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Sibi Totique
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I would like to take the opportunity and recommend an interview with the former Director of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) James R. Schlesinger on the subject of Peak Oil. Schlesinger has had a number of different high posts in the US including Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy.
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Great interview, but the guy has no viable solutions to the problem.

Changing personal cars and trucks to electric or hybrids just shifts a minor portion of demand over to a different form of energy. The electric grid is powered by coal, nucs, oil, and natural gas. If you want to shift transportation onto the grid, you first need to shift grid production over to a non-fossil fuel.

But what of the larger and more important energy demands? There are no real methods for powering commercial air liners without jet fuel. Producing jet fuel from renewable feedstocks is frightfully expensive.

The are no real methods of powering tractors or combines or bull dozers or cement mixers without diesel fuel. Some of this fuel can come from soybean oil, but then you must trade your productive farm land from food production to energy production. I don't believe large scale alcohol production from corn as a viable solution.

The portion of the energy demand that we could shift over to electric is the rail system. Freight trains already power their traction wheels with electricity. You would have to install overhead power lines for the trains.

Then you are back to the problem of electric power generation. If you want to solve anything, you must first start by dramatically increasing electric power generation and spreading that demand across more primary energy sources.

Frankly guys, I don't even see or hear the Congress or the Administration even admitting that we need an energy policy. When the last Pres proposed one centered on developing more of what we current use, it was soundly rejected.

This is going to hit us like a ton of bricks. I predict doom.
 

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Bad Moon Rising
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Great interview, but the guy has no viable solutions to the problem.
That's because their ARE no viable solutions to the problem.


Agreeing with you, there is a great sign on the wall at Ronald Reagan National Airport. It reads: "There is not a single jet aircraft in the world that runs on windmill power, solar energy, hydro-thermal power, wave/motion power, electric energy, or nuclear power." The point is that while alternative forms of energy are necessary, nothing (currently in existence) can replace fossil fuels - at least with respect to aircraft.

(We may be able to go back to huge Zeppelins that can run on solar-generated electricity, but that's beside the point.)


I'm not agreeing we're necessarily doomed, however, I believe that within the next 50 to 70 years there is going to be a massive change in the way most of the modern world creates and uses energy.

I also feel that nuclear energy, despite its many (current) drawbacks, offers some of the best options for producing massive amounts of energy relatively inexpensively. More efficient power generation in this realm is most likely going to be one cornerstone of energy policy some 50 years from now...(because there are going to be very limited alternatives in terms of cost versus amounts of energy generated).

Just MHO. YMMV.
 

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/k/ommando
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The portion of the energy demand that we could shift over to electric is the rail system. Freight trains already power their traction wheels with electricity. You would have to install overhead power lines for the trains.

Then you are back to the problem of electric power generation. If you want to solve anything, you must first start by dramatically increasing electric power generation and spreading that demand across more primary energy sources.
And why don't we invest more in nuclear energy?

Besides the fact that it's too scary :rolleyes:


That's because their ARE no viable solutions to the problem.


Agreeing with you, there is a great sign on the wall at Ronald Reagan National Airport. It reads: "There is not a single jet aircraft in the world that runs on windmill power, solar energy, hydro-thermal power, wave/motion power, electric energy, or nuclear power." The point is that while alternative forms of energy are necessary, nothing (currently in existence) can replace fossil fuels - at least with respect to aircraft.

(We may be able to go back to huge Zeppelins that can run on solar-generated electricity, but that's beside the point.)
I can definitely see nuclear-powered airships in much the same way that some navies have nuclear-powered warships and submarines.
 

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call me crazy, but I still don't think peak oil is a viable problem.


The Stone Age didn't end because we ran outta rocks. Humans tend to innovate
well beyond what we need, and way before it is accepted.
 

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Bad Moon Rising
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And why don't we invest more in nuclear energy?

Besides the fact that it's too scary :rolleyes:
Without intending to be snide, one answer is "because Harry Reid shut down Yucca Mountain".


The problem of waste storage continues to be a massive drag on future investment and expansion.

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


Two of the most influential events in the recent history of nuclear energy in North America are certain to be (a) Yucca Mountain being defunded; and (b) Fukushima Dai'ichi - after which, of the 70+ pending applications for new nuclear plants in North America, all but a small number of them were withdrawn.
 

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Banned
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I respectfully disagree. Fracking for natural gas is the silver bullet here. Our domestic reserves could run every power plant, truck, and car for the next hundred years.
 

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Bad Moon Rising
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You're correct - it would seem that natural gas is more plentiful than anticipated even ten years ago, and extracting it appears to have become cost-efficient.

That no doubt also argues against nuclear energy, because it emphasizes the higher liability of the latter.


(Although recent accounts also suggest that 'fracking' is not an extractive technology that is completely devoid of risk either. Some accounts suggest that, in an environmental sense, it can be as destructive as other extractive methods and that we may not recognize the damage until some period of time after its occurred. I'm not familiar enough with the topic to hold an informed opinion on that.)
 

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/k/ommando
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call me crazy, but I still don't think peak oil is a viable problem.


The Stone Age didn't end because we ran outta rocks. Humans tend to innovate
well beyond what we need, and way before it is accepted.
The problems arise when you have vested interests in congress denying the problem and a way to transition off of fossil fuels. And a global trade and manufacturing infrastructure that was developed on (cheap) oil.

And you're right, the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stone, it ended because we discovered how to mine, work, and use iron. When will we leave the Oil Age for a newer energy source? I hope it's soon.

I also hope we find new raw materials to create plastics, because with no oil to start with as a raw material, the entire plastics industry fails.

And I hope we find a better way of industrially manufacturing 110 million tons of fixed-nitrogen fertilizer per year (the average annual global requirement*) besides using natural gas as both a component and fuel for the process, or else the global food system will have no fertilizer for crops, and we all experience massive famine and food-price spikes.

Should I keep going?

--
*source: http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/outdoors/articles/2006/03/09/20060309fertilegarden0309.html
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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I respectfully disagree. Fracking for natural gas is the silver bullet here. Our domestic reserves could run every power plant, truck, and car for the next hundred years.
Fracking has some serious problems. If you don't live near the areas being fracked, they aren't obvious.

One problem is that fracking doesn't produce gas like regular gas wells have. They lose up to 90 percent of their capacity within a year, which means fracking has to keep going. You can't get a reliable long-term supply of gas--you have to keep drilling and fracking.

Then there's the demand for water, and the pollution that results.

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-06-04/capital-destruction-natural-gas
 

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/k/ommando
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You're correct - it would seem that natural gas is more plentiful than anticipated even ten years ago, and extracting it appears to have become cost-efficient.

That no doubt also argues against nuclear energy, because it emphasizes the higher liability of the latter.


(Although recent accounts also suggest that 'fracking' is not an extractive technology that is completely devoid of risk either. Some accounts suggest that, in an environmental sense, it can be as destructive as other extractive methods and that we may not recognize the damage until some period of time after its occurred. I'm not familiar enough with the topic to hold an informed opinion on that.)
The problem with fracking, as i understand it, is much like the problem of strip mining for coal in the Appalachian mountains in that corporations f*ck the little guy and their families. They come to an area, blast underground to get at the natural gas, and then someone 10 or 50 miles away can light their kitchen sink faucet on fire because the natural gas is getting into their water.

And what's worse, it's been causing earthquakes in places in Ohio, even though it's far removed from any fault line. So no, I don't think fracking is a good idea.
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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IMO, there is only one solution for the energy problems we face: higher prices.

When prices rise, people make new choices. They find alternative transportation, combine trips, carpool, buy smaller vehicles or ones that don't rely on petroleum, ride bikes, take the bus, move closer to work, walk more, build smaller and more energy efficient homes, a whole host of things.

It's the market working at its finest.

Now, most people really don't like capitalism or markets, even when they imply that they do. Both involve pain from time to time, without which there are no alterations to people's behavioral patterns.

***********************

I've got to put this in context, as my evolution on this matter is astounding even to me. I'm a sociologist--used to be pretty liberal once. But over time I saw the inconsistencies a liberal bias in our economy and political system produce.

I kept thinking that the government was the answer, just figure it out and we'd all live happily ever after.

But then I began studying energy (which I've been doing for about 12 years, fairly intensively). I believe in Peak Oil; it may not happen exactly as Hubbert says, and rising prices will create new sources that were economically unexploitable at lower prices, but the easy oil is mostly gone and what's left is harder and more expensive to produce. The government hasn't been a lot of help.

Why do I believe in the power of prices? Here's one reason: All you need do is look back at 2008 when gas prices went above $4 per gallon in the US (those of you elsewhere, such as Europe, I feel your pain, as $4 per gallon would be a miracle for you).

What happened when gas shot up? People changed their behavior! Around here, you could hardly drive a quarter mile without seeing some gas hog for sale by the side of the road, offered by a desperate person capitulating to the high costs of running it.

People began to walk, consolidate trips, buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, take public transportation, ride bikes, carpool, etc.

But it's not a permanent lifestyle change for most. What happened when gas prices came back down? People went back to their old habits for the most part. People want to be green, except when it takes time, money, or effort (a little overgeneralization here, but not much of one).

Prices. That's the ticket. If we want energy supply and demand to balance, price will do it.

And in my opinion, only price will do it.

I teach that in my renewable energy classes. However, students are not required to believe it--only to understand and relate the argument. I leave it to them to determine, over time, if the view has merit. :)
 

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I'm not talking about the fairness of fracking or its implications for the environment. But, it has been a complete and unexpected game changer on the energy front. Do a little research on the US's current natural gas reserves. We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas because of fracking.
 

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/k/ommando
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I can promise that any elected official who would allow the sacrifice of towns and entire swaths of local ecology for the resources they sit on, around, or under, will not get my vote. That's really all I can say about it.
 

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Has Deplaned - Adios
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I agree with Hick industries: Then you are back to the problem of electric power generation. If you want to solve anything, you must first start by dramatically increasing electric power generation and spreading that demand across more primary energy sources. Frankly guys, I don't even see or hear the Congress or the Administration even admitting that we need an energy policy. When the last Pres proposed one centered on developing more of what we current use, it was soundly rejected. This is going to hit us like a ton of bricks. I predict doom.


We already know from rolling brownouts that the providers have the ability to decrease power to selected grids on demand. Frankly, there is no money do do anything right now. Therefore when the "great bog down" comes, they'll shut off power to the masses as necessary, and divert to government facilities, and contractors who supply the government. We'll know if that's a correct asessment if we see security being increased around power generation facilities.
 

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Sibi Totique
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
call me crazy, but I still don't think peak oil is a viable problem.


The Stone Age didn't end because we ran outta rocks. Humans tend to innovate
well beyond what we need, and way before it is accepted.
KCFirepower; this is the standard narrative in our society. We can keep using more and more of every resource and we can always find more alternatives and new solutions. Technology will save us.

If this will be the case or not only time will tell. But the expectation of continued growth as the only we look at the world would makes it very hard to prepare for an alternative future if it turns out that the researchers within the Peak Oil movement are right. Many civilizations before us have been unable to recognize the boundaries of nature and collapsed. Approaching the problem with the attitude that their lessons do not apply to us can become very problematic.


Goose; It’s my guess that the interest based market oriented system that we have today will work very poorly in a world where the access to raw materials and energy are no longer available in the same amount that they used to be. We have seen a number of unprecedented developments the last years; The EURO Crisis, The Arabian Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Movement just to name a few. My guess is that this developments have underlying factors that are not being discussed in the media or understood at this point.

It’s my guess that the growth of the economy that we have seen over a period of 150 years will start to slow down or start to decrease instead of increasing. This does not mean that we won’t see growth in some countries; developing regions and regions with many natural resources might still experience continued growth.
 

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... --- ...
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I can definitely see nuclear-powered airships in much the same way that some navies have nuclear-powered warships and submarines.

I don't think this would be possible ( unless maybe we're talking giant dirigibles, which are impractical and insufficient for most purposes). All nuke power does is create heat,which is used to create steam (in turn, used to spin turbines,generating electricity.)
I don't think a jet airplane will run on pure electricty,or the motors powered by it,they need actual combustion (thrust).
 

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Seriously, you need to go worry about pandemics or something. For all practical purposes, because of natural gas fracking our energy problem has been solved. We now have known natural gas reserves that will last a hundred years.

http://www.truebluenaturalgas.org/natural-gas-reserves-record-levels/

There is speculation that we actually have more like two centuries in natural gas reserves.

http://www.chk.com/naturalgas/pages/fueling-americas-future.aspx

Natural gas already fuels many electric power plants. Established vehicle manufacturers are now producing purpose built natural gas engines for commercial vehicles.

http://www.cumminswestport.com/find-a-natural-gas-truck-or-bus

Passenger cars could similarly be converted to natural gas engines. Honda has been selling one for over half a decade.

http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-natural-gas/

I don't want to rain on anyone's TEOTWAWKI fear parade, but at least for a century the US has solved its energy problem. Peak oil is actually good news. The balance of power shifts to the US as oil reserves decline.

Problem solved, guys. Let's move on.
 

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To the surface!
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KCFirepower; this is the standard narrative in our society. We can keep using more and more of every resource and we can always find more alternatives and new solutions. Technology will save us.

If this will be the case or not only time will tell. But the expectation of continued growth as the only we look at the world would makes it very hard to prepare for an alternative future if it turns out that the researchers within the Peak Oil movement are right. Many civilizations before us have been unable to recognize the boundaries of nature and collapsed. Approaching the problem with the attitude that their lessons do not apply to us can become very problematic.
The problem with the "technology will find a way" attitude is that we continue to use resources at an increasing rate - faster than technology can ameliorate the problem (or that we can find technology to ameliorate the problem). This is as much a problem of attitude as it is a technology problem.

It is with a bit of dismay when I hear preppers on the one hand criticizing the general populace for being sheeple and ignoring the problems and risks around them, and on the other hand doing the very same thing when it comes to our environment problems, natural resource limitations and population growth. I think it is probably the conservative leanings of most preppers who hear their leaders say that this is all a conspiracy to destroy/control capitalism and take use towards socialism, but there is really nothing socialistic about it and I suspect those "leaders" are just trying to advocate for those corporations that want to continue to pollute and take more from our land (and sea) than is wise.

"Limits to growth"

 
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