free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 378. WHY ROBERT HIRSCH IS DEAD WRONG

Thursday, October 02, 2008

378. WHY ROBERT HIRSCH IS DEAD WRONG

I can't count the number of times that pessimists have told me: "It's too late to address peak oil. Read the Hirsch Report. If we wanted to mitigate peak oil, we needed to start 20 years ago."

That's the classic peak oil sound bite. You're left with the impression that "mitigating" peak oil is a horrendously complex process which will take decades upon decades and trillions of dollars. And granted, that is an accurate depiction of Hirsch's view, and explains why he thinks the problem is so ugly, and we are in such deep trouble.

Robert Hirsch: Taking himself way too seriously

On the other hand, it's always good to question authority, and we can learn an important lesson by examining exactly what Hirsch means by "mitigation".

Here's the fine print, from the Hirsch Report:
Nevertheless, this analysis clearly demonstrates that the key to mitigation of world oil production peaking will be the construction a large number of substitute fuel production facilities, coupled to significant increases in transportation fuel efficiency. The time required to mitigate world oil production peaking is measured on a decade time-scale. Related production facility size is large and capital intensive. (P. 6)
Let's break that down. Note that conservation plays no role whatsoever in Hirsch's "mitigation". None. Zero. His idea of "solving" the peak oil problem is to build horrendously expensive, highly polluting facilities for producing substitute liquid fuel (CTL, GTL, heavy oil) so that everyone can continue driving their current vehicles in a completely business-as-usual fashion.

(Incidentally, as I've noted before, 30% of Dr. Robert Hirsch Ph.D's "mitigation" plan depends on Venezuela (of all places) ramping up heavy oil production from 0.6mbd to 6.0mbd in 10 years. Which is probably the most butt-stupid peak oil plan ever put to paper. The US is not going to maintain business-as-usual by ramping up heavy oil production in Venezuela, for a whole host of reasons Hirsch is apparently too senile and poorly informed to notice.)

Hirsch frankly concedes that his plan only addresses the supply-side, and intentionally ignores all demand-side conservation measures:
Our focus is on large-scale, physical mitigation, as opposed to policy actions, e.g. tax credits, rationing, automobile speed restrictions etc. (P. 25)
This oversight seriously calls into question his claim that it will take 20 years to "mitigate" peak oil. It's as though we were considering solutions for an obese person, and Hirsch is telling us it's going to take forever because we won't be considering options like dieting and exercise.

The IEA takes a more reasonable approach. It sees conservation as the backbone of any rapid response to oil shortages. In an excellent report called Saving Oil in a Hurry (pdf) they list a whole range of low-cost, quick-implementation policy options for cutting oil consumption:
Employer trip reduction
Area-wide ridesharing
Public transit improvements
HOV lanes
Park and ride lots
Bike and walk facilities
Parking pricing at work
Parking pricing: non-work
Congestion pricing
Compressed work weak
Telecommuting
Land use planning
Smog/VMT(Vehicle Miles Traveled) tax
Public appeals to reduce consumption without price effects
Public appeals to reduce consumption with price effects
Ban on motor sports events
Ban on driving by car to large scale events
Speed restrictions
Ban on driving every second Sunday
Ban on driving every second Weekend
General ban on Sunday driving
Restriction on use by administrative degree (public authorities set days on which drivers are banned)
Restriction on use by registration number (on each weekday two final registration numbers banned)
Implementation of fuel supply ordinance (rationing) (P. 27)
Hirsch completely ignores all this. He is strictly an old-school oil-luvin', business-as-usual "drill, baby, drill" extractionist. Which is not totally wrong, of course. I also support CTL, GTL, and drilling (under the right circumstances). I agree 100% with Hirsch that we must continue growth and industrial development. The difference is that I believe in conservation first, then extraction. Hirsch believes in full-bore extraction without any conservation at all.

Many people have the mistaken notion that we need to build something, or invest in something to mitigate peak oil. That's why it's "too late". We need coal liquefaction plants, and GTL, and higher mileage vehicles, and drilling in ANWR, and mass transit, and nuclear plants, and electric cars, and etc. etc. Granted, all those things are important, and will come into play as the solution evolves. But the bottom line is this: peak oil can be almost entirely mitigated without any money, time or equipment at all.

I will be taking this theme up in greater detail in future posts, but for now, I'll just sketch an outline so you can see what I'm talking about.

The IEA conservation measures are great, but they're barely scratching the surface. They mention car pooling as a very low-cost, high-impact measure, but how about extreme car pooling, a la Afghanistan?


Imagine Afghani style car-pooling during every rush-hour, in every city in the US. Pickups packed with people and their bicycles. What you would have is incredible efficiency and fuel savings, with no up front investment cost, using only existing vehicles. Note that I'm not saying that we will adopt Afghani style car-pooling (I very much doubt it will get even remotely that bad). But we certainly could make it happen if we needed to, and all-in-all it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

On page 1 of the Hirsch Report, Hirsch says "Improving fuel efficiency will take 10 years..." Which is a load of ridiculous horseshit. You can double or triple your fuel-efficiency in one day by car pooling, or sleeping at work, or riding the bus. You can increase your fuel efficiency to infinity by just getting off your butt and bicycling. Lots of US cities have bus systems, and they can be packed to the gills. If you live out in the country without bus service, make your own. Pack it to the gills. Do "shopping-pooling" where one person with a big truck or SUV buys for everybody. Set up a little private shuttle bus that gathers people for a daily ride to shopping, or into town.

The home-heating oil problem in the Northeast can be addressed with a similar strategy. Five or six seniors, who are each getting reamed to the tune of $3000-4000 a winter on their heating oil bills, get together at the senior center, and decide to move into one house for the cold season. Call it "housepooling". Now, they're all saving large sums of money, which they can invest in insulation, wood/gas heating, or (ideally) a ground source heat pump etc. Similar concepts apply to intracity travel. If you're too far away, move! There's not a law of nature which says that people are bolted down to the locations they're in, or that they have to live one to each house.

Literally, everywhere you look, the problem can be massively mitigated by some no-cost quick-fix requiring no investment, no money, no new equipment, and only minor tweaks in cultural behavior.

Consider this interesting factoid that Hirsch himself provides on P. 24 of the Hirsch Report: "67 percent of personal automobile travel, and 50 percent of airplane travel are discretionary". Wow. Using the oil consumption figures from P. 23, this means that 6.3 million barrels per day (roughly equal to the oil production of Iran+Iraq) are used in discretionary auto/air travel in the US alone. That's huge: 30% of US oil consumption, and 50% of US oil imports. And it's being wasted on non-mission-critical, optional travel. So here's a simple solution to the early phases of peak oil: skip the discretionary travel. Total cost of solution: $0. Total time required: 0 hours. Total new equipment needed: None.

If it comes to that, is it going to be fun? No. It's going to be uncomfortable, and there's going to be a lot of unhappy campers. On the other hand, it's clearly ludicrous to think that our civilization is going to collapse due to the reduction or elimination of luxury. The point is that we do have a "Plan B". It's called conservation, and it can be scaled up immediately, at any time, and at very low cost. Hirsch's claim that we need 20 years to mitigate peak oil is nonsense.
by JD
------
*) Postscript: On 10/6/08 at The Oil Drum, Alan Drake wrote:

At ASPO-Sacramento, I approached Robert Hirsch about possibly writing an "Alternative Hirsch Report" and he basically called be an idiot (in more polite words), appealed to authority (his) and said it could not be done in less than 50 years. It is a daunting challenge, but I may go ahead, with my own resources, and write the "Alternative (Green) Hirsch Report".

For obvious reasons, I posted a link to this article. The link, and Alan's original comment, were deleted by the TOD staff.

123 Comments:

At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 5:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

As always, please use the Name/URL option (you don't have to register, just enter a screen-name) or sign your anonymous post at the bottom. The conversation is better without multiple anons.
Thank you!
JD

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 5:46:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

Excellent post jd, though probably unwelcome to the ears of the majority of Americans.
I never thought of house pooling and I don't like the idea but I agree that it will work.

Here's another idea to save on heating in the winter:
Turn the heating down as low as it can go without freezing the pipes and invest in a high tech piece of equipment called a low temperature sleeping bag. Cost?
$100.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 6:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

"It's as though we were considering solutions for an obese person, and Hirsch is telling us it's going to take forever because we won't be considering options like dieting and exercise."

This is, hands down, the best summary of the Hirsch Report I've ever heard. I award you one virtual golf clap, sir.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 6:58:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one JD....maybe the best yet. Almost too much to digest without some recursive reading. You've been busy.
Stuck

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you mention, the Hirsch report doesn't consider broad conservation measures, so it's not really fair to fault it for something it specifically doesn't set out to do anyway.
When the report concludes that we need 20 years of preparation to completely escape the negative effects of peak oil, that shows us just how deep oil permeates our lives and infrastructure - the scale of the problem.
That said, you're right that the report is often used to defend a defeatist attitude and it's quite likely we'll simply adapt ad hoc conservation/Third World lifestyle when forced to by circumstances. The report merely shows us, that BAU is not possible and that getting even basic infrastructure to work will be quite a challenge.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Rune said...

I believe PO is going to be a huge problem because of a few very important factors.

1. The economy needs energy to grow. Without growth in the energy supply, the economy cannot grow.
Also, lower consumption can potentially start a vicious circle of lay-offs and increased government spending (read : borrowing). For the U.S which is already in history's biggest hole, this would be tantamount to lying down in it and shoveling the dirt in.

2. Without growth in the economy, our fiat money system (which is basically a ponzi pyramid scheme) cannot continue.

3. High prices will send conservation signals which is an effective way of cutting consumption. But, exactly because it is effective, it will lead to bigger problems down the line. This is because we implement cuts where they are either easiest or cheapest, leaving the hard, expensive and often crucial for last(just like we have taken all the easy oil first). In a word, we're taking the "slack" out of the system, and leaving the stuff which we "can't live without" for a later time. Good luck implementing big, expensive projects then. We need to do them now while they are still relatively cheap. This is not possible when people still think it's not going to be a problem.

4. Geopolitics. The potential is almost never the result due to differing interests. The US has been spending money like a drunken sailor and using force like the schoolyard bully. Why don't you stop that first, that would save huge amounts of energy.

I also like to think of the risk of doing nothing. It is huge compared to the risk of doing what we can. For a measly 1-2% of world GDP we could do a lot right now. I would rather take that risk and be wrong, than be the one to say "i told you so". The added bonus is a cleaner environment for our children and keeping our bio-diversity.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous stuck in shizuoka said...

A couple of points to add to this.

The other day, while back home in BC, I came across a guy towing two NEV in his pick-up. He was just getting into the business and wasn't quite making a decent profit yet. According to him, the only thing that was holding his business back was government stalling on licensing and zoning (speed limits etc). There was no problem with interest from the public as, apparantly, people are either starting to grasp the problems we're facing with transportation OR--according to him--are just tired of buying gasoline. He was receiving calls every day from potential customers who wanted cheap, electric transportation for their discretionary, local driving.

So, he claimed, it was the government that needed to open the doors to new industry and allow NEV and BEV startups to flourish by changing the archaic laws/zoning regulations.

I think this point underscores a greater need--and one that will speed up and spread the kind of "natural" mitigation that JD (and the IEA) speaks of. Namely, the need for a groundswell in public and private knowledge and initiative.

Just as there was an energy education program embraced by all government levels in the 70's (thanks to Jimmy Carter actually admitting there was a problem--later buried by yet another greed mongering Republican, Ronald Reagan), education to the public about oil depletion, with concomittant and widesweeping changes to regulations would allow mitigation to happen almost on its own.

Now, another point I'd like to add is one that is very hard to quantify and is without empirical evidence: a change in perspective among younger people. From what I see, both in the media and in person, and both here in Japan and in North America, there is a widening gap between the outlook on energy/oil useage held by the baby boomers (the largest group of people in both societies) and those younger.

Specifically, I think that North American baby boomers in general have a perspective of endless "progress" and prosperity and often have a difficult time even imagining a world with less personal mobility. I think Robert Hirsch represents that generation.

However, the people in their 50's and younger are the ones who are able to move beyond what they may have seen as a normal growth paradigm and are now striving to make changes--both in their own perspective and in their lifestyle. They are increasingly conscious of how their actions effect the planet and its resources.

These people need to be reached and in a big way. The sooner it sinks in that it won't be BAU but that there are concrete steps that can be taken NOW and largely without too much pain or sacrifice, the sooner these natural steps at mitigation of the effects of PO will take place.

Lastly, the baby boomers are retiring en masse now. This is a very good thing--they will step down from their jobs and their lifestyles and the younger generation that replaces them will, HOPEFULLY, be far more open to bringing about change.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Stuck in Shizuoka said...

a couple of questions;

The Hirsch Report was written in 2004? If so, he probably couldn't have taken the following fairly recent developments into consideration

1) the huge and sudden advances in battery technology

2) the growth of shale and coal bed methane gas fields/drilling technology

Would these developements not factored largely into his assessment.

Given that

a) we are entering into a world wide recession with lower crude oil usage

and

b) we could be on a continuing bumpy plateau given a) and growth in GTL and biofuel tech.

Wondering what readers' takes on these would be.

**note: battery technology includes bicycles (see the new Schwinn...wow), scooters (Honda and Yamaha full electric in mass production in 2009) and compact cars, etc

Stuck in Shizuoka

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 8:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Not only I do agree with all this rant by JD, I also think he's playing mr nice guy towards Hirch. Seriously, I believe that a much harsh position could be drawn against the report.

1. The "Decades-mitigation" issue: Apparently, mr Hirsch believes it takes 20 decades to mitigate. But that assumes that we've been doing nothing to counter the price signal we've been getting the last five years, which is ludicrous at best. Therefore, we should already count 5 years. If peak oil only comes about some five years ahead, and there is a plateau that extends for more 5-10 years, then there's the two necessary decades mr Hirsch assumes doesn't exist. Just in this small point, he's completely debunked;

2. As JD points out, conservation;

3. As JD usually points out, but didn't this time, substitution. Just like in the 80s did the US change its electric infrastructure away from oil, similar market forces are converging to make possible the substitution of many other oil-based utilities, like transport and heat. Renewables will play a final blow in a decade or so against Hirsch's report on this theme.

4. Recession. A one-two year recession in the world will a)waste less oil; b)give time to people adjust their lifestyles. It will extend peak oil, it will expand mitigation.

I'll address rune's points right now.

1.The economy needs energy to grow. Without growth in the energy supply, the economy cannot grow.

a) Assertion is unfounded. By a long shot.
b) Peak Oil does not mean Peak Energy.
c) Peak Energy (in production) does not equal to Peak "Work", and by work I mean the work taken out by a certain amount of energy (which is what really matters for the economy).

So your point 1 is blown.

2.Without growth in the economy, our fiat money system (which is basically a ponzi pyramid scheme) cannot continue.

So what? If the Ponzi schemes collapse, that will only contribute to the health of the economy in the long run. I sincerely doubt your grasp of the situation.

3.This is because we implement cuts where they are either easiest or cheapest, leaving the hard, expensive and often crucial for last

This has been claimed by the pseudo-scientists of TOD. It's an absurd theory. For one, you take for granted that the last cuts are more expensive ones. That's completely unfounded. These cuts may imply expensive insolation upgrades, but they also imply inexpensive job-changes / house changes. There are many more reasons than money for people to postpone their energy saving decisions.

4. The potential is almost never the result due to differing interests.

I'd argue that the potential for the world to use much, much less than what it is right now is so large that even if not matched by reality, it won't matter a bit. Nevertheless, price signals abound and people are changing lifestyles now.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD Walters said...

There is a very real threat that the credit crunch will result in less available capital for alt-energy startups and infrastructure revamping. That's where any bailout or rebate money should really be spent. What we need is a new Work Projects Administration and put as many of these newly laid off people to work as we can on repairing roads, upgrading the electricity grid, etc. Wouldn't that be something.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 8:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when does an increase in fuel efficiency not equate to conservation?
That was the point where one needs to conserve their time and read no further.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 9:08:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Skyemoor said...

> His idea of "solving" the peak oil problem is to build horrendously expensive, highly polluting facilities for producing substitute liquid fuel (CTL, GTL, heavy oil) so that everyone can continue driving their current vehicles in a completely business-as-usual fashion.

You missed completely his comment;

...this analysis clearly demonstrates that the key to mitigation of world oil production peaking will be the construction a large number of substitute fuel production facilities, coupled to significant increases in transportation fuel efficiency.


> "Improving fuel efficiency will take 10 years..." Which is a load of ridiculous horseshit.

Here you are confusing conservation with efficiency. Carpooling and bike riding, for example, are an example of conservation (unless the bike rider sells their car, never to get another).

> Call it "housepooling".

You are completely ignoring cultural inertia and the time it takes to change one's thinking, especially with older people who feel they've earned their retirement lifestyle.

> Saving oil in a hurry

I'm already employing (or have employed) 6 items on this list. More people will, though a large percentage of Americans will resist this, as "the American Way of Life is Non-Negotiable". Sad but true, and many pundits will emerge that will point fingers at other countries, blaming them, redirecting the initiatives that should be focused on conservation towards invading other countries.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 9:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger popmonkey said...

but JD : Jevons Paradox!!! ;)

rune: where did you cut & paste your response from? i seem to remember reading the exact same thing on this blog in 2005...

really, the biggest hurdle for peak oil mitigation is making the consumers (especially americans) comfortable with conservation. and it's starting to happen. in the san francisco bay area we're gonna need more public transport in a few years...

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 10:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

Excellent, one of your best ones. You're not even sounding arrogant! :)

I had to check the Hirsch report - and it really doesn't mention any of the keep-it-simple -solutions that you talk so much about.

However, I would like to point out (i think someone vaguely already referred to it) that these solutions undoubtably would also have a great impact on consumer spending. Definately doesn't mean the solution is a bad one but I think it means we can't change just one part of the equation.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 10:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

[i]but JD : Jevons Paradox!!! ;)[/i}

I'm sure you probably know/believe this, but two studies I've seen demonstrate that Jevons' Paradox leads to a rebound effect, but not nearly as bad as the doomdooms would have us believe:

http://repositories.cdlib.org/ucei/policy/EPE-014

http://www.ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/energy/eng-80.cfm?&CFID=11262148&CFTOKEN=7028302

Yes, there is a rebound, but it's not absolutely devastating.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 10:53:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about the economy requiring a constrantly increasing supply of energy to grow is dead-on, and key in understanding the magnitude of the problem.

Yes, we can certainly conserve fuel and try all manner of fuel-reducing strategies. Hirch's implicit assumption is that consumers used to a cheap, unlimited supply of fuel will never voluntarily agree to policies that seriously disrupt freedoms they have been accustomed to for decades. In other words, he is assuming a complete lack of political leadership until the crisis is full-blown and such policies MUST be implemented, after which it will be too late to do anything structurally meaningful to change consumption patterns without very painful economic and societal consequences.

Remember, all energy that we use is derived from oil...petroleum is used to fuel the vehicles used to harvest other energy sources(eg. coal, wood, biofuels) and fabricate the infrastructure needed to convert the energy into usable work (power plants, wind turbines, solar panels, etc). Without cheap oil, everything else breaks down.

Hirch's assessment is that we cannot come out of peak oil without significant economic damage and societal upheaval unless we ramp up liquid fuel production and improve the efficiency of what we are already doing. The word 'conserve' basically means 'don't do'. When you have a lot of people and businesses 'not doing' things like generating economic activity, we will have a massive economic depression on our hands.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 11:16:00 AM PDT, Anonymous babun said...

The comment about the economy requiring a constrantly increasing supply of energy to grow is dead-on, and key in understanding the magnitude of the problem.

There's no logic in that. For the first part, we can be more efficient by getting more work out of the same amount of energy. And second - even with the same energy efficiency not all energy consumption creates economic growth alike. I'd argue a lot of energy consumption is of very small economic significance.

Also, I don't believe it's the end of the world if the economy shrinks.

Yes, we can certainly conserve fuel and try all manner of fuel-reducing strategies. Hirch's implicit assumption is that consumers used to a cheap, unlimited supply of fuel will never voluntarily agree to policies that seriously disrupt freedoms they have been accustomed to for decades.

Well that's a bad assumption. I think the public will understand through the economy & prices what's best for them (some will understand before too). The problem right now is we're nowhere near the pain limits. I'd claim the seriousness of the debate would be quite different if petroleum prices were doubled or tripled.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 11:17:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Without cheap oil, everything else breaks down."

oil isn't cheap now, so what's your point?

"The word 'conserve' basically means 'don't do'."

no, it means do the same just more wisely. like having your business switch from the big fleet of SUVs to the Prius. it means heating your home with a more efficient heating system and insulating your house.

"we will have a massive economic depression on our hands."

how much oil will a depression need? not much. problem solved.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 11:47:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

[i]Remember, all energy that we use is derived from oil...petroleum is used to fuel the vehicles used to harvest other energy sources(eg. coal, wood, biofuels) and fabricate the infrastructure needed to convert the energy into usable work (power plants, wind turbines, solar panels, etc). Without cheap oil, everything else breaks down.[/i]

Do you have proof of this? I see this bandied about a lot, but I've yet to see any empirical evidence of this being true.

Oil is largely used in transportation, but most fabrication is done with electricity, which does not require oil at all.

Y'know, like the whole "electric cars need oil to be made" lie.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Also, I would like to note that the % of oil use by the practices mentioned by you, doomanon, are such a small portion of the mix that it's hardly cause for thinking that we'll run out of fuel to run them.

Simply moving to PHEVs and BEVs would free up a significant portion of current American oil use.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:25:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Excellent post by jd.

Similar to "housepooling", many people in the northern part of south that have large homes will seal off entire sections during the winter months to save on energy. They've done this for years. This works well in places like Tennessee where the winters are occasionally really cold, but 9 months out of the year are really nice or hot. I'm sure it's done in many other places as well.

Skyemoor>More people will, though a large percentage of Americans will resist this, as "the American Way of Life is Non-Negotiable".

This can change quite quickly in response to price signals. I have a friend who is an Los Angeles native, very narcissitic, thinks he deserves all sorts of things. He'd been looking into buying a BMW or some other pricey car (which, imo, is absurd based on what he makes) but he could afford it on loan. But when gas shot up, within a couple of months he was very seriously thinking of selling his car and taking the bus around.

That would seem really weird to other people, if you are the first person doing it. But when everybody you know starts doing it, suddenly it's normal. I've gotten weird looks when I tell people I sometimes take the bus at night (I make six figures), but it's because if I'm going to a club, I don't want to have to deal with parking and dui concerns.

You're right that some will resist, but prices will keep that in check. In fact, I would guess that those most resistant to change are heavily financing their lifestyle and will be forced to change whether they like it or not. Certainly no shortage of people like that in Los Angeles.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

You're right that some will resist, but prices will keep that in check. In fact, I would guess that those most resistant to change are heavily financing their lifestyle and will be forced to change whether they like it or not. Certainly no shortage of people like that in Los Angeles.

Being an LA native I considered saying something in response to this, but... well... I know LA. You're pretty much right.

I rode the bus a lot in LA, and ridership was up a lot when I left earlier this year. Even LA can change, and I see a lot more people talking about transit options in the land of two subway lines.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 2:27:00 PM PDT, Anonymous benny "peak demand" cole said...

I sometimes post this trite observation, but it will get you kicked off TOD: If U.S. consumers gravitate to cars getting a fleet-average 10 percent improved mpg, and drive 10 percent fewer miles, you get nearly a one-fifth drop in gasoline consumption -- enough to glut every refinery in the country.
Such a change could put another 2-3mbd on world oil markets.
Really, would anyone consider this much of a change in their lives -- getting a car with mildly improved mpg, or mildly reducing driving?

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 2:51:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Employer trip reduction
Area-wide ridesharing
Public transit improvements
HOV lanes
Park and ride lots
Bike and walk facilities
Parking pricing at work
Parking pricing: non-work
Congestion pricing
Compressed work weak
Telecommuting
Land use planning
Smog/VMT(Vehicle Miles Traveled) tax
Public appeals to reduce consumption without price effects
Public appeals to reduce consumption with price effects
Ban on motor sports events
Ban on driving by car to large scale events
Speed restrictions
Ban on driving every second Sunday
Ban on driving every second Weekend
General ban on Sunday driving
Restriction on use by administrative degree (public authorities set days on which drivers are banned)
Restriction on use by registration number (on each weekday two final registration numbers banned)
Implementation of fuel supply ordinance (rationing) (P. 27"

Wonderful - typical Yank!! How the ***k do you think your trucks are going to run into your local Walmart? You treat this as a problem of domestic driving - that would not be a problem. Self, self, self - me and my car!! THINK ABOUT THE OTHER STUFF THAT RUNS ON THE ROADS! Stuff that does about 8mpg on diesel! Idiot!

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 2:58:00 PM PDT, Anonymous jd was right said...

"THINK ABOUT THE OTHER STUFF THAT RUNS ON THE ROADS!"

no problem.

Wal-Mart receives its first Peterbilt hybrid big rig
http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/05/21/wal-mart-receives-its-first-peterbilt-hybrid-big-rig/

Wal-Mart on track to cut truck fuel use by 25%
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19810648/

Wal-Mart Pares Costs By Selling Local Produce
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93956012

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 3:26:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Frankie said...

anon,

So if I decide to ride my bike to work instead of driving and everyone else does that, our economy is going to collapse? I guess I don't understand your assumption. If I'm a doctor, or teacher or lawyer, how will using less energy affect our economy? Sure, trucks and other industries need oil to operate but we can cut a lot of fat and it is no correlation to a slowing economy.

 
At Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 6:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

anon,

I don't get it. Why does that effect conservation by others?

Besides, trucks represent such a small percent of overall fuel use as it is. Why is this supposed to be ZOMG SCARY?

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 1:15:00 AM PDT, Anonymous ajc said...

anon,

you just made a fool out of yourself. if you did a little research, you would see that (in 2000) cars and light trucks were about 40% of oil consumption and transport trucks (of the Wal-Mart ilk) were 13% of oil consumption.

let's say current US oil use is 20 mbpd, so 8 mbpd is used for cars, and 2.6 mbpd for truck transport. let's say oil is 'peaking' and we have only 18 mbpd available, so we cut our gas-powered transport to 6 mbpd - life goes on and Wal-Mart is still stocked. now obviously, peak oil means eventually we would have a lot less oil available, but there a million ways to mitigate that. and remember, electricity generation capacity is essentially 'unlimited.' so we can have a future where Wal-Mart is stocked by electric trucks driving short distances from train depots being stocked by electric trains. we get to Wal-Mart on buses, bikes, electric cars and by walking. we travel large distances by high-speed rail and the occasional plane trip (fueled by biodiesel?). and that is with current technology - who knows what the future holds?

in conclusion, anon, please do your homework before you make yourself look like a tool.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 4:36:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Frankie said...

Ajc, I definitely agree with what you are saying but do we have or will ever have the leadership in our country to make that happen?

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 5:25:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

jd was right nails it of course.

The thought that simple people would outpace big corporations on conservation efforts is beyond naive.

If you are Walmart and spend billions of dollars in trucks and that bill is ever expanding, what are you going to do, just sit back and watch your company crumble, or improve the efficiency of the transport of your goods? I mean, it's a no brainer. There's a lot, lot of money to be saved just to be ignored.

And when electric trucks arrive, I believe that the first companies that will adhere to it will be the biggest ones.

Which just blows away your entire argument and philosophy.

NEXT

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 5:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

frankie, change in lifestyle can be many things, but what it definitely is not, is a problem of leadership. I don't want no president of whatever ordering what I have to do or what not. It should be the people to arrive to their own solutions, not the gov. Imagine the ridicule of Obama passing a legislation where every american was forced to bike to their workplace. D'uh!

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 5:29:00 AM PDT, Anonymous stuck in Shizuoka said...

YOU have to demand it Frankie. As I've written to Kunstler, and Kriscan, if they really want leadership in PO mitigation/action, Americans (and citizens from nearly all countries) MUST do this in a grassroots, vocal and, most importantly, VISIBLE way. Remember the million man march? How about the March on Selma?

PO is going to revolutionize the world--in some way. The way that we want it shaped cannot simply materialize by having 1-2% of the population knowledgeable about it, but taking little or no action.

Critical Mass can push leadership. Not the otherway around...

Stuck in Shizuoka

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 5:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous stuck in shizuoka said...

Must disagree with you there, Barba. This is going to take leadership to put money and tax breaks into the right things, as well as simply promoting education.

How many of my colleagues--at a university--actually know about peak oil? Zero.
Are they planning in any way for it? Not at all.
Would I have done things FAR differently, had I known about it a year ago? Absolutely, and without reservation.

People need to know, and I'm afraid only a massive campaign on the part of government will allow for the kind of changes outlined by JD in this post. Nearly everyone I've tried to inform about PO just shuts it out. Cognitive dissonance is a major problem in early mitigation, I'm afraid.

Make it public and take it to the streets. Inform every level of government in any way you can.

Now, a cynical American might (rightly) think that of course, the executive level of government already knew about this (Iraq anyone?) but that doesn't mean the State level cannot take action.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 6:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

People need to know

They know what's relevant, that price's going up, forever. They might not "know" peak oil per se, but the notion that oil is a fossil fuel and therefore limited, is engrained in everyone that I see around me. They know that this is an era that's going to end and they recognize the signals of the change by seeing the price of gas skyrocketing.

There's no need of anything else. People knowing that gas is going to just cost more and more simply think "what must I do to avoid this spending spree that I am entering into?"

Already I see in my country people changing their lifestyles without any grasp of what PO really is.

That's the beauty of the market. The price signal tells people enough information about the level of scarcity of a given product. All we have to fear is if the error margin of the price signal isn't too great to produce errors of behavior. Even then though, there'll always be "corrections", just like the one which plunged the oil price.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 9:16:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Tony C (UK) said...

President Bush said "the American way of life is not negotiable". Many or most of the conservation measures involve considerable compromises in the American Way of Life.

The effects of conservation will also be very significant on the world economy.

In essence, I agree with your main point, I just wish your language was not quite so vitriolic.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 10:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

Tony C: Problem #1, you're assuming all American's believe and stand behind what Bush says.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jono said...

Sorry, but I have to go with Hirsch and his decades of experience in meaningful positions over anonymous blogger.

1. Cut discretionary travel to 0. Ha! That won't have any effect on the economy. Nah.

2. Transportation only slightly over 50% of our oil consumption. We could cut that to zero and still wouldn't be able to meet demand with domestic supplies. Oil is the bedrock of a number of industries. But we don't need any of that. It's all discretionary. Again, no of this will effect the economy.

3. How do you get the Russians to conserve? Or the Brazilians? Or the Chinese or Indians? Or the Saudis? Most of the world is chomping at the bit to increase per capita oil consumption, not decrease it.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 12:46:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

1. Cut discretionary travel to 0. Ha! That won't have any effect on the economy. Nah.

2. Transportation only slightly over 50% of our oil consumption. We could cut that to zero and still wouldn't be able to meet demand with domestic supplies. Oil is the bedrock of a number of industries. But we don't need any of that. It's all discretionary. Again, no of this will effect the economy.

3. How do you get the Russians to conserve? Or the Brazilians? Or the Chinese or Indians? Or the Saudis? Most of the world is chomping at the bit to increase per capita oil consumption, not decrease it.


1. If the travel is truly discretionary, and not necessary, then the only affect it would have on the economy would be less money spent on the fuel, and associated costs of the vehicle used.

2. Why does it have to all be met by domestic supplies? I don't get this argument at all.

3. The Russians, Brazilians, etc. will all decrease their consumption as the price of oil and it's products increase. At some point the price those countries would get to sell their oil well outweighs the benefits of letting their own people use it indiscriminately and for a price below market. Therefore, the price those peoples will have to pay will also increase. In other words, if the rest of the world is clamoring for oil and willing to pay $500 a barrel, you aren't going to let your people burn as much as they want at $90 per barrel. That doesn't make any sense. As a leader, you would have a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for your nations economy and that is NOT hoarding a resource worth billions of dollars.

DoctorJJ

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 3:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger ema said...

The problem of jono and cronies like him is that they don't really understand how the economy works and think that people need to be mandated to do this or that.

It doesn't work that way.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 6:37:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Mike S. said...

Your Afghanistan car pool would get the driver a huge fine in the States, as there MUST be a seatbelt for every passenger. Four non-related people moving into a house will probably violate zoning laws. Small multistory buildings are practically illegal due to the American's with Disabilities Act. And zoning is famous for keeping work miles from shopping and both miles from living.

A lot of little well-meaning laws that enforce inefficiency will have to change along the way. And this is probably a good thing.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 8:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger regeya said...

"AndrewRyan said...Tony C: Problem #1, you're assuming all American's believe and stand behind what Bush says [the American way of life is non-negotiable.]"

I think it's safe to say there's a growing number of people who realize how absurd the Neocon attitude is. I mean, if people were to voluntarily cut consumption and conserve (conservation is an odd thing to ask of conservatives, I know), free market forces would kick in, virtually eliminating any need for the government to get involved.

Maybe it's because it reminds them of how much they hated Jimmy Carter. I honestly don't know. I do know I can't understand why it's those oh-so-evil big-government liberals pushing for personal responsibility, and not the small-government conservatives *chuckle*

Personally I've cut back, and am continuing to do so. I've been chasing my family around, trying to instill that 70s ethic of turning off the damn lights when you're not in the room. I'm also looking at those more-efficient space heaters I've been seeing of late. Anyone know how well they work? I've seen 'em at Wal-Mart. They claim to be up to 35% more efficient than a traditional space heater. I'm going to make sure I'm stocked up on firewood as well (the joys of country living...)

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 9:15:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

You're right that some will resist, but prices will keep that in check. In fact, I would guess that those most resistant to change are heavily financing their lifestyle and will be forced to change whether they like it or not. Certainly no shortage of people like that in Los Angeles.

Being an LA native I considered saying something in response to this, but... well... I know LA. You're pretty much right.

Heh, well I'm new (7 years) but all of my friends ended up being LA natives and they're quite different than most of the imports :).

Still it comes down to basic economics, doesn't it? Sheesh the Peaker "omg no way consumption will ever reduce" is just absurd.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 11:30:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

I'm sorry, but while conservation should be part of any peak oil conversation, I fail to see how this blog fits with the title of the blogsite: Peak Oil Debunked.

Conservation is great. It is needed. It is great and needed precisely because peak oil is not a theory but an impending reality. It is a reality regarding PRODUCTION rates. There are a lot of individuals who conflate many things to the concept of peak oil, but peak oil is a simple law (not theory). Geological limitations mean that you simply can't suck the last thousand barrels of oil out of the earth as quickly as you sucked out the middle thousand. So, how is talking wisely about much needed conservation related to debunking the 'theory' of peak oil?

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 11:47:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

It's me again. I'm sure that anyone reading this far into the blog is curious, and possibly skeptical of my assertion that peak oil is a law.

Soo... let me put it another way.

Oil is a finite resource. If you don't take this as a given, stop reading now.

We currently produce somewhere between 72 and 74 million barrels per day.

When there are only 60 million barrels left, there is no possibility of producing 72 million barrels.

These are statements of fact, and as a conclusion all must agree that the production curve has a peak.

If you buy this argument, then you get the fundamental point of peak oil. Now you just have to do some research, possibly learn some modeling techniques, become familiar with the data and the role that below ground realities (such as porosity, permeability, and oil composition and weight) play in reservoir dynamics, and make your best educated guess as to: 1) when the peak will occur, 2) how fast production will decline, 3) how fast demand can decline without negatively impacting production, and 4) how the dynamic equilibrium between supply and demand will impact prices, 5) how these price impacts will impact geopolitics, 6) how changing geopolitics will in turn create 'above ground' limitations to production, and therefore price, 7) how this will all impact society, and 8) what you should do as an individual.

 
At Friday, October 3, 2008 at 11:54:00 PM PDT, Anonymous ajc said...

p50,

You are late for the party. JD uses his title of 'Peak Oil Debunked' as a marketing gig - to get people to visit.

He accepts peak oil just like you and I do, but folks around here don't believe that 5 billion people are going to die. He is debunking the hysteria fed by the doomers. And after all, isn't that the big deal about Peak Oil? No one really cares that oil production follows a mathematical curve, but people care that their life is going to change or they might not survive, etc.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 4:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

p50, I don't get it. Is it so hard to read the disclaimer at the top of the blog? You are simply the 5000th peaker who shows that can't read. It doesn't bode well for the intelligence of said people.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 5:57:00 AM PDT, Anonymous M.N. Earl said...

Banning the use of cars for discretionary travel or during certain days of the week is a non-starter. Better to let demand destruction occur naturally through high gas prices. Even better... take the 700 billion dollars in the bailout and give everyone a tax credit for buying a hybrid or electric vehicle.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 6:04:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

p50 - one thing you have to get used to on this blog (other than the unadulterated JD adulation) is the arrogant and condescending attitude that most of the debunkers have - (you'll invariably be called a doomer or doomie or doomdoom or something equally childish) - it doesnt matter how sensible your comment might be, if it doesnt agree with theirs you'll be labelled a doomer.

Barba - if someone creates a blog called 'Peak Oil Debunked' just to attract people, or as AJC put it a marketing gig then you should expect posts about the validity of Peak oil. Comments like...

" Is it so hard to read the disclaimer at the top of the blog? You are simply the 5000th peaker who shows that can't read. It doesn't bode well for the intelligence of said people."

...are a good example of the arrogance I mentioned above, and to be honest, makes you sound like you are a bit of dick.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 6:25:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

anon, at least I'm not as big of a dick as to not leave my nickname in here so that people can track what I say or not in this blog or in others, as jd carefully asked to in every first comment in his posts.

You can babble all you want about our "love" for JD, which is ridiculous per se, for you'll find in every goddamned blog the kind of comments that in here make you nervous such as db's "excellent post jd...", just as in, oh, I don't know, TOD. But in such doomerish places, you don't have problems with these compliments.

Barba - if someone creates a blog called 'Peak Oil Debunked' just to attract people, or as AJC put it a marketing gig then you should expect posts about the validity of Peak oil. .... HYPE.

You forgot that word. But your whole comment is ridiculous. When I first visited the site, I first thought it would "debunk" peak oil, but then I immediately recognized the agenda of it. It wasn't hard, it took me the five seconds to read the subtitle and the disclaimer (doh!)

And as a matter of fact, I really don't expect "The Oil Drum" to talk about drums. There are always some people for which we have to draw them everything. And then they get annoyed when called dumb.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 6:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger craftycorner said...

Our leadership has it's collective head in the sand regarding Peak Oil. We can't expect leadership from that quarter.

The good news, with price pinches, there is evolution going on. As JD said, Walmart is switching it's fleet, as well as other strategies, to keep up it's profit margin.

The streets of America are sprouting bicycles. Solar power use, while still young, is expanding & getting cheaper. Windmills are sprouting where there's wind.

Conservation won't 'kill' the economy as people have to buy these and other things. Just how they are going about it is changing.

Look at all the shoppers buying crap via their computers to beat the shopping lines & congestion. Car stays at home. Gas saved.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 7:03:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

Barba rija

They know what's relevant, that price's going up, forever. They might not "know" peak oil per se, but the notion that oil is a fossil fuel and therefore limited, is engrained in everyone that I see around me. They know that this is an era that's going to end and they recognize the signals of the change by seeing the price of gas skyrocketing.

There's no need of anything else. People knowing that gas is going to just cost more and more simply think "what must I do to avoid this spending spree that I am entering into?"


I'd argue that it would be worthwile to try to educate the public as to which the factors are that affect the rise of oil prices. Already with this seemingly minimal (seen with mainstream european eyes) rise in oil prices have gotten many Americans very upset.

I think it is a very understandable problem once you know all the facts and I believe this would be very important for the collective attitude.

When people fully understand the issues at hand they might actually anticipate the coming changes accordingly and use the same way of thinking as in larger long-term investments. And they would probably also understand why certain government planned policies would be beneficial.

At the very least peak oil issues should get the same kind of attention as global warming does nowadays for people to understand the severity. For some, government intervention seems to be more of an ideological than a practical issue - since basically no serious proposals have been made. I myself believe they would probably be benecial if executed properly.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 8:28:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that all the conservation measures you mention are rather drastic lifestyle and behavior changes for most Americans. And you clearly do not deny there is a problem or you wouldn't call for conservation. But what you cannot do is quantify how much energy you can save by these measures. Let's be generous..say 20% in the extreme. You are putting off the problem by possibly 5 to 10 years. That's not a solution. You cannot be taken seriously in this issue. You are just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Go do something useful.

MM

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 9:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walmart may well achieve their goal of a 25% improvement in energy efficiency for their fleet by 2015. That sounds great, and its a typical soundbyte touted by the debunkers on this site as one of the many ways in which we will avoid an energy crisis. In the last 12 years alone, Walmart has grown from just over 3000 facilities around the world, to over 6200. The 25% saving in energy usage really means that their trucks are now averaging almost 8mpg instead of 6mpg. Its just smoke and mirrors. Walmart (like just about everyone else) will need more energy in the future, which means more oil, unless the economy stops growing.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 9:22:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never visited TOD Barba, and I dont believe the world will end because of peak oil, but already you've labelled me as a doomer, which is exactly my point. You're a dick.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 10:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

anon who bitched about name calling,

I've also been called stupid, ignorant, incapable, a neo-con, a moron, and a variety of other things.

What's your point? It's one of the many "joys" of the Internet, I suppose.

I admit to being imperfect in that sense. I do sometimes stoop to the namecalling level. But I do it because I get so frustrated with the dogmas that I see from newcomers who having nothing better than parroted LATOC/TOD tripe about how this or that HAS TO HAPPEN, etc etc.

I get tired of being told I can't add anything to a conversation that is fundamentally about the economy because I dare to talk the language of mainstream economists.

Does this leave me guiltless? No. Two wrongs clearly never made a right. However, it's not like I haven't spent a considerable amount of time offering some ideas about how things might work differently from the "doomer dogma" only to be called a neo-con Bushite head in the sand moron.

It gets tiring.

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 10:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

MM,

It occurs to me that all the conservation measures you mention are rather drastic lifestyle and behavior changes for most Americans. And you clearly do not deny there is a problem or you wouldn't call for conservation. But what you cannot do is quantify how much energy you can save by these measures. Let's be generous..say 20% in the extreme. You are putting off the problem by possibly 5 to 10 years. That's not a solution. You cannot be taken seriously in this issue. You are just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Go do something useful.

"Putting it off for 5 to 10 years" is not a solution per se, but it is a time buying stopgap measure that will allow for real solutions to be put into play.

anon2,

Walmart may well achieve their goal of a 25% improvement in energy efficiency for their fleet by 2015. That sounds great, and its a typical soundbyte touted by the debunkers on this site as one of the many ways in which we will avoid an energy crisis. In the last 12 years alone, Walmart has grown from just over 3000 facilities around the world, to over 6200. The 25% saving in energy usage really means that their trucks are now averaging almost 8mpg instead of 6mpg. Its just smoke and mirrors. Walmart (like just about everyone else) will need more energy in the future, which means more oil, unless the economy stops growing.

Going from 6 to 8 MPG is a much larger savings, on the margin, than 8 to 10 MPG (assuming that's the part of the MPG you're on.) You make a legitimate point about the relative savings, but I fail to see what you think this means for the big picture? I see it as a movement, especially among big players like Wal*Mart, toward increased efficiency and toward energy savings. If that's not a tacit admission of changes from "BAU," then what is?

I don't think it's going to save humanity, but companies like Wal*Mart are seen as leaders. The more leaders we have making these kinds of changes, the more rapidly we move toward a different energy economy. It's a really good thing.

Anyone read the recent Economist article on the auto makers, by the way? If not, here it is. If companies like GM and Ford finally see the writing on the wall, that says something...

http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=8780295&story_id=12070722

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 9:35:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You "Peak Oilers" are nothing but poseurs engaging in a faux-intellectual circle jerk. You have nothing--NOTHING--to back up your alarmist bile other than the facile rantings of other thumb-sucking Chicken Littles who welcome the day that we are all riding skateboards to our jobs at the collectivist "LOCAL PRODUCE!1!" farming cooperative. Whatever. You have been proven incorrect year after year after year, yet you remain devotees of this doomsday, dystopian wet dream.

Just listen to yourselves. You are salivating about some mythical day that, if it should arrive, we are all sitting in the dark gnawing on raw raccoon thighs. The irony is that you folks are the selfsame folks who litigate any new exploration or drilling project. Your entire thesis is based on activism against even FINDING and EXPLOITING hydrocarbons. Until you prove that we are anywhere close to exhausting our resources, you are relegated to the dustbin of window lickers and retards.

skh.pcola

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 10:25:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

You are salivating about some mythical day that, if it should arrive, we are all sitting in the dark gnawing on raw raccoon thighs

Hey, I hear raccoon's actually pretty good when it's done right. Don't be hating. ;-)

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 11:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you have to boil it for a while before you roast it. ;)

skh.pcola

 
At Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 11:40:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

ajc, thanks for the response. i can sometimes be slow, but I get it now. The marketing worked. I followed the link to the site and read a couple blogs. I've found them interesting, especially the arguments about demand. As an aside, I've been arguing for a while that we have no idea what the true elasticity of demand is and that it is important to know for whom the elastic snaps first.

now barba (insert a big, exasperated Al Gore debate sigh), it sounds like you have a lot of anger built up inside you. You may want to work on expunging these feelings from your system. I hope and suppose that you do not behave with the same vigor when not hiding behind your ISP. Or maybe you do, which is why you spend time antagonizing people with meaningless digital insults.

That said, please take a moment to re-read the actual words that *I* wrote and judge them on their own merit (rather than judging my words in conjunction with the canon of other 5,000 'peaker' responses). I think you'll see that I politely (not just an adverb, but a guiding principle for life) pointed out that conservation is great, but that the article hardly debunks Peak Oil.

If you are really slow, take a moment to read what I said one more time. Here are some notes to help you along. In the first post, I made the point that an article about how to stave off peak oil hardly debunks the theory, and hence seems like an odd thing to post on the blogsite... (thanks to ajc, I now get it... kinda). In the same post, I also added that peak oil is more like a law than a theory.

Now this is a big statement, so I figured I'd back it up for some of the *readers* of the blog with a simple thought exercise. As an aside, I did note the disclaimer for the blogsite, but I wasn't talking to the author. Since you seem to have trouble reading, let me say it again, I was not talking to the author, but to the general readership - some of whom are probably new to the idea.

So, it seems to me that as long as you are going to throw meaningless jabs, which BTW only work to highlight your own shortcomings, I'll take a moment to point out some of the finer nuances of my well-reasoned argument. The error which you *seem* to be making is that you've conflated too much into the 'peak oil theory'. Peak oil is *only* about production rates. Doomer scenarios are not part of the theory, but a reaction to it. Some would say that capitalism will be the downfall of human existence, but this is no more part of the theory of capitalism than doom scenarios are part of the theory of peak oil. (Disclaimer: This nuanced point is not only directed at barba, but at the general readership)

Since you have difficulty reading, let me make the subtle point of my second post more clear. Peak oil is a reality (one that the Peak Oil Debunked blog founder clearly believes). Once an individual understands that production rates for cheap, easy-to-produce, energy-rich conventional oil will inevitably fall into a state of decline, it is up to them to decide what impacts this peak and decline will have, and what, if anything, they should do to prepare for the inevitable (which once again is the slow down of production not world apocalypse). As such, I should hardly be placed in the same box as the doomers whose apocalyptic scenarios you have conflated to a production curve just so you can argue against them.

I recommend that you take a deep breath and re-read all three of my responses one additional time before firing off a response of your own. I wish you good luck with that, and with all that you do.

As for the rest of you, I am sorry that you had to read this childish interaction, and I hope that you are able to pull out the important points.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 12:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Stuck in Shizuoka: This is going to take leadership to put money and tax breaks into the right things...

In general, I'm opposed to getting the government involved because they will inevitably promote all the *wrong* things. Most Americans firmly believe they need a 6000 pound vehicle to go buy a donut, and will fully support the kind of "digging the hole deeper" solutions that Hirsch proposes.

In fact, that is one of my long-standing criticisms of TOD and the rest of the peak oil community. They are spreading the idea that our civilization is hopelessly dependent on oil, and will collapse as oil production declines. That, of course, implies that we must "drill or die", and leads inevitably to "drill, baby, drill". The doomer greens, like Heinberg, are stupidly giving ammunition to their opponents. If we need oil to survive, then clearly the #1 imperative is to completely gut the environmentalists in a mad rush for more oil (or coal, ethanol etc.)

A far better approach, if you are concerned about the environment and saving some fossil fuels for the future, is to stress that oil is primarily a luxury, not a necessity. Then the "drill, baby, drill" argument loses its force.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 1:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous stuck in Shizuoka said...

It's an interesting point JD, and, I suppose, one that some more savvy, worldly Americans can probably relate to. The US governments after Carter all gave up on sensible measures like CAFE standards, public transit iniatives and tax on gasoline/fuels. Europe and Japan on the other hand, still managed to have thriving automotive companies whilst putting money into decent electric transit, better use of urban density and fuel efficiency.

But, couldn't American governments see that money put into 3rd generation biofuels (there's a good listen to be had at the "renewable energy" podcast at itunes), better LRT/electric busses and the domestic auto sector IF it means more domestic jobs, less imported oil and a growth in renewable energy.

Even if there had been a continuation in higher CAFE standards, the whole SUV madness wouldn't have started. Sure, it meant more profit for car makers, but fuel efficiency and lower cost are what the public wants now. So, even just a massive change in CAFE plus tax incentives for owners of small fuel efficient cars/hybrid/EV/ would bring about some positive changes.


oh, and on another note--I did see an interesting interview with Hirsch in which he did say that, when he compiled the report in 2004, they hadn't forseen a long bumpy plateau and that he had based his findings on a sudden and accelerating drop.

This leads me to think that a longer bumpier plateau (with advances in good biofuels/conservation/much less demand vis a vis a global recession/advances in GTL/some changes in technology affecting demand, e.g., public transit, urban redensification, etc) combined with a critical mass-type-change in PUBLIC AWARENESS, could allow for the kind of mitigation we need to make it through the next 10-15 years whilst technology and infrastructure changes to allow a switch to economies using much less petroleum.

thoughts?


also, and this isn't aimed at JD, I think it really is too bad that this thread, and others, have to descend into name-calling, acrimony, and taunting. Frankly, if someone comes on here and rants and belittles someone for their views--whether they are doomer, cornucopian, or somewhere in the middle like most of us here--that person just needs to be either ignored or addressed in a clear, but informative way, perhaps with a little sympathy.

Getting into a flame-war on this site, only debases the site itself and underminds its purpose.

Experts in anything are often wrong and something as vague, nebulous, and multifacted as the interwoven components of oil depletion, advancing technology and economy and capitalism, make firm prognostication about the future almost impossible to make or judge.

Like Robert Kaufman, an oil and gas expert and Professor for Energy Studies at Boston University, said, "we are making a transition, and it could be a relatively smooth one, or it could be something rather frightening--we just don't know. If it is somewhat painless, it could be very exciting and I hope to be around to see it".

Stuck in Shizuoka

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 1:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

jono: Sorry, but I have to go with Hirsch and his decades of experience in meaningful positions over anonymous blogger.

Not sure what that's supposed to mean. Hirsch's position that it will take 20 years to mitigate peak oil is obviously wrong because it takes no account of conservation. That's just common sense.

On the other hand, if you're trying to imply that Hirsch is a dead-ender, that's not true either. According to Hirsch, "things will be good by the year 2050". I see perfectly eye-to-eye with him on that point.

1. Cut discretionary travel to 0. Ha! That won't have any effect on the economy. Nah.

Naturally, it will have an effect on the economy. No one is suggesting otherwise. The interesting question is how large those effects will be. I'll be examining this more closely in future posts, but all indications are that the impact will be relatively mild. Grandma may miss seeing the grandkids, but there's always "Skype". Switching to Afghani car pooling, housepooling and packed bus systems may have a degrading effect on some industries (vehicle sales? road maintenance? drive-thru restaurants?) but it's hardly going to send the economy into an endless depression. The entire "Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, Accomodation, Food Service" sector of the economy only accounts for about 3.6% of GDP. Numerous countries have lifestyles comparable to the US while using only 50% of the oil per capita. And even those using less than 10% of the US level (like China) are hardly living in the stone age. We're also not factoring in rapidly growing, highly-efficient substitutes, like bicycles, electric scooters and segways, which can maintain significant amounts of discretionary local travel without oil.

2. Transportation only slightly over 50% of our oil consumption. We could cut that to zero and still wouldn't be able to meet demand with domestic supplies. Oil is the bedrock of a number of industries. But we don't need any of that. It's all discretionary. Again, no of this will effect the economy.

You're just posturing. Not addressing the issues in objective, measured fashion. Peak oil isn't a problem of dealing with a complete shut-off of oil in one day. It's a problem of dealing with a steady decrease over time, in a climate where other sources of energy are still growing (or stable), and substitutions, efficiency and conservation are each proceeding at certain rates. The critical applications where oil is truly indispensable are: agriculture, construction machinery, military, air travel, air freight and waterborne freight. But those constitute only 15.9% of usage in the US (of which 6.7% is air travel, virtually all of which is optional), and it's going to be quite a while before US production+imports drop to those low levels. The rest of US consumption can all be substituted with coal, NG, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal etc. The interesting question is: Will extreme conservation (like that outlined in this post) combined with substitution be enough to manage the peak oil problem over the time scales that it will actually occur. Due to the very large cushion of discretionary oil use, and the rapid rise of substitutes, I'm inclined to say yes.

3. How do you get the Russians to conserve? Or the Brazilians? Or the Chinese or Indians? Or the Saudis? Most of the world is chomping at the bit to increase per capita oil consumption, not decrease it.

What other countries do isn't really important or relevant. You can't control the behavior of other countries, so it's better to worry about something you can control: your own fuel consumption. Let them become dependent on the oil -- it's a poison pill and they'll regret it later.

To illustrate, I myself directly use no gasoline, diesel or kerosene at all. My oil consumption is at the far lower limits for a first world person. So price rises have almost no effect at all on me. Are the people still filling up with gasoline something that I need to worry about? No. That's their problem, and I'm laughing at them because they are paying through the nose for something they don't actually need. Try to remember: Cars are a luxury, not a necessity. 90% of the people in the world live without them, just fine, today. Your argument against conservation is very similar to saying: "If we don't consume the heroin, they will." It's not a good argument against quitting heroin (i.e. against conservation).

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 7:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fertilizer and farming industries require large amounts of fossil fuels to run. So don't think that just because you don't use a car that food prices aren't going to go way up when the oil price increases. This means that having your own land and growing your own food is a good idea, but many who live in cities don't have that luxury.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 7:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The aluminum in a bicycle takes roughly 10 times as much energy to make as steel. The tyres of a bicycle are also made of oil, but obviously a bicycle is much more efficient than a car, in terms of energy needed to make it. Roads are resurfaced with asphalt, roofing tiles are made with tar, making the glass in windows is an energy intensive process. Most of the chemical industry relies heavily on cheap and plentiful electricity and coal, oil and gas to make plastics.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 10:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger popmonkey said...

anon #umpteen:

you're obviously new to the debate. welcome, and please read up a little. all this stuff (fertilizer especially) has been covered on this blog YEARS ago...

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 3:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

p50, my anger wasn't directed towards you, it was only an anon coward who seems to like to diss JD's blog and his "ilk" but nevertheless denies to know what is "TOD". I have little patience for that bullshit crap.

And despite your al gorian sighs - which is elitist crap, drop it please - I DID read what you said and I still think you are not making a good case of your ability to discern things through. This is a blog entitled Peak Oil Debunked, with a subtitle "Debunking peak oil hype with facts and figures, and exposing the agendas behind peak oil.". Nowhere does it state that this is a mission accomplished by a single post.

Now, I may have jumped by calling you a doomer, but it's usually doomers who like to come here to state that peak oil is a geological fact.

This post is about debunking Hirsch's position. You may agree with it or not. By making the strawman (and maintain it) of saying that this doesn't debunk the whole theory of peak oil doom, you simply put yourself in a indefensible position. You ask me to read your comment. Well, read the post first. Hirsch is one of the peak oilers big reference to the usual position of "we haven't the two decades he talks about so we're fucked!!". To debunk Hirsch is therefore quite important.

I was not talking to the author, but to the general readership - some of whom are probably new to the idea.

Oh, so you usually take others to be stupid, then.

Peak oil is *only* about production rates.

It is you that are completely naive to peak oil. Peak Oil is a meme about how oil production curve is going to top, hence the economy will crumble, hence the civilization will collapse, hence farming will collapse, hence 5 to 6 billion people are bound to die.

When people talk about PO, they think these things. When people talk about "capitalism theory", they don't think about collapse.

You won't find many people in here that disagree with the first sentence of that "hence" paragraph, p50. The blog's purpose is to ridicule the idiocy of the rest of the paragraph, and to denounce the ideological propaganda behind it. It is very clear, when you clean your glasses. Most peak oil primers have their own particular ideological agenda, but they envolve their distate for the current civilization, a desire to live a "greener" living, a nostalgia for a world that never existed.


Since you have difficulty reading, let me make the subtle point of my second post more clear. Peak oil is a reality (one that the Peak Oil Debunked blog founder clearly believes).

If the point of your comment was to make a distinction between peak oil (geologic) and peak oil (agenda, internet meme) and state that the post didn't debunk the first, then you failed your mission. Try to be clearer next time, instead of complaining of misreadings.


I recommend that you take a deep breath and re-read all three of my responses one additional time before firing off a response of your own.

I DID that in the first place. Now, with the knowledge that you've gained of what this blog is really about, YOU read them again. You wrote a complete strawman, taking the blog title as literal, repeating the mistake of many distracted. Later you say that you were speaking to the commenters, not the author. BS, you were never clear on that.

It's not a matter of childishness or not. It's very important to clear things through, and although you clearly didn't like my tone, I was right.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 3:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Thomas R. said...

I saw you mention it briefly in one of the posts above JD so here is my question to everyone. What effect do you believe conservation measures will have on the overall economy? Sure, not driving on certain days, riding your bicycle and doing other things will certainly help alleviate our oil problem, but won't that hurt other industries. This is a very weak example I'm using. But think about golf courses. If driving on Sunday were banned or even just every other week, that would hurt the business on the golf course and would probably lead to layoffs. Like I said, that is a very minor example seeing that golf courses are largely irrelevant to our economy but that is just a small example of how conservation may trickle down to the rest of the economy. How big of an effect do you believe conservation will have on the overall economy?

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 4:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

thomas, conservation should be regarded as "efficiency measures". Therefore, to say that increase in efficiency of energy use is bad for the economy is wrong.

The thing is, what's at stake is not discretionary luxuries, I don't think that what's being propose is to stop having luxuries. What's being proposed is to stop having oil-based luxuries.

And the capitalist market is always changing, adapting. So what if some fringe luxury market collapses? Another different one will spring.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 4:36:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

What effect do you believe conservation measures will have on the overall economy?

Good question. I hope to shed more light on it soon, based on the actual sector-by-sector breakdown of GDP.

However, in the context of the current financial crisis, potential damage to the economy isn't really an issue anymore. Severe damage is already occurring due to reasons having nothing to do with conservation. So the question is backwards. The real question is likely to be: What effect will the overall collapse in the economy have on conservation measures? Answer: it will likely boost conservation efforts tremendously.

 
At Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 5:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

At TOD, Alan Drake wrote:

At ASPO-Sacramento, I approached Robert Hirsch about possibly writing an "Alternative Hirsch Report" and he basically called be an idiot (in more polite words), appealed to authority (his) and said it could not be done in less than 50 years. It is a daunting challenge, but I may go ahead, with my own resources, and write the "Alternative (Green) Hirsch Report".

For obvious reasons, I posted a link to this article. The link, and Alan's original comment, were deleted by the TOD staff this morning.

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 12:11:00 AM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

barba,

You say that you were right. About what? In your first reaction - the post to which I responded - you made three statements: 1) you don't get it, 2) I'm the 5000th peaker that can't read, and 3) it doesn't bode well for the intelligence of peakers as a group (of which you are presumably a member).

Your latest post indicates that you are clearly an intelligent and thoughtful person, as am I. Heck, we probably don't disagree about peak oil (at least in it's geologic definition, though possibly we could squabble about when conventional oil will peak). We probably don't even disagree that there exists a range of possible outcomes. These could fall on a bell curve of probability from apocalypse to great investment opportunity (or eco-salvation - you choose).

At the heart of our disagreement is my position that peak oil is a geologic fact though nothing more. You seem to have conflated to it apocalyptic prophecies. These apocalyptic prophecies are the STRAWMAN in YOUR argument. You claim that peak oil is debunked by merely offering a plausible alternative to mass die-off. But this, I contend is a strategic miscalculation.

By claiming that the ideology is debunked, 'debunkers' are relegating doomsday scenarios from P5 to an impossibility. In my opinion, this is not helpful. Possibly it is as great or worse a disservice as the doomer scenario.

Personally, I believe that there exists a range of possible outcomes, and that there can be no single outcome. As a statement of fact, people are already suffering - losing their jobs and being foreclosed upon. This suffering is a direct result of rising prices which are directly related to peak oil. There are also those that are reaping significant benefits from the economic downturn caused in large part by peak oil. In this sense, a single probability or scenario is quite ridiculous. Go ahead and take the middle ground, then try telling any one of the thousands of families who lost their homes and jobs - people that are struggling to feed their own children - that doomsday scenarios have been debunked. Again, easy to do from behind your computer screen, but much harder to do face-to-face.

I would prefer that the probability of a doomer scenario coming to fruition be reduced to nil for everyone. In order to do so, we need healthy conversation which is accessible to as broad an audience as possible. To claim that peak oil (as a conflation of geologic fact and ideologically based forecasts) has been debunked is as dangerous if not more dangerous than asserting that a mass die-off is the predetermined outcome.

To claim that a new poster (me) is unable to read, and to throw insults their way is counterproductive. In your latest rant you continue this trend by implying that to be new to peak oil is to be stupid. To assume that anyone with an independent view is a doomer is equally counterproductive and close-minded.

By stating that peak oil has been rebuked, you are doing a disservice to yourself. The blog should be renamed "Peak Oil Doomers Debunked" to at least reflect the mission of the group. Such a title would be more accurate, and wouldn't lead the casual observer to think that peak oil, a geologic reality, is something to be debated (which many ignorant people, including some authors on this site, believe it is).

Looking forward to the next round, and hoping that we can come to a state of mutual respect.

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 2:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

@p50

I was right about you aiming and shooting against something that wasn't being discussed. You were simply talking against the title of the blog. That's naive. That's simplistic reason.

I mentioned earlier about The Oil Drum's title as an example. What, does it talk about drums immersed in oil? hey, should I post a comment arguing that their posts don't exactly mention any musical instruments at all?

Before jumping to conclusions and firing guns, one should read more carefully, to understand better what's being discussed. You didn't do any of that stuff, and then you complain that other people did just that to you, oh the irony!

At the heart of our disagreement is my position that peak oil is a geologic fact though nothing more.

This is also why I was skeptical towards your "nuanced" position. Usually, "doomers" call the attention towards the most scientific part of their theory as evidence that doom is inevitable. Peak Oil (usually referred in capital words) isn't just a hypothesis, it's geologically proven, hence we're all gonna die. I'm not jumping to conclusions here. Arguably all the people that defended that peak oil was geological fact, are the same ones who predict the apocalypse (or just want to hype it for some other reason).

These apocalyptic prophecies are the STRAWMAN in YOUR argument.

They would be if they weren't the core theme of the blog, d'OH! Wake up, it wasn't me who decided that the thematic of this blog would be about the doom part of peak oil, it was the author. If you misunderstood it, it's your problem.

In my opinion, this is not helpful. Possibly it is as great or worse a disservice as the doomer scenario.

Look, that's completely wrong. As humans, we are always one step away from disaster, BUT it's not helpful if you believe that the doomer scenario is not only possible, but inevitable. It's not just that human brains work better in optimist mode, it's just that usually the doom scenarios are completely irrealistic and out of touch of the current situation, rendering the usual "solutions" to the problem completely irrelevant and useless.

The problems that people are facing (losing jobs and foreclosing homes) have little to do with peak oil. By linking those two together you show your bias as someone who drunk the kool-aid. The mortgage crisis had nothing to do with peak oil. And to simply say that people are already living "doomsday" scenarios is laughable. Stop that crap of "easy to do from behind your computer screen, but much harder to do face-to-face" shit. Doomer scenarios weren't about a 1 to 2% increase of unemployment. They talk about a massive die off of human population, get it? The problems that people are facing right now are order of magnitudes lower than what die-off people defend.

To claim that peak oil (as a conflation of geologic fact and ideologically based forecasts) has been debunked is as dangerous if not more dangerous than asserting that a mass die-off is the predetermined outcome.

So you actually believe that the theories that claim we're inevitably going to face a massive die-off are in the same ballpark to the common-sense get-down-to-earth arguments that ridicule the former? Please. How come this refutation is dangerous I cannot understand. Read the blog further. If you read the up right corner of it, there's a link titled "NEW TO PEAK OIL? SCARED? START HERE: CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-DOOMER" and another one titled "THE SOLUTION TO PEAK OIL: ELECTRIFICATION + CONSERVATION". They are good reads. Even the title speak volumes of the kind of debunking that is being done. When I say you're arguing strawmans it's because you are putting our positions in extremes. This is how many people are swayed by the doomer lot. Someone says "hey, it's not that simple, peak oil is a fact, BAU can't go on forever", and people jump to the conclusion that we're fucked.

This site, as I read it, makes the point that there is a whole lot of scenarios in the middle, as you also do, and that the probability of either the extremes of happening (full-blown oil glut or massive die-off) is near zero. Because there are a lot of sites that defend die-off or something near it, they make excellent cases on how the former is pretty improbable, this site fills the gap by claiming that the latter is also pretty improbable.

The blog should be renamed "Peak Oil Doomers Debunked"

Well, probably. Fact is, without the doomers, there wouldn't even be a discussion about peak oil. In my mind, the two are intertwined. The people that care the most about peak oil are the doomer lot. Others simply see it as a natural thing to happen, and say "so what? Other things will substitute it". These people won't care enough for the event to even name it.

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 10:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

As a statement of fact, people are already suffering - losing their jobs and being foreclosed upon. This suffering is a direct result of rising prices which are directly related to peak oil.

p50,

Really now? This is not at all an oversimplification?

C'mon now. The foreclosures are INDIRECTLY a result of commodity prices, but are DIRECTLY a result of the ridiculous terms of the sub-prime mortgages. The biggest mistake of the peak oil community is to tie EVERYTHING to peak oil.

Wheat prices? Peak oil.
Healthcare costs? Peak oil.
Aunt Jane's bad hip? Peak oil.
The Cubs losing to the Dodgers? Peak oil.

Peak oil? Peak oil!

This current financial crisis is the product of over-leveraged banks spending themselves into the hole, people taking mortgages they couldn't afford, and overspending in general. That's the DIRECT cause.

Did oil prices going up contribute? Sure. Is it the single most important cause? No. I've long argued the the recent superspike in prices was actually caused BY the housing bubble bursting, instead of the other way around.

But seriously, stop blaming everything under the sun on peak oil, peak oil people. There are much easier things to pinpoint.

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

However, in the context of the current financial crisis, potential damage to the economy isn't really an issue anymore.

Severe damage is already occurring due to reasons having nothing to do with conservation. So the question is backwards. The real question is likely to be: What effect will the overall collapse in the economy have on conservation measures?

Answer: it will likely boost conservation efforts tremendously.


Or is your reply backwards? I don't believe it should be considered in the context of the current financial crisis. We are talking about two different kinds of demand destruction.

I don't really suppose real conservation efforts are imminent because the oil price is and has been fairly affordable. Conservation in itself is some kind of demand destruction, but I'm talking about conservation efforts caused by the effect of high prices - not by reduced economic activity as a result of a regular economic downturn. Of course purchasing power also decreases on average with an economic downturn, but so does the price of oil when demand goes down.

I believe high prices won't be upon us before we start growing again, and that's probably when we may start real conservation measures and thereby also seeing the possible issues with it. I suppose there's ample time to focus on less energy-intensive growth - but will anyone pay attention to it when energy prices are low again?

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 12:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

babun,

Here's a partial answer:

http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=8780295&story_id=12070722

That's one sector that seems intently interested in reducing its fossil fuel dependence. A big one.

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 7:58:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

As a statement of fact, people are already suffering - losing their jobs and being foreclosed upon. This suffering is a direct result of rising prices which are directly related to peak oil.

I know others have already debunked this statement for what it is, i.e. not even close to fact. However, I would like to point out that since you would even propose that peak oil is the root cause of all this financial mess is clear and obvious proof that you are a Peak Oil doomer.

DoctorJJ

 
At Monday, October 6, 2008 at 11:37:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

Directly related to = directly a result of?! ... hopefully anyone who fails to see the logical error with this statement is not tasked with educating our youth!

It's not really worth the effort anymore, but I can't help but point out that - once again - each of you is having a difficult time with the R-E-A-D-I-N-G...

How about I connect some of those dots for you dolts. There are truckers out there who were on the margin before diesel prices started their rapid climb. Many of these sole proprietors became insolvent because they could not pass on the extra expense. Of this group, many lost their homes. And you are going to tell me that they are not experiencing a doomer scenario? And you are going to tell me that their plight is unrelated to peak oil? And you are going to call me elitist for making a joke about Al Gore's strange sighs?!

The fact is that there are counties in the U.S. where the median expenditure on fuel is over 15% of median income. This means that only a few years ago, when prices were half what they are today, that these same folks were only spending a paultry (?!) 7+% of their income on fuel. Of course there is the completely unrelated (sarcasm) doubling of the price of food, too. But neither of these events could be related to the high rates of foreclosure in said counties? Of course, as someone said, they could move... but who the f*&K is going to buy a house in one of these neighborhoods?!

I'll be the first to admit that this site is host to some thoughtful, out-of-the-box, insightful arguments. But those of you that can't see that peak oil is directly related to the housing crisis are as fervently and wrong-headedly anti-doomer as doomers are anti-hope.

I realize that these thoughts will only reinforce your perception that I am a doomer. This is such a simplistic view as to not even justify a correction, but I will still point out taht a doomer is one who believes that peak oil will lead to a predetermined, apocalyptic destiny. I've reported only on what is happening now, and that I can see a range of possible alternative outcomes. You'll experience yours, I'll experience mine, and those who are already advantaged will have a different experience than those living on the margin.

These are facts. Do with them what you will. I see that there are some that will never get the message, and will continue to read what they think rather than what is written. I'm okay with that.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 3:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

@p50

I live in Portugal. This means that I pay not 4$ a gallon. I pay over 8$ a gallon. Sorry if I don't exactly pity your whining. And to take those 15% that you mention into perspective, in the eighties, that was the average of income spent into fuel of the entire US.

Now, nowhere I or anyone in here said that the high cost of oil isn't hurting the economy. The problem is that some people like to think that oil is the prime force that is creating havok in wall street, mortgage prime meltdown, etc. It's not. Never were. It doesn't mean that they are disconnected. This year we saw how the big money ran away desperately from mortgage and hedge funds to commodities, creating a oil bubble that topped at 150$ (now it's 85?) and in food prices. Both bubbles were denied to be such, and blame went to "fundamentals". It was bullshit of course, as it's clear today.


Directly related to = directly a result of?!"

Well then, one could say that in the economy everything is connected, so if you didn't imply causation, what were you doing? Shenanigans? Think before you post, rather than accusing others of not being able to read.

Of this group, many lost their homes. And you are going to tell me that they are not experiencing a doomer scenario?

They are experiencing real bad times. Not a doomer scenario. You have a problem of scale. You think that foreclosing a home and being forced to find a smaller house that you'll be able to pay for is in the same ballpark than a die-off scenario where people are pillaging all they can find for food, concentration camps abounding, etc? Come on! Get a grip! It seems that for you, it's all or nothing.

A recession is coming. Perhaps a deep one. Peak oil didn't create it, and will have little impact in the next ten years, if the recession is deep enough. A deep recession means a whole lot of demand destruction, and taking into consideration the production timetable of this year and the next, there's the risk of an oil glut, even if oil production doesn't increase much.

But those of you that can't see that peak oil is directly related to the housing crisis...

The related trap again. First, peak oil, as you yourself define it, still didn't happen, so how is something that didn't happen related to anything? You are just admitting that you don't take peak oil only for its geological fact. You are looking into wider relationships, while you denied such. Look, surging oil prices did add a burden, but the housing bubble ponzi market had nothing to do with it. And the housing expenses rose considerably much more than gas did, and while gas can be somewhat cut off, house expense can't, unless you foreclose.

I see that there are some that will never get the message

What message?!? You are constantly saying you don't believe in this or that. Show your colors!

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 4:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

I've found a very interesting post with interviews by Simmons and Heinberg, in climate resistance. Disclaimer though. It's a site where some guys have problems with the politics behing greenhouse gas, and they make a curious and interesting point linking the fear of peak oil to the fear of GHG and this notion that everything that mankind makes is inherently bad. It never falls down to blow-hard right wing talk, so don't worry. It's very well written.

Here it is:

Oiling the Wheel of Despair at the Edge of Scare City

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 7:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Directly related to = directly a result of?! ... hopefully anyone who fails to see the logical error with this statement is not tasked with educating our youth!

Fair enough. I have taught (and am considering doing it again), but I suppose that's a terrifying thought! I mean, I CLEARLY am incapable of teaching because I can misread and err.

Come on...

It's not really worth the effort anymore, but I can't help but point out that - once again - each of you is having a difficult time with the R-E-A-D-I-N-G...

How about I connect some of those dots for you dolts. There are truckers out there who were on the margin before diesel prices started their rapid climb. Many of these sole proprietors became insolvent because they could not pass on the extra expense. Of this group, many lost their homes. And you are going to tell me that they are not experiencing a doomer scenario? And you are going to tell me that their plight is unrelated to peak oil? And you are going to call me elitist for making a joke about Al Gore's strange sighs?!


Yes, there are those situations. But my point is that the most DIRECT cause of this was largely the horrific terms on many (most?) recent mortgages. It would not have mattered to many of the truckers if their mortgage rates didn't go from 5.65% to 20% due to a missed payment. My point is that looking only at the net incomes is not enough when you consider the lifestyle choices as well. Perhaps both of us are just looking at it, albeit from different angles.

My point is this: increased expenses suck, but most Americans getting hammered by them made the CHOICE to live beyond their means. Can one predict that oil will double in a year? Probably not. But there's a reason why I try to live with a 20% or higher buffer, and always try to give myself options outside of my current lifestyle.

Many people did not do this.

Also, I'd like to note that it is not "peak oil" that caused the current run up in prices, but rather high demand and only slowly increasing supply. Let's be fair here: supply has increased year-after-year, but demand has kept up as well.

By the way, I'm not a dolt. I'm occasionally oblivious. I'm sometimes silly. I can even be a bit dense. But I'm not a dolt.

The fact is that there are counties in the U.S. where the median expenditure on fuel is over 15% of median income. This means that only a few years ago, when prices were half what they are today, that these same folks were only spending a paultry (?!) 7+% of their income on fuel. Of course there is the completely unrelated (sarcasm) doubling of the price of food, too. But neither of these events could be related to the high rates of foreclosure in said counties? Of course, as someone said, they could move... but who the f*&K is going to buy a house in one of these neighborhoods?!

Yes, you are correct. The exurbs are doing to die, and we are going to look back on them and shake our heads.

I'd also like to note that oil and food prices are not statistically related as far as I can tell. I'm more inclined to believe that food prices are more a function of demand (obviously) and trading. The cost of food has risen on the margin a fair bit, but not enough to cause it to double in so short a period of time. Food prices appear, at least statistically, to be more a function in the past year of the speculation of banks trying to shore up their liquidity following the housing crash. In the long run (past 10 years or so,) food prices are statistically much more related to demand factors, especially from BRIC countries.

My point is this: simple one variable answers rarely explain all of the variation. It's especially messy when you're dealing with interrelated variables like commodities, which are driven by demand and speculation (as well as each other to an extent.) I don't necessarily disagree with the fact that oil prices exert an upward effect on food prices, but just based on the margins it's hard to swallow the fact that food doubled simply because of oil. There's too much noise there to say that.

These are facts. Do with them what you will. I see that there are some that will never get the message, and will continue to read what they think rather than what is written. I'm okay with that.

But the cause and effect variables are never simply "facts." That's the point. Is it a fact that oil prices are going up? Yes. Is it a fact that oil is finite? Yes. Is it a fact that everything happening right now is due to oil? No.

Call me a dolt. Call me unfit for anything you wish. But don't tell me that very simple explanations for very complex situations are "facts."

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 9:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

p50, another thing.

Check this post by JD:

Why Call It Peak Oil Debunked

Sorry if you already read it.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 10:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

ari, your thoughtful comments are appreciated. Most foreclosures are a direct result of people desperate to get into a housing market, which was for many years going up and up and up. This pressure was compounded by an inability of actuaries to assess risk.

As recently as three or four years ago, newspapers in my home town were only beginning to debate whether the housing market was heading toward a bubble, and there were more than a handful of experts advising to get into the market.

This is when the 'flip that house' shows began airing. Everyone caught the fever, and many greatly increased their wealth.

All this buying up of real estate caused prices for entry level condos and homes in my hometown to rise to very high levels. Many people in my hometown had to buy near the margin of what they could afford not because they wanted to buy the biggest house, but instead because there was a dearth of affordable housing. Needless to say rental prices were skyrocketing as well. So the choice seemed pretty simple for most. Buy now because 1) you'll earn instant equity and gain net worth and 2) get locked into a mortgage in order to escape yearly or twice yearly rises in rent (somewhere around 10% per annum). Of course, many had to choose ARMs, but ARM rates are locked in for 5 years (+/-) at which point many people figured they would either move or refinance. So they're living on the margin and get hit with inflation, rising fuel prices, and rising food prices, yet their wages are not rising at the same rate. Or maybe they or their spouse gets laid off, or maybe they are an independent trucker. So what are these people to do? Most scratched and scrimped to keep from losing their only investment, and bam - up goes their ARM. But in the new world, no bank will help them refinance because they are now too much of a risk - because the bank adjusted how it assesses risk as much as a shift in the underlying fundamentals of the individual owner.

I have a hard time saying that these people were wrong for taking the original loan. All the information at the time was pointing in that direction, and expert opinion was strongly urging home ownership. Not to mention the constant barrage of tacit social messages coming from the media.

Should the banks have not made these loans? I like to say that hindsight is 20/20 but foresight is at best 50/50. Their risk was supposed to be covered. Looking back it is easy to see that the banks were wrong (and sometimes criminally so), but I recall hearing a debate at some point many months ago that these practices got many more people into home ownership than were foreclosed on. Hence from a social equity perspective, this was a good thing.

So, you are completely right that the more direct cause was largely the bank practices, and this is something that needs to be addressed through the appropriate policy course (whatever that may be -- consumer education and bank regulation?). But we need to realize and keep in mind that there are other important underlying causes, one of which is energy inflation, which is directly related to peak oil. We can squabble over whether peak oil (conventional) is here now, just around the corner, or not to arrive for 30 more years. It doesn't change the fact that peak oil occurred in the U.S. in 1970. Oil prices were extremely stable for decades leading up to the peak. After the peak, well, they went all over the place.

Our policy response should be more holistic. It should address energy production, conservation, and banking oversight (to start). And as individuals we should spend a little time looking at the people behind the numbers and recognize the diversity of the problem. It's not just predatory lending, and it's not just people deciding to live beyond their means.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 10:21:00 AM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

barba, thanks for the link. The last line is particularly amusing: "It's like junkies trying to solve their problem by analyzing maps of the poppy fields in Afghanistan."

And I did read the Confessions Post. I thought it was well articulated, though I do have a few points of contention not worth mentioning.

I appreciate the sentiment of the originator, and frankly he can name his blogsite whatever he wants.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 11:07:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

p50,

I think energy costs going up is an issue, but I think this is an interesting look at the overall situation (I like holistic views, myself):

From 1974 to 1985, the United States spent more than 10 percent of its GDP buying energy. In GDP terms, the peak year for U.S. energy costs was 1981, when Americans spent roughly 13.7 percent of GDP. In 1973-1975 and 1979-1981, the share of GDP devoted to energy increased despite decreases in per capita and total energy use. Since then, even from 2003-2006, per capita energy consumption in the United States has remained relatively steady, between 340 and 350 million BTU per person.

Beginning in 1986 and lasting through the end of the decade, energy expenditures as a percentage of GDP started to decrease to around 8.0 percent. During the 1990s that ratio fell even further, reaching 6 percent in 1999. The fast-growing information economy had relatively low energy consumption, which helped to reduce consumption as a percentage of GDP.

Energy spending as a percent of GDP didn’t begin rising significantly until real energy prices began rising in 2003. But there are several key differences between our current situation and that of the 1970s.

First, U.S. energy consumption has been fluctuating around 98-100 quadrillion BTU—hardly increasing at the pace it was in the 1970s, where consumption increased by 13.0 quadrillion BTU over a decade. Consumption in 2006 was only 5.7 quadrillion BTU greater than it was in 1996. And we have actually been decreasing our per capita energy consumption since 2004, whereas per capita energy consumption was increasing during the 1970s.


I posted this in a past thread, by the way. My thinking is that energy, as an issue, is and will be important forever and ever. But I also think that we're fortunate to be at a time in our history when we have more options than we seem to know what to do with. I'm serious, too.

I suspect that rising oil (and oil is just one form of energy needed in the economy) prices will cause people to fall back on other energy sources (my bet is on nuclear, wind, and hydro) and increased use of electrification. That article from The Economist I posted suggests to me that the automakers realize where their future lies, and it ain't in petrol-powered cars. That should at least demonstrate that some companies are aware of the future roadmap.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 11:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

p50,

Also, on banking: I think banking should be rebuilt from the ground up, and I have thought this for a long time. Anyone who knows US GAAP knows how easy it is for US-based banks to play the rules in their favor.

Had US GAAP forbidden special purpose vehicles, I somehow doubt we'd be here right now. But alas, we managed to learn NUFFING from Enron/Arthur Andersen.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 11:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

We can squabble over whether peak oil (conventional) is here now, just around the corner, or not to arrive for 30 more years. It doesn't change the fact that peak oil occurred in the U.S. in 1970. Oil prices were extremely stable for decades leading up to the peak. After the peak, well, they went all over the place.

One more quick note: it's interesting to look at oil prices after the US "peak" (which is not going to continue as planned: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/ongr.html) and look at the trends. I see two major trends:

1) the OPEC embargo price jump (inflection point)
2) the past 10 years run up (more gradual increase)

Besides those two periods (the latter being interesting to us because we're living it), prices are actually fairly stable during most decades. In fact, I'd say that it was in some part the incredibly stable price of oil during the 90s that allowed Friedman-esque globalization to get off the ground.

I do think that the cost of oil will have effects on the economy, but I have long since decided that prices aren't enough to cause a "collapse." In fact, what near-$150 barrel oil demonstrated, the only thing that seems to collapse when prices shoot up is demand. I think the automaker roadmap demonstrates how actually rapidly the market responds to what it sees as near-, mid-, and long-term pressures on its margins.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

" In fact, what near-$150 barrel oil demonstrated, the only thing that seems to collapse when prices shoot up is demand"

And then, price collapses too.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:23:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

ari, great commentary. I would argue that a significant (though not dominant) part of the reason why energy expenditures per capita has remained flat is that so much energy intensive manufacturing has been transferred overseas (mainly to China). Industry has been shown to be more energy efficient across the board - even in energy intensive industries like wood products. I suppose this means that individuals are bringing the net decline back to a flat rate, and this is in large part due to the cheap price of gas.

From a world perspective, however, energy consumption per GDP has climbed.

But the energy problem is one thing, and the liquid fuels problem is something quite different. While I see a potential to bring new alternative fuel passenger vehicles online, my discussions with freight truck manufacturers like Eaton and Kenworth/PACCAR indicate that a diesel alternatives are less easy to come by. A quick look at the Annual Energy Review figure 5.22 shows that the price of diesel - which was historically the less expensive alternative reached parity then surpassed the price of motor gasoline. My thinking is that freight is an integral part of all goods consumption ,and hence subject to the liquids challenge and rising prices. From a macro economic perspective, how can we maintain full employment (whatever that might be) as rising input costs drive inflationary pressures?

I don't mean this as a rhetorical question, and I certainly don't think it to be impossible. I'm interested in hearing various perspectives.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

p50,

Energy consumption per GDP has indeed risen, and you are right to suggest that energy-intensive industries have moved abroad. However:

1) US manufacturing as a % GDP has been flatish for a generation.

2) I'm willing to bet that energy consumption per capita will probably remain flatish if not drop even in China as the CCP forces conservation measures.

As far as transportation goes, think OFF the road. Rail is incredibly efficient, and will make a HUGE comeback in the mid-term. Look at the recent rise of rail stocks in the past year or so.

The thing that makes me angry about all the peak oil conversations is the narrowness of thought.

"When oil goes up in prices how will we move goods? Trucks will be too expensive!"

"BIO-FUELS! CTL! RATIONING!"

"Trains?"

"STFU NOOB."

Trains can be operated without a DROP of oil (I should know, I take one to work every day), and are much more energy efficient than even electric autos. Besides, once you get autos off the dino juice, you free up a very significant portion of American oil use. The nice thing about the US using so much of the stuff for fairly discretionary things (including trucking instead of trains) is that there's a lot of fat to cut off without losing any "meat."

Will this be doable without a recession? Beats me! I've done enough economics and econometrics to know that predicting even a quarter away is about as easy as predicting weather.

But what I think makes me so optimistic about the long-run (two decades +) is the fact that there are so many options available to us, and most of our problems are imminently solvable with off-the-shelf technologies.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I quote Fabius Maximus over at http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/:

"Savinarassumes that reduced oil consumption means less economic activity. History shows this is not necessarily true. Oil prices rose from $1.80 in 1970 to $36.83 in 1980 (Arabian Light oil price, as posted at Ras Tanura). Reacting to that, global oil consumption peaked in 1979 at 66,048 million barrels/day, then dropped by 14% through 1983 — reaching the 1979 peak again only after 14 years, in 1993 (see the BP Statistical Review for details). During that period the global economy (GDP) increased at roughly 3%, slightly below the post-WWII average (using IMF data). A fourteen percent decline in consumption!

At $120, oil prices are up 6x from the 1990’s average. Almost certainly that price shock has created substantial efforst to change energy use, whose results might have not yet appeared in the data. But they will appear, I suspect. Sooner than people expect."

And:

"To put this in perspective, oil prices have risen from their 1990’s average of $20 (West Texas Intermediate) to $120 during a period of record or near-record (depending on whose numbers are used) growth in global GDP.

Why have rising oil prices not wrecked the global economy? The consensus five years ago was that every $10 increase in oil prices slashed at least 1/2% off real global GDP growth. Answer: energy consumption per dollar of GDP has declined — a lot. In 1950 the US used almost 20 British Thermal Units (BTU) to produce $1 of GDP. In 1970 it was 17.44 BTU. Today it takes 8.78 BTU. (From The Gartman Letter, 7 May 2008, based on data from the EIA and Dr. Mark Perry of the University of Michigan)

This is not because we “no longer make things.” US manufacturing as a % GDP has been flatish for a generation."

Also, I was right about China! Retroactively!

http://english.gov.cn/2008-07/15/content_1044802.htm

Now, nobody can tell me that energy = GDP when China's economy has grown so much WHILE it reduces its energy use per GDP.

Another thing to note, p50, is that while most peak oil people are hard for the idea of the US being screwed by its lack of rail, the US moved more freight by rail than Europe did as a % of goods transported. Now, I realize that not all of the US's rail is electrified, but even in a world where oil is actually becoming more scarce from a supply-side perspective, rail is incredibly cheap on the margin.

Not to say that I don't support electrifying more rail. I do.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 2:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous P50 said...

ari, a move to rail IS likely, but it will be a VERY bumpy ride. Favoring flexibility over savings over transportation costs, distribution channels in the U.S. are heavily ordered around trucking. Switching to rail will require both a significant build out of our rail infrastructure (a measure I would certainly vote for) and a total redistribution of distribution centers - whose growth has been heading in the opposite direction, literally and figuratively. It's easy to move a DC, but as this thing unfolds it will wreak havoc on the current spatial economy driving a further wedge between the have more's and the have less's.

This is one of those classic cases where looking only at the aggregate data will be misleading. Increasingly we are seeing - and most likely will continue to see - a growing disparity between economic outcomes in wealthy cities, counties, and regions (LMAs, MSAs, etc.) and poor areas.

If only it was as simple as moving from the poor region to the wealthy region... not only does this intensify the uneveness (the young and educated are the first to leave), but many are tied to these areas (family obligations, etc.).

So, it's not that I disagree with you that there will be technological innovations which mitigate against the decline in cheap and plentiful crude, or a move to rail, and that these shifts will have a positive impact on the aggregate. My point is that as these shifts take place, there will be unintended and unforeseen negative externalities that will affect some portion of the population. And note that I've only argued up to this point about internal disparities. Global disparities, as you know, are present at a much larger scale, and will likely be magnified over the next few decades.

Thanks for the food for thought.

 
At Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 4:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

p50,

I suppose where I differ from you is in the fact that I think big firms like Wal*Mart and FedEx and UPS are probably as aware of these challenges as we are (if not moreso), and are on the cutting edge of solving these problems.

Now, I do NOT put absolute faith in the market (and my calls for increased regulation demonstrate this), but I do think that it's kind of silly on the part of the peak oil community (whatever that means) to scream their heads off that Wal*Mart and UPS and Target are BLIND AND DUMB. It's just not reality.

I look at the electric trucks that JD put up, and I think to myself, "what if DCs could be shifted a smidge?

I look at Volts and I think to myself, "what if we could do something like that with a tractor?"

I look at FedEx's move to increase fuel efficiency by 50% or more, and I think to myself, "what will we be able to do a decade from now?"

I don't believe that it will be without bumps. But then again, life is always bumpy. Imagine telling a German in 1988 that Germany would be united in a decade. (I realize it's not a perfect analogy, but it's just to show how hard the future can be to prognosticate).

Ultimately, I've always been a bit thrifty, I drive a fuel efficient car (that I'm getting rid of ASAP), and I use less than 6 kWh a day in my home, all of which comes from renewables. Do I think I'm immune to bumps? Nah. But I'm not going to live in constant fear of them, either. I feel bad for the dedicated doomers, because life is too short to spend worrying about the doom that's "just around the corner."

 
At Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 8:15:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

I suppose where I differ from you is in the fact that I think big firms like Wal*Mart and FedEx and UPS are probably as aware of these challenges as we are (if not moreso), and are on the cutting edge of solving these problems.

Of course they are. But even if the big top deciders aren't fully bought on it, one only has to make maths. They see their transportation budget skyrocketing, and I'm sure there is a lot of people inside these giants scrambling for answers on how to save a massive big pile of money.

Markets aren't perfect and in some things they totally suck (market failure), but if there is a thing that markets excel is in creative optimizations and breakthrough developments to save money.

It also means that if Wal*Mart doesn't go this way, it's bound to lose to smaller but smarter companies. This is always happening. Just look at the so-called Microsoft undefeatable empire, with opponents thriving and beating up upon MS's failures.

 
At Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 12:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

By the way, I thought this article might entertain some:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/07/us_army_energy_savings_program/

Also, this one:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/17/richard_pike_rcs_interview/

The Register is fun sometimes. :-)

 
At Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7:52:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"deleted by the TOD staff this morning"

The insecurity of the editors and staff at that site is unbelievable. The only way they can make their ridiculous views seem logical is by erasing any counter-arguments or opinions.

-Banned by The Oil Drum

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:48:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These peak oil guys are pathetic.Now that prices have collapsed they blaim speculators and demand destruction(a concept they discovered in their latest flip-flop)Now they see the turbulanve in the world economy and beleive they proved right.As the state collapses only those who have bought 3 years suply of packed food and have already moved to the great state of Idaho will survive.After we are all consumed they will came and save the few cannibals that will have survived and lead us to a world of organic farming and family values.

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 7:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

On the bright side, I like pork... and some say that human flesh tastes a bit like pork.

But what will happen to all the vegetarian green-doomers?

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 9:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger JJM said...

JD, I know this is way off topic, but did you happen to check out msn.com today under their "Money" section? Talk about doom and gloom. To read the headlines and the articles one would think Savinar hijacked the website. I mean they have stuff in there like "The wipeout is still ahead" and "Why it's a great time to be afraid." I mean, what the hell is it with these people? I don't think I will ever understand what fear-mongering accomplishes ...

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 9:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

But what will happen to all the vegetarian green-doomers?

Easy. They become pork!

The worst part is that they'll probably taste like rotten cabagges.

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 10:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

jjm,

To be fair, this is the kind of "doom" those articles are offering:

I was wrong. I no longer think we're facing a garden-variety recession. At a minimum, it will last longer than the two quarters I projected on Sept. 30. Economists are now talking about a recession that will last three, four or even five quarters. (Keep some perspective here, please. We're still not looking at anything like the Great Depression. In 1932, the economy contracted by 13% and unemployment hit 24%.) And I don't think we're looking at anything like the hoped-for V-shaped recovery, in which the economy zooms out of the bottom, showing growth of 5% or more. The economy, I believe, is going to crawl off the bottom with growth that's likely to linger at less than the 2.5% the Federal Reserve calls the U.S. economy's noninflationary speed limit.

Hard to say where that falls on the "DOOMSCALE," but it's certainly not as bad as I'm sure the LATOCs and TODs are calling for.

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 11:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/JubaksJournal/IsUSEnteringJapansNightmare.aspx

Here's a good example of a so-called "expert" getting the basic facts wrong.

Some of the money to buy the bank bonds came from the financial subsidiaries of companies that belonged to a bank's keiretsu, a network of interlocking companies. In this arrangement, it was typical for banks to lend money to these customers at cheap rates and for these companies to then lend the money back to the bank at a slightly higher rate. That bolstered bank balance sheets and generated profits for other members of the keiretsu.

He doesn't even get what a keiretsu ACTUALLY WAS. This matters, folks, because it explains in part why Japan's recession was so prolonged. Simply calling a keiretsu a group of "interlocking companies" doesn't do them justice at all.

Sigh.

 
At Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 12:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD Walters said...

For those who think that high oil prices are to blame for all our economic troubles:

The impact of oil prices at the beginning of the year was mild compared to the squeeze from the credit crunch. As Nigel Griffiths, Global Insight's managing director of global forecasting, points out, expensive oil merely meant that wealth was being transferred to oil-producing countries like Russia from oil-consuming ones like the United States. Now, the credit crunch is destroying wealth and making it impossible for customers to buy.

"The impact is worse than if the price of oil had been sustained at $200 a barrel," he said.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/09/news/companies/taylor_death_watch.fortune/index.htm

 
At Friday, October 10, 2008 at 5:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Iskanda said...

I really couldn’t help myself and spent a couple of minutes over on peakoil.com, just to see what the posters there are making of things. Some of them seem to be coming apart at the seams;almost frothing at the mouth. One guy who posts as ‘ReverseEngineer’ seems to have lost it completely.

 
At Friday, October 10, 2008 at 4:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Matt Garrison said...

It's nice to see somebody talking about the peak oil issue who recognizes that we are very adaptable creatures and that the amount of fuel we use is wasteful and excessive with much room for conservation. We don't need any petroleum at all to survive as a species. Plants and animals that we eat every day have been grown and consumed for far longer than we have used petroleum.

 
At Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I follow your blog, but I think this time you are wrong. There is only one driver to shape down the demand which is the oil price at the pump. In Italy we have the most taxed fuel, and believe me it is not a good thing, anyway (GDP zero grown). The Hirsch report is one of the few sound work on the issue of the peak. Of course that there are solutions easy, may be, to be applied for a single like you, buy to obly 100% people to follow them is the most complex thing. Even in the Russia before '89 they could'not do this. Stop to dream. Study some psichology and sociology, before saying this please. Regards

 
At Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 2:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,

The OECD report on Italy is a good read, but here are some highlights that go a bit further than "energy prices caused slow growth:"

The Italian economy rebounded significantly in 2006. Growth has remained well above its potential rate, also entailing a sharply lower public deficit. The main motor has been strong foreign demand and an evident adjustment process among Italian exporters that has allowed them to benefit from the better external conditions. Even so, Italy’s export structure remains heavily biased toward low skill production, hence highly exposed to cost competition by emerging market economies in the present era of globalisation. The process of deindustrialisation has also not triggered a take off in services sectors, as in some of the more successful OECD countries. This macro-structural weakness can be traced to a lack of total factor productivity growth, reflecting the shortcomings in efficiency, process and product innovation. A main policy challenge is to raise human capital and market competition to spur both the supply and demand for innovation and skills, imparting needed dynamism to the economy. Employment creation has been a main bright spot in the economy, but needs to go further by rebalancing employment protections to reduce labour market duality. A large regional gap and still low formal labour market participation may be part of the current problem but are the source of significant unrealised growth potential. Reducing the drag of fiscal policy on the economy will involve sustaining a rapid pace of consolidation beyond the current upswing, while also raising spending quality to allow lower spending and tax-to-GDP ratios.

The rest can be found at: http://www.oecd.org/document/55/0,3343,en_2649_34569_38680631_1_1_1_1,00.html

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 at 7:47:00 AM PST, Blogger francy933 said...

I'm confused. You say peak oil isn't real, yet advocate Afghani style truck pooling in your pic there, admitting living standards are going down the tubes for most, (while a few get rich). This is fine, but for goodness sake just stop denying peak oil. The whole point of spreading word about peak oil is to encourage conservation measures and alternative energy generation. Battery technology isn't the problem, it's the electricity and electricity grid needed to charge them. There is still no production of oil from oil shale, and since oil was 100 dollars in 1970 and nothing happened with shale then, it's not going to happen now.

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 at 9:41:00 AM PST, Blogger francy933 said...

You know this blog is unbelievable. The fact is that western industrial society does run on oil, gas, and coal for the most part and we need to conserve use and move to alternative energies as soon as possible. What I can't understand is why conservation wasn't pushed more in the 1970's. Basically, I suppose, because the corporations wanted to turn out more stuff, and everybody wanted to make more money, because when you have a monetary system that is always expanding, as it has to, since interest is charged on loans.. then when fuel prices skyrocket people just able to run a business just can't anymore, and the economies cannot expand anymore. Will US (European pop is expected to decline, China?) population hit 360 million in 2030 ? Won't those extra 60 million to varying degrees need food, water, homes, trucks, cars, bicycles, education, exercise facilities, books, sanitation, electricity, computers and entertainment? All those things need energy to make and use, where is it going to come from?

So our living standard (for the majority, with a rich minority and a further increasing gap) will overall decline, and by a lot. This is all from declining available relative energy and resource intensity per person.

The only thing that can prevent this is working fusion, and the lead scientists say it will be 25 yrs before that happens.

 
At Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:30:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to miss the biggest factor - GROWTH. With us growing at even a modest 4 percent, we double energy requirements every 18 years. Now think about China.
Now think of your grandchildren.

 
At Monday, January 19, 2009 at 7:45:00 PM PST, Anonymous MrArmageddon said...

I don't know if you've seen this article, but I thought I'd bring it up since I've been worrying about these Peak Oil theories for a long time. Read this:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/feature_articles/2004/worldoilsupply/oilsupply04.html

I don't know if this "holds water," or however you put it, but looking at the numbers I'd say it's not as bad as the "peakists" say it will be (or at least not as soon) but also but as good as any "hardcore optimists" say. We need to be vigilant about Peak Oil, but we shouldn't fall into that circle of complacency, like there's nothing we can do so we might as well give up now and slit our throats.

 
At Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:22:00 PM PST, Blogger C.Dino Pappas said...

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INTRODUCTION

Two urgent needs of the US are reducing oil imports and increasing renewable energy sources. Wind and solar power produce energy without CO2, but are being held back because no large scale electrical energy storage systems are available to smooth out their intermittence. We could avoid importing foreign oil by exploiting our trillion barrel unconventional resources, such as oil shale, tar sand and heavy oil. But these are impaired by environmental concerns, CO2 emission, excessive water requirements and massive surface disturbance.


The problem can be solved by combining these two concepts, converting the intermittent electrical energy into heat in the large hydrocarbon deposits. The large size and insulating character of the deposits permits successfully storing this heat what we call PyroStorage. This electro-thermal energy is sufficient to convert the hydrocarbons into recoverable products, such as oil or gas. Unlike other storage mechanisms, such as pumped water for hydropower or battery and capacitor, the energy consumed by this heat storage is up to 6 times less than the energy available from the converted products.

These products can be transported via pipe line to distant locations for liquid or gas storage and refining into motor fuels, or to fuel a power plant. If designed correctly, unconventional hydrocarbon deposits, such oil shale, tar sands and heavy oil are all candidates for the wind and solar power storage method.


BACKGROUND

This energy storage solution began its development during the oil crisis of the 1970s, to mitigate the severe environmental damage for the conventional oil shale open-pit mining, crushing, and retorting, in-situ recovery methods were explored. But some of the early in situ methods employed combustion, which gave noxious air emissions.



To avoid on site combustion and to more efficiently heat and extract the oil in situ, electrical resistance heating and radio frequency [RF or dielectric] heating were employed. Electrical pioneers included Shell oil, Raytheon, and IITRI (IIT Research Institute). The previous drop in oil prices reduced interest in large scale funding.



The more recent green house gas concerns prompted replacing the off site sources of electrical power, such as coal or gas fired power plants, with wind or solar power. But transferring power via the grid from these intermittent and often rapidly varying sources is a major problem. Power companies presently limit the amount of wind and solar power to about 25% of the grid capacity, filling the gaps with gas-fired power plants.



PyroPhase’s solution is to store the unpredictable, intermittent wind or solar electrical energy over long periods as thermal energy in fossil hydrocarbon deposits. Wind turbines, solar and conventional power from the grid are used to heat in situ the deposits. Because the thermal diffusion time is very slow in such deposits, the thermal energy is effectively trapped in a defined section of a hydrocarbon deposit. This allows time during the heating and storage period for the thermal energy to convert hydrocarbons into a more recoverable product. In heavy oil and oil sands, reduced viscosity allows the oil or bitumen to flow. In oil shale, the heat causes pyrolysis and can include gases and partially upgraded liquid fuels.



This method can also increase the reliability of the grid, since the power input can be instantly interruptible, thus ameliorating spikes in demand which can damage equipment such as generators. It can also provide a load leveling function. In this way it can replace some of the “spinning capacity” that power companies now have to provide, by keeping generators running in case a sudden load demand occurs. Assuming we can stabilize the grid by adding or subtracting one half of the power eventually being used to heat resources by the RF process, the CO2 benefit would be 1 to 1.5 million tons per year



The modern power electronics subsystems can be used in electric based resource heating systems, such as the RF tar sand heating system. These power electronic circuits can supply nearly instantaneous control of the load presented to the grid. When the wind increases, the load increases, thereby absorbing the wind energy, thereby suppressing any changes in the operation of the steam turbines, or in the frequency or voltage.


Other key benefits are that electric heating methods do not require water, which is of limited supply and an important environmental concern in the Western U.S. , also surface disturbance is minimized, since the resource does not have to be brought to the surface. Finally, electric delivery mechanisms are relatively precise, versus the random nature of steam or hot water flood injections, which can waste heat energy getting to the resource.


TARSAND EXAMPLE

One option is using RF heating of tar sands to produce bitumen for road asphalt. Building roads does not involve burning the asphalt, and produces no CO2 if the electric power source is wind or solar. Most asphalt today comes from the residual bottoms from oil refineries that produce CO2 emissions.


If wind power is not used to produced the asphalt, some estimate of the CO2 emission benefit by first assuming that the RF tar sand is powered from the grid


Assuming that a 10,000 barrel/day RF tar sand project can use electric power from three sources:

1) 33% efficient coal fired plant,

2) 50% efficient natural gas fired plant, or

3) Using all wind and solar power source over a year’s time, the following amount of CO2 emitted for the 3 power sources are:

1)0.3 million tons per year

2)0.1 million tons per year

3)ZERO TONS per year

Note that over 10 million, 40-mile-car trips at 20 mile/gallon will produce the same CO2 emissions noted above for over a year.


OIL SHALE EXAMPLE


Bechtel and Parsons Brinkerhoff engineering firms conducted extensive studies to confirm the technical feasibility and develop the capital equipment and operating costs.


For a 100,000 bbl/d RF in situ shale oil recovery process,

Needed 2,000 workers

Generated 1.8 billion dollars of revenue

Produced liquid product with a high hydrogen content

With little water use or surface disruption

And no site combustions

But produce off-site CO2 emissions at the remote power plant



Wind turbines and power needs


Bbl/d Conventional Power # of 5 MW Turbines Energy Equivalent

10,000B/D 20-40 Turbines

1,000,000B/D 2,000-4,000 Turbines

10,000,000B/D up to 20,000-
40,000 Turbines

REDUCING CO2 EMISSIONS FROM TRANSPORTATION FUELS BY WIND POWER


By using wind power to provide the energy to retort the oil shale, the CO2 emission associated with the retorting are avoided by using the wind power storage method.

This makes liquid shale oil or wind-fuel CO2 clean at the gas pump. When these CO2 clean fuels are combusted say in a vehicle, only the carbon in the fuel in the gas tank contributes to the CO2 emissions. The resulting in a 33% reduction in the CO2 emissions when wind fuel is used.


In the case of conventional oil, there are no means available to substitute wind power anywhere in the steps taken from spuding in the well to sending it to pump at the gas station.


SUMMARY OF PAST IN SITU ELECTRICAL AND RF HEATING TEST

The data below demonstrate that the in situ use of electrical power is viable. For example, a 10,000 bbl/d project using an in situ formation electrical heating system is being commercialized by E-T in Canada.


Benefits include low production cost, no on-site combustion, little water consumption and minimal surface disturbance. The E-T system is limited to wet Canadian formations that can conduct electricity. But it can be modified to accept wind power via the grid using PyroPhase’s electro-thermal energy storage method thereby suppressing CO2 emissions from electric power plants that supply the power to E-T,s process


Past feasibility and small field demonstrations or lab work 1980s

Two R-F small block oil shale tests [IITRI/Halliburton/DoE]

Two RF heating large block Utah tar sands [IITRI/DoE]

Two down hole RF [Raytheon]

Several commercial scale feasibility studies [Bechtel]



Recent on going laboratory studies for in situ electrically heated reservoirs

Shell Research, tubular resistance heating oil shale, ground water control

Raytheon Schlumberger long term development

Exxon Mobile, long term development

PyroPhase RF in situ commercial scale extraction plan for Utah tar sands,

PyroPhase robust electric heater, wind power grid compatible methods



Recent commercial In Situ demonstration with low on site CO2and water use



Formation electrical heating pilot, Alberta oil sands, 2,200 bbls [E-T Energy]



Electrical heater for pyrolysis, Alberta oil sands 100,000 bbls, [Shell]



Electrical heater for pyrolysis,

Colorado oil shale, ~>1,200 bbls [Shell]


Electrical heating near well bore, Netherlands , >5,000 bbls [Uentech/IITRI]

Formation electrical heating,

Brazil , doubled production [Petrobras/Uentech]

 
At Friday, March 27, 2009 at 6:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What many of the naysayers don't understand is the magnitude of the addiction, and therefore the problem, of decreasing oil. There is NOTHING we have other than oil in great quantity that can put out the BTUs per litre or kilo... NOTHING. And... it will not take a HUGE gap in actual demand over production capabilities to AMazingly/cripling increase the price of this commodity - THIS will leave oil-dependent economies in a heap of post- cheap oil days dust (almost TOTALLY destroyed). That will mean BILLIONS will die of starvation as economies and indeed the BASIS of economies and banking systems FAIL!! We will see inflation the likes of African failed nations! NO LIE!!
You think oil is not cheap??? A non-renewable ESSENTIAL commodity at 50/BBL??? There will come a day when in TODAYS terms this will cost over $2000 /bbl. Mark my words. (I predict within 50 yrs as the major oil-producing fields completely dry up). The price shock will be seen obviously MUCH soponer than that. The Middle East countries (without honest oversight) have GREATLY overstated their actual "reserves". In those days of high prices, agrarian (old sytle) economies will chug along... maybe , keeping their poverty-ridden econonomies at povety ridden levels. However, how do you think the US and "developed" world will "handle" a VERY RAPID shift to THAT level of economy??? There will be riots, death and destruction - you will need two things: buy guns (protection) and start a large commune (food) - I am trying to do just that.
Dr. John Cottam, MD,, BScEE w/ computer minor. Masters In Health Systems. Previous engineer in Canadian Oil field.
And took a course in 1983 on Oil in the World Economy that predicted peak oil and the Professor even then predicted MAJOR consequenses. If you are not ready, you and your family will die a difficult death.

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 3:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There will come a day when in TODAYS terms this will cost over $2000 /bbl. Mark my words. (I predict within 50 yrs as the major oil-producing fields completely dry up)."

Jebus.
50 years till it's over $2000 a barrel? Hurry up will ya?

The reason I don't buy an electric vehicle right NOW and SOLAR PANELS TO POWER IT is that it will take 10 years to pay back. I'd rather take the bus. For now.

50 years? Hell if it take 50 years for doom to come then I'm going to have a doom party.

DB

 
At Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:27:00 AM PST, Anonymous L. Josserand said...

I think that your level of reading comprehension could stand some improvement. You go on endlessly about Hirsch not considering any kind of conservation measures. Yet, right at the top of your article you briefly quote Hirsch and his very first sentence ends with the following phrase:

"...coupled to significant increases in transportation fuel efficiency." -Robert Hirsch

Don't you owe Hirsch an apology?

L. Josserand
South Carolina

 
At Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:51:00 AM PST, Anonymous LTJ said...

Good point about oil reaching $2000 per barrel in the not so distant future. And the crazy thing is that even at $2K/bbl oil is still cheap! You have to understand that each barrel of crude oil contains the same amount of energy as 12 full-grown men working 40 hours a week at hard manual labor for a full year. Let me know when you arrange to hire 12 guys for a year of full-time physical labor and you will be paying them each of them less than $14 per month with NO benefits. Good Luck with that in ANY country! For most of our lives oil has represented what is essentially "free energy" and for this reason it has become the basis of our entire modern society.
Oil has given each American the energy equivalent of 500 human slaves, and most of the slaves are starting to pack up and give notice.....

 
At Monday, February 8, 2010 at 3:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You have to understand that each barrel of crude oil contains the same amount of energy as 12 full-grown men working 40 hours a week at hard manual labor for a full year."

Uh-huh. What you forget to say is that it's 12 full grown men pushing 4000 lbs of metal with wheels on it down a highway with me sitting on it.

Surely cheaper to ride a bike or take the bus, no?

Sheesh. Doomers have no imagination beyond Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

 
At Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 9:32:00 AM PST, Blogger LeftLibertarian said...

This post completely derailed itself by saying his report "included no conservation" when the sentence included the phrase "coupled to significant increases in transportation fuel efficiency". Do you not understand those words?

 
At Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 6:43:00 PM PST, Anonymous LTJosserand said...

It seems to me that the title of "Peak Oil Debunked" should actually be something more like "Peak Oil Solutions: A Different Emphasis".
The most important issue is that the world is burning 3 times as much oil every year as is being discovered - and this is a long term trend that's growing worse. World oil discoveries peaked nearly 50 years ago (circa 1963). If you have a way to deny that this is true, then you have debunked Peak Oil.
However, just saying that conservation is more important than developing a renewable energy infrastructure, is really just quibbling over the possible solutions, and it's not even close to a debunking of Peak Oil.
Also, I must point out that while your idea about a ban on all motor sporting events may get you applause in SF, it would more likely get you tarred and feathered in the Charlotte, NC area, where I once lived and where several thousand people are gainfully employed in various aspects of NASCAR racing.
(NOTE: I am not associated with NASCAR in any way.)

LTJosserand, South Carolina / USA

 
At Friday, March 19, 2010 at 7:22:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/2005/10/138-why-call-it-peak-oil-debunked.html

 
At Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:58:00 PM PDT, Anonymous sunnnv said...

I re-read the Hirsch report. JD has a point here. Hirsch is pessimistic, AND has some factual errors.

(1) US did not produce 9 MMbpd in 2002, it was down to 6 million bpd.

(2) the EV1 in SoCal was not dumped because of "range and performance" issues, it was dumped due to politics of GM, see the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car".

sunnnv

 
At Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:55:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one point you seem to overlook completely is ,growth, The world economy depends on growth.The finiancial markets can only function in a growing envirnoment.Interest can not be payed on loans if the overall,combined pool of world capital shrinking
S Walsh

 
At Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 1:39:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babydoomer said...

"What other countries do isn't really important or relevant. You can't control the behavior of other countries, so it's better to worry about something you can control: your own fuel consumption."

I think that perfectly stresses what's wrong with your reasoning.
Assuming fuels still get traded between countries - and they might not be, just look at how restrictions in cereal exports kick in as soon as prices jack up - they will go to the highest bidder, and get used in the most profitable industrial process or private consumption.

Unless you're especially rich, the highest bidder probably won't be you.

You talk of people adjusting by reducing discretionary consumption. That is not the case. If a rich person is willing to pay fuel for his leisure more than you are willing or able to pay it for your neccessity, he will get it, and you won't.

That also means western citizens probably won't be the first to be hard hit, and this will thurther slow down our response. Of course, poorer parts of the world will suffer but, hey, did we ever give a fuck?

p.s.: I don't believe in the apocalypse, just that shit happens.

 

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