Sunday open commenting thread...

Here's a place to post some ideas, suggestions, or whatever. (Yes, yes, I know...Haloscan is having more issues...they say it's a firefox problem on their forum, and that it will be fixed soon...I am not holding my breath).
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If you ever tried to pop PO on an uninitiated co-worker or a family member, you know what this means.

Their eyes glaze over. You get the GLAZE DAZE.

Quickly you realize the message is not getting through.

For the moment, you are that weird person in the room with the tin foil wrapped around the cranium so that Martians won't beam bad thoughts into your head.

They wave you on.
OK. I've heard enough.
Let's move the discussion back to reality.

You're head goes spinning into a whirl of confusion.
What happened?
You gave them cold hard facts.
Hubbert's curve.
Unabiotic oil genesis.
Club of Rome.
Crude oil prices climbing from $20/barrel to $60/barrel in such short time.

They denied "the facts".
They rejected rational thought.
They blew you away like so much bad fog.
You are the illusion.
All is well.
The markets will provide.
Technology will save us.
Coal will be king.
Hydrogen will be huge.
Chicken Little has been among us since time immemorial.
The world is still here.
Collapse is a myth.
Collapse cannot happen.
Alan Greenspan will protect us.
God will save us.
On and on.

All the pre-programmed cliches drown you out.
How do you counter the flood of flawed philosophies?

Do you continue to argue science and reason to them?

No. You are wasting your time.

This is not about "reason".

This not about logical debate.

This is about pre-programmed code words.
This is about "our way of life".
This is about "protecting our freedoms".
Protecting our sources of power.
Belief in the rightness of our providence-provided, elected leaders.
You cannot deny that democracy works.
You cannot deny that democracy wants us to have free trade and free flow of oil.

The markets will provide.
Flutter away Chicken Little.

You've just described human reactions on a much wider variety of subjects (just change the keywords).

More importantly, have you found a way to broach these subjects in a way which actually gets people interested in what's going on and what they can do?

I have been thinking about the observation made by one of our economist friends, his “pet peeve,” that by definition demand cannot exceed supply. I would like to apply this idea to the great potato famine in Ireland.

As we know, in 1849 a blight destroyed much of Ireland’s potato harvest and of the 8 million Irish, a million starved to death and 3 million immigrated. The English landlords have been heavily critisized for exporting food to England, even while their tenants starved.

Now I see that what was actually happening was that food prices went up, the Irish couldn’t pay, so the food (by necessity) was exported to where people could pay. High prices created demand destruction.

Therefore, the fact that Irish died off is irrelevant. The fact that matters is that the demand for food decreased dramatically in Ireland, and so landowners sold the food to those in England, where demand stayed strong (because the ability to pay was strong).

Does this sound correct to you?

In the post “Peak Oil & Climate Change,” July 14, you reprinted Kjell Aleklett’s rebuttal of IPCC’s projected climate change model.

Aleklett’s article and accompanying graph showed IPCC’s oil & gas increasing at an exponential rate throughout the 21st century; with ASPO’s model superimposed over it.

The message, which I had internalized since I first saw it in an ASPO newsletter, is that climate warming projections are overblown because of peak oil. Therefore, I had stopped worrying about climate change.

Unfortunately, Aleklett misrepresented IPCC.

IPCC’s actually model (see Dave’s post on that comments page) differs from Aleklett’s rendition.

IPCC showed oil & gas peaking in 2025, and decreasing to a fraction by century’s end. The rest of the exponential growth is made up by COAL; Not oil and gas.

I am really disappointed in Aleklett, and the ASPO newsletter, for misrepresenting IPCC’s position and diverting attention from an extraordinary problem.

Aleklett is correct is stating that shifting reliance upon coal would be “disasterous,” but his actions undercut thinking and potential action on the subject.

We must shift our attention from peak oil and gas (which is increasingly obvious and understood), to “peak coal” and what can be done to avoid the disasterous shift to reliance upon strip mining coal to substitute for the missing oil and gas in our energy future.

Why do the comments all have the word "Gravatar" appearing in the upper right of each comment? Does everyone else see that? I'm using Firefox. Who is Gravatar?

Gravatar is the source of the little picture icons you see on some people's posts; what you're seeing is the alternate text.

Perhaps someone could edit the templates to delete the alt text and labels, because they serve no useful purpose.

I see hurricane Emily is now headed squarely across the Yucatan peninsular. Does anyone know anything about the risks to Cantarell operations?

Stepback: Thomas Kuhn's advice to would-be paradigm shifters is to waste no time trying to convert staunch believers in the current paradigm. Instead focus on people who seem to be receptive to the message. Frost breaks rocks along the cracks. Blitzkriegs punch through enemy lines in weak or unexpected places and roll them up from behind. Businesses win markets by first selling to early adopters. It's a general pattern. Personally, when I broach the subject with anyone, I start very gently. If the person seems interested I give them the full drill. If they seem resistant, I back off in quick flurry of self-deprecatory humor.

In a democracy, we must get the sheep to follow the shepherd.

If God willed You
... to know
about aeio
He would have sent Messengers

Thrice you have denied them

Tell no one.

(What is aeio ?
Father of Four has the answer)

A large number of posters here seem to argue that:

1) It is a proven fact that oil has peaked or will peak this year
2) The result is going to be immediate massive production drops and enormous price increases.
3) The lifestyles that we currently enjoy will come to a crashing end in the next few years
4) Radical changes are required right now to mitigate the impacts of this certain outcome.
5) Any one who does not agree with this is in denial

I can’t say this prediction is wrong, but it is speculation.

I do think that oil supply will peak within the next ten years and that we are very close to the maximum level that will ever be produced. However, exactly what will happen and how we will adjust is unknown.

When I hear people going on and on about the end of agriculture, plant your own food, buy gold, markets will crash, nations will war, doom, doom, doom, etc. my eyes glaze over. My personal feeling is that this represents a predisposition to believe in doom rather than a rational analysis of the facts.

On the other hand, when I discuss peak oil with people and walk through the evidence is a measured way, explaining that other may differ, people listen to me.

I am sympathetic with the point Stepback is trying to make above. But even I do have to lump the “World as we know it is coming to and end” group with the tinfoil hat crowd.

That's not the only reason we should take action now, Jack.

Our dependence on ME oil both feeds the Islamofascist monster and prevents us from taking effective action against it.  Adopting technologies to replace oil will have more effect than all the diplomacy we can manage.

Heed Jack's words!!!

No. Not their substance.
Heed that Jack "feels"
Jack is a "feeling" creature
Not making fun of you, Jack
I'm a feeling, irrational creature too.
We come from the same herd.

The point is that
..although some of us are engineers
(I used to be one till I defected to another calling)
most people "feel" things out
rather than being able to reason through things in an open minded and clearly analytical way.

And they will deny, deny, deny that they are using their "feelings" rather than their reasoning power.

Why do you think Madison Avenue can sell us so much junk?
Madison Avenue knows.

We, the people, are not rational creatures
(And I do not exclude myself from the herd regretfully)
We buy on impulse
We make important decisions based on gut "feelings"

Want to spend $50,000 for a rusting transport on 4 wheels?
How about that sexy red one over there?
Grab it before it's too late.
Women will adore you when you drive up in that Hummer baby.
Men will envy your Power.
You will be among the elite.
It's like nothing else on Earth.
Feel the power. Be the power.
Sign here.
Ignore the fine print.

Ignore the import of this message.
Take the blue pill.
Take the safe way back.


I generally think oil will peak and decline, and the peak is probably during the next five years. I think the decline rate is critical to whether it's a relatively minor issue, or a very major one. The decline rate is very uncertain. However, it seems one cannot rule out the possibility of fairly rapid declines (look at the North Sea, now declining at 10-15%/yr). Nor can one say with confidence the decline rate will be high. Conflicts over the matter cannot be ruled out (we have already seen the Iraq war and sporadic incidents in the Spratleys).

In short, there's massive uncertainty and the probability of serious downside scenarios is not negligibly small. I read of psychological research a few years back which found that when you present a group of humans with equivocal evidence which distinguishes poorly between two hypotheses, A and B, you don't end up with everyone thinking "maybe A, maybe B". Instead, you end up with two groups of partisans, one strongly believing A, the other strongly believeing B. Maybe someone can refresh my memory with a specific reference. But I'm guessing that attribute of human nature explains the thing you are complaining of.



We cross posted.

"They" have you in their neuro-tweezers also.
Sorry to hear it.

Did you read Friedman's recent post on Sunni "dignity"?
He's one quarter way toward reaching the Truth.

Want to know the Truth?
Don't think you're ready yet.
You are still caught in rapture and rage.

Islamists do not sui-murder for oil's sake.
There is something else at work in that camp.

The oil will run out whther they blow themselves up or not.
USA gets more oil from Canada than from ME !!!
ME is just a small part of "The Market"
You have been brain washed into believing "They" are the problem.

They have been brainwashed into believing you are the "They" and you are the problem.

Don't you see it yet?


I herd you brother.
Peace and salaam
Let us go back to grazing


Nothing in my post discounts the urgency of acting now to reduce oil dependency. But there is no linkage between action and hyperbole. If the solution could be created by shouting and exagerating, we would have no problem.

People need to be convinced, not lectured to. I don't believe you can claim to be better because you shout louder, paint worse scenarios or post more often.

A large number of people can agree with the point that you make above. And the facts behnd it are solid and documentable. A much smaller number are going to buy into the speculation that life as we know it is coing to an end. It is too much to bite off at once, and is on much less solid factual grounds.

You can argue whichever way you want, but to imply that someone is less committed to solutions because they are committed to reality is inaccurate.


You are so on to it.
Group A "feels" strongly about its position.
Group B "feels" strongly about its position.

There is something in "human nature" (and our biological makeup) that makes the masses behave one way or another.

I am well aware that WE do not know how much stuff is underground, or under the oceans, or under the Polar caps. Maybe methylhydrates will solve the "PO problem". But then, what about global warming? What is going to solve that biggy?

I keep plugging PO because the average person gets piqued about something that has a "peak" in it.

Global Warming is a slow fuse and there is no explosion at the end.
We are frogs slowly warming up to our kettle.

Ignore the Cassandra frog.
Take the blue pill.
It's nice and warm here.



You have captured much of what I was trying to say better than I did. I agree with your assessment of the status of peak oil and that there is a real possibility of drastic outcomes. When I say speculation, I don't mean to imply that it won't happen, but rather that we just don't know.

I guess what I would like to say (and if you can say this better too, feel free), is that if our objective is really to convince people and foster change, it makes sense to start out slowly, show the facts, then gradually lead to the scenarios.

As I mentioned above, I do find people are receptive and that there is very convincing evidence to back up the theory that oil is near its peak. However, much of the dialogue is dominated by hyperbole and we are near the point that the term "peak oil" is going to be synonomous with other "end of the world" prophecies. And it may happen when we most need to be regared as credible.


You should add the "rational" argument that,
with peak oil, the Arabs are going to run out also.
With global warming and their proximity to the Equator, and their
lack of fresh water, these looming problems are much more a matter
of life and death to them than to say, "America" (please all rise and recite the Pledge)

E-P: I've been through the rage route myself, but as of late have come to realize I was manipulated. I rooted when the bombs blasted Baghdad. Then I realized Collin Powell had flat out lied to me. (An engineer should know that the metallurgy of centrifical tubes out of Niger would be clearly known to those skilled in the art of U238 enrichment. That's what the Plame blame game is all about right now!!!)

Then I watched Moore's Farenheit 911 and came to realize "they" are just normal people trying to raise their children same as we do. Our bombs came out of the sky for no real reason and blew their lives away. Now "we" wonder why they hate our flag.

"They" are acting rationally.
"We" are the ones operating in a fantasy theatre.
"We" have been brainwashed.

Who did it to us?
How did they do it to us?
Are they still doing it to us?
Are we still falling for it?

Take the blue pill.
No question there is tin foil around this head.

Oh sorry,
wrong trigger word...

"Unquestioning support"
that's the new trigger code. Swallow it and dream.

I agree with Jack here. As I've said before, it's one thing to predict the eventual peaking of oil production. It is quite another matter to predict what happens thereafter. I would classify Savinar and Ruppert as part of the "tin foil hat" crowd. I don't believe they do anything for the mainstream acceptance of this issue. If anything, they likely discredit it by association in the minds of many.

We have a serious problem on our hands and we need to get to work. Childish fantasies about government conspiracies and the imminent need for everyone to construct their own survivalist compound gets us nowhere.


So I never answered your first question.
Irrespective of our political "feelings",
how do we get more people to become Peak Oil Aware?

The answer lies in programming the masses.
Often it takes years.
We have to slowly evolve a new language.
New code words that will bring them around.

Under modern brain washing techniques (err, I mean politcal reprogramming toward right thinking), certain words are slowly evolved so that they mean something other than what they first meant.
Then the re-encoded words are brought together to trigger new automatic reponses in the minds of the people.

Of course, no one has ever done that to you and me brother.
We are way too smart.
We are "engineers".

Remember when "conservative" meant a tree-huggin looney?
Remember when "China" was the red commie scare?
Remember when "Liberal" was someone who majored in English literature in college?
Remember when you were proud to be an engineer and no one called you n-e-r-d? Remeber when a pocket protecter was a badge of "honor"?

Have you re-read Orwell's 1984 lately ?

Repeat after me. It did not happen. It did not happen.

Oh. Oh.

There's a rap at the door.

The Guys from the Ministry of Truth. Gotta go.

One of the very first reactions people make towards the Peak Oil arguments is: "We have seen that before. In 1960s, you claimed that the world would run out of oil in 1970s. It did not happen. In 1970s, your claims shifted to 1980s. That did not happen either. In 1980s, you then started claiming that oil would peak by 2000. Neither did that happen. So now, you're at it again. You were wrong many times. Who says you won't this time?"

I think it would be a great idea to investigate the previous "claims". Is it really true that credible scientists kept making unfounded claims? I don't think that's true. Thus, such an investigation would at least let us know how many times in the past were the peak oil predictions wrong. Then, by studying the arguments in those days, we could come up with a better understanding of what is going on in the oil business today.

On another tangent, something linked from the Energy Bulletin drew my attention to the fact that "Twilight in the Desert" is the #131 ranked book on Amazon. Peak Oil books have tended to run in the thousands Eg "Party's Over" is somewhere in the 2000s, and Deffeyes "Beyond Oil" is running over 3000. Kunstler is in the hundreds, and Jared Diamond's "Collapse" has been running at #30 for several months, but they were both best selling authors before writing books on topics related to Peak Oil. Since Simmons is a first time author, he has obviously hit a nerve.


Unfortunately, there have been many prior claims of peaking. In the 70s, President Carter said we'd be in trouble by the eighties. In 1991, Colin Campbell was claiming peak would be around 1996.

Reply to Jim Burke on Peak Oil and Climate Change:

I wrote the original post and the further information I gave you in the comments. In the short space required for a post, I could not go over all the information and complexity of the subject. I'm happy to see that you looked into the subject further. When you say "IPCC showed oil & gas peaking in 2025, and decreasing to a fraction by century’s end" I assume you were looking at the Hoffert, Caldeira, et. al. paper published in Nature, 1998. Other readers here can find the link to that paper in the comments for the original post. I happen to think that both oil and gas usage will have peaked well before 2025 but I'm neutral as regards to what that means for the IPCC scenarios. There are all sorts of factors muddying the water including, for example, continuing production from non-conventional sources (tar sands) well into the future. Certainly, I was not representing any position (including that of ASPO) in that post.

Finally, I agree that future coal use is the 500 pound gorilla in the room with regard to climate change.


Eyes glaze over, yes.

No one will listen to solutions before they have a problem. Once they see it is Their problem, all they want are solutions.

It never seemed possible to convince anyone here in the South that Peak Oil was coming, or global warming is real, and real bad, or that endless growth is inherently impossible.

Until $61 per barrel oil and $2.68 per gallon Premium.
And Matt Simmons' widely reported guesstimate of $100 per barrel by Christmas.
And OPEC's inability to actually increase output -- at all.
And Iraq becoming a naked oil-grab gone blowback on Cheney.

When you talk to people about Peak Oil, the causes and solutions, don't ever talk about Peak Oil. Talk about their problem. Talk about the problems coming their way. Talk about 287 manufactured chemicals being found in the umbilical blood of every American fetus. Including their kids.

They'll ask you for solutions, and they'll change their frame.

The title of Simmons book 'Twightlight in the Desert' has an appeal beyond oil. Sales of the book may also be related to the prospects for Arabs to return to their camels and the sand dunes, a possibility which many Americans would surely welcome.

Getting back to oil field decline rates, Stuart notes that the decline rates are difficult to project. The North Sea fields are declining rapidly (10% or more) per year, while the decline rate of U.S. oil is very shallow. This slow decline in North America must be, in part, due to use of technology, both in finding more and smaller fields, and more completely tapping the ageing (and these same smaller) fields. So is the U.S. gradual depletion experience a model for depletion elsewhere, including the larger fields in the middle east, Russia, Venezuaela, etc. and perhaps in some offshore fields. Could it be that technology, combined with greater entrepreneurship where wildcatters and oil cowboys are given a freer hand to be successful, will make it possible for other countries to mimic the U.S. experience? If so, I would say that peak oil is many years away, unless there is something very special about our own geology.

Well... you can "feel" about peakoil all you want. Nobody knows what the effects will be. Fact remains that our modern society is completly build on and totaly dependent on oil and gas. Any sign that indicates a possible disruption in the supply of these to magic energy carriers should be taken with extreme caution. Even more with the knowledge that there is just no realistic short-term (5-10 years) replacement for them at all. And maybe there will never be.

Just spend one day looking around, noticing those things around you dependent on oil. It still amazes me every day...
Ofcourse, first the obvious, cars. They run on oil, there lubicated with oil, they're produced with oil, painted with oil, rolling on oil.

Then you'll sense all the plastic stuff around you, your polypropylene clothing and waterproof coats, cd's, tv's, computers, dishwashers, fridges, funiture, your central heating, paint, shoes, your childrens toys, cooking appliances, teethbrush, bike tyres, lighters, your watch, the billboards, the entire McDonalds interior, foodwrappings, home insulation material, tennis rackets, golfballs, telephone wires, electric cables, your cell-phone, pencils, your shaving equipment, garden tools, carpets, the couch, it just goes on and on and on...

After that you'll notice the more hidden stuff that is made out of oil or produced with the aid of oil and gas.
You ask yourself, "how is the steel made all these buildings rely on?" or "how did they move all this concrete" and "where is all the tarmac comming from?" or "hey, my tooth paste, shampoo, deoderant, soap, painkillers and antibiotics, not those also?" and "how is this electricity made where our complete logistic infrastructure is depening on?" and ofcourse "how do we mine, melt, transport and produce the steel and nikkel and other stuff that is needed to produce solar cells and windmills?" and "how do we mine uranium, build nuclear plants and maintain them and decommissioning them?"

Ofcourse then the whole food situation hits in... all the chemical fertilzers, pecticides, herbicides, argicultural equipment, irrigation systems, transport, processing industries, plastic packaging, transport again, cooling, shops, etc, etc, etc...

You know the answer: OIL

Thats when you know why we are being called PetrolMan.

Jack said

1) It is a proven fact that oil has peaked or will peak this year
2) The result is going to be immediate massive production drops and enormous price increases.
I can’t say this prediction is wrong, but it is speculation.

Whoa! Of course it's all speculation. But, I thought the Oil Drum was the widespread panic, black doom, no hope, peering over the abyss, Wolf At The Door, End of Suburbia, Dry Dipstick, Oil Crash, Stinkin' Desert, Clusterfuck, Die Off website.... 8)

Seriously now, the most disturbing thing is that we can't get any reliable reserve figures out of these OPEC countries. Not only did they arbitrarily raise their numbers in the 80's to boost their production under new rules but also people are still using these numbers which never go down no matter how much oil they produce as the years roll by. Now, that certainly invites speculation, doesn't it? Not to mention demand uncertainty as recent posts have mentioned.

It is very difficult to distinguish between real and illusionary.
Take this anti-GW site for example:

Is GW an eco-nut myth ?
Nice name calling
But then again when was the last time so many people died of heat strokes in Europe?
Why is Glacier National Park no longer full of glaciers?
Why is the north pole melting?
Why are polar bears dying off?

Why are all the European governments "stupid" enough to adopt Kyoto while the smart leaders of the USA know it is a hoax?

Why did all the "stupid" European govenrments say there were no weapons of mass whatever in Iraq but only the smart American leadership know otherwise?

Why are the stupid Europeans turning to renewable energy while Bush & Cheney hunt new drilling sites in ANWR?

We'll never know the full truth. The puzzle pieces that show now are disturbing.

Keep asking questions.

You're right, step back, is a propaganda site and there are lots of them for climate change -- do a Google search for "global warming".

Our speculation about things here at the Oil Drum regarding peak oil and natural gas (not enough attention is paid to that) is better than mainstream media (MSM) always. At least we're not getting fed some line from Yergin or IEA, we're ahead of the curve here at the Oil Drum. The contributors on this site -- even the ones I disagree with -- take the issue seriously and do their homework. It's amazing to me that people here take real data, graph it out as a function and then present to us for inspection. That's impressive. This is by far the best blog I've seen for talking real stuff about Peak Oil.

And the people I disagree with -- well, that's among friends. As Jim Kunstler says, "It's All Good".


(Hopefully some of the real oil people will chime in here).

There's sort of an argument that it's the other way around. A lot of onshore US oil was developed back in the old days when they just poked vertical holes all over the place and then pumped it out once it stopped flowing by itself. Hence the landscape is covered in nodding donkeys that slowly pump out a bit more and a bit more. Also, lower 48 production got a short in the arm from Alaska, and then more recently from offshore Gulf oil, which has made the effective depletion rate lower (indeed Alaska caused overall US production to go up again for a while). Once it's all in decline, the depletion rate may be faster).

The North Sea was developed more recently with all the latest greatest technology applied in a burst of Thatcherite free-marketing. These days, they pump water into the fields from the get go, visualize all the remaining oil with 4D seismic imaging (the 4th D is time), and push multi-lateral horizontal wells into the field to sweep up any remaining pockets of oil. They can keep up production pretty well as the field empties out, but once it's over, it's very over.

So the pessimist scenario is this kind of technology is becoming universal, and so once it's over at a global scale, it will be very over. I don't claim to know nearly enough about oil production and the oil industry to have a solid opinion. (But I do know a lot about the mathematics of spreading phenomena in general, and anything that causes the finding and exploiting process to be more systematic and less random will tend to make for a flatter peak and a faster dropoff after peak).



"I thought the Oil Drum was the widespread panic, black doom, no hope, peering over the abyss, Wolf At The Door, End of Suburbia, Dry Dipstick, Oil Crash, Stinkin' Desert, Clusterfuck, Die Off website..."

That's exactly why I'm here; I decided to be the resident contrarian.  I'm happiest when I'm ripping apart the conventional wisdom with inconvenient facts.

What you are dealing with (... we've seen end-of-world predictions before ...) is something called a false argument.
It is a mind bender trick. That is what you need to understand. There is no argument there at all. A valid response would be: So what, the mere fact, assuming it were true because it's not, that someone was ALWAYS wrong in the past proves nothing about this time. But the person who is responding to you may not even understand they are using an irrational "false argument" technique. So a better response might be:

You know the boy who cried wolf? He was wrong every time until the last time. Then he was right, DEAD right.

Politicians know that very often both sides use false arguments. They develop so-called Talking Points to teach *thei*r people how to counter the false arguments of the other side. These are all mind bender tricks. They have nothing to do with rational thought. It sounds like rational thought. But then, if you examine it very slowly and carefully, you realize it is not logical at all.

For you mathematicians out there. Here is an example:
Day 1: Pythos comes and tells you, C=A+B^2. He's wrong.
Day 2: Pythos comes and tells you, C=A^2+B^2. He's wrong.
Day 3: Just cause Pythagoros was wrong all the times before, when he comes and tells you
C^2=A^2 + B^2, this time he's right.

Do you see the parlor trick now? 1000 wrongs before don't un-right the next one.

But then we move on to embedded falsehoods in the false argument. Mortimor King Hubbert did not say we will run out of oil. His curve is a never-ending one. He predicted that the rate of extraction will peak and then fall. We have seen this to be a correct prediction one well after the next. What we have not yet seen, is a peak of the sum of ALL the oil wells in ALL the world added up. So what? We know it's true, one well at a time.

Next, in 1970, the experts did not say we are running out of oil in 1970. No. They warned that in 30 years from now, around 2000, the world will hit the peak extraction point. Jimmy Carter had a fireside chat with the American people about this. Copies of that chat are available on the net. Reagen laughed Jimmy away as being a techno-nerd. By using psychology, the Hollywood pretender (another name for actor) out gunned the engineer.

UK oil and gas production is set to fall this year, even as the national economy becomes increasingly reliant on the industry to meet its primary energy needs over the next decade.

That is the message from industry body the UK Offshore Operators Association, which yesterday published its annual study of the economic outlook for the North Sea's exploration and production companies.

The UKOOA has slashed forecasts for 2005 production by 5.6% to the equivalent of 3.4 million barrels per day, down from 3.6 million last year.


Okay, Mike W.  You've identified a problem.  Is there any way to solve it?

Wind generation is probably the fastest thing to build.  G. Britain has a number of areas of very good wind speed, both on and off shore.  Wind displaces gas burned for electricity, which in turn can suppy industry and home heating.  How much wind power do they need to cover the shortfall?

These are the kind of questions I wish more people were asking, and trying to answer.  We'd get a much better feel for what we ought to try and what we ought to forget about.

E-P: I don't think we'll ever see our societies move forward to "beyond petroleum" until such time that there is a recognition that there is a problem in the first place.

I wouldn't be quite that pessimistic.  Wind power has moved ahead despite lack of a consensus regarding petroleum; the fact that it displaces coal and gas is apparently reason enough to curry the public favor (it's a recognized problem, if not the same problem).  An effort to supply more electricity via wind so that gas can go into CNG vehicles is just more of the same.


Out here on the West Coast, temperatures are in the steady 100's for the 2nd week in a row. Vegas, Phoenix are hitting record highs.

You don't hear a peep from MSM about Global Warming. Mum's the word. Maybe Great Leader is "praying" that the hot weather will go away.

Are the high temps "proof" that Global Warming is here to stay? Of course not. There is no one piece of evidence that is going to be the smoking gun. Mother Nature is not always that up front about her ways. But she has been sending us signals. The canaries in the mines have been dropping. Our Great Leader (USA) has decided that fiddlin n' prayin are the answer.

Expect the same denial for Peak Oil even after the numbers show otherwise.

What we need is a set of invisible "evil doers" to "blame". According to the script, it can't be the folks in the mirror, expecially if the mirror hangs in Washington D.C. Then again, saw part of a very interesting C-SPAN yesterday about a book by Jeff Golden (Oregon) about how we Americans should not be looking to the politicians to be our "parents" and saviors. The solutions (plural) have to come from here even though our tax dollars go there.

E-P - I tend to be pessimistic when it comes to big change; humans don't change easily. Of course, replacing one energy source with another is more about investment and feasibility, not changing human behaviour.

My gut feel is that the human race needs to change behaviour not just energy supplies. I don't believe we can "engineer" our way to a long term solution without also looking at the big picture on a global scale.

off topic:

Study Says Ethanol Not Worth the Energy

But researchers at Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley say it takes 29 percent more fossil energy to turn corn into ethanol than the amount of fuel the process produces. For switch grass, a warm weather perennial grass found in the Great Plains and eastern North America United States, it takes 45 percent more energy and for wood, 57 percent.

It takes 27 percent more energy to turn soybeans into biodiesel fuel and more than double the energy produced is needed to do the same to sunflower plants, the study found.

"Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation's energy security, its agriculture, the economy, or the environment," according to the study by Cornell's David Pimentel and Berkeley's Tad Patzek. They conclude the country would be better off investing in solar, wind and hydrogen energy.

White Feather?

It is I.

Smokes with BS.

Sorry to hear.
I've had "a vision".

Tell me.

I call it
..... Lemmings on the Ledge.
Go on.

The Great Herd moves on, grazing off what the ground gives them.
There are many.
6 Billion by one count.
Those in the front are fat and happy, having first found the easiest grasses.
They look only at the feast in front of their faces.
Those in the back look forward, hoping to get a better slice of the pie in the future.
Near the advance fringe, a scout comes back. Worry wears on his face.
"I have found a large ledge," he begins.
So what? asks another.
There are no grasses beyond the ledge.
We will find alternatives, says a third.
I fear there are no alternatives this way.
What are you saying?
The herd is moving this way and it is a ledge with no future.
They will see it shortly and turn on their own.
What if they do not?
Who cares?
They will push us off with their momentum!
They are many and we are few. Their sheer mass will shake the earth and push us over!
Oh. Good point.
Well, then. We will just tell them.
We do not know how to speak to the masses.
How hard can it be?
They are short in attention and great in greed.
OK. We will break them in slowly.
First we will warn them that an important message comes their way.
Yes. Good idea.
We will speak in simple words.
We will tell them someone who knows the futures stands here.
Pass it back.
Tell them, "Great Prophet Ahead".
Go it.
Hey you guys, Great Profit Ahead !!!

Mike Watkins:

"I tend to be pessimistic when it comes to big change; humans don't change easily. Of course, replacing one energy source with another is more about investment and feasibility, not changing human behaviour."

Human behavior changes along with technology; first we shape them, and then they shape us.  The McCormick reaper and steam power began a trend which took the 70% of the US population which lived on farms and moved 69 out of 70 to towns and cities; the automobile had huge social impacts.  If we build green technologies, we'll see effects we can't imagine at first.  I suspect that they'll be improvements.

The great thing is that we don't need really BIG change to get through this.  Zero-energy buildings?  They work almost the same as regular buildings.  Plug-in hybrid cars?  The only new thing you have to remember is that extension cord when you get home.  Bigger changes will percolate through as a consequence of these technologies and their new incentives, but they'll get us past the crisis so that the social evolution process can work at a rate most people are comfortable with.

"My gut feel is that the human race needs to change behaviour not just energy supplies. I don't believe we can "engineer" our way to a long term solution without also looking at the big picture on a global scale."

You're preaching to the choir here.  For instance, I realized some time ago that human appetite for energy wasn't about to disappear, so the ideal solution was energy systems which removed net carbon from the atmosphere.  I had no clue how to accomplish this until I read about a Swiss invention; it became the essential element of Going negative.

E-P - I don't disagree that there could be technological solutions which could literally save the day; the main questions are...

- how much time do we have left to implement change sufficient to more or less keep societies perking along as is or better
- how much time before we recognize how much time we have left
- will there be enough time to make the changes required

I'm not quite sure we are on the same page here, because all of the changes you've described sound to me like "big" changes.

For example, "zero energy buildings" can't be built overnight nor retrofitted overnight. I live in a 85 year old drafty house that isn't going anywhere soon. There are literally millions of others like mine out there. Hundreds of millions world wide.

Whatever the "solutions" are, I'm sure successful implementation depends very much on understanding the nature and scope of the problem; and if the problem is big enough, identifying it early enough so that appropriate plans can be put in place.

Whether or not PO is around the corner or 30 years down the road, hopefully the growing awareness will persist...


Excellent point. There is an installed infrastructure. We are all economically vested in that infrastructure, whether its a mortgage on an 85 year old drafty this-old-house or 3 years left on that car loan you took out 2 years back.

The fixes cannot be brought online all at once.
All the more reason to get as many of the unaware masses to become aware as early as possible so they can each start doing their little bit to help turn things around.

Whatever the fixes, they have to seemlessly integrate into the existing infrastructure. That is why hybrid cars are a viable near term option while hydrogen cars are not. Hybrid cars use gasoline. So you can pull your hybrid into any of the already built gas stations and get a fill up. There is no installed infrastructure of hydrogen stations, or zinc stations. That's going to take a bit of time if it ever happens.

Gasoline stations are spotty; the electric grid reaches far more places than the fuel-distribution infrastructure.

If you implement battery/ICE plug-in hybrids, you can run largely on electricity for local trips while using petroleum for extended range.  If you switch from this to battery/zinc fuel-cell hybrids, you can use most of the same vehicle systems.  For those people who would like a battery car but need to go beyond battery range now and then, might I suggest rental generator-trailers?

Zinc fuel cells are already being tested in city buses; if many cities adopt them, they would function as nuclei from which a "zinc economy" could spread organically.  I haven't tried to crunch numbers on the details, but I suspect that farm equipment might be able to use zinc-air FC's also; any farmer who has energy from wind or the like could regenerate his own zinc and cut petroleum out of the budget.  That would turn farms into nuclei too.

(I've got to find the time to blog this stuff...)

I fully agree with you that electric hybrids are going to be the way to go for exactly the reason you first mention above, namely, that we can more easily distribute electrical connection points than fossil fuel stations.

Moreover, almost all gasoline stations spring leaks in their underground tanks and pollute the water tables. Fossil fuel fumes pollute the air with all sorts of dangerous chemicals and contribute to greenhouse gas build up. Electrical energy distribution (taken by itself) does not.