free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 384. THE GROWING GLUT

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

384. THE GROWING GLUT

A number of new analyses suggest a growing, long glut:

Oil analyst Philip Verleger claims that OPEC needs to reduce output by at least 7 million barrels a day to balance supply and demand:
Just how daunting is OPEC’s challenge to rein in falling oil prices? Beyond its control, if economist and oil-market analyst Philip Verleger is right.

Mr. Verleger, a former Carter administration official, academic, and energy-industry consultant, says OPEC can forget about tiny production cuts of 1 or 2 million barrels when it meets later this month in Algeria. The cartel needs to wipe out at least 7 million barrels per day of oil production to bring oil markets close to balance, he says, according to Platt’s The Barrel.

And that’s not likely to happen, which spells even more happy times for oil bears, Mr. Verleger says: “Since cuts of such magnitude are out of the question, one should expect prices to come under further downward pressure.”

His thesis? Global demand for oil has cratered much, much more than the spreadsheets used by groups like OPEC and the International Energy Agency. Mr. Verleger says global demand in December dropped to 81.6 million barrels a day, compared with 86.8 million barrels a year ago. That’s dramatically uglier than OPEC’s most recent diagnosis of oil demand, which put fourth-quarter global demand at 86.2 million barrels per day, up from 85.9 million a year ago.Source
Stocks are definitely rising. The oil market is currently in a "super contango", and crude is piling up not only in monitored storage like Cushing, OK, but in tankers parked at sea:
Royal Dutch Shell Plc sees so much potential in the strategy that it anchored a supertanker holding as much as $80 million of oil off the U.K. to take advantage of higher prices for future delivery. The ship is one of as many as 16 booked for potential storage instead of transporting crude, said Johnny Plumbe, chief executive officer of London shipbroker ACM Shipping Group Plc.

Oil Storage

The tankers, if full, hold about 26 million barrels worth about $1 billion, more than the 22.9 million barrels sitting in Cushing, Oklahoma, where oil is stored for delivery against Nymex contracts. U.S. crude inventories rose 11 percent this year to 320.4 million barrels, according to the Energy Department.

“All the market operators keep placing oil in storage,” said Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities research at Merrill Lynch & Co. in London. “Even though the contango is steep, it could get steeper.”Source
More broadly, a new report from the World Bank called Global Economic Prospects 2009(pdf) declares that "Like earlier commodity booms, this one has come to an end." and states:
The strength, breadth (in terms of the number of commodities whose prices have increased), and duration of the current commodity boom have prompted speculation that the global economy is moving into a new era characterized by relative shortage and permanently higher (and even permanently rising) commodity prices. This outcome does not appear likely. Over the next two decades, slower population growth and weaker (though still strong) income growth are projected to cause trend global GDP growth to ease (figure O.3) and, with it, the demand for commodities.
According to Andrew Burns, Lead Author of the report:
Over the longer term, the supply shortages that contributed to the sharp rise in commodity prices are expected to ease. Demand for energy, metals, and food should slow due to weaker population growth and an expected reversal in China’s high demand for metals as investment rates there decline.Source
Now that things have settled down, the commodities price spike/collapse of 2008 is looking more and more like a mundane rerun of the commodities price spike/collapse of the late 70s. Except this time we had a whole army of chicken littles, pumped up by the steroid of the internet, to loudly worry and moralize about it 24 hours a day. Six months ago, we were all going to die because we were running out of everything. Now the same stuff is piling up in overflowing tankers, silos and warehouses.

Peak everything. Honestly, how butt stupid did you have to be to buy into that? How likely is it that mankind was running dry of every single natural resource, at exactly the same time? Not too likely, as we've seen. The only thing that was really peaking was financial overextension and hype.
-- by JD

69 Comments:

At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 6:43:00 AM PST, 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.
Frivolous trolling will be deleted.
Thank you!
JD

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 8:50:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,
The World Bank report sees oil at US$ 75 for next year. That is far from being a low figure considering we are at the worst downturn since the Great Depression, to me it says that we are continuously pushing the envelope on our capacity to produce, even in downturns....what will happen when we, the world, I mean, attempts to grow again?
In my view another oil spike. I do not think we are at peak oil yet, but are playing a dangerous game here...We will certainly get there (in a bad way...not peak demand) if we do not take advantage of this respite in breakneck world growth to adjust consumption and efficiency targets...unfortunately I do not see this happening yet.
Onedip

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 9:02:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,


to me it says that we are continuously pushing the envelope on our capacity to produce

Not necessarily.

Adjusting for inflation is an important exercise-- $75/barrel is less horrendous when compared to adjusted prices. Also, we have to ask if the World Bank has demonstrated any predictive skill (in the statistical sense.) My feeling is that almost nobody has demonstrated any real skill with oil price prediction in the long-term.

And, of course, there's the fact that price is not necessarily a factor of (any form of) scarcity alone. The World Bank figures can be due to a variety of factors, including a prediction that OPEC will reduce production to keep prices high.

Betcha didn't consider that scenario!

But really, what do your statements even mean? I mean, for people. Do we tell people in China to learn to live with less?

Tell Africans that they're shit outta luck? Sucks to be you, Mr. Nigerian! No development for you! :-(

And how is this a "respite?" Demand is plummeting, sure, but let me blow your mind for a second:

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 9:15:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Quick correction:

Yes, I realize that OPEC reducing production introduces a form of scarcity to the market (artificial scarcity.) I should have been clearer there. Ultimately, the price next year could be a factor of artificially introduced scarcity (logical for oligopolists).

It's important to remember that not all OPEC members make an economic profit at the same price point. Saudi can make money at much lower prices than Venezuela. It seems to me, at least based on the few news reports I've read, that the "keep prices high" portion of OPEC has gained more momentum recently as people discovered that the world can absorb higher oil costs than previously realized.

This could lead to OPEC keeping production artificially low in order to keep prices up. It makes sense from an oligopolistic point of view.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:02:00 AM PST, Anonymous benny "MOAG" cole said...

My goodness, a 7 mbd glut. Did I hear someone say "The Mother of all Gluts" is coming? Did I hear about $10 a barrel oil? A glut to the moon, Alice, a glut to the moon? (Does anybody remember The Honeymooners?)
How on earth will oil be higher next year, if demand is falling already, and this recession is barely out of the crib?
Mexican crude trading at $30 already, and more refineries are opening up that can handle the heavy stuff.
Glut, baby, glut.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:03:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just using the World Bank data because it was referenced on JDs post (they are actually quite optimistic and predict consumption in 2030 at around 113mbd, more then the IEA at 106mbd).
There are all sorts of numbers being thrown around. I Totally agree that it is not an option to tell people in the poorer parts of the world that they cannot grow anymore. This view is the equivalent of freezing the world forever divided between the super well off (us) and those who face starvatuion death and disease every day, Growth, to me, is a moral necessity.
My worry is how we are going to get the energy to "fuel~ this growth. I believe that the answer has to deal with the developed world using less (considerably less) so that the poorer could get access to more.

As for the price of oil, I agree it is only part of the picture, but, since we may be heading for zero or even negatibve inflation next year, US$ 75 a barrel in 2009, would mean oil costs relativelly more that US$ 75 today...
Cheers
Onedip

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:18:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Onedip,

My worry is how we are going to get the energy to "fuel~ this growth. I believe that the answer has to deal with the developed world using less (considerably less) so that the poorer could get access to more.


Why? You're assuming that everything is zero sum. What's to stop country x from using a different source of energy from country y?

How does France's high consumption of nuclear energy preclude Zimbabwe from using more oil?

The big myth with energy consumption is that if the big bad evil developed nations use less, then the poor developing (or not developing) nations will be able to use more-- this completely ignores the opportunities for substitution.

As for the price of oil, I agree it is only part of the picture, but, since we may be heading for zero or even negatibve inflation next year, US$ 75 a barrel in 2009, would mean oil costs relativelly more that US$ 75 today...

Yes, but you're not thinking LONG TERM. Don't think in terms of a few years. Think in decadal terms.

Also, "negative inflation" is much more succinctly referred to as "deflation."

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:39:00 AM PST, Anonymous pgtl_10 said...

While I agree that oil has fallen,-Which could have been foreseen if people paid attention to the awesome Benny "peak demand" Cole- Philip Verlanger is one the people swearing there was no speculation in the oil market. It's hard for me to trust this guy on the issue of production cuts because he was very wrong the first time.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:44:00 AM PST, Anonymous pgtl_10 said...

As for the price of oil, I agree it is only part of the picture, but, since we may be heading for zero or even negatibve inflation next year, US$ 75 a barrel in 2009, would mean oil costs relativelly more that US$ 75 today...

The way the U.S. is printing money don't be surprised if food prices keep going up. The inflation rate doesn't account for food or fuel so it's ver deceiving.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:54:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

pgtl_10,

That depends. History tells us that even when central banks pump in money we can have deflation. We'll have to see how the "invisible hand" treats our assets' pricing. This could swing either way, if history is any indication.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 3:17:00 PM PST, Anonymous Soylent said...

"A glut to the moon, Alice, a glut to the moon?"

Stacking oil barrels on top of each other at a rate of 7 million barrels per day it would take 60 days to reach the moon.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 4:20:00 PM PST, Anonymous benny "MOAG" cole said...

Soylent: That is the best post ever in all time on all the post boards on Earth.
To the moon, Alice, to the moon! In 60 days!

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 6:30:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I think about rich nations consuming less energy so that the world can actually grow I am thinking on oil, which has no substitute for transpoort.
I agree, France`s nuclear power does not make energy more expensive worldwide, but growing consumption of oil does...
I was also thinking on the terms of waste. If an american household keeps the air condiytioning on until autumn and the switches on the heat, that is a waste of energy. People driving in Hummers, that is a waste of energy.
There is only so much of it (either coal, or oil or gas, or uranium) so this mentality of waste is not only damaging to America as a whole, but also means oil is more expensive for everyone.
Waste is waste. I am not saying everyone should drive tiny cars, or even take public transport, but there should be a happy medium where a single guy, with noithing to transport but himself, does not drive a humongous expensive thing just to show off...
Oil may not be running out next year, but it is a lot harder to get and a lot less abundant then it was oin the 50s, so we should act accordingly, behave less like spoiled children, and face up to the new reality.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 7:34:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,

The only things that I think oil is absolutely not yet substitutable are airplanes. We have yet to truly demonstrate the ability to fly jets without oil.

Otherwise, it can all be done through electricity or direct nuclear generation.

As for uranium's "finiteness," I think it's safe to say that it's not really finite within any appreciable time period as long as we're willing to move past old Westinghouse designs.

I agree, of course, that waste is bad. I do not believe in driving around hulking SUVs, and I also try to use as little energy as possible. I just don't believe that everything is zero sum.

 
At Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 9:28:00 PM PST, Anonymous OilFinder said...

China reports steep decline in oil imports:
PO Forum topic

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 6:39:00 AM PST, Blogger JD said...

I personally take all of these predictions with a grain of salt. We can't see the actual analysis by Verleger (it's only for subscribers), so it's doubly dubious. I just noticed this little spate of articles about gluts, and thought it was interesting. The world bank report's remarks on population and transition in China also piqued my curiosity. I'm going to read that part of the report more carefully over the weekend.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 8:47:00 AM PST, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

Except this time we had a whole army of chicken littles, pumped up by the steroid of the internet, to loudly worry and moralize about it 24 hours a day.

I don't think this point can be stressed enough. Not only that, but the preachers of doom are hardly EVER held accountable. If they were called out, they might stop making predictions and feeding the 'doomer feedlot'. So the doomer preachers never stop, powered by the internet and gobbled up by chicken little, worthless doomers who's lives are so insignificant and mundane that they need to get excitement from salivating over Mad Max scenarios.

What ever happened to Kunstler's hype over hurricane Gustav? Or his prediction in October that the oil price drop was only temporary and we would be out of inventories soon and then food shortly thereafter?

"My guess is that oil and its byproducts will become much more difficult to get in the months ahead -- not just more expensive, but literally not available. The current falling price of oil has little to do with the real supply and demand fundamentals. It's simply a function of the markets being in near-total disarray. We're running on current inventory, and running it down." -Kunstler, Oct. 27th 2008.

What about Savinar and Ruppert's over-hyping of the Russia/Georgia conflict? Or Savinar declaring 'this is it' back in September, essentially calling to head to the hills? What about Ruppert claiming a 'significant event that will cause pain to many people' because supposibly half the world's opium had disappeared and was being horded for future use for painkillers? What about both of them over-hyping the attacks in India? Ruppert claimed just 2 weeks ago that globalization was finished along with most Fortune 500 companies due to their call and data centers being outsourced to India. I mean, it gets to a point where it's so outlandish that I can't see why people keep lapping this up. Day after day, week after week, year after year, from the doomer cheerleaders.

What about Matthew Simmons predicting $500 a barrel oil only a few months ago? Why the hell is this guy taken seriously?

"There really is no roof on oil prices at this point" -Matt Simmons, Sept. 22nd, 2008.

They are never held accountable when the shit doesn't hit the fan, and I'm sick of it. While they all have different motives (Savinar's prep store links, Kunstler's pure hatred for Americans, Ruppert's paranoid schizophrenia, etc.), they all have the same goal. That is, what JD mentioned in his last post. They hate the system which they are a part of. They hate their lives and yours. Like JD said, they are like the guy on that corner that tells you to pull money out of a certain bank. They want a self fulfilling prophecy, and with the internet and idiot doomers lining up at the trough, the doomer cheerleaders get way more of the spotlight than they deserve.

/rant off.

All that being said, it's absolutely hilarious to watch the doomers try and spin this current oil glut. It was funny listening to them fret back in the summer about how the tar sands or oil shale projects would not save us from PO. Then when some of those projects temporarily shut down due to no profit, they spin a 180 and say that we are doomed because they shut down! It's a lose/lose in any and all ways with the doomers.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 9:53:00 AM PST, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

Why do the 'doomers' always say we have absolutely nothing that can replace oil. When we try to rebuild after a 'collapse' whatever that may be, we will have nothing to rebuild with. I think that's an absolute lie. We do have the technology and we have for years. It's a matter of scale. If we are going to have to rebuild anyway, why do you have to use oil? Why can't we rebuild using a different technology. Oil only accounts for 35% of the world total energy use, with 70%+ of that being used for transportation. We do have other tech. that we can use for plastics, for example, they are better for the environment. It seems like a no brainier for me.

I agree with 'this is a liquids fuels crisis, not an energy crisis'. Am I wrong?

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 9:55:00 AM PST, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

Oh, I just saw your comment Ari and you seem to agree with me. It seems like a lot of airlines are betting on algae. Didn't one of the airlines recently do a test flight using algae?

There are solutions. It seems like those that are hoping for mankind to fail refuse to see them!!

Just my 2 cents.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 11:04:00 AM PST, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

Sorry to get off topic again, but I wanted to further emphasize my above point with a new example. Today, Micahel Ruppert just declared:

"UH OH

The dieoff has already begun though is not yet recognized"


He then linked to a CNN article that talks about a strain of a virus that African's get from monkeys (when they hunt and eat them). Then near the bottom of the article it plainly states that the virus can't become a pandemic because it loses strength when it transfers between humans.

See this is what I'm talking about! Ruppert claims that the die-off has begun. Well, if we aren't all dead soon (6 billion of us anyways), then that means Ruppert was wrong and full of shit as usual. Why is he taken seriously still? Especially in regards to energy/PO?

Sorry to post this on a article about oil glut, JD, but I wanted to further exemplify my point from my previous post. Ok now I promise, I won't comment anymore about Ruppert! I'm sure you've had enough of the guy, lol.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 11:32:00 AM PST, Blogger bc said...

Ruppert is quite literally crazy, but he is in a fine tradition of schizophrenics who inhabit an underworld of paranoid theories which are circulated in newsletters, and now on the internet (see Conspiracy Theory). Kennedy, Roswell, MIB, all that stuff.

Kunstler, Savinar and Simmons also have a foot in that camp, possibly both feet. All are held up as PO pioneers, when they are clearly not fully in touch with reality. By extension, anyone who gives their views credence shows a lack of sound judgement, which seems to cover most of the PO community.

We are a long way from the bottom of this recession, and it's going to be long and nasty. I would be very surprised if oil reaches $75 for several years.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it sure seems that some commodities are going to be cheaper, but the coming coldening is going to have an impact on growing seasons, and thus food supply.

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 12:47:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Andrew,

I'm increasingly convinced that people are hardwired to LOVE the kind of craziness that Ruppert and Savinar dish out. I won't offer any pyschobabble explanations (because I lack training in that area), but based on anecdotal experience and some anthropology I did in undergrad (again, not an appeal to authority, just what little I know!), people are drawn to negative assessments. It's probably an evolutionary advantage to think the next year will be bad. It makes us prepare and be ready.

That doesn't mean that the extremist wing of the PO community is exonerated. I just think they know that they can get people riled up and do a good job of it.

Anon,

I wouldn't get too excited about your ice age. A few year downturn in temperature isn't all that exciting, statistically.

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/2008/12/08/just-what-are-falling-temperatures-evidence-of/

 
At Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 10:53:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't get too excited about your ice age. A few year downturn in temperature isn't all that exciting, statistically."

Yet if it was a rise in temperature, the doomers would be claiming it was proof that we were all going to die from 'global warming' unless we hand over most of our income to Algore so he can save us with magical 'carbon credits'.

Odd, that. And I wonder how many of these wonderful 'global warming' computer models predicted that the entire temperature increase of the last ten years would be wiped out in a few weeks?

Guess it must all be down to the drop in oil demand, hence PROOF! that we're all going to die from 'global warming', etc...

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:24:00 AM PST, Blogger James said...

I've been reading a lot about peak oil (and peak everything) lately - I paniced a bit at the so-called 'doomers' and then came accross this site and read a lot of it too. Im a physcists, computer programmer and analyst for two UK companies so getting my head around figures, stats and models comes easy.

Look at how we live today; no really *look* at it. Is it sustainable? Is it even acceptable? Here is the UK long long long streams of constant traffic clog the streets, roads and motorways 24 hours a day. People consume and take until there is no more. Food is literally inefficently transported in a completely unsustainable way. Almost *everything* in our lives is oil based. Reread that last sentence. The problem I have with this blog is that it seems to be thus: "...blah blah in conclusion theres a glut in oil and everythings ok..hahaha you stupid dooomers". Even if the actual phenomena of 'peaking' oil supply and the ridiculous counter argument of blah blah DEMAND blah blah is totally false, the actual concept of 'peak oil' highlights a very frightening reality that we have an ultimate weakness which is: the consistent supply of oil. What if something else disrupts oil?

No offense (please reread those last two words before you start thinking up insults), but what is the point of this site? It quotes a lot of figures, stats, graphs then insults peak oil nuts etc but what is it trying to actually prove? The title says "Peak Oil Debunked (oh btw we recognise oil is going to peak someday)". So how is it actually debunking anything, apart from the time frame we are looking at?

It seems to me to be completely irresponsible to play down the threat that we pose to ourselves and to the planet by endlessly insulting people who are at least raising the problem of our oil weakness.

My beliefs:
I personally believe that renewable energy will not cover our lifestyles. I personally believe that bio-oil, hydrogen and nuclear will not cover our lifestyles (do you even realise how much oil is used in uranium processing and post-processing?). If our lifestyles change, combined with a rapidly changing climate system and increasing populace, do you *actually* believe people will change peacefully?
The peak oil nuts can go a bit wild, but it is sensible to prepare. Then, if the worst doesn't happen, what have you actually lost?

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 5:47:00 AM PST, Anonymous Soylent said...

"Food is literally inefficently transported in a completely unsustainable way."

Food is transported with extreme effeciency(it takes about a cup of oil to transport a 5 kg bag of rice in a great circle around the Earth using a container ship) and is easily amenable to electrification.

Container ships can go nuclear. Ideally you'd want something like the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor or the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor; but in the short-term you can just use the same designs used in icebreakers, submarines and naval ships. There's enough thorium left for pessimistically millions of years and optimistically until the sun becomes a red giant; there's enough uranium-235 for a leisurely transition to LFTR or Liquid Metal Fast Breeder regimes.

Trains can be electrified and already are in most of Europe.

Trucks will be increasingly relegated to transporting goods short distances to and from railway stations as oil becomes more scarce. Trucks can over the long term be replaced by short-range electric trucks or container carrying trolley cars sharing a network of burried rail with commuter streetcars.

None of this needs to happen any time soon; transporting goods is extremely cost-effective compared to transporting your ass back and forth to work in a 2 tonne steel, glass and rubber behemoth or just burning oil for warmth.

"What if something else disrupts oil?"

Depends on how big the short-fall is. If it's only a few million barrels per day the price will go up and spare capacity will cover the short-fall until it can be brought back online.

If it's more than a few million barrels per day the strategic reserves around the world will be tapped. If it becomes clear that the loss is a long-term problem we'll encourage temporary cuts in oil consumption. This is trivial to do since most vehicle fuel is wasted on getting people back and forth to work. We'll establish emergency bus lines, we'll encourage staggering of working hours such that the bus can be utilized fully(if everyone works 9 AM to 5 PM the busses will be very underutilized). We'll encourage people to take the bicycle to work if they can; we'll encourage people to telecommute if they can; we'll encourage people to work 4x10 hour work weeks if they can; we'll encourage people to check their tire pressure and combine shopping trips with going to or from work. If things get bad enough we'll pay the least vital and most oil intensive industry to shut down for the continued duration of the disaster(e.g. non-essential air travel); we'll reimburse long distance commuters to stay at home or for making sleeping arrangements at their work place.

Oil consumption in the EU and US combined is some ~50 million barrels per day; I don't see any problem shaving off a good 10-20 million barrels per day on short notice. Sure, there'll be a lot of whining, but there's always a lot of whining.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 5:59:00 AM PST, Anonymous mdf said...

James: do you even realise how much oil is used in uranium processing and post-processing?

Even assuming the once-through modified military fuel cycles used in current power reactors, the answer is: just about zero. The electricity that runs the enrichment plants comes from coal, hydro or even nuclear sources, not oil.

But of course, we don't need to make that kind of foolish assumption, do we? The next round of reactors will probably be breeders, fast, and so forth. These require no enrichment at all. Even today there are gigantic amounts of depleted uranium, thorium, that is above ground and more or less ready to use in reactors like this, with minimal processing.

The peak oil nuts can go a bit wild, but it is sensible to prepare. Then, if the worst doesn't happen, what have you actually lost?

Isn't this Pascal's Wager, re-warmed? Isn't this the 'logic' of a lottery advertising campaign? "If you don't play, you can't win".

Here is the truth for you: if the situation is as bad as the doomers say it is, then you, me, and everyone else is indeed _doomed_. On time scales approaching a few months.

Any "preparations" you make will only delay the inevitable by a few months, maybe a year at the most.

Even if you could afford the necessary materiel to survive indefinitely, it is well to realize this isn't some kind of video game here -- just keep re-trying each time you die -- but raw physical reality. If you are like most people reading this, you were born and raised in a technological culture, and have trained in some specialized skill, which probably doesn't include things like:

1) manufacturing of food/water
2) basic defense

Chances are excellent you will make a mistake in these, or some other area, and that mistake will take you down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_the_wild

Of course, there is nothing wrong with "preparing" in a general sense. Being able to deal with a few days/weeks of local civilization shutting down is a reasonable investment, especially given the relatively minimal amounts of capital and time needed, and the likelihood you'll actually experience an event of this nature.

But to believe you can "prepare" for the doomer scenario, is itself deeply doomerish to begin with, since you are living in a fantasy land.

I suggest you look outside the narrow, confining, box these peak oil nitwits have created for you.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 7:47:00 AM PST, Blogger James said...

alright alright - to be honest i'm agnostic at the moment and as everyone says, we don't actually know - we can only speculate.

This site does put forward convincing arguments backed by a wealth of evidence and information, but on the other hand I don't agree that everything will be as smooth as people suggest. It never is and humans have always been slow to change and aggressive

As for preparations, yes if there was a complete 'dieoff' it would be pointless - I don't think there will be total dieoff, but some considerable discomfort if the transition isn't smooth; but I see little harm in relearning skills we once knew and preparing with some stocks and provisions. In the UK we don't have guns so I wont need to stock up on ammunition - this is a fantasy for Americans lol

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 2:16:00 PM PST, Anonymous david mathews said...

You can always count on JD to put a smiling face on a global depression ... JD, isn't it so very wonderful and all?

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and millions more shall join them in the months ahead. Millions of Chinese have also lost their jobs, millions soon shall join them too.

I suppose that the death of capitalism might produce a temporary resource glut. For example, millions of Americans out of work equates to millions of Americans not commuting to their job in their SUVs. It also means millions of Americans not shopping for mindless consumer fluff at the mall.

So ... I think that JD has won this argument! A global depression has defeated Peak Oil. A global depression has defeated Peak Everything.

Now, to JD's argument:

Peak everything. Honestly, how butt stupid did you have to be to buy into that? How likely is it that mankind was running dry of every single natural resource, at exactly the same time?

JD knows something about being butt stupid, that much is certain. He completely misinteprets the concept of "Peak Everything" ... !

I won't engage in this argument with JD. JD really is too stupid and deluded to understand the argument. He is too devoutly devoted to his futile cause to comprehend an alternative viewpoint.

I think it quite wonderful, though, that JD is very positive about the global depression. The death of capitalism is a good thing, too, so I join him in the celebration.

In the years ahead, life is going to become very difficult on the Earth. I don't believe in the Die Off, myself, but I do believe in extinction.

The Homo sapiens will go extinct and that will be the end of technological civilization, pollution, environmental destruction, and humankind's addiction to perpetual warfare.

Overall, a very good thing!

You people can keep on whistling by the graveyard, but in the end ... humankind is gone.

A fate which, incidentally, the insane primate has earned. There's a price to pay for trashing an entire planet, you know ...

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 2:41:00 PM PST, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

"The Homo sapiens will go extinct and that will be the end of technological civilization, pollution, environmental destruction, and humankind's addiction to perpetual warfare.

Overall, a very good thing!

You people can keep on whistling by the graveyard, but in the end ... humankind is gone.

A fate which, incidentally, the insane primate has earned. There's a price to pay for trashing an entire planet, you know ...


Classic line from a doomer and hypocritical nutjub.

Two questions for you dave mathews and I want them answered:

1. If you think we are going extinct, why are you bothering to keep yourself alive? You're continuing to waste space and resources, which is the same thing that you are ranting on everyone else for doing. If we are going extinct anyways, then why not just off yourself now?

2. If you also think that we 'trashed the planet' and our extinction will 'Overall, a very good thing', why are you sitting around posting on the internet about it? The immense amount of resources and technology (your computer, the internet, electricity, to name a few) that you are using to post on a blog is a part of the very thing that you hate.

Hypocrite.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 2:53:00 PM PST, Anonymous david mathews said...

Hello Andrew Ryan,

You ask some good, but ill-informed, questions.

I will answer them:

1. If you think we are going extinct, why are you bothering to keep yourself alive? You're continuing to waste space and resources, which is the same thing that you are ranting on everyone else for doing. If we are going extinct anyways, then why not just off yourself now?

2. If you also think that we 'trashed the planet' and our extinction will 'Overall, a very good thing', why are you sitting around posting on the internet about it? The immense amount of resources and technology (your computer, the internet, electricity, to name a few) that you are using to post on a blog is a part of the very thing that you hate.

Hypocrite.

Fri Dec 12, 02:41:00 PM PST
A number of new analyses suggest a growing, long glut:

Oil analyst Philip Verleger claims that OPEC needs to reduce output by at least 7 million barrels a day to balance supply and demand:
Just how daunting is OPEC’s challenge to rein in falling oil prices? Beyond its control, if economist and oil-market analyst Philip Verleger is right.

Mr. Verleger, a former Carter administration official, academic, and energy-industry consultant, says OPEC can forget about tiny production cuts of 1 or 2 million barrels when it meets later this month in Algeria. The cartel needs to wipe out at least 7 million barrels per day of oil production to bring oil markets close to balance, he says, according to Platt’s The Barrel.

And that’s not likely to happen, which spells even more happy times for oil bears, Mr. Verleger says: “Since cuts of such magnitude are out of the question, one should expect prices to come under further downward pressure.”

His thesis? Global demand for oil has cratered much, much more than the spreadsheets used by groups like OPEC and the International Energy Agency. Mr. Verleger says global demand in December dropped to 81.6 million barrels a day, compared with 86.8 million barrels a year ago. That’s dramatically uglier than OPEC’s most recent diagnosis of oil demand, which put fourth-quarter global demand at 86.2 million barrels per day, up from 85.9 million a year ago.SourceStocks are definitely rising. The oil market is currently in a "super contango", and crude is piling up not only in monitored storage like Cushing, OK, but in tankers parked at sea:
Royal Dutch Shell Plc sees so much potential in the strategy that it anchored a supertanker holding as much as $80 million of oil off the U.K. to take advantage of higher prices for future delivery. The ship is one of as many as 16 booked for potential storage instead of transporting crude, said Johnny Plumbe, chief executive officer of London shipbroker ACM Shipping Group Plc.

Oil Storage

The tankers, if full, hold about 26 million barrels worth about $1 billion, more than the 22.9 million barrels sitting in Cushing, Oklahoma, where oil is stored for delivery against Nymex contracts. U.S. crude inventories rose 11 percent this year to 320.4 million barrels, according to the Energy Department.

“All the market operators keep placing oil in storage,” said Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities research at Merrill Lynch & Co. in London. “Even though the contango is steep, it could get steeper.”Source More broadly, a new report from the World Bank called Global Economic Prospects 2009(pdf) declares that "Like earlier commodity booms, this one has come to an end." and states:
The strength, breadth (in terms of the number of commodities whose prices have increased), and duration of the current commodity boom have prompted speculation that the global economy is moving into a new era characterized by relative shortage and permanently higher (and even permanently rising) commodity prices. This outcome does not appear likely. Over the next two decades, slower population growth and weaker (though still strong) income growth are projected to cause trend global GDP growth to ease (figure O.3) and, with it, the demand for commodities.According to Andrew Burns, Lead Author of the report:
Over the longer term, the supply shortages that contributed to the sharp rise in commodity prices are expected to ease. Demand for energy, metals, and food should slow due to weaker population growth and an expected reversal in China’s high demand for metals as investment rates there decline.SourceNow that things have settled down, the commodities price spike/collapse of 2008 is looking more and more like a mundane rerun of the commodities price spike/collapse of the late 70s. Except this time we had a whole army of chicken littles, pumped up by the steroid of the internet, to loudly worry and moralize about it 24 hours a day. Six months ago, we were all going to die because we were running out of everything. Now the same stuff is piling up in overflowing tankers, silos and warehouses.

Peak everything. Honestly, how butt stupid did you have to be to buy into that? How likely is it that mankind was running dry of every single natural resource, at exactly the same time? Not too likely, as we've seen. The only thing that was really peaking was financial overextension and hype.
-- by JD

posted by JD at 3:46 AM on Dec 10, 2008

Leave your comment
Hello Andrew Ryan,

You ask some good, but ill-informed, questions.

I will answer them:

If you think we are going extinct, why are you bothering to keep yourself alive? You're continuing to waste space and resources, which is the same thing that you are ranting on everyone else for doing. If we are going extinct anyways, then why not just off yourself now?

Well, Andrew, there is quite a dramatic distinction between extinction and suicide .

In the case of the Homo sapiens, the extinction event is essentially an act of suicide ... you know, in the same sense that chain smoking yourself to death by lung cancer is suicide.

I'd encourage humankind to stop ... as I have done for many years ... but the suicidal chain-smoker doesn't care about death, rather devotion to wealth and economic growth trump all considerations regarding the future.

So humamkind will go extinct. So sad, too bad, but Nature has already witnessed a billion species going extinct.

If you also think that we 'trashed the planet' and our extinction will 'Overall, a very good thing', why are you sitting around posting on the internet about it? The immense amount of resources and technology (your computer, the internet, electricity, to name a few) that you are using to post on a blog is a part of the very thing that you hate.

Because it is my duty to speak truthfully to people about their own dismal future using the tools available to me. In an ideal world there wouldn't be computers or an Internet ... which means, of course, that in the future there won't be either computers or the Internet ... nor Homo sapiens, for that matter.

Technological civilization will go extinct before the Homo sapiens. That much is certain. We are witnessing that event right now.

Did you fail to notice? Of course you did!

Something much more terrible is approaching, though. Humankind's dominance over the Earth is ending. Once Nature reasserts her dominance over the planet, you can be quite certain that humankind's days are numbered. The human population bubble will collapse. Our civilization will crumble.

But these are all processes which take time. Nature is four billion years old. Humans cannot comprehend Nature's time scale, no more so than an ant can comprehend nuclear physics.

This is one reason why JD is so delusional and is such a fool. He approaches these subjects from a very narrow and absolutely erroneous perspective.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 2:55:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

David,

How does any species "earn" extinction? What a meaningless statement in a world where species have constantly gone extinct and come into existence without the "blight" of humans.

Your disdain for your own species is odd, considering that ALL species seek little more than to survive, thrive, and maintain their status. Does any species that exerts a "negative" influence on its environment therefore deserve extinction?

What's a "negative" influence, anyway? How do we define that? Elephants are known for destroying trees en masse, for example:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119513359/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Now, it's good for the elephant, but what of the trees or the species that need those trees to thrive? Clearly the elephants are exerting a negative influence on them, right? Shall we condemn the elephants to some sort of punishment as well?

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:09:00 PM PST, Anonymous david mathews said...

Hello Ari,

How does any species "earn" extinction? What a meaningless statement in a world where species have constantly gone extinct and come into existence without the "blight" of humans.

A species earns extinction by living in such a foolish manner that it drives itself extinct.

The same principle applies to people: You have heard about the "Darwin Awards"

As to the long history of species going extinct, it seems so odd that uninformed people constantly make reference to this fact in combination with the claim, "It can't happen to us!"

I'm saying: It can happen to us. It will happen to us. And in this case it is self-inflicted.

You say:

Your disdain for your own species is odd, considering that ALL species seek little more than to survive, thrive, and maintain their status. Does any species that exerts a "negative" influence on its environment therefore deserve extinction?

You are speaking in a senseless manner, though. If the other species behaved in any way like the Homo sapiens, our species would never have evolved. The Earth would not have remained in a healthy enough condition for the early Homo sapiens to survive.

Then you combine this with more idiocy:

What's a "negative" influence, anyway? How do we define that?

Well, I define "negative influence" as "changing the Earth to a sufficient degree that it makes the future survival of Homo sapiens impossible" ... does that sound like a legitimate definition to you?

Then you make an accusation against the elephants:

Now, it's good for the elephant, but what of the trees or the species that need those trees to thrive? Clearly the elephants are exerting a negative influence on them, right? Shall we condemn the elephants to some sort of punishment as well?

This is stupidity of the same sort of magnitude as possessed by JD. The elephants and the trees have evolved in such a manner as to accomodate each other. Hence it is foolish to the extreme to draw any analogy between the elephants' behavior and humankind's.

Humans have trashed the planet and driven plenty of species extinct. Humans have trashed the planet sufficiently to drive humankind extinct.

This is the future of humankind, very dismal and also very just.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:13:00 PM PST, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

James

I am also a physicist, and am Welsh. I don't put a great deal of stock in the 'doomers'. The recent wild swings in oil prices have exposed many of these speculator types (which includes our fellow physicists seduced by a life of ease in merchant banking) who pushed the case for never ending increase in demand have been exposed as the emperor with no clothes. Look at the way Goldman Sachs is trying to backtrack on their $200 PB prediction. And to think a student of mine wants to work for them!

The Chindia countries have serious problems. Look at the recent tragic events in India, the straw man Chinese economy, endemic problems in Russia. This has all been covered by JD and commentators on this blog ad naseum. I clearly remember the oil traders trying to convince us the days of the West were numbered back in July. We may have the last laugh yet.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:14:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

In response to Matthew:

You ask some good, but ill-informed, questions.

Because a question is by nature a request for information, calling one "ill-informed" is rather odd. But that's a linguistic point that I suspect will be lost on most people.

Well, Andrew, there is quite a dramatic distinction between extinction and suicide .

In the case of the Homo sapiens, the extinction event is essentially an act of suicide ... you know, in the same sense that chain smoking yourself to death by lung cancer is suicide.

I'd encourage humankind to stop ... as I have done for many years ... but the suicidal chain-smoker doesn't care about death, rather devotion to wealth and economic growth trump all considerations regarding the future.

So humamkind will go extinct. So sad, too bad, but Nature has already witnessed a billion species going extinct.


A lot of strange thinking going on here to deal with. Let's start from the beginning.

You don't really answer his question, first of all. Why DO you still allow yourself to live, if you believe that everything is inevitable and humans are a plague? By stating that we are all doomed-- and that it is a good thing-- you are implicating yourself.

Also, smoking, while harmful to one's health, is not technically suicide. Suicide, being generally defined as "the act of terminating one's own life," implies that one intentionally seeks to do nothing more than die. Smoking, like eating chocolates (or any other fattening foods), is not (usually) done to intentionally die. Again, semantics, but you seem to be making a lot of semantic points so my point stands. It's also important to note that smoking can and does cause cancer (often), but not always. I think my analogy to chocolate stands.

I'd also like to note that we don't actually know the exact number of species that have gone or will go extinct. It's unknowable.

Because it is my duty to speak truthfully to people about their own dismal future using the tools available to me. In an ideal world there wouldn't be computers or an Internet ... which means, of course, that in the future there won't be either computers or the Internet ... nor Homo sapiens, for that matter.

What's "ideal?" Define it. And why is it your "duty?" If it is, as you say, inevitable, what difference does it make? Everyone will die at some point in the future, so why sap what little happiness they ostensibly have remaining?

Technological civilization will go extinct before the Homo sapiens. That much is certain. We are witnessing that event right now.

Did you fail to notice? Of course you did!


I admit to not having noticed this. Evidence?

Something much more terrible is approaching, though. Humankind's dominance over the Earth is ending. Once Nature reasserts her dominance over the planet, you can be quite certain that humankind's days are numbered. The human population bubble will collapse. Our civilization will crumble.

But these are all processes which take time. Nature is four billion years old. Humans cannot comprehend Nature's time scale, no more so than an ant can comprehend nuclear physics.


Define "nature." You can't continue any further without telling us what "nature" means.

This is one reason why JD is so delusional and is such a fool. He approaches these subjects from a very narrow and absolutely erroneous perspective.

And you approach these subjects with generalities and half-defined terminology. Nyah nyah nyah. Rubber and glue, friend... rubber and glue.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:27:00 PM PST, Anonymous david mathews said...

Hello Ari,

You don't really answer his question, first of all. Why DO you still allow yourself to live, if you believe that everything is inevitable and humans are a plague? By stating that we are all doomed-- and that it is a good thing-- you are implicating yourself.

I'm not implicated myself, Ari. I'm implicating you and your ilk. Those who trash the Earth are driving the Homo sapiens extinct.

Smoking, like eating chocolates ...

Oh my, I'm really dealing with an ill-informed idiot. You are getting caught up in the analogy and completely losing the message. Oh well, this is typical for those people afflicted with a JD-level stupidity.

What's "ideal?" Define it. And why is it your "duty?" If it is, as you say, inevitable, what difference does it make? Everyone will die at some point in the future, so why sap what little happiness they ostensibly have remaining?

You cannot escape from your own delusional thinking, can you? Your argument is better phrased in this way: "Since we are all going to die we might as well die in whatever manner we choose." Except you fail to notice that there are billions of humans who don't have a choice because of your own choices, selfishness, greed, gluttony, and recklessness.

I admit to not having noticed this. Evidence?

Eh ... are you of the opinion that Technological Civilization is eternal and immortal ... you know, essentially godlike?

Define "nature." You can't continue any further without telling us what "nature" means.

Only a delusional, uninformed, stupid person would have difficulty with the definition of Nature.

But I'll define it for you: Nature is that thing which has maintained the Earth in a condition hospitable for Life over the last four billion years.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:50:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

David,

I'm not implicated myself, Ari. I'm implicating you and your ilk. Those who trash the Earth are driving the Homo sapiens extinct.

What, pray tell, allows you to absolve yourself of guilt? How nice it must be to be thine own judge!

Oh my, I'm really dealing with an ill-informed idiot. You are getting caught up in the analogy and completely losing the message. Oh well, this is typical for those people afflicted with a JD-level stupidity.

Ah, personal attacks. How delightful. Care to answer my questions?

You cannot escape from your own delusional thinking, can you? Your argument is better phrased in this way: "Since we are all going to die we might as well die in whatever manner we choose." Except you fail to notice that there are billions of humans who don't have a choice because of your own choices, selfishness, greed, gluttony, and recklessness.

So, asking you to define your terms makes me "delusional?" Odd, I always thought it was important to know what we were arguing.

Eh ... are you of the opinion that Technological Civilization is eternal and immortal ... you know, essentially godlike?

Nope. I'm not. I just question whether or not this particular civilization is at the end of its life. Different question, and one that you have avoided answering.

Only a delusional, uninformed, stupid person would have difficulty with the definition of Nature.

But I'll define it for you: Nature is that thing which has maintained the Earth in a condition hospitable for Life over the last four billion years.


Interesting that I'm deluded, but Plato, Santayana, Sextus Empiricus, Schelling, Descartes', Parmenides, and Rousseau spent a lot of time on defining "nature," it's not too "deluded."

And considering that "life" is so broad, how do we define "hospitable?" There are things living in volcanic vents that would kill any other species alive. Is that enough?

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 3:58:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Everyone: Please don't respond to dave. He was banned from these pages a long time ago, and I will be deleting his comments.

Dave: If you want to monopolize the airwaves with your bullshit, do it on your own blog.
Thanks, JD

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:12:00 PM PST, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Ari, Mathews is an old troll that was banned from POD a good while ago, but seems to have come back. He is mentally retarded and comes here to try to calm his own problems down by playing the prophet characther and try to annoy the most people he can.

It was a good question of yours, the definition of Nature. I myself, am quite in trouble to try to define it. This idiotic thinking that we came from a pristine world which could be best described as a paradise, and then we came along and ruined it, is such a judeo-christian mentality that I'm afraid is so vulgar and normal in most people. Reality is much richer and chaotic than this, and we are just beggining to understand what "Nature" is really all about, how it behaves and what can we do about it in a more global way. Of course, because this conscience is so recent, there are a lot of scares driving the conversations, we suddenly realised that everything is constantly changing. Even the climate.

So what can we do with this recent knowledge? Whine about it? Blame the civilization which brought up such knowledge? Refuge in a cave? Fear monger and troll the internet blogs about one's own paranoia?

I think that this is not the best answer to a problem. But Mathews knows best how to lose his own time.

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:31:00 PM PST, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Before calling anyone "mentally retarded" you probably should leanr how to spell ...

Ahahahah! This is all too easy.

Yes, Barba, the world was pristine before humankind came along.

That was before or after the wiping out of the dinossaurs? The sudden appearance ice ages were "pristine" to the animals that lived here? The sheer number of global warming phenomenons that happened throughout the ages were "pristine" too?

"Pristine" is hardly the best word. Chaos in a Darwinian Universe, that's a better definition.

Barba, things are constantly changing in your body, too, but you would certainly react in a negative way to the discovery of cancer in your body.

It would be a mistake to enter a depression. The best answer is to get treatment. Cancer is treatable.

You also might object to anyone injecting poison in your veins or shooting you, too.

You think? This is deep philosophy. Keep bringing it up. What cracks me up about your ilk is that you continuously use the internet, computers and all the technology tools which are a product of this civilization and then compare it to the devil. If you had an atom of coherence you'd be living in an Afghanistan desert, in "peace" with nature. You wouldn't last a week in that "pristine" environment.

Is extinction better than living in a cave? You decide.

No, Dave. You decide and begone already to the cave. I'll wait in the civilized world for this collapse of yours. In the meantime send me postcards while your teeth start to deteriorate with the "pristine" diet you surely will have, bokay?

Humankind's pride guarantees humankind's extinction. Since you won't sacrifice that which is killing you, you have chosen your own fate.

Well, if you aren't part of mankind, what are you, an ape?

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:33:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Thanks, Dave. You know what the best part of our relationship is? The amount of time you spend crafting your frothing, idiotic posts, versus the amount of time I spend deleting them without even bothering to read them. It's a really satisfying feeling -- all at the touch of button. Keep 'em coming!

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:34:00 PM PST, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Awwwh, just when I was having fun! Oh, JD, tsk tsk! :)

 
At Friday, December 12, 2008 at 6:09:00 PM PST, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

Don't feed the troll, I know, I know. But just this once let me address this guy.

Hey David Matthews,
Kill yourself, now.

DoctorJJ

 
At Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 2:42:00 AM PST, Anonymous Soylent said...

"do you even realise how much oil is used in uranium processing and post-processing?"

Yes, 0.45 g of crude oil per kWh.

This is uranium mined from low-grade 300 ppm and 500 ppm ores mined in Rössing Namibia and Olympic Dam in Australia, shipped to Canada for conversion to hexafluoride, shipped to Great Britain or Russia for enrichment in a centrifuge, shipped to AREVAs fuel fabrication plant in germany and shipped to the Forsmark NPP in Sweden for use, shipped to CLAB in Sweden for interim storage and eventually burried 500 metres into solid bedrock in a steel and copper capsule surrounded by bentonite clay(a completely overengineered scheme to make valuable fuel with 99% of it's potential energy remaining as irretrievable as possible).

...

Do you have any idea how much electricity it takes to pump, ship and refine oil? You can't even get it out of the gas pump without electricity.

 
At Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 12:03:00 PM PST, Anonymous Zach said...

I want us to get off oil completely even if it is cheap and stays that way. We have the power and resources to generate a smart energy grid powered by renewable wind power to charge electric vehicles. We can fix this problem, and in the process boost our economy and provide sustainable transportation and energy, a benefit that will trickle down into all areas one way or another.

 
At Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 3:39:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Soylent,
It seems your "0.45 g of crude oil per kWh" hit a nerve. A newbie started a thread about it at peakoil.com, hoping to get a doom recharge:
Link

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 6:46:00 AM PST, Anonymous Soylent said...

That's kind of sad actually; well, not my problem.

To the romantic we are star dust, to the cynic we are nuclear waste. My guess is that he's in the latter camp on that one.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 9:04:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

The OP of that thread seems to miss the point.

It's not that anyone on this site is in denial of whether or not "peak oil" will happen-- no more than we're in denial of whether or not resource shortages are a bad thing-- but just that we doubt the most extreme proclamations of the peak oil community. To put it lightly, they say a lot of very funny things.

What's funnier is that he throws out this fantastic list of non sequiturs:

Deforestation, air pollution, water pollution, food shortage, extinction of thousands of species on a weekly basis, resource shortages, climate changing, peakoil, overpopulation, nuclear weapons races, etc etc etc. Even if you don't believe some of these are real, are people actually arguing none of these are happening? The fact is that since the dawn of time humans have still fought each other without nearly as many of the above problems existing *on a global scale* and people don't think there is going to be at least some sort of 'dieoff' is totally insane.

Extinction of thousands of species on a WEEKLY basis? Where on Earth did he get a hold of that figure? Assuming that these "thousands of extinctions" started around 1945, and it's "only" two thousand a week (bare minimum to meet the "thousands" requirement"), then around 6.5 million species have gone extinct since the end of WWII.

Considering that the low end estimate of current biodiversity puts us around 2 millions species in the world TODAY, then we're in an awful pickle!

Now, does this mean that I'm not concerned with conservation of species biodiversity? Of course not! I most definitely am! But these very random figures that people throw out are sometimes absurd.

Also, what nuclear weapons races? We haven't had a serious nuke race since the collapse of the USSR. Do these people read early Ehrlich and then stop reading anything new, content that 1970s knowledge is complete? Bizarre.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 9:29:00 AM PST, Blogger b_lidge said...

ari:

http://signsofwitness.com/?p=611

http://www.livescience.com/blogs/2007/05/22/would-you-believe-3-species-go-extinct-every-hour/

These sites both calculate around 500 a week; I'm sure thats enough. The fact that any are going extinct is bad enough for me.

Listen up: Basically you all need to grow the fuck up and take note of the mess we're causing, not childishly mock the other peak oil sites and somehow believe everything is ok if you say it enough. I await your condescending but dumb responses.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 11:04:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey b lidge, did you even read the entirety of the second link you posted? It debunks itself.

Also, the term "species" sounds significant, but once you realize there are hundreds of thousands of species of beetles alone, it becomes meaningless.

Jake

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PST, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

Matt Simmons is making more dire predictions. Gas shortages in the US within 2 weeks! ohmy!! I can find nothing that backs up his claims. Does anyone have any idea where he gets his info from?

I'm going to guess this is going to turn out to be like his natural gas predictions. Ooopsie.

~Lanie

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PST, Blogger jamie_gboy said...

Jake:

Care to explain why a species of beetle becoming extinct is meaningless?

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM PST, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

What's with all the non-sequiturs flying around here, lately? JD, Ari, et al. post some actual figures, and we get a flood of people who subsequently ignore them.

"Everything is ok if you say it enough"? Look, disagreeing with analysis is one thing. Calling out incorrect or inconclusive stats is all well and good. But though I can't speak for others, part of the reason I got sick of the doomer feedlot was that too many people therein responded to legitimate criticism with ad hominem attacks ("grow the fuck up").

When I first started reading JD's blog a year ago, I was inclined towards doomerism. I still have my share of pessimistic moments. But I came to respect JD and the folks who comment here because they offer intelligent, fact-based analysis and have an truly impressive patience with the number of trolls who come here to tell everyone how stupid they are for discussing facts that don't mesh with the extremist doomer worldview.

Oddly enough, I seldom see anti-doomers trolling sites like the Oil Drum or PO.com. For whatever reason, doomers seem much more likely to be abrasive and rude than anti-doomers. Not that all doomers are jerks, mind you, or that all anti-doomers are saints, mind you: it's just a general trend I've noted.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 12:24:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie Gboy,

Sorry, saying "meaningless" was overstating it. It would have been better to say "not quite as alarming."

The reason it isn't as alarming to me is that a statistic like this doesn't discuss how frequently new species come about, how many total species there are, and how the statistic was arrived at in the first place: pure estimation. It's simply thrown out there as an estimate, and the layperson thinks the term "species" is equivalent to "tiger," "lion," and "elephant."

Here's a random ass link for you that I'm not going to fact check: http://www.wri.org/publication/content/8202. Here's a quote from this article: "Scientists were startled in 1980 by the discovery of a tremendous diversity of insects in tropical forests. In one study of just 19 trees in Panama, fully 80 percent of the 1,200 beetle species discovered were previously unknown to science. At least 6 million to 9 million species of arthropods -- and possibly more than 30 million -- are now thought to dwell in the tropics with only a small fraction currently described."

This means that chopping down a tree in Panama is probably eliminating a dozen species right there.

Sarcasm aside, we should certainly be concerned about species going extinct. But the random alarmist estimate of "3 an hour" just doesn't mean that TEOTWAWKI is imminent.

Jake

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 12:34:00 PM PST, Blogger Ari said...

jamie_gboy/b_lidge,

I don't believe that it's meaningless. In fact, I think it's quite significant. But let's do some numbers:

"1000s a week" rate of extinction comes out to a minimum of 52,000 species a year. The sky's the limit with "1000s a week," however, depending on how many thousands a week we're talking about. It's a statistically meaningless statement.

"3 an hour" comes out to 26,280 (no more, no less.)

The problem with a lot of the soundbites is that they don't actually have any verifiability. I'm not calling for Popperian falsifiability, but at least some verifiability! How can I take the "3 an hour" claim seriously when our empirical evidence thus far says that, "only 784 species are officially recorded as having gone extinct since the year 1500."

Ultimately, I believe in funding conservation projects, and I have no problem at all with raising concerns with biodiversity loss. But I can't help but be skeptical when I'm told that species we don't know about (and never will, of course!) are going extinct. For sure. No question about it.

Optimistic Doomer,

I'm sure that Simmons is just doing the same old song and dance. It's a pity that he didn't seem to learn from his past mistakes...

Sean,

I'm flattered that you include me in that list. Thank you. I try very hard to be level-headed and provide people with as much data and supporting argumentation as possible. I'm glad I've managed to strike a positive note.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 1:09:00 PM PST, Anonymous wchfilms said...

James: "Almost *everything* in our lives is oil based. Reread that last sentence. "

Look around you... almost everything in our lives is pigment-based... anything that has a color, paint or similar, and it's almost everything! What if that vanished?

Well, the world would be more drab, but we'd get by. More likely, either a replacement would be found, or some things would get painted and some not due to costs.

Another example is plastics. Almost everything in our lives is plastic based. What if plastics vanished? Only 30 or 40 years ago, much fewer things were made of and with plastic. Why is there so much of it now? Because it is very cheap and plentiful, and useful for so many things. However, we still had desks, tv's, cars, chairs, glasses, bottles, etc long before plastic became widely used. We used glass, wood, rubber, leather, etc.

There are some uses for plastic that would be challenging to replace, but for the most part not a big deal.

Same with oil... it's used everywhere because it's the cheapest and most convenient thing for so many uses, but really what is needed is energy. *Most* uses could be replaced with other forms of energy, and of course, we could simply waste far less.

James: "Look at how we live today; no really *look* at it. Is it sustainable? Is it even acceptable? Here is the UK long long long streams of constant traffic clog the streets, roads and motorways 24 hours a day. People consume and take until there is no more."

This reminds me of telling a 20 year old they shouldn't have sex because it's not sustainable because they won't keep their looks and sex drive forever. If someday cheap travel doesn't exist on this magnitude, we'll live differently. So what?

James: "Food is literally inefficently transported in a completely unsustainable way. "

Some is, some isn't. Again if energy gets expensive, it may not longer be cost effective to ship oranges from California to Vancouver, but so what. Life won't be as good, but not a terrible disaster.


James: "... the actual concept of 'peak oil' highlights a very frightening reality that we have an ultimate weakness which is: the consistent supply of oil. What if something else disrupts oil?"

I do agree with this, and that is why we should work very hard to have energy independence.

James: No offense (please reread those last two words before you start thinking up insults), but what is the point of this site?

Well I guess that's up to JD to answer since it's his blog, but I think it's to provide a counterpoint to the other "omg we're utterly doomed" peak oil sites. There are plenty of those, and little counterpoints, so often people like me fall at least briefly under the spell of the doomers, and this can help people realize that it just might be a load of crap.

 
At Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 5:08:00 PM PST, Blogger Barba Rija said...

About the extinct species thingy. I would just point out to the people reading this that species have been entering extinction since dawn of life. And Darwin showed us why. There are always new species coming up "online" everyday, and so are old ones going extinct. It's been like that for 3.5 billion years.

Now, I know what you are asking, aren't we causing a lot more extinctions than it would be caused by more "natural" events? Yes, I believe so, and it is a problem. It shouldn't be framed as those numbers though, for the sheer number of species are telling no story at all. There are species far more important to the biosphere than a thousand of others, and we can't tell which ones are being extinct from those numbers alone.

It worries me in the sense that it can be possible to reach a "tipping point" of ecosphere degradation, from which we can no longer return, and wreck the planet.

Now, while this is possible indeed, I can see no reason to despair and blame everyone else for the problem. We don't know too many stuff to be fully aware of the planet's true feedback on our actions, so to say that our doom is already written is false.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 6:14:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Peak everything. Honestly, how butt stupid did you have to be to buy into that?"

Just Ph.D. Stupid. You're such a genius J.D!

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 7:10:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,

Having spent some time in grad school and toyed with the idea of a PhD, I can say this much: a PhD don't mean shit.

I can show you some papers written by PhDs that are absolutely awful-- in my field and in others.

Send me an e-mail if you want to see how far the PhD rabbit hole goes.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 7:28:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question:

If you post bullshit on a bullshit blog does it become non-bullshit.

I.e. real?

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 7:40:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,

I realize you're just trolling, but I'll try to get you to play along.

What, exactly, is bullshit about what I, or anyone else, has said? Demonstrate where I am wrong and I will recant. I have done so in the past and will do so in the future. I am not above admitting my failures.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 9:30:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ari,

Peak Oil Debunked

DISCLAIMER FOR IDIOTS: This site officially accepts that oil is finite, and will peak someday.

Since this Blog claims both contradictory statements to be simultaneously true it is fundamentally, and in its entirety, bullshit.

This includes anything you or I have ever posted here. Including this post.

You see the logic now?

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Anon,

What a silly statement, and logically fallacious at that (though a clever attempt at a syllogism.)

Your premises are:

A) The blog's title and its sub-heading do not agree
B) Blogs whose titles and sub-headings do not agree are all bullshit

And your following conclusion is:

C) Therefore, the posts and the comments are bullshit

However, your premises are flawed. For one, it does not logically follow that a title necessarily determines the quality of the content. For example, the title East of Eden does not mean that the book takes place literally "east of Eden." Nor does it mean that the contents of the book are any better or worse because of the title.

A dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid also would see to apply here. While it may be true that something with an apparent contradiction may lend itself to not being any good, it is not necessarily true in all cases.

Finally, we cannot logically judge the quality of comments by a title. Logically speaking, the comments are independent of the title altogether. You commit ignoratio elenchi there-- and rather clearly, I might add.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 10:56:00 AM PST, Anonymous Babun said...

I can really identify with your situation there Sean. I guess i have followed quite a similar path. I think i came across this site about a year ago with quite a strong doomer mentality.

I still think this site tends to lean a bit much in the opposite direction, but it certainly helped me to get a perspective on things. Last summer I was already investing in oil prices going down. Too bad I didn't make any money on it :(

Looks like speculation is starting to get opposite influences as well. Sure, i still agree with that we'll be having low prices for a good while but when people start talking about decades - that's long term and I still think the general long term -direction is pretty clear. I think the supportive arguments for this slow growth -view were pretty weak. I'm assuming this economic event we're experiencing is a regular cyclical event - just like the recent oil market changes. My view is that we'll have harder hitting prices than those of last summer within the decade. Perhaps already in 2012 like Rubin predicted.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 11:06:00 AM PST, Blogger Ari said...

Babun,

Glad you're less "doomerish."

I admit that I spent about a week or so kind of worried about the whole thing. Then I realized that there are tons of options for the future, and that despite the challenges we face, we'll pull through.

Sure, the short- and even mid-term might suck, but hey, since when hasn't a generation been faced with some shitty circumstances? Our folks were faced with NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION for goodness' sake!

I tend to find that it's generally misanthropes-- and I mean that in every sense of the word-- who believe that PO will lead to the end of humanity. I rarely read a PO doomer tract that doesn't have some allusion to how horrible and miserable people are. I, for one, refuse to go that route. It's too easy.

And I don't like easy. Never have.

 
At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 11:48:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fatih Birol, chief economist to the International Energy Agency says conventional crude output could plateau in 2020.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/15/global-oil-supply-peak-2020-prediction

Its the most detailed study made.
It would be insane to ignore it.

 
At Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 12:58:00 AM PST, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

A date of 2020 is still much further into the future than the present-2012 timeframe most peak oilers conform to. Indeed the article includes a prominent peak oiler denouncing it as heresy.

I do wonder how much to trust the IEA given their wildly swinging postions - as someone who has followed their output for some time. It looks too much like the sort of thing we expect from the likes of Goldman Sachs; I can't put it into better words at the minute to make it clearer. I'd like to get their full analysis and read it myself - the Guardian newspaper would not be my favoured source for unbiased news on this sort of topic. For those who don't know the Gaurdian takes environmental topics quite seriously (nothing wrong with that in itself of course) however they often do this by giving media attention to vandals like the 'Plane Stupid' group; of course the opinions and work of 'Moonbat' Monbiot are relatively well known.

 
At Friday, December 19, 2008 at 8:23:00 PM PST, Blogger wchfilms said...

Cadfan >I do wonder how much to trust the IEA given their wildly swinging postions

None. They have no freaking clue either.

 
At Friday, December 19, 2008 at 8:24:00 PM PST, Blogger wchfilms said...

I mean, it's all guesswork. They have agendas too. It does crack me up that the media blindly reports "omg Merrill predicts $250 oil!" then six months later "omg Merrill predicts $20-30 oil!" without cracking a smile. Sheesh.

 

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