Not signed in (Sign In)
This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.
    • CommentAuthorSteerpike
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008 edited
     (646.1)
    Interesting story in a few places about an email to Royal Dutch Shell employees from the chief executive Jeroen van der Veer in which he says demand for oil and gas will outstrip easy-to-get supplies by 2015.

    Here's one article.
    • CommentAuthorcjtremlett
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.2)
    Bah. I lived in Dubai for seven years. The UAE's oil reserves are estimated to run out sometime between 2020 and 2050, depending on who's talking and what sort of mood they're in. And that's just the UAE. I'm sure you can play around with numbers involving rising demand and conservative estimates on reserves and how you define "easily accessible" to get that 2015 number. I'm sure you could play with the same factors and get whatever date you wanted.

    The problem (in my sort-of-humble opinion) is not the amount and accessibility of oil reserves. It's the insane pace of consumer societies and the environmental impact. We need to stop burning oil the way we are, but there are reasons to do it of more immediate import than the amount that's there that we can get our grubby hands on.
  1.  (646.3)
    Old news.... Oil production has been falling for years, while demand has been growing.

    In the Middle East, oil reserves are greatly exaggerated - how much oil each country is allowed to sell under OPEC is directly depending on how much oil reserves they have... so the more "reserves" you have, the more you can sell.

    http://lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

    http://peakoil.com/

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/7203633/the_long_emergency

    Interesting documentaries on the impending oil crisis:

    A Crude Awakening: Life after the Oil Crash.

    The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream

    Why do you think the US is so hot for invading Iran? To gain control of their oil fields... again. The same reason they invaded Iraq - Oil. It's believed that Iraq has the highest potential for undiscovered oil fields in the world.
  2.  (646.4)
    What do you guys think is going to happen when oil is going to actually, for real, I'm not kidding this time, run out?

    Who knows, but I'm guessing 100,000 Nuke plants and everything running on electricity...

    ...No one I know is going to willingly crawl back into a cave - that's for sure.
    •  
      CommentAuthormrghosty
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.5)
    You guys think this news about oil is the harbinger of DOOM? Think about our dwindling supplies of fresh water world wide. Now that's gonna be a crisis!
    • CommentAuthorcjtremlett
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.6)
    For some reason, it's easier to get us (society as a whole, that is, not the people who post here, who are generally less gullible than the masses) to pay attention when they talk about gas running out. Global warming/weirding, fresh water, endangered species of various sorts, etc., invoke less public panic than the thought that we might not have enough gas to make that midnight Taco Hell run whenever we feel like it.
    •  
      CommentAuthormrghosty
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.7)
    For some reason, it's easier to get us (society as a whole, that is, not the people who post here, who are generally less gullible than the masses) to pay attention when they talk about gas running out. Global warming/weirding, fresh water, endangered species of various sorts, etc., invoke less public panic than the thought that we might not have enough gas to make that midnight Taco Hell run whenever we feel like it.


    Yeah I would have to agree that oil does get all the press and attention. although a few years ago here in Canada there was an interesting miniseries called H2O, about the US wanting to buy off and siphon off our water so they could have fresh clean water. Perhaps I don't feel the whole oil issue as much because I chose long ago not to drive.

    But once the oil resource issues passes, everyone will be pulling out their proverbial divining rods looking for water. As it stands fresh water is more of an issue in most 3rd world countries than oil is I would say. But it's the one they (whoever they are) predict will be the crucial issue in years to come.

    You can't drive to Taco Bell if you're dying of thirst. Unless you're craving Mountain Dew, I don't think there's real water in that shit anyway.
  3.  (646.8)
    Who knows, but I'm guessing 100,000 Nuke plants and everything running on electricity...

    Uranium isn't in much better shape than Oil... it will certainly last longer, but it too, will run out. But by then it will be way too fucking late for North America.

    Once oil runs out, America is doomed, followed very shortly thereafter by Canada.

    The entire North American economic and social infrastructure runs on oil and automotive transportation. If trucking stopped, grocery stores would be empty in 2-3 days. Mass starvation, riots within 2 weeks. The end of the country within 4 weeks. After two months the US would make Bangladesh look like a world superpower.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFractal
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.9)
    Not fantastic video quality, and it's a few years old, but Robert Newman's A HISTORY OF OIL is both hilarious, insightful, and accurate. (Link goes to google video.)
  4.  (646.10)
    Uranium isn't in much better shape than Oil... it will certainly last longer, but it too, will run out. But by then it will be way too fucking late for North America.

    Once oil runs out, America is doomed, followed very shortly thereafter by Canada.

    The entire North American economic and social infrastructure runs on oil and automotive transportation. If trucking stopped, grocery stores would be empty in 2-3 days. Mass starvation, riots within 2 weeks. The end of the country within 4 weeks. After two months the US would make Bangladesh look like a world superpower.


    I don't agree with your endgame scenario at all, but if you believe this:

    Why do you think the US is so hot for invading Iran? To gain control of their oil fields... again. The same reason they invaded Iraq - Oil. It's believed that Iraq has the highest potential for undiscovered oil fields in the world.

    How long do you think it takes to get to Mexico and Venezuela?

    ...But I agree that Canada is fucked. Cheers!
    •  
      CommentAuthormrghosty
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.11)
    Great that everyone agrees us Canucks are doomed. On an interesting oil note.. out in Alberta right now there's that huge concerted effort to squeeze every last drop out of the oil sands... So much growth is happening out there that even shitty retail jobs are starting folk at like 18 bucks an hour. But when that bubble bursts (and it will in short time I imagine) boy is that province doomed.

    Has anyone actually agreed on whether or not we've hit or passed "peak oil?" it seems that no one can agree.
  5.  (646.12)
    Has anyone actually agreed on whether or not we've hit or passed "peak oil?" it seems that no one can agree.

    No one can agree as accurate data cannot be compiled... for instance the oil 'reserves' in the Middle East have been greatly exaggerated for years.

    Oil production peaked in the US in the early 1970s, and has steadily declined since. 33 of 48 oil producing countries around the world also have declining production. Peak Oil is expected to hit around 2013, the mean date derived from numerous studies trying to predict peak oil.

    One of the other big problems with oil shortages is food production, which is dependent on a steady and stable supply of oil. Without oil, the world can only grow enough food to support 2.5 billion people. Meaning 4.2 billion will be eating dirt for dinner.

    www.oildecline.com
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.13)
    I saw a disturbing article somewhere (THe Economist?) arguing that coal is in much the same boat as oil - rising demand and vastly overstated reserves.

    China hasn't revised their stated coal reserves for about twenty years despite extracting about a billion tones of the stuff a year.

    I did some figuring once and concluded that if we switched to nuclear to replace oil, natural gas and coal we'd run out of uranium in less than fifty years.

    Of course, that assumes we have enough trained nuclear engineers to design, build and run all those reactors.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.14)
    The thing is with sufficient political will, all these problems can be solved.

    Genetic engineers are now looking at giving cereal crops the ability to fix nitrogen, that'd eliminate most fertiliser demand and slash the energy needed to grow crops. (It'd also eliminate most fertiliser run-off which is a major environmental problem in itself.)

    Algae looks like being a much cheaper and less environmentally harmful source of biofuels than maize and that should be on the market in the next year or so.

    The ultrabattery (which I think was the first thing I ever posted about on here) looks like making plug-in hybrids affordable and viable within a few years.

    Several different companies including Sunra and Sterling Systems are building concentrating solar power stations with energy costs lower than many fossil-fuel powerplants.

    The big question isn't can we solve the problem it's will we get our shit together in time to solve the problem.
  6.  (646.15)
    The thing is with sufficient political will, all these problems can be solved.

    The big question isn't can we solve the problem it's will we get our shit together in time to solve the problem.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say "No."

    The US gov't can't even handle something like Hurricane Katrina. The looming oil shortage makes Katrina look like a harmless fart.

    Right now, their idea of dealing with the oil problem is to invade Iraq, and the propaganda campaign to set up for an invasion of Iran in order to get, and maintain access to oil.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.16)
    Meanwhile, Nanosolar has shipped their frist thin-film cells - at a cost around 75% cheaper than conventional solar cells.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
     (646.17)
    "I'm going to go out on a limb and say "No."

    The US gov't can't even handle something like Hurricane Katrina."


    Mark
    Fortunately it's not just up to the US government.

    The European Union just announced plans to spend E60 billion a year to address global warming and fossil fuel depletion.

    The Chinese government is bringing in pollution and fuel efficiency ruels for cars that will be tougher than America's (meaning American cars will no longer be able to be sold there without expensive modification BTW).

    Also it looks like whoever wins the US election will treat these issue much more seriously than the incumbent.
    •  
      CommentAuthormrghosty
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2008
     (646.18)
    The big question isn't can we solve the problem it's will we get our shit together in time to solve the problem.


    I totally have to agee with this one. All the time I see people doing stuff like buying those energy efficient lightbulbs, or using sites like blackle because they think it's aiding in energy conservation. And then I see people leaving their lights on all the time, in like every room of their homes!!! That's NOT conservation folks, not really.

    Also has anyone else noticed the trend with these new big box shopping centres? Giant enclaves designed so poorly that people will shop in one store, then get in their cars to drive across the parking lot(s) to go shop at another, and then repeat the process again. In an era when conservation seems to be the key buzzword, how is it that developers created a retail development that increased the use of gasoline as people go about their shopping?

    I'm no fan of shopping malls, but at least it's a central structure with an outlying parking design that means people go there, park, go about their business then leave. Not this other "car mall" stuff that we're seeing today. It's just one of those things that i see that really gets my goat about the whole thing. People think that they can make a difference by choosing "energy efficient" products, but then piss away extra energy because they think that the "efficiency" of these products allows them to use more energy.
  7.  (646.19)
    People have been attracting attention by predicting population/resource disasters ever since Thomas Robert Mathus.

    These predictions rarely come true. But they are great fodder for fantastika writers, and for political demagogues of the Chicken Little School.

    As oil becomes more expensive to extract, other energy sources become commercially viable. Technology advances, creating better alternatives. Lifestyles will change in many difficult-to-predict ways, but so long as the Thieves In Charge don't completely fuck things up, we will avoid the Grim Meathook Future.

    Sorry if this disappoints anyone.
  8.  (646.20)
    This is going to sound mad, but the Fall of New Orleans back in 2005 gives me hope in the face of this kind of doomsaying. I was there about a year after the storms visiting friends who had just rebuilt their home. The government failed on every level, from local to federal, but the people have been fighting to save their city, their homes and way of life. For a great many of them, life is utterly different. My friends were happy go luck socialists, now they're a bit more cagey libertarian types. They keep guns, food and potable water around. They have all kinds of plans for all kinds of emergencies. They talk about "having a plan" like it's a gospel. Their house has a built in "emergency space" (I call it panic room) created out of a small spare bedroom to weather out storms or "whatever happens" and they recommended when I buy I house I get one too. At times they sound paranoid, but one of them spent three nights in an office building when the streets flooded and 911 all but turned off. They've seen "contractors" rolling down the street in armored vehicles. They had people banging at their door in the middle of the night who saw lights on and wanted everything they had.

    They're also alot more active in the community. The know all their neighbors now, they vote early and often. They're part of community reclamination projects, they volunteer a great deal. The crisis changed them, but in some ways it bettered them and made them more aware of just how precarious life can be.

    I think awful things will come from our reliance on oil. But I think people will adapt, change and some will thrive. The idea that we're going to go al Mad Max is appealing as fiction, the facts are struggle, evolution and recovery.

    It's a shame that it's like a heart attack is what prompted someone to stop smoking and eating bacon at every meal.

This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.