Guest Post: Peak Denial About Peak Oil

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

Peak Denial About Peak Oil

It is par for the course that with oil hovering between $70 and $80
per barrel Americans have continued to buy SUVs and Trucks at a rapid
pace. Politicians don’t have constituents screaming at them because gas
is $4.00 per gallon, so it is no longer an issue for them. They need to
focus on the November elections. It is no time to discuss a difficult
issue that requires foresight and honesty. It is no time to tell the
American public that oil will be over $200 a barrel within the next 5
years. Anyone who would go on CNBC today and declare that oil will be
over $200 a barrel would be eviscerated by bubble head Bartiromo or
clueless Kudlow. Bartiromo filled up her Escalade this morning for $2.60
a gallon, so there is no looming crisis on the horizon. The myopic view
of the world by politicians, the mainstream media and the American
public in general is breathtaking to behold. Despite the facts slapping
them across the face, Americans believe cheap oil is here to stay. It is
their right to have an endless supply of cheap oil. The American way of
life has been granted by God. We are the chosen people.

A funny thing happened on our way to permanent prosperity and
unlimited cheap oil. The right to prosperity was yanked out from
underneath us by the current Greater Depression. The worldwide economic
downturn has masked the onset of peak cheap oil. Therefore, when it hits
America with its full fury, it will be a complete surprise to the
ignorant masses and the ignorant politicians who run this country. A
Gallup Poll in August asked Americans about our most important problems.
Where is the concern about future energy supplies? It isn’t on the
radar screens of Americans. They are probably more worried about whether
The Situation will hook up with Snookie on the Jersey Shore reality
show.

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It is not surprising that the American public, American politicians,
and the American media don’t see the impending crisis. The organizations
that have an interest in looking farther than next week into the future
have all concluded that the downside of peak oil will cause chaos
throughout the world. The US Military, the German Military, and the UK
Department of Energy have all done detailed studies of the situation and
come to the same conclusions. Social chaos, economic confusion, trade
barriers, conflict, food shortages, riots, and war are in our future.

http://www.acus.org/docs/051007-Hirsch_World_Oil_Production.pdf

The U.S. was warned in 2005. Its own Department of Energy
commissioned a report by Robert Hirsch to examine peak oil and its
potential consequences to the US. The introduction stated:

“The peaking of world oil production
presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management
problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price
volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation,
the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable
mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to
have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in
advance of peaking.”

The main conclusions reached by the experts who worked on this report were:

  1. World oil peaking is going to happen, and will likely be abrupt.
    World production of conventional oil will reach a maximum and decline
    thereafter.
  2. Oil peaking will adversely affect global economies, particularly the
    U.S. Over the past century the U.S. economy has been shaped by the
    availability of low-cost oil. The economic loss to the United States
    could be measured on a trillion-dollar scale. Aggressive fuel efficiency
    and substitute fuel production could provide substantial mitigation.
  3. The problem is liquid fuels for transportation. The lifetimes of
    transportation equipment are measured in decades. Rapid changeover in
    transportation equipment is inherently impossible. Motor vehicles,
    aircraft, trains, and ships have no ready alternative to liquid fuels.
  4. Mitigation efforts will require substantial time. Waiting until
    production peaks would leave the world with a liquid fuel deficit for 20
    years. Initiating a crash program 10 years before peaking leaves a
    liquid fuels shortfall of a decade. Initiating a crash program 20 years
    before peaking could avoid a world liquid fuels shortfall.
  5. It is a matter of risk management. The peaking of world oil
    production is a classic risk management problem. Mitigation efforts
    earlier than required may be premature, if peaking is long delayed. On
    the other hand, if peaking is soon, failure to initiate mitigation could
    be extremely damaging.
  6. Economic upheaval is not inevitable. Without mitigation, the peaking
    of world oil production will cause major economic upheaval. Given
    enough lead-time, the problems are soluble with existing technologies.
    New technologies will help, but on a longer time scale.

The Hirsch Report clearly laid out the problem. It urged immediate
action on multiple fronts. It is now 5 years later and absolutely
nothing has been done. In the meantime, it has become abundantly clear
that worldwide oil production peaked between 2005 and 2010. The Hirsch
Report concluded we needed to begin preparing 20 years before peak oil
in order to avoid chaos. We are now faced with the worst case scenario.

http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/joe2010.pdf

The US Military issued a Joint Operating Environment report earlier
this year. They have no political motivation to sugarcoat or present a
dire picture. This passage is particularly disturbing:

A severe energy crunch is inevitable
without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While
it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and
strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce
the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds.
Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions,
push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse,
and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India. At
best, it would lead to periods of harsh economic adjustment. To what
extent conservation measures, investments in alternative energy
production, and efforts to expand petroleum production from tar sands
and shale would mitigate such a period of adjustment is difficult to
predict. One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a
number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their
nations by ruthless conquest.

Here is the summary of their analysis:

To generate the energy required worldwide by the 2030s would require us to find an additional 1.4 MBD every year until then.

During
the next twenty-five years, coal, oil, and natural gas will remain
indispensable to meet energy requirements. The discovery rate for new
petroleum and gas fields over the past two decades (with the possible
exception of Brazil) provides little reason for optimism that future
efforts will find major new fields.

At
present, investment in oil production is only beginning to pick up,
with the result that production could reach a prolonged plateau. By
2030, the world will require production of 118 MBD, but energy producers
may only be producing 100 MBD unless there are major changes in current
investment and drilling capacity.

By
2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as
early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.

Energy
production and distribution infrastructure must see significant new
investment if energy demand is to be satisfied at a cost compatible with
economic growth and prosperity. Efficient hybrid, electric, and
flex-fuel vehicles will likely dominate light-duty vehicle sales by 2035
and much of the growth in gasoline demand may be met through increases
in biofuels production. Renewed interest in nuclear power and green
energy sources such as solar power, wind, or geothermal may blunt rising
prices for fossil fuels should business interest become actual
investment. However, capital costs in some power-generation and
distribution sectors are also rising, reflecting global demand for
alternative energy sources and hindering their ability to compete
effectively with relatively cheap fossil fuels. Fossil fuels will very
likely remain the predominant energy source going forward.

Just this week, the German magazine Der Spiegel obtained a
confidential study about peak oil that was done by the German military.
According to the German report, there is “some probability that peak oil
will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is
expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later.” The major conclusions of the
study as detailed in Der Spiegel are as follows:

  1. Oil will determine power: The Bundeswehr
    Transformation Center writes that oil will become one decisive factor in
    determining the new landscape of international relations: “The relative
    importance of the oil-producing nations in the international system is
    growing. These nations are using the advantages resulting from this to
    expand the scope of their domestic and foreign policies and establish
    themselves as a new or resurgent regional, or in some cases even global
    leading powers.”
  2. Increasing importance of oil exporters: For
    importers of oil more competition for resources will mean an increase in
    the number of nations competing for favor with oil-producing nations.
    For the latter this opens up a window of opportunity which can be used
    to implement political, economic or ideological aims. As this window of
    time will only be open for a limited period, “this could result in a
    more aggressive assertion of national interests on the part of the
    oil-producing nations.”
  3. Politics in place of the market: The Bundeswehr
    Transformation Center expects that a supply crisis would roll back the
    liberalization of the energy market. “The proportion of oil traded on
    the global, freely accessible oil market will diminish as more oil is
    traded through bi-national contracts,” the study states. In the long
    run, the study goes on, the global oil market, will only be able to
    follow the laws of the free market in a restricted way. “Bilateral,
    conditioned supply agreements and privileged partnerships, such as those
    seen prior to the oil crises of the 1970s, will once again come to the
    fore.”
  4. Market failures: The authors paint a bleak picture
    of the consequences resulting from a shortage of petroleum. As the
    transportation of goods depends on crude oil, international trade could
    be subject to colossal tax hikes. “Shortages in the supply of vital
    goods could arise” as a result, for example in food supplies. Oil is
    used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all
    industrial goods. Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any
    industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain. “In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.”
  5. Relapse into planned economy: Since virtually all
    economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a “partial
    or complete failure of markets,” says the study. “A conceivable
    alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of
    important goods or the setting of production schedules and other
    short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times
    of crisis.”
  6. Global chain reaction: “A restructuring of oil
    supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of
    peak oil,” says the study. “It is likely that a large number of states
    will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time,” or
    with “sufficient magnitude.” If there were economic crashes in some
    regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not
    escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated
    into the global economy.
  7. Crisis of political legitimacy: The Bundeswehr
    study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of
    the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a
    general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and
    extremist alternatives to existing forms of government.” Fragmentation
    of the affected population is likely and could “in extreme cases lead to
    open conflict.”

Even the International Energy Agency, which has always painted a rosy
picture of the future, has even been warning about future shortages due
to lack of investment and planning.

http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/docs/weo2009/WEO2009_es_english.pdf

Americans think that the discovery of oil on our soil in 1859 has
entitled us to an endless supply. It is not so. We account for 4.3% of
the world’s population but consume 26% of the world’s oil. As China,
India and the rest of the developing world become economic powerhouses,
they will consume more and more of the dwindling supply of easily
accessible oil. As the consumption curve continues upwards, the
production curve will be flat. The result will be huge spikes in prices.
It will not be a straight line, but prices will become progressively
higher. As the studies referenced above have concluded, the result will
be economic pain, social chaos, supply wars, food shortages, and a
drastic reduction in lifestyles of Americans. They won’t see it coming,
just like they didn’t see the housing collapse coming or the financial
system collapse coming. They’ll just keep filling up those Escalades
until the pump runs dry.

 

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Uncle Remus's picture

"We are truly lost if idiots [...] are in abundance."

This is at the very heart of America the FAIL - systemic Pavlovian idiocy.

EscapeKey's picture

Production profiles may be available, but their production capacity is not. It's practically guarded as a military secret. That's why "Twilight in the Desert" was eye-opening, because Matt Simmons essentially looked at Saudi Aramco engineering reports, and determined where on the production profile they are, considering the issues they encounter (using reports from other oil fields as a measure of comparison).

Rusty Shorts's picture

@SheepDog,

 

I remember when the USA ran out of domestic oil, and began importing, it was humbling for the politicians to submit to OPEC...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYkBy81zuF0

 - listen carefully to the end of the report, about the bankers who lent money to OPEC

Spitzer's picture

tell me about it...

I work in the sector in Alberta, been sitting on my dick the whole month. Prices are too low

grunion's picture

If they hit, the city gets free gas. Sounds pretty smart to me.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

The point is that if gas and oil is readily available, then we probably wouldn't be seeing exploration in city parks, or two miles underground under one mile of water.

The low-hanging fruit is gone. 

Yes, there is some fruit left high up on the tree.

No, this tree will not be bearing more fruit ever again.

Yes, there are other trees, but this was the biggest and easiest one to harvest, and our leaders have extrapolated our existence on it bearing fruit eternally.

Yes, we all will miss the tree.

ZackAttack's picture

Oh, Sweet Jeebus, another one of those who has politics like other people have halitosis. Yes, peak oil is an e-ville librul plot.

trav7777's picture

I'll say this politely:  you're a fucking idiot.

 

ANYONE who denies peak oil is saying that exponential growth can be sustained forever. 

Read that shit again and UNDERSTAND IT.

curbyourrisk's picture

Yeah, and I bet you believe in Global Warming too...... 

 

Anyone who denies Global Warming .....

 

 

yada yada yada....

trav7777's picture

GFD, just when I thought you couldn't get any stupider, you introduce a strawman in the form of AGW.

No, motherfucker, ANSWER the post, don't change the subject like a bitch onto global fucking warming.

ANSWER...do you or do you NOT believe that oil production rates can geometrically grow forever?

ANYONE who denies Peak is saying that this is exactly what they believe, that production rates will NEVER hit a maxima and will NEVER decline.

tmosley's picture

There might be a natural peak some day, but the current one is purely artificial, caused by increasing regulatory and tax burdens in the US.  When those schemes collapse, oil production will start growing again.

EscapeKey's picture

What a load of fucking bullshit. Are you seriously suggesting the rest of the world go by US regulations and tax burdens? Do you think the Iranian or Angolan government gives a shit about tax implications for IOCs in the US?

The US produces around 6-7mbpd, and imports around 70% of oil consumed. US oil production peaked in 1970, at about 10mbpd. The global oil production is about 85mbpd.

 

tmosley's picture

You have a serious deficiency in reading ability.  I said the US should drop its regulatory scheme and lower taxes if they want to increase domestic production.  

When socialism sets in, as it has in this country over the course of the last 100 years, productive society slows, then stops, then starts to decline.  The same profile is followed in all industries, but only to the extent that the government interferes.  There hasn't been much government interference in circuit board manufacturing, so production has done relatively well.  There has been a crap ton of interference in energy, so production has collapsed.  It's very simple.

grunion's picture

The rest of the world is still pretty inept at the science.

DaveyJones's picture

Then why does it match hubbert's predictions

greyghost's picture

sheep dog....these so called experts all have an extremely bad problem! what after all the so called science of economics gone bad...global cooling gone bad{circa1970s}...global warming gone bad...scam flu scares...scam medications that kill......yea, the experts so want to be believed, to be remembered for shit work that more than likely has been stolen from other like in the 90's with all those authors stealing the hard work of others. could these people be correct...sure. if i were to advertise that i have 10 million dollars to study why flies like shit how many experts from how many different fields would come crawling out of the woodwork? the experts have a problem...nobody is paying attention anymore! why should i believe these guys vs another theory?

trav7777's picture

um, because Peak actually happens?

Jesus fucking Christ, why the fuck do you morons THINK that there are ANY abandoned or depleted oil wells out there?

Why did we need more than ONE well?  If production will grow forever, drill ONE hole and watch it go up to infinity!

Peak is a "theory" like Relativity or Evolution are.  It's a term of art for us scientists and engineers.  You laypeople are merely confused and lack intelligence and understanding.

grunion's picture

Has it been established that every oil & gas deposit on the entire planet has been accounted for?

Citxmech's picture

The peak phenomena is not about "running out" it's about production not keeping up with demand.

We've picked all the low hanging fruit already.  BP wasn't drilling 5 miles down in the Gulf because they were saving the mega-fields hiding under their refineries for a rainy day.  As the cost of production goes up, rates of production goes down, and demand rises, prices WILL rise.  

Past a certain threshold, it will kill the economy.  

Frank Owen's picture

The peak phenomena is not about "running out" it's about production not keeping up with demand.

Exactafuckingmondo. It is hard for the average person to get that for some reason.

My personal theory is that because we have all grown up with oil being almost as easy to get as water, it has become accepted almost as a right - or a fact that it will always be there.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

frankO, we were conditioned by this statement and accepted it_oil being almost as easy to get as water.  cause i had to work very hard to get water, it was very precious. it was developed by companies like P&G, to sell Tide (republicans) or Cheer (democrats). my theory. cleaning products need lots of water. same with showering every day. shaving, laundry, dishes, cars. hell in colorado they use a mag chloride for snow melt. it is insane, like the East Coast using salt. wrecks havoc with metal, environment,  human health etc. they recommend to wash your car OFTEN. insane country we have to try and control the weather/environment, to make everything child proof. yeah the good old US of A, is child proofing our lives and the land.

Procter & Gamble is evil.
Frank Owen's picture

Kathy, did you just say water was developed by P&G to sell detergents?  I think that water was around well before P&G.

Just put the cap back on and go sit in the corner.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

frankO i am falling in love with you, U know.

i have a very difficult time expressing in words my thoughts in my mind. this is good structuring for my writing skills. i need l o t s of help in certain academic area's of my life. i am gaining a lot more trust, lately, with my new ZH community, though. can you imagine my delete button doesn't function either.

challenges abound in my life, but at least i am consistent with them.

Frank Owen's picture

You must like being abused. Forget about academic help, you need mental help. I am attracted to smart girls, and you will never qualify.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

point taken, I completely understand.

Hulk's picture

Kathy, what color is your sun? Ours is yellow....

lost in the usa's picture

Usually like your post even if on the dark side, but if you are an engineer then you should be more optimistic that we could think our way out of this, the problem is not oil it's politics and policy read the chart and do the math there is more energy then we could use in a couple of generations if we can figure it out.

Quite breeding the ignorant, and by that I just mean cut forced welfare, and let the engineers, scientists, business people, and general workers solve there own problems and we will always have more than what we need. But if you have a noose around your neck and have to drag the rest of the world along then you will run out of resources sooner then peak oil could ever happen.

It is not about exponetioal growth it is about growing into your potential, and no I do not mean by stealing it the way we are now or exployting the rest of the world because we have the best military.

Look at the amount of energy in the solar system that we know or guess at right now (much less what we may figure out in the future) and what a small small percent we use then tell me we are running out of energy or just the brain power to extract it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(energy)

DarkAgeAhead's picture

And energy is only one of the emerging planetary boundaries that shall extinct us as a species, or at least life as we recognize it.

If you like to read, www.nature.com/news/specials/planetaryboundaries/index.html

If you'd rather watch, http://www.ted.com/talks/johan_rockstrom_let_the_environment_guide_our_d...

Into the shitter we go, and it has nothing to do with how much oil may or may not be left.

Citxmech's picture

This is the standard "scientists will think of something" line.  The problem is, again, decreasing marginal returns.  Put simply, advances yeild smaller results for more money over time.  You can see this principal at work in the pharmaceutical industry.  The first vaccines were cheap and worked well - now they spend hundreds of millions to swap symptoms. 

I used to believe in our Star Trek future - but no more:

See Hoyle's comment on the topic,

"It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing high intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only." (Sir Fredrick Hoyle, 1964; emphasis added)

http://dieoff.org/page125.htm  [Olduvai Theory]

trav7777's picture

I'm sorry, man, but I can't really take seriously someone telling ME to "think of something" when that person can't spell properly.

Back to school for you; this time study science.

I've already thought my way out of this, I thought of antigravity and perpetual motion and changing the universal gravitational constant at night to pump water uphill.

Oh wait, that wasn't thinking, that was FANTASY.  Imagination DOES NOT TRUMP PHYSICS.  You'd do well to embrace that, no matter what bullshit you hear on TV.

There is truth and then there is bullshit.  I'm just getting out of an argument with a multiyear friend who said the Tea Party was the modern equivalent of the KKK.  Nevermind whether I like a single fucking tea partier or not, that statement is a BALD FACED lie.  She claims she's entitled to her beliefs and her opinion, so that I should not criticize nor contradict or in any way, shape, or form, say that what she says is WRONG.

People like this are all around the few of us who understand that there is no such fucking thing as MY truth and YOUR truth, there is only THE truth, and who are able to distinguish between matters of pure opinion and those of FACT.

Peak is a matter of FACT.  It has happened; it will happen.  Praying and strenuous wishing haven't stopped it yet.

Frank Owen's picture

Praying and strenuous wishing haven't stopped it yet.

When god comes down and fixes everything you're going to look awfully foolish. snicker.

RichardP's picture

There are things which are true for me but not for you.  There are things true for you but not for me.  And there are things which are true for both of us.  In spite of what you say, there is such a thing as personal truth (true for you or me) and there is such a thing as global truth (true for everybody).  Folks often don't distinguish between the two when they talk.  And if physics is going to be trumped, imagination is where it starts - contrary to what you say.  You cannot set about to make something happen without having imagined it first.  Even if you are only imagining in small steps.  Think Orville and Wilbur Wright.

I assume you already accept these points as true.  It just wasn't clear from the wording of your post.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

Think Orville and Wilbur Wright.

do you know my most precious possession is a picture of the wright brother's Hawthorne hill home signed by orville wright, to my father. like stupendous.

trav7777's picture

NOTHING trumps physics, ok? 

The Wrights did NOT trump physics, they USED physics.  They did not invent antigravity or perpetual motion and violate the laws of thermodynamics or conservation of energy.

I am SO SICK of laypeople talking about science as if they know a damned thing about it.

All assertions are either true or false, it's as simple as that.  There is no such thing as something that is true for me but false for you excepting constructs only applicable at relativistic velocities or quantum effects beneath the planck length.  This isn't goddamned Shroedinger's Cat, ok?

RichardP's picture

I are not a lay people.  And I know a damned thing (or two) about science.  And I know for certain there are things that are true for me that are not true for you (fingerprint patterns and freckle distribution, for instance).  And I'm guessing that there is something that is true for Leo that is not true for you.  We all have DNA (global truth), but my DNA is unique to me (personal truth).  There is personal truth and global truth.  You don't get this?  That is true for you (personal truth), but not for me.

Technically, nothing trumps physics.  But we are not talking technically in this topic.  We are talking about what is viewed as possible within the realm of physics.  That is why I referred to Orville and Wilbur.  None of us yet knows what all is possible and what is impossible within the realm of physics - including what is or is not possible in oil production.  That means some things we may think are impossible might turn out to be possible.  No one thought Orville and Wilbur could fly.  Technically, they didn't trump physics.  But they trumped what people thought they knew of physics.  That is the key.  We don't yet know all there is to know about physics, so what we think we know can be trumped by someone with knowledge and imagination.  Orville and Wilbur did it then.  Folks can do it now.  But it doesn't happen at all unless it first happens in the imagination.  You thought the laws of physics decreed that it couldn't happen?  Look.  By first acquiring knowledge, and then by using my imagination, I came up with a way to make possible what you thought impossible.

All in all, my comments are meant to say be careful of what you claim cannot be done because it is limited by physics.  That's all.

And Kathy, your story is cool.  I served at Ft Myer at the top of Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.  The Fort sits on top of a hill that falls away to the Potomac River below.  Orville and Wilbur used to run their prototypes down that slope from Ft. Myer a long time ago.

Citxmech's picture

You are asking our scientists and engineers to RE-ENGINEER our entire society around some yet-to-be-developed energy capture technology, essentially, on the eve of our collapse.  You want it ready by supper time too?  Remember we're talking about capturing energy, not manufacturing it.  We can't MAKE energy - and every time we process energy into a different form, we experience losses.

I think that part of the problem some folks are having with this is that they're looking at the problem from the wrong direction.  Let's say you are an engineer looking to increase fuel economy for liquid fueled engines.  The way you do this is by increasing efficiency.  There is only so much energy in the subject fuel - your goal is to utilize as much as possible.  The highest efficiency we've been able to actually utilize hovers around +/-50% efficiency.  These are two-stroke diesels found in container ships.  So you set about a program to raise this number.  Unless you've got a magic wand, you can't get above 100% efficiency - that much should be obvious.  But it should also be obvious that you can't even get close either.  You will have friction losses, heat losses, etc.  and every percentage point you gain in efficiency costs more than the last one.  A perfectly efficient engine could lose no heat and have no friction or moving parts - that doesn't even make sense.  Now consider this: There's a reason why my old VW 1978 diesel Rabbit got almost 50 mpg - and a brand new Prius gets what?  About the same...  And it's not because hundreds of millions of dollars haven't been spent trying to squeeze every last drop out of engine tech.  Our liquid fuel technology has hit the wall.  We're not going to be making 20% jumps in efficiency any more.  Saving 5-10% isn't going to mean squat in the big picture.

And regarding coming up with some new Star Trek power source - We are not going to come up with "Mr. Fusion" technology next week and have it in distribution by Christmas - and betting our civilization's future on it is like smoking 3 packs a day and saying "Oh, by the time I get cancer - they'll have a cure," or "I'm just going to drive my car off the cliff because somebody will figure out how to make my car fly before I hit the ground."

I have great respect for scientists and the work they do, but they are not magicians - even if it may seem like magic if you don't understand the constraints they work under.  Putting unreasonable expectations on them is both unfair and a recipe for disaster.

RichardP's picture

You are asking our scientists and engineers to RE-ENGINEER our entire society around some yet-to-be-developed energy capture technology ...

No.  I was addressing two general points made by 7.  I was only indirectly addressing the possibility of a solution to peak oil.  Such a solution may come soon, out of left field.  Or it may come too late to be of any value to the world.  I don't know and I wasn't claiming to know.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

thanks dickyP yeah use to sled on their hill. my father loved airplanes. he had a couple, stermans or stensons? bad with airplane names. he didn't fly them had a pilot. ok travel onward.

lost in the usa's picture

Sorry you are right I probably could not spell my way out of 5th or 6th grade, never has been my strong point.

On the other hand I do know (my personal truth) that the majority of the problems and shortages we have are a political problem, not a resource problem. That was the first part of the statement and I did not have to call you a fucking idiot once for not reading it.

Peak oil is not the same as the peak of mount Everest we know where that is and once you hit it you have to jump to get any higher, oil may run lower but I was not stating that we have a infinite supply I said that there are alternatives and what is mostly holding us back is political. Price it right and other sources will open up and I don't think it will be star trek sources but who knows.

The second part was we are encourgaging exponential growth agin thru politics instead of what is natural and supporting a whole class of people who produce nothing and do less with more instead of letting us decide what we can afford ourselves, that goes from the politicians to the welfare community to the union labor force working for tax dollars that are extracted by force.

Somewhere between 70 to 90% of all oil fields are owned by one gov or another, Can't prove it but would bet that it follows the rule of 50% over priced for bad service and alot of waste.

-273's picture

The carbon tax is to do with Global warming, which in my humble opinion IS bs. SHould watch this though, in regards to your ignorance on peak oil, and as Trav pointed out, your obvious ignorance of mathematics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

Spitzer's picture

I agree Sheepdawg.

Anyone who believes that oil came from all the dead dinosaurs is a dreamer. I believe in the Russian theory on oil.

 

-273's picture

It has nothing to do with if you believe or not, it is more about thinking and doing the research. I have been reading up on it for 6 years, and oil fields clearly peak. That is irrefutable. Therefore the world will peak too. We have been using more oil than finding for 30 years. We use 86 million barrels of oil a day. Obviously this adds up pretty quickly and combined with depleting oil fields, well, it's really not that complicated to work out that this is not sustainable.

Citxmech's picture

If abiotic oil production were true, we'd be swimming in it up to our necks...  or do the fields only produce what we need "on demand."

DaveyJones's picture

...And the middle east would have little history

VK's picture

This is old news for those who've been reading LATOC and The Oil Drum. People have been warning about this for years and years now. Colin Campbell especially in the early years as well as Jay Hanson. But once again nothing will be done till it's too late. Inertia in society is a real problem, the Hirsch Report by the US Dept. of Defence concluded that to prepare for peak oil the world needed to start transitioning away from fossil fuels 20 years in advance of peak. We're now post - peak. The games up. 

Anyway, even if there is no peak oil, the current economic situation is going to collapse us anyhow. That's just the way the game works. We're liquidating our economic systems within a few short years.