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Guest Post: The Really, Really Big Picture

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Submitted by Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity,

[Many longtime followers of the Crash Course have asked Chris to update his forecasts for Peak Oil in light of the production increases in shale oil and gas over recent years. What started out as a modest effort at clarification morphed into a much more massive 3-report treatise as Chris sifted through mountains of new data that ultimately left him more convinced than ever we are facing a global net energy crisis despite misguided media efforts intended to convince us otherwise. His reports are being released in series over the next several weeks; the first installment is below.]

There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook.  These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike.  The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.

This series of reports will assemble the relevant data into a simple and easy-to-understand story that has the appropriate context to provide a meaningful place to begin a conversation and make decisions.

Since completing the Crash Course in October of 2008, much has gone as I anticipated in the way of money printing, official neglect of the main predicaments we face, and generally higher petroleum costs (2012 was the record so far on a yearly basis).

What has not changed is the general trajectory of liquid fuels becoming increasingly expensive and more difficult to produce.  I know that this runs counter to virtually every news article that has come out recently.  It is time to separate the data and facts from the hype.  Much has recently been either muddied or presented so far out of context as to be more distortive than helpful.

This entire body of analysis is so large that it will be broken into three pieces. 

The first is a general world outlook for petroleum that presents the macro picture, provides some necessary clarifications on definitions, and illustrates that all of the data is consistent with the idea that the world is on a plateau of oil production.  Here we note that exactly zero of the major energy outlooks provided by the IEA, the EIA, PB, and especially the inexcusably sloppy piece put out under the auspices of Harvard (the Maugheri report of 2012) all failed to make any mention of the declining net energy provided by any of the new unconventional oil finds.  This is a crucial oversight.

The second report will focus on natural gas in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on shale gas, the supposed game-changer that we have read so much about.  There are some very important elements to this story, but the punch line is that there's nowhere near "100 years" of this magic fuel, it costs more to produce than it is being sold for at present here in early 2013, and – once we include the idea of future increases in consumption – there may only be in the vicinity of 20-30 years of proven and probable reserves. And that is if and only if prices rise by a factor of 2.5x or more from the current $3.30 per therm market price. 

The third will focus on tight oil, often called shale oil (not to be confused with oil shale, a very common mistake), and make the case that, while it may have some modifying effect to the Peak Oil story, it lacks the ability to return the world to anywhere near its prior glory years of ~2% per year growth in global oil output. 

The summary of all three reports leads to the conclusion that all efforts to cram the world full of fresh rounds of new debt lending are going to end in failure because the requisite net energy is simply not there to support continued debt accumulations running several-fold faster than actual economic productive output.

Enormous risks are continuing to build in the world's financial landscape, and the continued unwillingness to confront the truth about our global energy predicament is both puzzling and frightening. The conclusion is that our future resilience as individuals, corporations, or countries will hinge to a very large degree on whether or not we heed the warning signs and adapt our lives and habits to the actual circumstances.

The Really, Really Big Picture

The really big picture goes like this:  Humans discovered about 400 million years worth of stored sunlight in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas, and have developed technologies that will essentially see all of that treasure burned up in just 300 to 400 years. 

On the faulty assumption that fossil fuels will always be a resource we could draw upon, we fashioned economic, monetary, and other assorted belief systems based on permanent abundance, plus a species population on track to number around 9 billion souls by 2050.

There are two numbers to keep firmly in mind.  The first is 22, and the other is 10.  In the past 22 years, half of all of the oil ever burned has been burned.  Such is the nature of exponentially increasing demand.  And the oil burned in the last 22 years was the easy and cheap stuff discovered 30 to 40 years ago.  Which brings us to the number 10.  

In every calorie of food that comes to your table are hidden 10 calories of fossil fuels, making modern agriculture and food delivery the first type in history that consumes more energy than it delivers.  Someday fossil fuels will be all gone.  That day may be far off in the future, but preparing for that day could (and one could argue should) easily require every bit of time we have.

What galls me at this stage is that all of the pronouncements of additional oil being squeezed, fractured, and otherwise expensively coaxed out of the ground are being delivered with the message that there's so much available, there's nothing to worry about (at least, not yet.)  The message seems to be that we can just leave those challenges for future people, who we expect to be at least as clever as us, so they'll surely manage just fine.

Instead, the chart above illustrates that on a reasonably significant timeline, the age of fossil fuels will be intense and historically quite short.  The real question is not Will it run out? but Where would we like to be, and what should the future look like when it finally runs out?  The former question suggests that "maintain the status quo" is the correct response, while the latter question suggests that we had better be investing this once-in-a-species bequeathment very judiciously and wisely. 

Energy is vital to our economy and our easy, modern lives.  Without energy, there would be no economy.  The more expensive our energy is, the more of our economy is dedicated to getting energy instead of other pursuits and activities.  Among the various forms of energy, petroleum is the king of transportation fuels and is indispensible to our global economy and way of life.

To what do we owe the recent explosion in technology and living standards?  To me the answer is simple: energy. 

(Source)

Because a very large proportion of our society was no longer tied up with the time-consuming tasks of growing their own food or building and heating their own shelter, they were free to do other very clever things, like devote their lives to advancing technology.  

When energy starts to get out of reach either economically or geologically, then people revert to more basic things, like trying to stay warm – such as this fellow:

Greeks Raid Forests in Search of Wood to Heat Homes

Jan 11, 2013

EGALEO, Greece—While patrolling on a recent cold night, environmentalist Grigoris Gourdomichalis caught a young man illegally chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains above Athens.

When confronted, the man broke down in tears, saying he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home he shares with his wife and four small children, because he could no longer afford heating oil.

"It was a tough choice, but I decided just to let him go" with the wood, said Mr. Gourdomichalis, head of the locally financed Environmental Association of Municipalities of Athens, which works to protect forests around Egaleo, a western suburb of the capital.

Tens of thousands of trees have disappeared from parks and woodlands this winter across Greece, authorities said, in a worsening problem that has had tragic consequences as the crisis-hit country's impoverished residents, too broke to pay for electricity or fuel, turn to fireplaces and wood stoves for heat.

I think it is safe to assume that all of the people in Greece who are chopping down trees to stay warm are not simultaneously working on the next generation of technology.  Energy first; everything else second.  In other words, our perceived wealth and well-being are both derivatives of energy. 

Like every other organism bestowed with abundant food – in this case, fossil fuels that we have converted into food, mobility, shelter, warmth, and a vast array of consumer goods – we first embarked on a remarkable path of exponential population growth.  Along with these assorted freedoms from securing the basics of living, we also fashioned monetary and economic systems that are fully dependent on perpetual exponential growth for their vitality and well-being.  These, too, owe their very sustenance to energy.

It bears repeating:  Not just energy is important here, but net energy.  It's the energy left over after we find and produce energy that is available for society to do all of its complicated and clever things.

Not only is the world struggling right now to increase global oil production, but all of the new and unconventional finds offer us dramatically less net energy to use as we wish. 

Where We Are, in Three Simple Charts

One narrative that is being heavily marketed right now is that the shale plays are true game-changers and there's really nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future.  Heck, the story says that the U.S. will soon exceed Saudi Arabia in oil production and become energy independent, that it has so much natural gas that it might as well build export terminals, and that there's 100 years of natural gas just waiting to be used.

Unfortunately, none of this is really true.  Here's how I can make the case for that assertion using just three charts. 

This first chart comes to us from the EIA courtesy of one Mr. Sweetnam, a former director at the EIA who was promptly reassigned to a distant position when his superiors discovered that this chart revealing declines in existing conventional oil fields had been released to the public.

What this graph shows is the projected decline of all known projects in 2009 (so this does not have the U.S. shale 'revolution' baked into it, but I'll get to that shortly), and it shows that those projects are going to slip from delivering 85 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to just 45 million bpd between 2012 and 2030.  In other words, 40 million bpd will go missing.  But it's worse than that, because demand is expected to grow, leaving a gap of more than 60 million bpd by 2030.

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but that's just an assumed rate of production decline of 4.8% per year, which is right in the midzone of expert estimates.  Some estimate decline rates as high as 6.5%, which would really amplify the drop and the resulting gap.

The top line is showing how much oil demand would grow if it was going to expand at the usual historical rates.  The gap between those two modeled states is 43 million barrels.  To put that in a U.S. shale context, the EIA projects that the domestic shale plays might deliver as much as 3 million barrels per day by 2020, which is nothing to sneeze at, but even with that there's a projected 40 million bpd shortfall

The second chart I want you to look at is this one which shows total world crude oil production over the past 12 years:

Between 2004 and 2012, the total supply of global crude oil + condensates (a definition which excludes the non-transportation fuels known as natural gas plant liquids and biofuels) has just flopped around in a tight band with only 5% wiggle.

It bears noting here that the 2004 average spot price for crude oil (using the Brent contract, as that better defines the 'world oil' price) was $38.35/bbl, while the average 2012 spot price was $111.63, or 2.9 times higher than the 2004 price. 

Despite this near tripling in price, the global supply is just sitting there stuck on a plateau.  Economically speaking, this is not supposed to happen.  What is supposed to happen is that suppliers will react to these higher prices and deliver more to the market, and then prices will settle down.  But that hasn't happened, which indicates that global oil supplies are, as expected, constrained by something other than market forces.

This brings us to the third chart of global spending on oil projects:

What also happened during the time that global supplies of crude oil were undulating along that 5% plateau?  Global expenditures on oil projects jumped by 100% from $300 billion per year to $600 billion.  With a 100% increase in capital spending by the petroleum industry, we saw petroleum supplies remain more or less stuck in the exact same spot. 

I am of the impression that $600 billion a year is a lot of money and that the people dedicating that capital are applying it to the very best projects available.  I make the further assumption that when a project is identified and pursued, it is brought on line as rapidly as possible.  There are not that many ways to look at this data other than noting that we are spending more and more to get the same...for now.

If you want to know why oil costs over $110 on the world stage, the last two charts above give you the answer:  There's just not that much of it to go around.

Despite all of this effort and expense, the world is basically treading water with respect to overall production.  The reason for that is contained in the first chart out of these three:  The race is now on to bring new projects on line quickly enough to offset the losses from existing fields. 

Petroleum is neither a U.S. issue nor any other specific country's issue, but rather a global commodity of immense importance. While the development of the shale plays in the U.S. is of domestic importance, it has not altered the global dynamic of static oil production – at least not detectably in the global supply charts. Not yet.

Conclusion (to Part I)

In Part II: How Energy Woes Will Trigger Financial Crisis, we look at the latest global petroleum supply and demand data and see clearly that cheap oil has become extinct. That era is over for humankind. 

My prediction is that the underlying rates of depletion will continue to fight the recent production gains in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world until they soon come to a standstill, eventually swamping even heroic efforts. 

Steadily rising energy costs and decreasing net energy yields will simply not be able to fund the future economic growth and consumptive lifestyles that developed nations are depending on (and that developing nations are aspiring to). In fact, the persistent global economic weakness we've been experiencing over the past years is an expected symptom of the throttling constraint decreasing net energy places on growth.

If you care about the future of the economy, your standard of living (or that of your children), and/or your quality of life, you need to fully understand this relationship between growth and net energy. Your individual future (and our collective one) depends on it.

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

 


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Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:38 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

Define efficiency within this context. If you mean "at a higher rate per capita than previously" then sure (excluding all the people who don't burn any).

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:12 | Link to Comment Börjesson
Börjesson's picture

One factor that has not been taken into account here is that we really don't know very much about the size of OPEC reserves. They could be much smaller than we think - but they could also be much bigger. After all, why should the Saudis and others keep pumping oil out of the ground at full speed, when all they get in return is a stockpile of soon-to-be-worthless dollars? That would be a poor way to squander their grandchildren's inheritance. Better to just leave it in the ground, pretend they can't pump any faster, and only sell as much oil as needed to support their lavish lifestyle.

If this is the case, then the only way to get them to pump faster would be to be able to offer them something of lasting value in return, something they could trust would be worth at least as much in their grandchildren's time as it is now. And that certainly rules out dollars!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:21 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

After all, why should the Saudis and others keep pumping oil out of the ground at full speed, when all they get in return is a stockpile of soon-to-be-worthless dollars? That would be a poor way to squander their grandchildren's inheritance. Better to just leave it in the ground, pretend they can't pump any faster, and only sell as much oil as needed to support their lavish lifestyle.
_______________________

Very good one. Excellent.

Most important piece of information left aside:
All these countries have 'americans' at the gates.

And the 'americans' want the oil to flow fast out, not to stay underground so to secure the future.

'Americans' want it now. They want to consume it all.

And when you do not give what 'americans' want, 'americans' take. They already do.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:40 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Very Brown Baby Mao. Excrement.

Most important piece of defecation left on roadside:
All these countries have Chinese citizenism citizens blobbing up at high rates.

And the Chinese citizenism citizens want their crap to flow fast out, not to stay inside so to manure the roadsides.

Chinese citizenism citizens want to poop now. They want to excrete on it all.

And when you do not give what Chinese citizenism citizens want, Chinese citizenism citizens poop their pants. They already do.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:14 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Your bias aside, this is pretty much correct (sometimes people down-arrow on delivery and not on the message content).

One of the Forbes clan (uber-capitalist) stated pretty much this very thing back in the 1970s.  He'd said that the US should use up everyone else's oil first.  (and the implication would be that the US would be applying a national protection on its oil sources, something that doesn't smack of capitalistic means)

China will do the same thing eventually.  It's a toss-up as to who is going to fare worse...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:21 | Link to Comment orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

Peak oil alarmists have been at this for too long.

 

WTI may go for another run up, but the longer term trend is down.

 

http://bullandbearmash.com/chart/wti-oil-weekly-runs-channel-resistance/

 

Supply may not be endless, but there's enough KNOWN reserves in the ME alone to handle 2007 global consumption for the next 200 years.

 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:15 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Infinite-earthers have louder voices...

It's about AFFORDABILITY.  PERIOD!  And on this count it's certain that the existing reserves will hold out longer- demand WILL drop as people become increasingly more poor ($$s wise).

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:42 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

I think you have an error in your math. 2007 consumption was ~80 million barrels per day. 80 million barrels times 365 days in a year times 200 years = 5.84 Trillion barrels of oil. I doubt there are confirmed reserves anywhere near that big. Maybe off by a couple orders of magnitude?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:22 | Link to Comment Black Markets
Black Markets's picture

Chart could apply to any commodity.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:32 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Martenson has great articles. Very clear minded.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:32 | Link to Comment DutchR
DutchR's picture

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

 

Please, just for once post it all.

 

ZH is a nice fishing pond but I rather eat meat, and i'm dutch so paying for it.......


 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:34 | Link to Comment Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

Technology is expanding at exponential rates.

The energy problem will be resolved cleanly when it is cost effective to do so.

In the mean time, let's exploit the fuck out of carbon based solutions and enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

I'm always amazed by the addition of new reserves that pop up out of no where when the price of energy goes up enough to make projects feasible.

And, when the price of retrieving oil or gas gets to a certain point, alternatives will magically appear on the market.

Shit that nobody has even dreamed of yet.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:50 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Do you *really* believe the nonsense you just wrote?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:22 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"Technology is expanding at exponential rates."

No metrics given...  and since "technology" is really only "process," it's basically meaningless.  You have to have both energy AND materials (does the word PHYSICAL mean anything to you?) in order for "technology" to do squat.

Law of diminishing returns.  Jevons Paradox.  On and on...

"I'm always amazed by the addition of new reserves that pop up out of no where when the price of energy goes up enough to make projects feasible."

I am always amazed that ths shit that I'm able to brew in my head as well.  Again, no metrics given: what was the "amazement" level? how many times has this occurred? what "projects?" and how "feasible" were they? are they still producing/profitable? and, how scalable?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:35 | Link to Comment Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

Must have double pumped the return key.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:21 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

"Return key." Is that what you call it?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:48 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

One of those old-schoolers still stuck in the land-of-plenty thinking...  "Retirement" probably not working out so now is paid to infuse confusion (what the hell, it helps me out by allowing me to prepare before the herd stampedes- I just detest lying and stupidity).

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:47 | Link to Comment nodoctor
nodoctor's picture

Sometime ago I saw that item where all the water in the world would fit inside a sphere of radius=960 miles or something like that. Indeed spheres are efficient containers. Anyway that got me to thinking - suppose there was a one inch deep layer of oil about the entire globe. For arguments sake, suppose it is seven miles down. How much oil is that?

earth radius at seven miles down = 3,952

inches per mile = 63,360

sphere vol = (4/3)(pi)r^3

gallons per barrel = 55

cubic inches per gallon = 231

2030 fcst global oil consumption barrels per day = 104,000,000

earth radius in inches at 7 miles = A = 250,398,720

one inch less = B = 250,398,719

volume of A = 65,763,500,613,995,300,000,000,000

volume of B = 65,763,499,826,089,900,000,000,000

difference = 787,905,393,899,602,000

in gallons = 3,410,845,861,037,240

in barrels = 62,015,379,291,586

days at 2030 rate = 596,302

years at 2030 rate = 1,634

Do I think we have over 62 trillion barrels of oil remaining? Not necessarily. I just want to remind everybody how large a body the earth is and how much it can hold. This and the fact that the US military has yet to ween land or air systems off of oil tell me that the end is not near for liquid petrol fossil fuels.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:04 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Here you go...

https://plus.google.com/+InterestingEngineering/posts/THp4fDdN2jc#+InterestingEngineering/posts/THp4fDdN2jc

I cannot find the one that also shows the oil endowmwnt, it does show the oil as a pinhead though....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:31 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

How many Skittle and Unicorns could it hold?

No, this is fucking nothing more than a BS distraction in order to discredit.  FACT: there is NOT an even distribution of geology "underneath" just as there is no even distribution of geology on TOP (where anyone who doesn't have their head stuffed into the ground could see).

"This and the fact that the US military has yet to ween land or air systems off of oil tell me that the end is not near for liquid petrol fossil fuels."

You're waiting for the US military to give you the signal?

The US military has been warning about all of this for quite some time, and it HAS been working on various alternative energy sources.  No, wait!  Myabe you're right, you're so important that I'm POSITIVE that the US military consults with you at EVERY opportunity, just like they did when developing the stealth bomber!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:43 | Link to Comment FatAmerican
FatAmerican's picture

Remember when oil was 50 cents?

now its 100 dollars?

When the fuck is the austrian price mechanisim going to kick in?

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 20:48 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

But those were silver dimes. Check out oil priced in silver and you will see the price has barely moved. the price change is primarily due to inflation at this point.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:47 | Link to Comment Mad Mohel
Mad Mohel's picture

Petroleum enabled the proliferation of millions even billions of worthless lazy bastards. Once the party is over, everyone will have to earn their living, literally.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:49 | Link to Comment Zola
Zola's picture

exactly, the big problem is not that there are no alternatives, there are, but it is that the capital (time / money / human) is being hopelessly squandered by these crooks at the top. Think the energy, drive, passion ambition that went into Apollo could not be remobilized, think the level of global talent is not immense today ? But no that would require capital (controlled by the banksters and diverted by the fed into unproductive endeavors) , skills (many smart people abandon science due to lack of social monetary cultural recognition) , leadership (with the pathetic excuses for presidents in the US for a while is there a need to say more ?). 

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:51 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Lotta morons squandering it in SUVs at the bottom too buddy...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:19 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I voted you up 'cuz I'm feeling un-American today.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 21:14 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Thanks I needed that...

Still can't believe you got junked for the stonework....

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:36 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

This was inevitable with or without any government!  (go forth and multiply!)  The ONLY thing that was ever subject to change is the timing of the outcome.

Perpetual growth on a finite planet is NOT possible.  I don't care how wonderful science/skills/technology/human nature is or would become, it's a PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY to endlessly grow!

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 15:52 | Link to Comment besnook
besnook's picture

easter island is the metaphor for the future of humans, appropriately named, also.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:39 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Those fuckers!  Teach them!  See what over-regulation and government interference does to a people?!  They just never were able to get technology rolling! (ha ha! there's a pun in there!)

We KNOW the real "solutions," damn it!  We're SO much smarter!

</sarc>

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 21:15 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

It is sorta sad that the /sarc flag was deemed necessary...

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:12 | Link to Comment AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

Chris, you know that Porter Stansbury will disagree vehemently.  In spite of all the doom & gloom from him one day, the next day he'll be totally 'in the tank' for the US Energy interests.  Whatever it takes to sell his subscriptions, I guess.  I've stopped reading my paid subscriptions to Porter some time ago.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 21:21 | Link to Comment ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

At some point in the future, 5 or 6 billion years from now or so, planet Earth will be consumed by our Sun as it expands into its Red Giant stage.  All the arguing, fighting, killing, destroying, wasting, hating, filth, love, happiness, and anything else that makes up humanity will simply no longer matter.  It will be gone.  All of it.

   There is far too much value put on 'human' life.  We need to get over ourselves.  We are NOT the top of the food chain, as far as life forms go, I can assure you.  The human race is flawed in so many ways.  If you ask me, the experiment failed.  The genetic manipulation of the monkey mind just wasn't anywhere NEAR where it should have been, thus the 'Fall of Man'.  Whether or not our Universe as a whole is yet another experiment, remains to be determined.

   People with genetic defects (Down Syndrome), 'old' people, malnourished children, would, under normal conditions of survival common on this planet for millions of years, not live very long.  The fact that we had the parabolic energy spike over a couple of hundred years (oil) allowed the planet to circumvent normal darwinistic survival of the fittest.  For a fleeting instant, a mere whisper of geological time, humanity was able to negate the laws of nature.  Defective creatures, who normally would NOT survive, were able to live full, relatively normal lives. 

   These are the people, knowing that they are at a disadvantage, that champion the cause of the liberal, the socialist, and the egalitarian.  They need to work the system to negate their unfair lot in life.  Not only are these types surviving, but also there are exponentially more of them. 

  Once the oil is gone, humanity will by necessity return to a simpler way of life (Kunstler).  There will be a great die-off, in the mean time.  This poor blue and white marble simply isn't capable of sustaining the demands of all the life forms upon it. 

   All the fighting you see going on right now is over real estate and resources.  The Inuits, Malians, Kurds, Egyptians (and the rest of the Arab world who came from riding camels and living in tents in the sand ) all have TOO MANY PEOPLE and TOO FEW RESOURCES.  Until there's a die-off, there will be no letup.

 

  I know,'You First' will be the chorus of many. I've actually not had a bad life, and lived at an exceptional time in the history of mankind.  The future that I envision, however,  does not inspire me to 'live long and prosper'.  The future of this planet is one of extinction.  The Fermi Paradox, 'where are they?', implies that if there are so many possible planets with life on them out there, why don't we hear from them?  Well, first of all, I think we HAVE.  But, I cannot provide proof of that.  The overwhelming conclusion is that either there is no other life in the universe, they haven't reached technological age yet, or, THEY HAVE ALL DESTROYED THEMSELVES.   Sadly, the latter conclusion, based on observation of OUR planet, is the one I subscribe to.

  Persons living in past ages, Romans, the Renaissance era, even early America, lived free and relatively uncomplicated lives.  NOW, with the huge numbers of people constantly clawing at each other, there is no peace.  There is no happiness.  There is poverty, hunger, emnity, and struggle. 

  I do not envy the future inhabitants of our blue marble.  If there are any.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:15 | Link to Comment secret_sam
secret_sam's picture

       Once the oil is gone, humanity will by necessity return to a simpler way of life (Kunstler).  There will be a great die-off, in the mean time.  This poor blue and white marble simply isn't capable of sustaining the demands of all the life forms upon it.

You mean even if we managed somehow to work together, we could never possibly improve our relative ability to distribute survival resources on this planet?  No matter what?

Lighten up, Francis.

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 00:20 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

Do you have any math to show how many people you suppose the world can support? A great deal of energy is used to power cruise ships, airlines, shipping materials here and there all over the planet to manufacture goods for slightly higher profit margins, to push a single person to work in a 4500-pound steel cage an hour each way. 

A tremendous amount of energy is diverted for use in wars, and the never-ending arms race (who are we racing against?)

There is no reason that a person with Down's Syndrome could not be trained to harvest food-crops like anyone else. Many Down's Syndrome children are able to complete a high school education, provided the chance. As well, this and may other maladies can be screened for with modern technology.

Which resources are there insufficient amounts of? First of all, there must be a stabilization in population; if you just provide more food and energy, the population will just grow to match; it seems humanity as a whole is, in fact, no better than yeast. Other than, we have the ability to make the jar larger, to convert our environment to suit ourselves.

On the contrary, we are the greatest species we know exists. Like Arthur C. Clarke said, two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

Your claim that people in Roman, Renaissance, early America lived somehow better lives shows you subscribe to some pretty hefty historical romanticism. Keep in mind, the people you may be identifying with, probably owned slaves who did all the hard work.

 

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 01:16 | Link to Comment Bobportlandor
Bobportlandor's picture

When archeologist read these comments their going to be as confused as we are reading proto-Elamite.

 

Another thought what will be the last word posted on this site? 

 

 

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 20:43 | Link to Comment deebee
deebee's picture

Shale plays have occured at the end of just about every mining boom.The hype about it being a revolutionary way of uncovering untapped resources is not new. Has only amounted to failure thus far.

Check out centerwest.org and look for the report: "What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale: A Guide to Shale Country"

 

http://centerwest.org/projects/energy/oil-shale/

 

or a video for the time poor

http://www.centerwest.org/publications/oilshale/0home/video.php

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