Kjell Aleklett touring Australia

Professor Kjell Aleklett, President of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and head of the Global Energy Systems group at Uppsala University is on a tour of Australia.

Public events:

It's great that Kjell is coming to Oz, but I wouldn't bill this as a 'Tour of Australia'.

'A tour of a thin strip along the southeastern seaboard of Australia'
would be a more accurate description.

I wonder if the men in suits will even grasp the core messages
- food will get more expensive
- job creating GDP growth will decline.
I expect that the powers-that-be will listen politely then go back to fiddling with interest rates and taxes to bring back the old magic. They don't get resource use as the fundamental driver of the economy.

One of Aleklett's views I would like to see expounded a bit more is that of global FF depletion limiting AGW. If I recall he thought warming would be limited to 2C or thereabouts since even cheap coal would be largely gone in a generation.

...global FF depletion limiting AGW.

This is one of the weaknesses in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. The section on resources is vanishingly thin and the analysis is superficial at best.

"Fossil energy resources remain abundant but contain significant amounts of carbon that are normally released during combustion. The proven and probable reserves of oil and gas are enough to last for decades and in the case of coal, centuries (Table. 4.2). Possible undiscovered resources extend these projections even further."
Sect 4.3.1, IPCC 4AR, Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

I think this is one area where the IPCC is vulnerable to the charge of bad science. The climate change geeks are focussed on emissions and radiative forcing algorithms and how fast the sea is going to rise and how bad everything is going to be. But challenge them on this fundamental question of the quantum of carbon resource and you get a lot of blank stares or accused of climate change denying. I would love to see Prof Aleklett expand on this too.

I am not at all sure that the decline in FF availability will slow down AGW for two reasons.

1/. The quality of the oil and coal used will progressively deteriorate meaning that the oil and coal burnt will produce more potent green house effects per unit energy obtained. We can already see this with new refineries being brought on line to process heavy sour crude.

2/. In the absence of cheap FFs, the need for energy will drive the deforestation of the planet ( already alarmingly fast) into overdrive.
The combined effect of increased wood burning and decreased carbon sequestration in forests and the destabilization of local climates from local forest losses will all add up to accelerate climate change.

Prof. Kjell Aleklett speaks lucidly on the Science Show, ABC.

Oil production peaked in 2008. It has been in decline since. Kjell Aleklett says the reserves are there, but the flow is lower than in the past. Kjell Aleklett disputes predictions of The International Energy Association. He says the price spike in oil in July 2008 was the trigger for the Global Financial Crisis.