars and division and lies to maintain control. This is evidenced by history. What does America due when it needs resources? What have we done and what does every imperial power or empire do? They always march off and get it by force. I agree with all camps in a sense without going to far toward any extreme.

I think we need to look at these things as "probabilities" of what might happen and how to deal with it "personally for yourself" if your an optimistic-selfish survivalist. And village wise and on upward if your more social in your values and outlook. This means start with what you can control, your own energy footprint. And work up from there.

Some of my predictions based on thinking along the lines of early peak being right are pretty doom like. I recently mentioned in a post on LATOC forum that I think the next Great Depression of 2009 will be our last Depression, because we are not going to get out of this one. There will be no recovery. Whether by design or a perfect storm of greed, the damage is to great. Even if it's a planned conspiracy, it's out of control now and I don't think we have much of a chance of getting out of it. I have about a 50% chance given to this being the case and that's why I mention it. In doom boards, but not to everyone all the time. Just as a high possibility. I feel there's a very good chance that the Great Depression we see will be as bad as the 1930s but with globalization, peak oil and other factors added in, it will be something that the USA will not pull out of as an economic cycle. It will be the end of the American Empire and as such will be a disaster as far as peace and stability are concerned. Because everyone will want to take advantage of it, and even the USA will resist it's own decline.

I felt before the election that our solutions were at either extreme 10 vietnam type conflicts with McCain or Cultural Revolution with Obama. Of course these are the most extreme examples of the bad thinking of both side. It seems that Obama will try to rule from the Center (of the Clinton party). Which might be good, but might be bad as he seems to be wishy washy and doesn't seem to be very smart on his feet. He seems to just listen and come up with some kind of group theory which isn't often thought out and to easily influenced by fringes on any side. The Peak Oil guys at the conference suggested some truly epic changes that they would tell Obama if they had a chance. I think it would be a disaster if he listened to them and did those things.

5. Technology will save us crowd.

The interesting thing about the Peak Oil denying crowd however is they are also dogmatic in believing that they will have some kind of wonder-technology thing solve the entire problem. The scale of the problem is immense and they think a lot of small fractional solutions will add up to the sum solution. Essentially that "Technology = energy" which is the dream of a technocrat. I've seen this post on some forums. And technology does not equal energy. Technology uses energy as a base and can be efficient. If your looking for a replacement of some massive loss of energy let's get rid of the designator for a moment and just say the loss of energy is equal to 100. If you lose 100 units of energy worldwide and the solution is to add some small solutions, let's say 4, 2, 7, and 1. And you can from your small scale of thinking and focus choose one of them lets take the number 4 (being solar) and say, this can replace the other energy, yes it can replace 4 units of it, but not 100 units. The "solutions together", in this example 4+2+7+1 = 14. The 14 may be energy and savings, but it doesn't replace the 100 you lose. That is the conclusion I see when I look at the numbers. I think that is what Matt on the LATOC is saying but he does seem to emphasize doom a little more. Matt isn't making some killing or huge profit off his site either. He's actually trying to unload it, because it's not a money maker and he spends to much time on it. So the argument that the LATOC types are in it for the money is wrong, they are true believers.

I'm not saying they are not dogmatic. But the solutions that the energy and our gut reaction as US citizens come to is, "somebody will save us?" We need a good invention. That is looking to stop a school buss with a pebble. The "solutions" and green solving pushed out by most companies is a hype and ad campaign. Examples are everywhere. They are green as a show, but not serious. We need people to get serious about conservation and change. But if they won't be at least the LATOC who believe in Peak, will be ahead of the curve and possible change their own energy footprint to be smaller. And smaller is good, because it saves you money in the long run. Don't think of it as energy saved, think of it as dollars saved.

The Peak Oil crowd are lost in the energy numbers. There are problems related to this problem that are larger in scope and nature and cannot be addressed with a solution. If you want a solution, Peak Oil is not about a problem with a solution. It's saying this problem is reality, it's happening, it's going to happen. And some may survive or thrive from it. It's up to you do decide if you will do anything about it for your own benefit. The longer you wait, the more chance you'll be frozen without choices.

And peak will effect everyone. Those on the lowest using the least will in theory have the best chance at surviving, with coping skills. But those on the top will likely push them off the table and take what they have which is what happens at a national level with group competition which favors high use of energy and high technology. So it's a catch 22 of sorts. And unsolvable problem that leads to war, famine and misery. I'm not saying peak oil is true because I like doom, or because I think I can stop it. It's either true or it's false. From my own background I admit I'm open to doom type thoughts and discussion on that, because I have heard alot about end time "bible prophesy" doom subjects like end time wars, the anti-Christ, etc.

So I'm able to easily discuss these things as possibilities and look at them as a "probability" of events happening. Most people will insure their house if they have a 5% chance of fire happening. But they won't consider what to do if Peak Oil happened in the next 15 years. They would rather let the government figure it out, and what have they done for you lately? (Except bail out a few rich bankers.)

Greg

ID = ATOMICAT on LATOC

 
At Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 6:38:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg:
Medicine has always had and still has "snake oil" salesmen. Finacial circles have always had and still have "Bernie Madoff's" and ponzi schemes.

Does this imply that medicine or investing doesn't have a leg to stand on or isn't something to take serious ? Of course it doesn't.

I'am simply stating and showing that the peak oil community has been infested with a huge number of charlatans, not unlike the pests that are parasitic and eat your stored foods on your peak oil doomer shelf.

These charlatans are using peak oil to sell you crap. Space blankets, strike anywhere matches....etc etc etc.

They are as interested in society sustainability as I am with NASCAR...which is zero, zilch, nada, bumpkis.

Sure society is going to change, when hasn't it ? When Henry Ford mass produced the auto, many said it wouldn't be popular. When Bell took his telephone to AT&T they told him "We really don't see a use for it...thanks for stoppin by though"

Most Americans mistakenly believe that Einstein invented the A-Bomb. So its easy for a "carny" peak oil barker to fleece the suckers....err, I mean "customers".

The people trying to get Americans to consume more and use psychology of fear, need, your gonna die if you don't hurry and buy, sale ends tomorrow, going out of business sale, don't wait, call now, hurry...time is limited, act now, ARE PEAK OIL DOOMERS !

They even admit freely they love peak oil "porn".

Its like a used car salesman who loves the colored ballons and flags all around the used car parking lot. Any casual perusal of LATOC shows doomer porn and the words doomer porn are all the rage there. I suppose thats why you made a 22 inch long post in a feeble attempt to wash away my previous post.

Don't worry Greg, the fair always has plenty of chumps....err...i mean customers, walking down the midway, ready to lose their paychecks..."Hey...wanna win a teddy bear for your love affair" ....."Win a snake for your date here"..."One fur a nickle...six for a quarter...win yourself a COLA"

Me ?....Iam just here for the Gypsy girl, she's givin me the come hither look, I wonder what gas milage they get in that Silver eagle bus out back of the game joints ?

Nephilim

 
At Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 5:42:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refer to IPCC, formed from over 1,000 respected scientists from around the globe, all measuring resources & the effects of global warming in different ways, and who ALL agree on this: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-spm.pdf

Then watch this:
http://www.wakeupfreakout.org/film/tipping.html
which is created around the IPCC predictions.

Or just waffle your independant unqualified opinions at each other a bit more.

Mikey Boy UK

 
At Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 1:32:00 PM PST, Anonymous Neven said...

I learned about Peak Oil about 2 years ago. Then I read the text above (confessions of an ex-doomer) and I let the whole subject rest, thinking the truth would lie somewhere in the middle.

However, lately I've been reading some more on Jeff Vail's blog and the questioneverything blog of George Mobus. Those blogs aren't only about PO, but about many other aspects (basic human psychology, the inherent flaw of economic growth, financial bubbles etc). It has convinced me that collapse is practically inevitable, mainly because there are too many people who wouldn't want to avert it even if they had been convinced there's a cocktail of extremely dangerous and unpredictable ingredients that will be served sooner or later.

And that's the flaw of your piece, JD. It is just about Peak Oil, and not PO combined with financial/economic bubbles (which appear to be huge), climate change (which is developing faster than predicted and might be nearing a tipping point) and the fact that you have this enormous mass of people that have been conditioned all their lives to produce and consume and have unwavering faith in the system.

So, thanks for making me realize this a year later than I would have if I hadn't read your text, JD. Silly me, should've known better.

From now on consider me a powerdowner, with Internet at the core of a sustainable society that lives in harmony with its natural habitat instead of constantly divorcing itself from it. That's what I'll work for the coming years.

 
At Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 4:59:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. 12 weeks ago I came across a blog http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse that had what it called "a course about the economy". In light of the recent collapse in the stock market, I wanted to expand my understanding about the world economic system to try to get a grasp of what was transcurring.
What I found was a critique of the US monetary system, predicting its demise and a presentation about Peak Oil. Until then, I had not heard that term before. The way Martenson described the aftermath of PO scared me so much, that I cried for the future of my children. I could not sleep well for a week. And I even though of moving to an oil independent country. My first reaction when I finished the presentation in Martenson's site was to become a member. He offered a 30 dollar a month access to his newsletter and his blog. Hell I thought, I need to be in this guy's inner circle. So I paid the 30 bucks. THen I received my first newsletter, then the second, and then, I started to ignore them as I was to overwhelmed with bad news, articles about doomsday, and post from Marterson followers, who meet up regularly to promote their end of days scenario.

I had lost all hope until I found your blog. I love you Mr. Doom. You saved my life.

 
At Monday, March 9, 2009 at 7:46:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon,

"I had lost all hope until I found your blog. I love you Mr. Doom. You saved my life."

So you place more worth on the word of JD than on the work of the vast majority of the scientific community?

Darwin will be calling on you first.

Podnaught

 
At Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 8:22:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the Peak Oil doom meme has expanded to become the "Peak Credit Crises, suscribe to our newsletter!" meme. Let me quote a recent poster:

"My first reaction when I finished the presentation in Martenson's site was to become a member. He offered a 30 dollar a month access to his newsletter and his blog. Hell I thought, I need to be in this guy's inner circle. So I paid the 30 bucks. THen I received my first newsletter, then the second, and then, I started to ignore them as I was to overwhelmed with bad news, articles about doomsday, and post from Marterson followers, who meet up regularly to promote their end of days scenario.

I had lost all hope until I found your blog. I love you Mr. Doom. You saved my life."

OK, so these guys get you depressed as hell, then sell you a $30 per month membership? Slick, wish I had thought of that scam, I'd never need to work again.

To quote another recent doomer:

"Anon,

"I had lost all hope until I found your blog. I love you Mr. Doom. You saved my life."

So you place more worth on the word of JD than on the work of the vast majority of the scientific community?

Darwin will be calling on you first.

Podnaught"

So, Podnaught, this Chris Martenson guy, who's selling $30 per month memberships to his doomer sit-in, represents the vast majority of the scientific community? Really, who'd thunk it?

As for the people who rant about how we're all going to die off because we're all going to suddenly run out of oil (really? and I thought that Peak Oil was the "Long Emergency"...silly me) and can't transport food or whatever.

Let me introduce you to the amazing new diesel-electric hybrid technology that's more than 3 times as fuel efficient for moving goods as long-haul diesel trucks...except that it's not new at all, and it's already available:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/diesel-locomotive.htm

By the way, American rail currently moves a little more than 40% of US freight, and this could definitely be expanded.

To all of the folks who may be reading this stuff for the first time, before you give Chris $30 and start contemplating how you and your 2 kids are going to all die, consider what Peak Oil actually argues:

1.) Global oil production will reach a geologically imposed peak, then decline. Not suddenly, but at a few precentage points a year.

Now, many peakers have said that demand for oil is inelastic. And the US currently uses 25% of ALL the oil consumed in the world, so our demand has a huge effect on overall demand and supply. However, our demand is shrinking, and its effects are correspondingly enormous:

"According to the American Petroleum Institute, demand for oil in the U.S. in 2008 has declined by 6% to 19.4m barrels/day. That's like going back to 2003. "Gasoline deliveries dropped 3.3 percent to their lowest levels in five years. Deliveries of distillate fuel oil, which includes diesel fuel, fell 5.8 percent, while jet fuel deliveries slid 6.1 percent. Residual fuel oil deliveries dropped more than 14 percent."

“All told, the magnitude of the drop in U.S. petroleum demand, which totaled more than 1.2 million barrels per day, was enough to offset the continued demand gains in developing countries around the world,” said API statistics manager Ron Planting."


Honestly people. Peak Oil is a problem of demand curves matching supply curves. And we've already seen that without the great die-off, the demand curve CAN in decrease.

Really, doomers need to lighten up. "Darwin will be calling on you first." Darwin's not calling on anyone, folks. At least not over Peak Oil.

 
At Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 1:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous amy said...

Whoa guys,
I think ya'll ought to go out and smell the roses a little more. Oil will go away, it's NON-renewable, who cares when the peak is, or who thinks what? Let the doomers ride their bummers, if it wasn't peak oil it would be some other damn thing, because unhappy people need something to justify their existance. Don't be unhappy about the unhappy ones, because that is just silly. Oil is a mess to take out of the ground, causes pollution when processed or used in any way and frankly unnecessary for living a good life. Do your part to reduce and advocate and let go of what you can't control. Nuclear power? Ridiculous. How do you reconcile creating waste that is toxic for generations beyond imagination? Not to mention non-renewability issues. Anyway, I say get off the blogs and get some fresh air while you can.

PS. The earth was born and so it shall die, no matter what anyone does. Enjoy it, serve it, be happy.

Amy Hutto
Accidental Blogger
Santa Rosa
California
Because everyone is entitled to my opinion too.

 
At Monday, April 6, 2009 at 10:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Classical Liberal said...

I believe in peak oil, but I also hold out hope that we will develop the necessary technologies to prevent it as well, but it still scares the crap out of me. And I don't really see how this essay debunks it at all.

The essay talks about getting rid of meat and big vehicles if we have to, well that's pretty much gradually eliminating much of modern civilization if everyone has to switch to eating soybeans and driving rollerskates. What else will come??

All it really is saying is that peak oil will happen, but the world won't end. Correct, but our standard of living will drop, and government will get lots of ability to expand its power base enormously.

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 2:17:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Greg,
Well thought out conclusions and I agree with you.
We are using 100 units of energy right now and all the other solutions will add up to say 14 units.
So you say that means we're doomed, right? Wrong.
In the USA 13 million barrels are used for personal transportation.
Another 3 are used for trucks and another 2 are used for airlines. 2 is used for agricultural transportation The rest is used for industry.
North America produces about 14 million barrels per year and uses 22. 8 is imported from outside.
5 is relatively stable (comes from oil sands).
Technically speaking, the entire fleet of personal transportation could theoretically be swapped out for electric vehicles. Since electric vehicles are 4X as efficient as gasoline vehicles that means we only need to find 13/4 = 3.25 million barrels. Most truck freight could be put onto electrified rail which is even more efficient (8X) than trucks. So for the trucks we need 3/8=0.375 million barrels. Airlines are frivolity which we don't really need, so let's kiss them goodbye, OK? No dieoff there but we can live without them. For agrilculture we can swap it out entirely for either electric transport or else diesel transport modded to take ammonia, of which we have plenty and can be made from air and electricity.
So for personal transportation, agriculture and truck transport we need a whopping 3.25+0.375=3.625 million barrels per day. Do you think we can manage that without a big dieoff?

DB

 
At Friday, April 10, 2009 at 7:44:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classical Liberal,

I very much understand how Peak Oil scares you, it scared the snot out of me when I first ran into it on the web in 2005.

I'll first point out that in 2005 all the "Peak" sites said that we had already hit peak in 2005, and would see the horrible effects of declining oil production meeting inelastic demand within a couple of years. Well, it's 2009, we exceeded the 2005 peak in 2008. We have an oil glut, we've been very definitely shown that demand for oil is NOT inelastic, and the crisis we're confronting now is not because of geological peak oil, but because of peak mortgage lender/banker/wall street stupidity.

Like you, I hope that technology will advance that can deal with declining oil production when it occurs. For that matter, I want that technology to hurry up and get here now, not to deal with declining oil supply, but because plug-in electric hybrid cars would be a lot CLEANER.

I don't think that it will be necessary to eliminate much of modern civilization. As you know, peak oil is about oil supply curves matching demand curves. Lets first assume that when oil supplies tighten up again, that folks will reduce their descretionary driving some. OK, what about the NON-descretionary driving?

Let me give you a simple example based on my own experience. I live in a major metropolian area of 4.5 million people. This part of the country is seriously into trucks and SUVs...it's about 60% of them out there. And people drive these things around the highways at like 75, 80 mph.

Let's not even look at taking some guy out of his F150 and sticking him in a hybrid...or even my beat up old Ford escort, which gets twice the milage of his F150. Lets just look at what happens when this guy stops driving at 75 and starts driving at 55 (cause gas is so high and Peak Oil is here). He drops his gas consumption by over 23%. If he keeps his truck tuned up and his tires properly inflated, he can save at least another 7%. That makes a 30% reduction in gas consumption by the very vehicles that are consuming the MOST gas.

In other words, you save a lot more gas with a 30% reduction in the gas burned per year in a truck/SUV that burns 1400 gallons per year, than you do in a car that burns 700 gallons per year.

This is with no new technology. This is with no new purchases by this guy. This is achievable now by getting this guy to slow the heck down. Which can be done if gas goes up to above $4 a gallon (which it would if oil got tight) and by having state troopers pull more of these guys over :)

There are efficiency savings like this all over. And plug-in hybrid electrics become a game changer. In a serial-hybrid, instead of burning gas when you're in a traffic jam on the way home from work, your electric motor is only powering your AC and your radio. If the car's barely moving, the electric motor is barely pulling current. If juice gets low, your gasoline engine kicks in and recharges the batteries.

Never mind plug-in hybrids, though, since they're not here quite yet. Let's look at something that IS here, it burns a fuel there's plenty of in the US, that fuel is cheaper than gas per mile and it costs about $2000 to get a gas powered car switched over to: compressed natural gas (CNG).

There are parts of the country right now that have the infrastructure in place so you can fuel up your CNG car. If gas got high enough, you can bet that car companies would be building a lot more CNG cars (it might be Honda, cause the American car companies might not BE around, but...) and it would be profitable to run natural gas pipes to filling stations and set up CNG pumps.

Moving freight? I've already pointed out a few posts up how we only move 40% of our land freight on railroads, how *current* trains are actually electric/diesel hybrids already, and how they're much more efficient that long-haul diesel trucks. And the railroads would be glad to have the business. Let's not even talk about how happy they'd be if they could start pulling passenger trains again :)

These are just a few of the ways in which oil consumption could drop without any significant elimination of modern civilization. A lot of folks where I live might have to slow the heck down, they might have to think of buying a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid that gets 34 mpg instead of their SUV with 13 mpg. They might even have to car pool some to work, but I haven't seen any arguments yet that prove to me that we don't already have the technology on hand and the ability to drastically reduce our oil consumption in this country if we really had to. Yeah, some people might find driving a 2008 Toyota Corolla hybrid less convienent that driving their current 2006 Chevy Tahoe, but if they don't want to pay $150 per tank of gas, they can just suck it up and deal with the inconvience.

Sorry that the last part sounded strident, it was, but I've never driven huge SUVs and I don't see the need for them. I know for a fact that a soccor-mom can haul around her 2 kids, some friends and groceries in a *car*. My mom used to do it.

Dr. Steel

 
At Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 11:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger The Art Of Goth Fu said...

An interesting read. Kudos!

 
At Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 10:47:00 AM PDT, Blogger Craig said...

Generally speaking, "The Long Decline" is a far more likely scenario than "The Long Crisis." One these is almost certain to be on the horizon. Unless...

What no one seems to speak to is that all fossil fuels are limited in quantity. New bio-genetic solutions are possible, and hopeful. So far, though, they are underfunded and limited. Like ethanol, they take more energy than they create, or close to the same amount.

Combination of new technology solar [a very good likelihood, given recent advances in this area], wind [not a real big player, but no stone should be left unturned], geo-thermal [another very good source, under utilized and ignored to date], tidal [similar to wind, but more consistent], and the best non-player today that could help in the future, fusion power.

If we, our nation and our world, wants to keep it together, we need to have a high priority fusion power project. This means a lunar mission to begin mining He3!

One other comment: I understand that commercial fertilizers are produced using natural gas as a feed stock. How is ammonia made from air and electricity?


Overall, not a bad post and a good site. There are always some interesting posts.

 
At Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:05:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Dr. Vern Lindquist said...

Thank you--THANK YOU.

I don't know what else to say. You may have saved my life, or at least my enjoyment of life.

 
At Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 7:06:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Amy M said...

JD - Nice blog.

I was a Peak Oil doomer for a while, too. I find myself in other places either blowing off the doomers or stopping people when they completely blow off peak oil concepts. It's nice to see a place that says hey, oil is a finite resource, and no, it's completely unnecessary that society falls apart as a result.

The problem is that peak oil has been wrapped up in Armageddon theory. There's nothing particularly scary about the idea that petroleum based resources will become more expensive as time goes on. And hey, we really don't know exactly when but probably within the next 40-50 years. It's the interpretation of that which is all about pushing fear.

There is room and time to for people to adapt. Good luck with this blog.

 
At Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 12:16:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh Greg,

There's more.
You said "technology does not equal energy".

Wrong. Yes it does.
What do you think we use to get all the oil out of the ground?
What do you think we use to refine it and transport it?
What do you think we use to consume it?

Your argument is nonsense.

The correct position is the following:

Technology is a REQUIREMENT to extract useful work out of energy flows OR energy stores.

Right now the balance between technology and technology infrastructure used to extract useful work from flows or stores is weighted heavily towards stores. Previously it was weighted towards flows. It will return to flows. But guess what? The efficiency of our current technology is so much greater than that of our previous technology (e.g. wooden windmills and ocean going sailboats compared with high tech 5MW turbines, solar cells, electric trains, trucks and cars)

While it is true that our fossil energy stores are depleting, the energy flows are NOT depleting and technology WILL and IS extracting useful work and will continue to do so at ever greater rates until the highest percentage of work extracting technology will again favor those that extract work from flows instead of stores.

Now all you doomers, get together and chant "la la la there is nothing but oil la la la"

DB

 
At Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 1:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger Josie said...

You're arguments against doomism are good but you are sadly lacking in an understanding of Marxism.

Marxism is the precise opposite to peak oil doomism. If anything Marx and his followers are way too keen on the idea that advanced technology will solve society's problems. Romantic agrarian ideas couldn't be further from Marx.

I presume that you mean 'left wing'- ie the view that we should share out the wealth more equally which is not at all the same thing as 'Marxist' and Marx specifically disagreed with it - I am not playing games with terminology, Marxism is a real thing and it is worth finding out what it actually is. But okay, assuming you mean 'left wing', not 'Marxist'-

In this case- you COULD use the belief in a zero sum rule as an argument against the view that what we need to do is increase the size of the cake rather than distribute it better. But there is hardly any need to- there are plenty of other reasons for distributing the cake better, even if it is also possible to make it bigger.

In my experience peakist doom mongers are not very often very left wing, and very few left wingers are peakists. Malthus was the first doom monger - and he was hardly a leftie. Lefties see hunger (for example) as about access to power and inequality. It is the right wing mindset that sees it in terms of aggregate food production.

 
At Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 3:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DR K V Rao said...

Very good essay and useful to every thinking person. The problem is not with peak oil alone, but with growing population and improved living conditions that require higher energy consumption. But everything is not lost. Times are going to change and better energy mixes will be found to support human race, efficiency is rising. Over and above the rise in prices will automatically limit unnecessary use and trips. Since we are finding it affordable we are using the energy without caring for the consequences. Just like human growth which is self limiting energy use is also self limiting, and as long as we have it enjoy.

 
At Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ishmael said...

I really like your essay. It has a lot more analysis than a lot of Peak Oil stuff that I've seen. I like that you start with the assumption that we will probably run out of oil sometime--nothing lasts forever, right--but that we certainly have plenty of options going forward. I like your analysis of the options.

I think that the next few decades will be interesting and I look forward to seeing what happens and most of all to seeing if I can anticipate the direction of the future well enough to survive and thrive. I think that I can and we all can.

 
At Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Praveen said...

JD,

Let me submit the following:

http://truecostblog.com/2009/07/14/is-peak-oil-real-a-list-of-countries-past-peak/

The great majority of the world has already peaked, and we're relying on barely a dozen countries to grow their oil production.

Peak oil is real, but it's just not nearly as scary as doomers make it out to be. As oil production declines, the world economy will adjust. This will be a combination of conservation, usage reduction, increases in efficiency, and uses of other energy sources.

I think that economic growth will be lower than it has been over the last few decades (think 70's repeat), but when we emerge on the other side, the future will be plenty bright.

 
At Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 5:33:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Dave said...

Thanks for your post I've been sick to my stomach since being sucked in by the doomers. Now I can sleep again.

 
At Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 3:18:00 PM PST, Blogger Farmer Dharma said...

Hi JD

An interesting transition for you. I'd like to follow you but I'm not sure on a couple of points...

You believe:

That Peak Oil has occured or is close to occuring.

That we will need to make major changes in the way we consume energy e.g. eating less meat and driving smaller cars

That non essential travel will probably need to be restricted in the future.

That our available energy, particularly liquid fuels, will be rationed in the future.

And that "there will be a shortage of liquid fuel, and we'll soon see the decline of the Internal Combustion Engine"

You also accept that our use of coal as a fuel for power stations will increase and consequently exacerbate the problems associated with climate change.


So if you're no longer a doomer what would you call yourself?

 
At Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 11:07:00 PM PST, Blogger Scott said...

What I don't see you addressing is the general problem that oil is a finite resource, whether we run out in 40 years or 400. Our dependency on oil is not merely one of having chosen to use oil rather than some other energy source. Oil and its derivative products such as gasoline and diesel fuel are highly portable and easily stored. Petrochemicals underlie an enormous part of our materials-based technology. Not just plastics, but a myriad of materials. No solar or nuclear power source provides those things.

In addition, I see little in the way of steps being taken to utilize alternatives in a timely manner. For example, the problems associated with nuclear waste disposal have not been addressed. Instead, they continue to be misrepresented as
"not that big a deal". Waste that is deadly on a geologic time scale is nothing to be taken lightly.

Solar power sources (wind, tides, solar-electric, etc.) offer great promise but still cannot provide what oil provides. In fact, while we might well be able to move to alternative energy systems, none of them replace much of what we get from oil. So, my question to you is, whenever we run out of oil, what then?

Arkbane

 
At Monday, December 21, 2009 at 9:33:00 PM PST, Anonymous A.E. Shinn said...

I started doing research into the theory, made the error of going to PO, and lost my mind. Thank you for taking a rational, optimistic look.

 
At Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 9:07:00 AM PST, Anonymous Archibald said...

I find the title of this blog,"Peak Oil Debunked" misleading. Dr. Doom believes we are at or near peak oil, he simply disagrees with the "doomers" about the implications of peak oil for modern industrial society.

In my opinion, it's a bit silly for people who agree that peak oil is on us to fight to the death over the consequences. I could care less if someone says we're already doomed, because if we do nothing then we guarantee that outcome. Any rational person who believes that we are at peak oil will work to make the transition as fair and humane as possible.

We might disagree about what is to be done, but the fact that something should be done isn't controversial.

Regards,
Archibald

 
At Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 4:43:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you guys squabbling over at JD's most recent thread and sometimes on this one need to chill out. Even Robert Rapier, who contributes frequently over at The Oil Drum, has done the math with the US natural gas supplies and called off the end of civilization. Check out:

http://i-r-squared.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-much-natural-gas-to-replace.html

The gist of the above: The US has sufficient natural gas to replace all of it's oil imports for decades.

And there are companies now that offer compressed natural gas conversion kits for your car for around $2000.

So before folks start envisoning some version of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and start stockpiling food and ammo for the inevitable end of civilization from Peak Oil, you might want to check this info out.

Of course, if you're stockpiling this stuff and preparing your shelter for the inevitable Zombie Apocalpyse:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/zombies/

well then you're only doing the smart thing. :)

Dr. Steel

 
At Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 8:44:00 AM PST, Anonymous Rich said...

Dr. Steel. They've used the forecasting methods only suited to unfractured wells on reserves which critically depend on fracturing.This leads to significant overestimate of reserves. They used the wrong terminal decline rate (guess in which direction). They used an assumed well life ten times longer than are achieved in the field. And even if all their estimates were correct, the US would need about $75 billion on about 23,000 wells to achieve the gains - that's more than the gas is worth on the market, in an economy that is tanking.

(I'm a petroleum engineer in one of the "big three", by the way).

 
At Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 5:26:00 PM PST, Anonymous Bob said...

I really like this post. It's a few years old now, but still relevant.

I'm a recovering doomer myself. I never participated much in online discussions and I haven't stock-piled weapons. But for a year or so, my mind was a wreck about all of this doom stuff.

For me, it wasn't peak oil that seduced me in. It was the financial crisis. I can pretty much thank the ridiculous "The Automatic Earth" (TAE) for that (along with a little bit of Kunstler's BS, but it was more TAE).

Just like a lot of the commenters on here have said, the idea that modern life could be, or already is, lost freaked me out. My rational mind said that posters at TAE had to be a doomer cult. But for me, the possibility that they might be onto something kept me going back seeking their "wisdom."

Eventually, their repeated failed predictions wore me out. The "next crash" was/is always just another month or two away. (I love the line in mid-2008, "By Christmas, you won't recognize your neighborhood anymore.")

The world is an f'd up place. No doubt. But the doomers and their agri-dystopian wet dreams are simply unfounded and not worth reading.

I'm glad that I was able to outgrow my year or so of naive paranoia about the end of our civilization.

 
At Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 12:05:00 PM PST, Anonymous Paul said...

I thought this was supposed to be a "Peak Oil Debunked" blog, but you just confirmed everything I've just recently learned... whether you say it will be 90 years away or 3 months, you obviously still agree that "peak oil" is real... I just don't understand where the "debunking" is involved.

 
At Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 10:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger I. said...

You're correct with just about everything you're putting forth, except that you are underestimating the speed and impact.

I think it's well understood that the spigot won't suddenly run dry. But Peak Oil spells the end of cheap oil. That means that we won't be able to do the things we do today as easily or cheaply.

As you say, that means conserving and living closer to the land.
That's fine, but we're not set up for that now and we cannot adapt in the short time we have.

The price of oil went from $30 to $147 in a few short years. That is peak oil my friend. We're now in an endless recession (partly) because of it. When the economy picks up, so does the price of oil and that puts the brakes on the recovery. This leaves us in recession that will not cease.

Add to this the fact that China and India are continuing to modernize and we have increasing demands stressing supply.

Add also ridiculous legislation that prevents the use of nuclear and even natural gas and we have limits on supply.

The fall-off is too steep. You are correct. We can adapt, and make changes in our lives and substitute other sources, but only if the curve settles to a gentle landing. With this steep drop off, we will have to make all of those changes in a few short years. That is the problem.

When gasoline hits $100 per gallon with all viable substitutes still "in development", how much will a bag of rice cost? What will that do to people living on the edge of poverty? What will that do to others stuck in the suburbs and living in a paradigm where 50 mile commutes are the norm?

Pompei wan't buried because the volcano erupted. Pompei was buried because the volcano erupted suddenly. I hope we can see the lesson in this.

 
At Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 1:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, it wasn't peak oil that seduced me in. It was the financial crisis. I can pretty much thank the ridiculous "The Automatic Earth" (TAE) for that (along with a little bit of Kunstler's BS, but it was more TAE).

Lol. I have gone through the same process! Same websites even.

 
At Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 10:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Bort said...

It is somewhat refreshing to see somebody who is familiar with issues like peak oil cast a critical eye on 'doomerism', however you (not necessarily here, but certainly in other blogs) have a tendency to go off the rails a bit. It seems like the point of this site is to punish doomers for their transgressions as you perceive them, rather than actually trying to shed light on the plight of civilization. You come off like you're pissed because you bought the ultra-pessimistic schtick for a while, and the fact that the shit hasn't hit the fan yet like so many over-eager doomers have promised it would has made you say 'fuck this' and swing to the complete other end of the spectrum to cornucopian optimism. I think you could have really done something with this "Peak Oil Debunked" blog but the tone of it resigns it to vitriolic preaching to the converted. Even when you post compelling information and analysis, I get the impression that you have just traded the doomer confirmation bias for an equivalent cornucopian bias (never mind that your analysis is often far from air-tight anyways). For this reason I can't trust you to 'cut through the shit' anymore than any other caustic pundit who thinks hes right about everything and speaks as though hes the lone voice of reason in an ocean of idiots.

All things considered, though, I would recommend peak oil doomers read your blogs to see another take on the issue, even though your abusive tone is repulsive and counterproductive.

 
At Friday, April 2, 2010 at 6:42:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bort,

Best comment ever on this blog.

Rock on dude.

Freewheelin' Franklin

 

Post a Comment

<< Home