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View Full Version : Apathy vs Oil vs Energy vs Survival



genebujold
2004-Jul-15, 12:02 PM
I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government:

Current oil reserves (known technology)
Future oil reserves (known technology)
Current additional reserves (future extraction technology)
Future oil reserves (future extraction technology)
Potentially unknown future reserves (known and future technologies)

Add them all together, then apply them against the projected energy consumption rates, and wall - 2048 is the last year a drop of oil will drive anything here on this planet.

Well, that was my theory, which seems to approximate Hubbert's own theory quite closely, with a current peak production, and a drop to just 20% of current production by 2050.

Not bad for this armchair scientist!

The question is - what do we do about it???

Simple, but there are several more pieces to the equation:

1. Natural gas runs dry in 2017, just 13 years away.

2. Coal is good for a while, but pollutes the heck out of the atmosphere and waterways, oceans, etc., interrupting the food chain...

3. Nuclear fission is good to go for a couple hundred years, by which time either we've perfected fusion or we're really stupid and deserve to let bacteria inherit the planet.

4. Nuclear fusion is good to go for about 50,000 years, by which time we've either harnessed inter-quantum energy or we're really stupid and deserve to let bacteria inherit the planet.

5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.

As for the nuclear nay-sayers - countless studies have proven the safety of nuclear energy over alternative forms of energy - and that's based on decades old, active-cooling reactor designs. Current, passive-cooling, dynamically stable reactors pose but a tiny fraction of the threat, and, if adopted, will reduce nuclear energy's detriments to incredibly small fraction of the detriments posed by alternative forms of energy.

So, here's what we do:

1. Write your Congressman. You're all scientists!!! They'll listen to you!!!

2. Research the facts and give them the facts.

3. When they realize they have 1,000 letters from scientists pouring in, all of which are on the same sheet of music, and that all the letters invalidate the widely varying research from a number of different lobbying groups, they'll go, "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"

4. Write your President. If Congress chucks too many of your letters, then the President, receiving all 1,000 in his own office, will have little recourse but to give it serious consideration and "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"

At which point the Congressional Inquiry begins.

That takes ten years, at which point natural gas has just three years remaining.

A crisis is declared, and 24 years later, they've mandate nuclear fission as the desired fuel of choice, which gives them just 7 years, in the midst of rampant rationing and hoarding, to finish enough nuclear power plants so as to keep the basics of human life, ie., food and water, in steady supply.

Yes, I'm amazed by the apathy of our government when it comes to issues such as these which require "long-term" (20 yrs) thinking (while at the same time they're mandating a plan for the second 10,000 years at Yucca??????????????????????????????????????????

But I'm more amazed at the apathy of readers like you who read this stuff and...

DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT

Why?

Why are you spending the next 2 hours on this board when you could spend the next 20 minutes writing both your Congressmen and your President?

Dudes and Dudettes - if we bite the dust in 44 years, it's YOUR fault - the fault of apathy.

Gett off your duffs and DO something about it!!![/u]

Maksutov
2004-Jul-15, 12:07 PM
No vote here since I consider the title of your poll to be an insult.

Re


I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government

Always a good source of reliable information. That's the same source that told us in 1973 that we'd be out of oil 15 years ago.

#-o

mid
2004-Jul-15, 12:11 PM
Write your Congressman. You're all scientists!!! They'll listen to you!!!

Any lengthy reply to this is going to be considered political, even though it wouldn't be party political. Suffice to say, while I'll admit to some apathy, its helped along by an awful lot more cynicism.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jul-15, 12:38 PM
Yes, there is a bit of insult in your poll, but it's a good subject

I don't want to be too political but there are freaks who messed up things on the global level for the last few decades like Bush and Mad Mao

take a look at the land that was once ruled by Mad Mao, now the economy is moving.


I'm not trying to be political but what happens when every Chinaman whats a new sink in their kitchen, when every household wants oil heating, or an automobile


..A growing Economy, cheap labour force and they are getting scientific, military and aerospace benefits from Space technologies. What happens when every 1.2 billion people in China starts moving and buying all this stuff..the world will run out of resources, gas, steel

We need a better outlook on the world economy structures, new technologies are needed, and we need to escape from being dependant on the Middle east for Energy..we need a better place for fuel or new forms of gas power because that area of the world is so much trouble. Why haven't other ideas been put forward ?

TriangleMan
2004-Jul-15, 12:52 PM
The title of the poll and general tone of the post lessens the impact of your message, no vote from me.

I do not have a Congressman, nor a President, to write to. 8)

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-15, 01:54 PM
5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.

The sun is good for another 4-5 billion years or so, after which there won't be a planet left for bacteria to inhabit :D . The US could supply all it's current electricity needs with a square solar photovoltaic array about 300 miles on a side ... and that's with panels that are only 10-11% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. Experimental cells have demonstrated efficiencies in the 30% range so it's not unreasonable to think that improvements can be made in this area.

On the other hand, all the solar panel ever made would only form an array about 10 miles on a side so there is a long way to go. The bigger challenge with solar PV is building storage systems so that you still have power at night. This can be done on the scale of a single family residence but it's not clear how big storage systems can be made. As a result wind turbines will be an important component of our energy future ... the wind is always blowing somewhere. In addition, if you start putting solar arrays in space and beaming the power back to earth then the amount of power that you can potentially collect gets much larger.

They key, IMHO, is realising that a social and economic system based on continuous and therefore unlimited growth is not conducive to long term survival. Here's an example:


It is possible to calculate an absolute upper limit to the amount of crude oil the earth could contain. We simply assert that the volume of petroleum in the earth cannot be larger than the volume of the earth. The volume of the earth is 6.81 x 1021 barrels, which would last for 4.1 x 1011 yr if the 1970 rate of consumption of oil held constant with no growth. The use of Eq. (6) shows that if the rate of consumption of petroleum continued on the growth curve of 7.04 % / yr of Fig. 2, this earth full of oil will last only 342 yr!



http://www.npg.org/images/bartlett/chart2.GIF

http://www.npg.org/specialreports/bartlett_section3.htm

By a similar analogy, you can show that if we had fusion and we increased the amount of fusion generated by 2-3% per year it would not be long (a few hundred years) before the amount of power generated became a sizable fraction of the total amount of energy received from the Sun.

At some point, humanity has to figure out how to start living a "steady-state" existence. Physical systems that don't tend to a steady-state from some set of initial conditions either destroy themselves or oscillate. Why should humanity be different?

SciFi Chick
2004-Jul-15, 02:32 PM
How rude! Are you trying to get yourself banned again?






[edited for typo]

jrkeller
2004-Jul-15, 02:52 PM
Goggling around I found your numbers for natural gas reserves extremely low. Using the current values of known NG reserves and current and projected use, the US can supply its own Natural Gas needs for at least 50 more years. It is estimated that about 30 year supply still has not been found.

At that point who cares, I'll be dead. :roll: :roll:


Seriously, I do think the world's energy comsumption is a problem, but I think a far greater problem is the population explosion of the past 40 or so years.

Musashi
2004-Jul-15, 03:39 PM
No vote here since I consider the title of your poll to be an insult.

Re


I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government

Always a good source of reliable information. That's the same source that told us in 1973 that we'd be out of oil 15 years ago.

#-o

In fact, I think that cycle has been going on for quite some time. Every 10-20 years there seems to be a report that we only have 10-20 years of oil left. Odd.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jul-15, 04:56 PM
yes we are running very low
but we might not run out
but the 'other stuff' is at astronomical prices !

I've read up on this before, it's hard to explain what is really going on but I could put it all in a very simple manner
it goes a little like this: most of the resources in the middle East have Oil and pertoleum in its purest form..there are other sources of Oil and Gas like blasting apart areas of Alsaka or digging miles down under the Atlantic Ocean but the oil here is difficult to manage, hard to extract, and trapped within the rocks and it will cost a fortune to get it working 8-[ while somewhere like the Middle East the Oil is bubbling out of the ground, just take out your shovel and dig it up like some bugs bunny cartoon and you'll get that pure blackness gushing out.

That's why it's so cost effective for nations to import their oil from the middle East, but there are other factors now, political problems, the oil resources are running low, and the area has become unstable and isn't secure..that's when prices start to skyrocket..have you not noticed the price of gas is costing an arm and a leg..just wait for the cost of winter oil to heat your homes 8-[

A lot of research should be done into looking at other forms fuel, not being so dependant on the middle east and creating other means of getting of Energy

mike alexander
2004-Jul-15, 05:50 PM
Hi, gene. Just to let you know that I don't consider a cry of the heart to be insulting. And that at the core I agree with you.

If genes and probability are any indication I'll be dead much sooner than fifty years from now, but my son hopefully won't be, or his children.

There are large error bars around both production and consumption rates, but that does not affect the final outcome of the process: sooner or later there is a maximum production rate followed by a decline. Inevitable for any finite resource.

One problem is looking only at the final figures, which can give some comfort but may miss some intermediate problems. Extreme example: the sun will stay on the main sequence for several billion more years. But, it's increasing thermal output will make the earth uninhabitable in a billion years or less.

If we look at oil or gas production the key number is not when we run out completely, but when the incompatibility of supply and demand produce economic and social dislocations our civilization cannot endure. As a thought experiment, what would be the effect of a relatively small, say 10% drop in oil production on the world at large?

I ultimately agree that constant-rate (or increasing rate as seems to be occuring now) increase in use is not sustainable. Compound interest is a sneaky thing, but it can either make you very rich or quite dead in a remarkably short time.

SciFi Chick
2004-Jul-15, 06:00 PM
Hi, gene. Just to let you know that I don't consider a cry of the heart to be insulting. And that at the core I agree with you.

No one would, but to approach a subject as if everyone who disagrees with you is dumb, is insulting.

Glom
2004-Jul-15, 06:14 PM
fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission

SciFi Chick
2004-Jul-15, 06:17 PM
I just had an idea for a solution. I don't know if it came from the ether or what. I don't want to sound like a woo woo, but it just came to me.

How about fission?



:wink:

TriangleMan
2004-Jul-15, 06:52 PM
How about fission?
Nah, people who go on and on about fission are crackpots. :wink:

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-15, 09:29 PM
How about fission?
Nah, people who go on and on about fission are crackpots. :wink:

Fission is only viable if we use breeder reactors and figure out how to make Thorium fission reactors. Otherwise there isn't enough U-235 to provide more than a few decades of power if it were employed as a substitute for natural gas or to make hydrogen to replace oil.

xbck1
2004-Jul-15, 09:47 PM
1. How do you know that all the oil will run dry by the year 2017? Is there any actual way that you can prove this? I mean, come on! The stuff is underground! And are you just thinking oil from the Middle East, or are you thinking all the oil on the planet is going to all be sucked up by that year? I, personally, find it hard to believe either way.

2. We're not "all scientists". I'm only 17, and I find it a bit hard to believe that some congressman is going to listen to some nobody 17-year-old from out in the boonies.

3. We can't all write our congressmen because they don't have them in some places... like Bermuda, as TriangleMan pointed out.

4. When was the last time you actually heard of the United States' government actually listening to scientists when it doesn't have anything to do with blowing people up in a really fancy way?

5. I refuse to participate in a poll that calls me really stupid for not reading all of a junk post, which yours seems to be.

Argos
2004-Jul-15, 10:07 PM
Oil derivatives have the merit of being portable. Autonomy and individual mobility (made possible by oil economy) have shaped our way of life. When oil is gone a great deal of that mobility - ergo the civilization as we know it - will be lost.

The spectre of a colective life looms.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-15, 11:26 PM
1. How do you know that all the oil will run dry by the year 2017? Is there any actual way that you can prove this? I mean, come on! The stuff is underground! And are you just thinking oil from the Middle East, or are you thinking all the oil on the planet is going to all be sucked up by that year? I, personally, find it hard to believe either way.

Nobody is saying that oil is going to run out by 2017. What peak oil means is that, probably sometime between now and 2010 mankind will have consumed half of the recoverable oil on the planet. The recoverable part is important because even in oil fields that are now deemed to be "dead" there is lots of oil left. It just takes more energy to get it out of the ground than you get back when you burn it.

The half part is important because when you talk about exponential growth in the consumption of anything a key number is the length of time it takes to double your rate of consumption. This is like compound interest in reverse. If you've been consuming a resource for say 50 years and the rate of consumption doubles every 10 years then between the 50th and 60th year you will consume as much of the resource as you did in the first 50 years. More importantly, if you had consumed half the resource after 50 years, then after 60 years it will ALL be gone. Oil consumption is increasing at about 4% per year which means the rate of consumption will double, if unconstrained, in 19 years. Therefore, if we have now consumed half the recoverable oil on the planet then 19 years from now it will all be gone.

Except, there are limits to how fast oil can be extracted from the ground. As oil wells are drained, they "age" and production falls. The first half of the oil is also the easiest to get. This is why the scenario is termed Peak Oil, because at or near the point where 50% of the original resource is used up the rate of production also hits its maximum. After the peak production can be expected to follow an exponential decline and no matter what you try to do you'll never equal that production peak, the so-called Hubbert Peak.


2. We're not "all scientists". I'm only 17, and I find it a bit hard to believe that some congressman is going to listen to some nobody 17-year-old from out in the boonies.

One 17-year old? Probably not! But lots of 17-year olds and their parents, relatives, siblings, definitely!


3. We can't all write our congressmen because they don't have them in some places... like Bermuda, as TriangleMan pointed out.

This seems a bit argumentative as even Bermuda has some form of government.


4. When was the last time you actually heard of the United States' government actually listening to scientists when it doesn't have anything to do with blowing people up in a really fancy way?

Touche!


5. I refuse to participate in a poll that calls me really stupid for not reading all of a junk post, which yours seems to be.

I can't comment on the validity of the poll since this is not my thread, but the subject is very real and prescient.

Stylesjl
2004-Jul-16, 12:04 AM
Assuming alternative energy fails to meet the middle class prices i propose a scenario as to what will happen

Oil now is okay but soon prices will go up until most of the poor class is unable to drive cars and some plastic product prices might go up

Then the middle class will soon have problems driving cars because of the prices and the government will subsidise petroleum products and power generation so thet will probaly reamain the same

Soon only the rich will drive cars and power generation will start having problems but plastic is only 15% of oil burned so it should be fine

Food production, Petroleum products, and Power generation will be subsided by the government WHEN THE OIL STARTS RUNNING LOW when people are not driving cars about three quarters of oil is saved probaly giving oil another 150 years enough time to think of alternative energy

Im optimistic for the future 8)

Trinity
2004-Jul-16, 01:25 AM
We supposedly ran out of oil in 1975, again in 1989, and again in 1994. I'm sure there was a report for every year saying we were supposed to run out of oil. I'm tired of hearing this.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-16, 02:08 AM
We supposedly ran out of oil in 1975, again in 1989, and again in 1994. I'm sure there was a report for every year saying we were supposed to run out of oil. I'm tired of hearing this.


Again, nobody is saying that oil is imminently running out.

Morrolan
2004-Jul-16, 02:35 AM
1. Natural gas runs dry in 2017, just 13 years away.

what data do you base this statement on?

edit to add an interesting little tidbit of information:

oil consumption in China is currently 50% of that of the USA whereas the average Chinese citizen uses only 10% of the energy the average American does. and we're not even talking about India, another fast growing economy with 1 billion people. this demand alone will keep crude oil prices way above the USD 30/barrel (Brent) for ever, so don't hold your breath for lower gas prices now or ever. they will get higher.

i may not agree with what was brought up in the OP (or they way it was brought up), but it is becoming painfully obvious that in all probability the world doesn't have enough oil in any way shape or form to support the demand of a future Chinese economy in full swing and an energy consumption per capita equal to the US.

of course, the US per capita energy consumption is ludicrously high to begin with. time for some better fuel economy in those cars some people are intent on using!

NGR
2004-Jul-16, 03:08 AM
what data do you base this statement on?

Yes I would like the answer to this as well.

You might like to know that in November 2003 Australia signed a deal with China worth US$13.75 billion to supply 3.3 million tons of LNG a year for 25 years starting from 2005 to China's Guangdong Province. This followed an earlier contract for a similar 25 year deal to start in 2008. Boy the Chinese are going to be pissed when they find out there is no gas beyond 2012.

Incidently I believe that Australia is also chasing contracts to supply California with gas so there would not appear to be any world shortage just shortages in some areas. Good business opportunity that. :wink:

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 09:37 AM
No vote here since I consider the title of your poll to be an insult.

Re


I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government

Always a good source of reliable information. That's the same source that told us in 1973 that we'd be out of oil 15 years ago.

#-o

Yet if you'll just take the time to read beyond the first few words, you'll realize (gasp!) that I actually included several categories for those who're not only not stupid, but who're exceptionally bright!

I really am sorry you were offended by the title. But I have to ask, if the title is only as far as you got...

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 09:42 AM
What happens when every 1.2 billion people in China starts moving and buying all this stuff..the world will run out of resources, gas, steel...

We need a better outlook on the world economy structures, new technologies are needed, and we need to escape from being dependant on the Middle east for Energy..we need a better place for fuel or new forms of gas power because that area of the world is so much trouble. Why haven't other ideas been put forward ?

Steel's easy - just warp an iron-laden Mars-Jupiter asteroid into L5 using an ion engine pack. Mine as necessary. Thrown massive chunks of iron to Earth for collection. The melting point is high enough that if you make it big enough, you can recover 90% of it without much trouble at all. Ocean landings are the best, preferrably in shallow water.

Plays hell with the environmentalists and naysayers, though... "what if one missed, and landed in my backyard? Wahhhh...!"

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 09:44 AM
Yeah! It finally reached two pages!!!

The ONE event in this world that will have the MOST impact on all mankind over the next 50 years took THREE DAYS to make the second page.

Pathetic, people.

Get with it.

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 09:46 AM
The title of the poll and general tone of the post lessens the impact of your message, no vote from me.

I do not have a Congressman, nor a President, to write to. 8)

But you do have a Prime Minister, as well as a Parliament.

Stop making excuses and get busy, or you'll be bicycling to work, and sailing back to Great Britain!

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 10:09 AM
5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.

The sun is good for another 4-5 billion years or so, after which there won't be a planet left for bacteria to inhabit :D . The US could supply all it's current electricity needs with a square solar photovoltaic array about 300 miles on a side ... and that's with panels that are only 10-11% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. Experimental cells have demonstrated efficiencies in the 30% range so it's not unreasonable to think that improvements can be made in this area.

On the other hand, all the solar panel ever made would only form an array about 10 miles on a side so there is a long way to go. The bigger challenge with solar PV is building storage systems so that you still have power at night. This can be done on the scale of a single family residence but it's not clear how big storage systems can be made. As a result wind turbines will be an important component of our energy future ... the wind is always blowing somewhere. In addition, if you start putting solar arrays in space and beaming the power back to earth then the amount of power that you can potentially collect gets much larger.

They key, IMHO, is realising that a social and economic system based on continuous and therefore unlimited growth is not conducive to long term survival. Here's an example:


It is possible to calculate an absolute upper limit to the amount of crude oil the earth could contain. We simply assert that the volume of petroleum in the earth cannot be larger than the volume of the earth. The volume of the earth is 6.81 x 1021 barrels, which would last for 4.1 x 1011 yr if the 1970 rate of consumption of oil held constant with no growth. The use of Eq. (6) shows that if the rate of consumption of petroleum continued on the growth curve of 7.04 % / yr of Fig. 2, this earth full of oil will last only 342 yr!



http://www.npg.org/images/bartlett/chart2.GIF

http://www.npg.org/specialreports/bartlett_section3.htm

By a similar analogy, you can show that if we had fusion and we increased the amount of fusion generated by 2-3% per year it would not be long (a few hundred years) before the amount of power generated became a sizable fraction of the total amount of energy received from the Sun.

At some point, humanity has to figure out how to start living a "steady-state" existence. Physical systems that don't tend to a steady-state from some set of initial conditions either destroy themselves or oscillate. Why should humanity be different?

Ahhh... At last! Some intelligent examination of the problem!

Personal solar panels are not only a possibility, they're a reality. They've been incorporated into roofing tiles since the mid-90's. A little more expensive, at $10,000 for a roof as opposed to $4,000, but the additional $6,000 you spend is equivalent over their estimated 10-year life span energy bill-equivalent of less than 5 years.

Two to one - I could buy that.

But that's an "average." While that may help the folks in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and California, those of us in less sunny states will be hard-pressed to break even.


In addition, if you start putting solar arrays in space and beaming the power back to earth then the amount of power that you can potentially collect gets much larger.[/quote

You're right!!! So why aren't we doing it? Is it because we're afraid the microwave transmissions might distort our genes?

Seriously, this is a very salient idea. I'm not sure of the cost per megawatt, however, although I suspect it's significantly higher than nuclear fusion, which is perhaps one reason why we haven't gone this route.

[quote]We simply assert that the volume of petroleum in the earth cannot be larger than the volume of the earth... ...this earth full of oil will last only 342 yr!

This one approach, is ingenious. By itself it shows how much oil we consume compared to what the planet will give.

The problem isn't understanding - it's apathy. I wrote my father, only to read "I'm not all that concerned, after all, I really don't think I'll be around then..."

Whatever happened to caring for one's progeny, for perpetuating the species? How selfish! How crass to say, "I'll be dead in 30 years, so it makes no difference to me."

Come on!!!

Does the older generation really care that little about their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to adopt the "it doesn't concern me" approach and condemn them to a hellacious life (if any) because their progenitors failed to take the appropriate action???

If there's any worse test of the failure of any species to fail to provide for it's decendants...

I guess this disproves Darwin, huh!!!

Or at the very least, proves why the human race deserves extinction: "We don't care."


By a similar analogy, you can show that if we had fusion and we increased the amount of fusion generated by 2-3% per year it would not be long (a few hundred years) before the amount of power generated became a sizable fraction of the total amount of energy received from the Sun.

But I could also show you similar charts as to how much more efficient our houses are now than the long-houses of old, that took half a cord of wood to keep the average temp at just 15 degrees above a freezing 32 at night.

My uncle designed and built his own house in Michigan for significantly less $$ than he would have paid for the same house if contractor or tract-house built. When he went to get the heat-pump, the salesmen laughed at him, claiming that it was less than 1/4 what he needed.

It took his reviewer architect's stamp of approval before they sold him the heat pump he wanted (state law), yet over the last 11 years, he's never run his heat pump, summer or winter, more than 3 hours in any 24-hour period - that's how good his design was.

And did it require massively expensive windows or strange insulation requirements?

Nope.

Just good old-fashioned know-how and a penchant for spending where it counts, and cutting costs where it doesn't.

In fact, in the summer of 1994, I even helped him build that house!!! Mostly hanging soffet and siding.

If anyone wants construction details, send me a PM and I'll gladly supply them.

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 10:20 AM
Goggling around I found your numbers for natural gas reserves extremely low. Using the current values of known NG reserves and current and projected use, the US can supply its own Natural Gas needs for at least 50 more years. It is estimated that about 30 year supply still has not been found.

At that point who cares, I'll be dead. :roll: :roll:

Seriously, I do think the world's energy comsumption is a problem, but I think a far greater problem is the population explosion of the past 40 or so years.

Reference my previous message for you obvious lack of concern for your progeny...

As for the population explosion, it's a well-documented fact that industrialized societies (USA, UK, ROK, Japan, Germany, Italy, etc.) tend to limit their own populations quite well, and this not due to abortion, but to other causes. I'm not sure what those causes might be, but I do find the fact most intriguing!

Reminds me of a NOVA episode which studied rats living in a confined space over a period of 22 months. At first, the few rats that were introduced (about 12, I think) were happy, healthy, well-adjusted rats with no abnormal personality traits. Conditions - unlimited food/water supply, refuse processing, and habitat material.

After the first year, the rats began exhibiting some bizaar behaviors, including agression (biting the tails off other rats), preening (constant self-cleaning behaviors), and what can only be termed as "political one-upmanship," with showy behaviors resembling those of modern politicians.

Or merely rats competing for mating rites.

Eventually, the rat population crumbled to a much more sustainable percentage of less than 1/5 of it's peak population.

One can't help but wonder what we're headed for...

Glom
2004-Jul-16, 10:36 AM
fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 10:45 AM
How rude! Are you trying to get yourself banned again?

[edited for typo]

Uh... no - did you read all of the responses? Or the importance of the discussion?

Please have mercy on me oh great one for I have sinned before an angry and jealous god!!!!!!!

Or, at the very least, please allow this post to continue due to the relative importance of it's nature...

That we will run out of natural gas, then oil, and eventualy nuclear fission is no lie. There are alternative energy sources available, some of which are actually cheaper than current sources, but because of political climates are regularly denied.

It behooves us as a World (Earth) society to stop quibbling about borders and begin providing for our future, one component of which, energy, is paramount. Without it we will not be able to transport water to the crops. Without it we will not be able to transport the crops to the hungry. Without it we will not be able to plant and care for sufficient crops.

This cycle doesn't begin to address the additional requirements involving food prepartion, entertainment, visitation, etc.

Without additional sources of energy, our world as we know it today is doomed, beginning in just 13 short years, and culiminating in just 41 years.

What kind of life do you want to live between 2017 and 2045?

If you're at all like the average American, European, Eurasian, Asian, Indonesian, Chinamen, or Japanese, I think you'll have no problem voting nuclear fission as the right course of action - for now.

Eventually, even nuclear fission will fail to provide for our energy needs, at which time nuclear fusion will carry us the rest of the way, provided all of us accept and adequately deal with the risks inherent to the respective technologies.

If we do nothing: If we refuse to consider nuclear fusion or fission as a way of bridging the gap in our world's energy requirementsm, we will have done our world a grave disservice, and will have condemned many billions of innocents to their graves.

We are at a world-wide juncture, people, one which may very well appropriately resolve the question of life on this planet.

Ununited wars consume far more resources than wars that are not united. Just typing this makes me spent!

Nevertheless, truth and justice will prevail. This is not the justice of the United States of America, but rather, the justice that is derived from all human activity on this planet.

It is a justice that speaks for Arabs as well as Christians. It is a justice that speaks for Jews as well as their antagonizers.

Bottome line - it is a justice, period.

It is the right thing to do.

Pray with me, as we embark on a most sacred journey, one of conceptualizing the differences betweeen American and Western thought. Allow for differences in doctrine, yet also allow for differences in approach to the various individuals who post here.

Thank you for your time.

(Edited for typos)

genebujold
2004-Jul-16, 11:02 AM
...just wait for the cost of winter oil to heat your homes. A lot of research should be done into looking at other forms fuel, not being so dependant on the middle east and creating other means of getting of Energy

Excellent point. As I previously mentiontion, my uncle designed a house that was perhaps 230% more efficient than that of his neighbors...
Come on, people - Share the wealth!

In the meantime, consider those beter than yourselves, always loving on anothers, despite debriefing.

TriangleMan
2004-Jul-16, 11:08 AM
Stop making excuses and get busy.
Okay, let's start with your post then:

I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government: <snip>

Add them all together, then apply them against the projected energy consumption rates, and wall - 2048 is the last year a drop of oil will drive anything here on this planet.
Of course as the resources get lower the price will rise. This will prompt decreased use of the resource and a further push towards alternatives. Once the price becomes prohibitive (say, $10.00US a gallon at the pump) use will decrease dramatically as the market will move towards fuel efficient cars, carpooling and so forth, similar to what happened during the energy crisis is the late 70s-early 80s

Did you factor that into your calculation?


Well, that was my theory, which seems to approximate Hubbert's own theory quite closely, with a current peak production, and a drop to just 20% of current production by 2050.
No that's not close, you say by 2048 the resouce is effectively gone, Hubbert has lots of oil left by 2050. How old is Hubbert's theory anyway? Did he factor in improved efficiency in extracting resources?

Not bad for this armchair scientist!
I believe what you are doing is statistical analysis, not science.

there are several more pieces to the equation:
1. Natural gas runs dry in 2017, just 13 years away.
Please provide support for this assumption.

2. Coal is good for a while, but pollutes the heck out of the atmosphere and waterways, oceans, etc., interrupting the food chain...
If I didn't think coal was a bad source of energy before this point is certainly not going to convince me. How does coal pollute the oceans anyway?

3. Nuclear fission is good to go for a couple hundred years, by which time either we've perfected fusion or we're really stupid and deserve to let bacteria inherit the planet.
"If humanity does not advance the way I expect it to then humanity is really stupid". This is not exactly a great way to support the assumption that fusion will develop in two hundred years. Surely you can come up with better evidence to support your contention.

5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.
Using today's technology of course. They could be improved as well. There is a lot of energy tied up in solar, wind and geothermal. The question is can we tap it effectively.

As for the nuclear nay-sayers - countless studies have proven the safety of nuclear energy over alternative forms of energy - and that's based on decades old, active-cooling reactor designs. Current, passive-cooling, dynamically stable reactors pose but a tiny fraction of the threat, and, if adopted, will reduce nuclear energy's detriments to incredibly small fraction of the detriments posed by alternative forms of energy.
I actually agree with this point. You might want to provide a sample of the "countless studies" though. Glom can help you here.

1. Write your Congressman. You're all scientists!!! They'll listen to you!!!
Although I'm not an American I strongly suspect you're being naive here at how much the political system listens to scientists. Perhaps you can point out some previous examples of this technique working.

2. Research the facts and give them the facts.
3. When they realize they have 1,000 letters from scientists pouring in, all of which are on the same sheet of music, and that all the letters invalidate the widely varying research from a number of different lobbying groups, they'll go, "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"
See my comments to 1

4. Write your President. If Congress chucks too many of your letters, then the President, receiving all 1,000 in his own office, will have little recourse but to give it serious consideration and "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"
Gosh, and here all these people are wasting their time forming lobby groups and spend countless millions lobbying the US government when all they needed to do was write some letters. :roll: See my comments to 1.

At which point the Congressional Inquiry begins.
That takes ten years, at which point natural gas has just three years remaining. A crisis is declared <snip>
At this point we have an idealized long-range future scenario so I won't comment.

But I'm more amazed at the apathy of readers like you who read this stuff and...DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT Why?
Why are you spending the next 2 hours on this board when you could spend the next 20 minutes writing both your Congressmen and your President?
Perhaps because your arguments are unconvincing.

Dudes and Dudettes - if we bite the dust in 44 years, it's YOUR fault - the fault of apathy.
The "if" is important here as your predictions are likely wrong.

Maksutov
2004-Jul-16, 11:22 AM
Reasons why my OR stands as is:

Title of the poll:


How stupid are you?

End of unsolicited post:


Pathetic, people.

Get with it.

Putdown of anyone whose earlier posts disagreed with
genebujold's OP and data contained therein:


Ahhh... At last! Some intelligent examination of the problem!

Chauvinistic and uninformed attitude toward the world outside the United States:


It is a justice that speaks for Arabs as well as Christians.

Surprise! Some Arabs are Christians. Ever been to Lebanon?


If you're at all like the average American, European, Eurasian, Asian, Indonesian, Chinamen, or Japanese...

Most Chinese find that term offensive. Even if it's used correctly, contextually, in the singular.

I could go on, but the evangelistic zeal combined with the inability to question the basic premise and data here make me wonder if the current poster isn't a coberst sockpuppet (or vice versa).

Then again, given the poster's listed location, perhaps that fireball did occur, and cause at least one casualty. 8)

mid
2004-Jul-16, 12:06 PM
Quite apart from the fact that the US is the most energy-hungry nation on the planet, and I suggest you get your own house in order before proceeding to hector the rest of us, Gene, you've not quite insulted and offended me enough, yet. Do you think a bit more might persuade me to agree with your argument?

Argos
2004-Jul-16, 12:42 PM
Food production, Petroleum products, and Power generation will be subsided by the government WHEN THE OIL STARTS RUNNING LOW when people are not driving cars about three quarters of oil is saved probaly giving oil another 150 years enough time to think of alternative energy


It´s important to bear in mind that the leap for the next energy matrix(say, fusion) will require...energy. We´ve got to have energy to research new forms of energy. The transition to fusion has to be made upon the fossil base we have now, and we have to do it while oil is still relatively abundant. Else things are going to be far more difficult.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-16, 03:26 PM
An FTW interview with Matthew Simmons on Electricity and Peak Oil. My apologies for the length of the post but I thought it was germaine to the discussion and raises some new issues.

Link (http://www.guerrillanews.com/sci-tech/doc2927.html)


Behind the Blackout


An Energy Investment Banker and Bush Energy Advisor Gives Unexpected Answers on the Northeast Power Grid, Peak Oil and Gas, and Much More


Matthew Simmons is the CEO of the world's largest Energy Investment Bank, Simmons & Company International. Its clients include Halliburton; Baker, Botts, LLP; Dynegy; Kerr-McGee; and the World Bank. Since 1993, it has underwritten or financed 18 transactions valued at more than $350 million. Of those, six were valued at more than $1 billion. Simmons is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the National Petroleum Council's Natural Gas Task Force. He has a lot to say about the Northeast power grid blackout, its causes, and what they imply for the future. He also has a lot to say about Peak Oil and Gas.

Surprisingly, and with remarkable candor flowing from a sense of urgency he communicates at every one of his presentations to global energy experts, Simmons delivers a message that sounds more like a Democratic "New Deal" plank than a Republican Party free-market love fest. He is an arch foe of economists who insist that investment and technology will solve what he and a growing number of energy industry experts call an unsolvable and permanent decline in hydrocarbon energy resources.


Deregulation was the primary cause of the failure on Black Thursday, August 14. But, as far as Matt Simmons is concerned, to stop there and pretend everything is okay if only more infrastructure is built borders on suicidal behavior.


Matt Simmons will be the first to tell you that what he says has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with survival. He is a man of seeming contradictions by virtue of his opposition to the environmental movement on the one hand and his absolute dislike of energy deregulation in the 1990s on the other. There are very few who have interacted with him from any camp who doubt either his honesty or his sincerity. For that reason alone, what this insider has to say about the Northeast Power Grid collapse deserves our fullest attention. His words carry weight in Washington and around the world. Black Thursday was, he says, only the beginning.


----------


FTW interviewed Simmons via telephone from his home in Rockport, Maine on August 18, 2003


FTW: What's the most important thing you want the American people to know about Black Thursday?


SIMMONS: This blackout ought to be an incredible jolt telling us about a host of energy problems that are ultimately going to prevent any future economic growth. It's like people have been ignoring annoying phone calls and living in denial about a problem that won't go away. It's like the ghost of Enron calling. The event itself was astonishing. Senior people like Governor Pataki or the head of NERC [North American Electric Reliability Council] were asking how this could happen. But the problem was inevitable. The only thing we didn't know was when it would happen.


FTW: What did happen?


Simmons: On a large scale what happened was deregulation. Deregulation destroyed excess capacity. Under deregulation, excess capacity was labeled as "massive glut" and removed from the system to cut costs and increase profits. Experience has taught us that weather is the chief culprit in events like this. The system needs to be designed for a 100-year cyclical event of peak demand. If you don't prepare for this, you are asking for a massive blackout. New plants generally aren't built unless they are mandated, and free markets don't make investments that give one percent returns. There was also no investment in new transmission lines.


Underlying all this is the fact that we have no idea how to store electricity. And every aspect of carrying capacity, from generators, to transmission lines, to the lines to and inside your house, has a rated capacity of x. When you exceed x, the lines melt. That's why we have fuse boxes and why power grids shut down. So we have now created a vicious cyclicality that progresses over time.


Another problem was that with deregulation, people thought that they could borrow from their neighbor. New York thought it could borrow from Vermont. Ohio thought that it could borrow from Michigan, etc. That works, but only up to the point where everyone needs to borrow at once and there's no place to go.


A second major reason is that decisions were made in the 1990s that all new generating plants were to be gas fired. We've had a natural gas summit this year and, as you know, I have been talking for some time about the natural gas cliff we are experiencing. Many thought that this winter would be deadly, and I have to say that it's just a miracle that we have replenished our gas stocks going into the cold months. This winter could have been a major disaster. We've seen a price collapse in natural gas to the five to eight dollar range (per thousand cubic feet) and the only reason that happened was throughout almost the entire summer there were only a handful of days when the temperature rose above eighty degrees anywhere. That was miraculous. It allowed us to prepare for the winter but we shouldn't be optimistic. One good hurricane that disrupts production, one blazing heat wave, one freezing winter after that and we're out of solutions.


FTW: And natural gas too?


Simmons: Well, I know you understand it, but people need to understand the concept of peaking and irreversible decline. It's a sharper issue with gas, which doesn't follow a bell curve but tends to fall off a cliff. There will always be oil and gas in the ground, even a million years from now. The question is, will you be a microbe to go down and eat the oil in small pockets at depths no one can afford or is able to drill to? Will you spend hundreds of thousands to drill a gas well that will run dry in a few months? All the big deposits have been found and exploited. There aren't going to be any dramatic new discoveries and the discovery trends have made this abundantly clear.


We are now in a box we should never have gotten into and it has very serious implications. We also see the inevitable issues that follow a major blackout: no water, no sewage, no gasoline. The gasoline issue is very important. Our gasoline stocks are at near all time lows. With the blackout, more than seven hundred thousand barrels per day of refinery capacity were shut down. People were told to boil their water. So what do they do, they go to their electric stove which isn't working. What then?


FTW: Makes you wonder about France and the heat wave that has killed 5,000.


Simmons: The only reason Europe was spared a far worse blackout than what hit the USA was that Europe barely uses air conditioning. In fact, even though America uses a lot of air conditioning some areas have become fairly efficient in the ways they use it. Quantitatively, we use more energy because there are more of us. But air conditioning is a relatively new experience in Ontario, Canada. Until recently Ontario had been a net energy exporter. They have a population of just over 12 million. With air conditioning in the last five years, Ontario became a net importer of electricity. Now, on just a normal hot summer day, Ontario's peak power use averages about 23,000 Gigawatts.


Texas, with a population of 25 million, set an all time record of 60,000 Gigawatts just a week before the blackout. The difference is that except for one tiny line running into Arkansas, Texas is self-contained for electricity. It's not tied to any other users. As we saw on Black Thursday, Ottawa was part of a whole interlocking system that had no place to go but down.


FTW: So how big a factor was the weather?


Simmons: It was THE factor in my opinion. To show much weather determines power use, in the week of August 3rd, the US set an all-time national record for electricity use of 90,000 Gigawatts. The Mid-Atlantic States' use of power had jumped 29.5% over last year and 20% over just the previous four weeks. Why? The temperature had been as hot as we experienced on Black Thursday. If you want to compare it to vehicles and roadways, air conditioning is the interstate highway system and the Internet is the equivalent of SUVs. Everything that happened on August 14 started in the 17th hour. (5 PM at various local times). That's when everything is running at once: industrial, residential, and commercial. This is when demand peaks regardless of the weather. And we know that in hour 17 on that day the US experienced all-time peak energy use. That's when the system tripped out.


FTW: So we have two basic camps saying that the problems are generating capacity and transmission lines, without addressing feedstock issues. What about the advocates for deregulation who argued that there would be more generating capacity as a result?


Simmons: History answers that one. Following the 1965 blackout when NERC was created there was a mandate that publicly owned and regulated power providers had to build new plants. Every five years, ten per cent was added to the generating base. As deregulation was implemented in the 1990s, it was argued that it would open up vast quantities of energy in neighboring states. In the first five years of the decade, only four per cent capacity was added over the entire period. In the second five years, only two per cent was added.


In the summer of 1999, we had thirty consecutive power events which unleashed the single biggest construction boom in history which built 220 thousand megawatts of new plants at a capitalization cost of six to seven hundred thousand dollars per megawatt. Ninety-eight per cent of those plants were gas fired.


It was decided to use solely natural gas plants for several reasons. Coal fired plants took five to seven years to build. They are very dirty environmentally and the permit process is difficult. We have built on all the available hydroelectric sites we can build on. Nuclear is unpopular and expensive. Oil fired plants are remnants of the days when oil was cheap. Those days are not coming back because Peak Oil is with us now. Besides that, oil fired power plants are about the least efficient use of a barrel of oil that I can imagine. That left natural gas and the economists mistakenly presumed there would be large supplies. But natural gas plants were built with no supplies. Synthetic contracts were used, Enron-style, to sell gas futures when the gas didn't necessarily exist.


FTW: Assuming that there was enough feed stock to run the new plants how much building are we talking about?


Simmons: Each state would need to build forty to fifty per cent excess capacity. A forty per cent cushion merely provides the chance to withstand a day of high summer heat and the chance to grow by about 3% per year for three years.


FTW: Yet even if we re-regulate there are still going to be problems with feed stock to power the plants. How serious is that?


Simmons: Someone's going to be left holding the bag big time. If natural gas consumption surges in ten days of excessive heat then it would require almost a complete shutdown of industrial consumption to compensate and protect the grid. As I have been reporting for years now, there isn't going to be enough gas to run those plants, let alone new ones.


FTW: You mean shut down the economy for ten days to keep people from cooking?


Simmons: Yes.


FTW: Everyone keeps saying that ANWR (The Arctic Natural Wildlife Reserve) is the answer if we drill there. Is it?


Simmons: ANWR is not "The Answer." However, it makes great sense to develop. Drilling there should not have a negative impact on the coastal plains of the Arctic. With great luck, it could create between 300,000 and possibly up to 1.5 million barrels of oil a day and lots of natural gas that could last a decade or two. But this does not become the sole answer. On the other hand, if ANWR is kept off limits, it becomes no answer.


FTW: What about imports of natural gas from overseas? Russia and Indonesia have huge reserves; Canada, as the Canadians are painfully aware, is almost depleted when it comes to natural gas.


Simmons: Indonesia's gas fields are very old. Its Natuna gas fields, a source of stranded gas that gets discussed all the time has 95% CO2 and apparently costs about $40 billion to develop a mere 1 bcf/day of dry gas. Russia has four old fields that make up over 80% of their gas supply and they all are in decline. Canada's decline problems are as serious as the US.


FTW: Windmills? Solar?


Simmons: There's no way they can replace even a portion of hydrocarbon energy.


FTW: Reducing consumption?


Simmons: Reducing consumption has to happen, but many of the favorite conservation concepts make little overall difference. The big conservation changes end up being steps, like a ban on using electricity to either heat water or melt metals and instead, always using the "burner tip of natural gas". The latter is vastly more efficient, the energy savings are enormous and we need lower ceilings and smaller rooms. We need mass transit, and to eliminate traffic congestion. Finally, we need a way to keep people from using air-conditioning when the weather gets really muggy and hot at same time. The strain this puts on our grid is too overwhelming.


We also must begin to use our current discretionary power during the nighttime. All of theses steps are hard to implement but they make a difference.


FTW: What is the solution?


Simmons: I don't think there is one. The solution is to pray. Pray for mild weather and a mild winter. Pray for no hurricanes and to stop the erosion of natural gas supplies. Under the best of circumstances, if all prayers are answered there will be no crisis for maybe two years. After that it's a certainty.


FTW: On that cheery note let's take a look at oil supplies.


Simmons: Currently, oil supply issues are as serious as the electrical grid. Last month the IEA (International Energy Agency) updated their database. They had for years been talking about a coming huge surge in non-OPEC supply, excluding the FSU (Former Soviet Union). It hasn't happened. We have the highest oil prices in 20 years and even great technological advances have not had a measurable impact on discovery or production.


FTW: I have recently noted the speed with which the Chad-Cameroon pipeline was built and switched on. Chad only has estimated reserves of around 900 million barrels (World consumption is I billion barrels every 12 days). I see a sense of urgency there.


Simmons: It's amazing. What's that pipeline going to pump, fifty thousand barrels per day? That figure may go up, but it's inconsequential in the long run. It's a sign of how strapped world supplies really are and that we may be finding out that we are already over the peak.


FTW: What about Iraq and Saudi Arabia? We have been following Iraq closely and all the sabotage, infrastructure damage and the pipeline bombings are actually reducing Iraqi capacity. That leaves Saudi Arabia with 25% of known reserves.


Simmons: I have for years described two camps: the economists who told us that technology would always produce new supply and the pessimists or Cassandras who told us that peak was coming in maybe fifteen or twenty years. We may be finding out that we went over the peak in 2000. That makes both camps wrong.


Over the last year. I have obtained and closely examined more than 100 very technical production reports from Saudi Arabia. What I glean from examining the data is that it is very likely that Saudi Arabia, already a debtor nation, has very likely gone over its Peak. If that is true, then it is a certainty that planet earth has passed its peak of production.


What that means, in the starkest possible terms, is that we are no longer going to be able to grow. It's like with a human being who passes a certain age in life. Getting older does not mean the same thing as death. It means progressively diminishing capacity, a rapid decline, followed by a long tail.


FTW: What about people like Alan Greenspan and popular writers who tell us that there is no basic problem with energy supplies? Others offer us hydrogen, which is laughed out of hand by people who have looked at its feasibility and efficiency.


Simmons: Basically they just don't get it. Some of them have gotten lazy. They were so carried away by the arguments of the economists that they stopped doing their homework. Month by month, and year by year, events are proving them systematically and thoroughly incorrect. They just don't get it. Right now, there is a deluge of stories on the wonders of hydrogen. This is another area of great confusion. Hydrogen is not a primary source of energy. For a Hydrogen Era to occur you need an abundance of natural gas, or you need to create a great deal of new power plants using coal and nuclear power. What I find so ironic about our very serious energy problems is that they started in Santa Barbara in 1969. This was where the best work was being done to create a new technological evolution in our ability to recover energy from deep water sources. Then we had a tragic spill. This gave birth to the environmental movement. It began the war between modern energy and environmental "anarchists". They have worked overtime to shut down our access to areas that might have diversified our energy supply. Had we been able to develop these areas, then we would have more options now to ensure a continuation of the economic prosperity we take so much for granted. And there is no better friend of the environment that economic prosperity.

FTW: But peak oil is peak oil, is it not? Aren't we just talking about something that would have delayed the inevitable for a few years? It would take a couple of years to drill and pipe out of ANWR but there's only a two year (total US) supply of gas there at best, and even less oil. Then what? At the ASPO conference in Paris, I think it was you or another expert who disclosed that four out of five very expensive deep water holes were coming up dry?

Simmons: Peaking of oil and gas will occur, if it has not already happened, and we will never know when the event has happened until we see it "in our rear view mirrors."

FTW: Is it time for Peak Oil and Gas to become part of the public policy debate? Simmons: It is past time. As I have said, the experts and politicians have no Plan B to fall back on. If energy peaks, particularly while 5 of the world's 6.5 billion people have little or no use of modern energy, it will be a tremendous jolt to our economic well-being and to our heath -- greater than anyone could ever imagine.

---------

russ_watters
2004-Jul-16, 06:54 PM
In fact, I think that cycle has been going on for quite some time. Every 10-20 years there seems to be a report that we only have 10-20 years of oil left. Odd. Yes, I learned that back in elementary school (I'm 28...). Since 20 years ago we had 20 years left and now we have 40 years left, its reasonable to assume that in 20 more years, we'll have 60 years left! I'm not seeing a problem...

mike alexander
2004-Jul-16, 07:40 PM
russ_watters wrote:


Since 20 years ago we had 20 years left and now we have 40 years left, its reasonable to assume that in 20 more years, we'll have 60 years left

And since I'm about twice your age in another 28 years I'll be 112...

:wink:

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jul-16, 09:25 PM
In fact, I think that cycle has been going on for quite some time. Every 10-20 years there seems to be a report that we only have 10-20 years of oil left. Odd. Yes, I learned that back in elementary school (I'm 28...). Since 20 years ago we had 20 years left and now we have 40 years left, its reasonable to assume that in 20 more years, we'll have 60 years left! I'm not seeing a problem...
It's kind of sad they way it's almost impossible to discuss OIL and the need for fuel energy, without some small mention of the tiny middle east and small politics but here it goes:
clearly Russ wasn't paying attention in class 8-[ ..if you missed class just check your 60mins or CNN to do a little catch up on geography, the price of Oil is a big concern and many of us seem pre-occupied with getting those pipe lines flowing that's how serious it is...well you know the Osama issue ( big beard evil radical guy ) no one seems to care there's a big evil terror group alive and well moving around Asia, the middle East and North Africa possibly planning something nasty soon ..well he just got sidelined and his people are not on the 'To do' list anymore..seems there are other issues bad financial scandlas and getting that Iraq oil to keep industry moving has become priority numero uno, so much for the other important matters everyone is just bogged down in Iraq and concered about the price fixings the Saudi rich merchants are making. Why the quest for a nice pipe line
well it goes like this

could put it all in a very simple manner
it goes a little like this: most of the resources in the middle East have Oil and pertoleum in its purest form..there are other sources of Oil and Gas like blasting apart areas of Alsaka or digging miles down under the Atlantic Ocean but the oil here is difficult to manage, hard to extract,
it's kind of causing a little economic crisis, but you don't have to wait for it to run bone dry
As VMA131Marine-Bad Newbie said

What peak oil means is that, probably sometime between now and 2010 mankind will have consumed half of the recoverable oil on the planet. The recoverable part is important because even in oil fields that are now deemed to be "dead" there is lots of oil left

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-16, 10:45 PM
In fact, I think that cycle has been going on for quite some time. Every 10-20 years there seems to be a report that we only have 10-20 years of oil left. Odd. Yes, I learned that back in elementary school (I'm 28...). Since 20 years ago we had 20 years left and now we have 40 years left, its reasonable to assume that in 20 more years, we'll have 60 years left! I'm not seeing a problem...

The problem is that the world economic system, by definition, is only healthy when it's growing, and it relies on cheap energy for growth. It also requires on the supply of energy to grow, because more economic activity requires more energy to accomplish. Now, what happens when energy becomes supply rather than demand limited, as it will after the Hubbert Peak has passed? Since you are only 28 you don't remember what happened in 1973 when there was an oil embargo by the Middle East on the US. The crisis didn't last that long, but the disruption in supply (and the US was a lot closer to being energy independent then) caused rationing of gasoline and a huge increase in energy costs. Now imagine what happens when you reduce the amount of oil available by 3-4% per year, every year and combine it with a growing world demand. There's still plenty of oil in the system but not enough to give everyone what they want. Prices will have to rise to the point that they choke off demand to the level of the supply. Less energy in the system will mean economic activity contracts. It will no longer be cheaper to make something in China and ship it to the US because the energy cost of transporting it will become more important than the labour cost. In order to even begin to keep even with the reduction in oil availability, the US will have to build 1000 times more generating capacity from solar PV and wind turbines EVERY YEAR than have been built to date. Or it can build coal plants which a highly polluting and take 5-7 years to construct. Or it can build breeder reactors, the technology for which as power generators is not perfected.

Global oil consumption has been increasing exponentially for decades. If half the earths endowment of oil has been consumed then it would only take the time to double consumption again (about 20-25 years) to consume all the rest of the oil assuming no limitation on supply. But, we know that supply is limited by how fast the oil can be extracted from the ground. Logically it follows that the rate of production will peak and then decline exponentially.

I would also note that the estimate of Ultimate Recoverable Reserves has been between 1750 Gbbl and 2100 Gbbl for 30 years. The planet has now consumed about 950 Gbbl, or about half. Starting to see a pattern here?

dvb
2004-Jul-17, 01:15 AM
I don't see how writing to a government official will change our economy. IMO, the world economy will fix itself. When oil becomes too expensive, alternative renewable sources may not look so expensive after all.

From my viewpoint anyways, our economy is already in its transition. All of the major car companies are offering hybrid gasoline/fuel cell vehicles now. Computer technology is ever reaching its limits as microchips get smaller, the wires get close together, and they begin to produce more heat which is wasted energy. Megahurtz used to drive the computer industry, but we now find as the chips get smaller, we have to consider making them more energy efficient as well. Who watches TV? Many people do, and LCD technology is slowly replacing the CRT in television sets which requires much less energy to operate. How about those cheap florescent lights that you can buy in the stores now that screw into a normal light socket? They have 13w bulbs at my local walmart that give the equal amount of light that a 60w incandescent produces. I use these in my apartment, and encourage others to as well. White LED's are becomming more popular and coming down in price, and the amount of energy they require is even less than that of florescents.

The above may look like small differences, but every little bit adds up. I could go on and on. These are just a few examples. Then again, our growing population may negate any efficiencies gained.

I'm sure we're still doing a good job of shifting the scale ourselves though. When the need arises, alternatives will be found.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-17, 04:09 AM
I'm sure we're still doing a good job of shifting the scale ourselves though. When the need arises, alternatives will be found.

That would be the old "We'll see the iceberg in time to avoid it theory I suppose. You're making the assumption that problems related to declining petroleum production will occur gradually enough to find a solution.

dvb
2004-Jul-17, 05:33 AM
I'm sure we're still doing a good job of shifting the scale ourselves though. When the need arises, alternatives will be found.

That would be the old "We'll see the iceberg in time to avoid it theory I suppose. You're making the assumption that problems related to declining petroleum production will occur gradually enough to find a solution.

We have all the solutions we need, it's just a matter of implementing them when oil prices become prohibitive. Right now the price of gasoline is hovering around the 90 cents a litre canadian mark where I live. When the price of gasoline reaches 2, 3, 4 dollars a litre, I think people will realize what they need to do. I'm sure that people are reminded every time they go to the gas station, and every time they get a gas or hydro bill of what needs to be done. Even government officials pay bills, so they're not naive of the problems either.

Bob The Confused
2004-Jul-18, 08:00 AM
Personal solar panels are not only a possibility, they're a reality. They've been incorporated into roofing tiles since the mid-90's. A little more expensive, at $10,000 for a roof as opposed to $4,000, but the additional $6,000 you spend is equivalent over their estimated 10-year life span energy bill-equivalent of less than 5 years.



$10,000?? That's a low-ball figure. A small system for a home runs more like $25,000 plus. The panels are good for longer than 10 years, it's just their output decreases as the coating on the cells degrades. Heck, where I work, we still have panels in our array that are over 20 years old and still putting out electricity. Advances are being made constantly to increase the efficiency of the cells, the life of the cell, and the maximum effective use of silicon. (i.e. cutting thinner wafers)
[url]http://www.bpsolar.com/homesolutions/solarsavingsestimator.cfm[/url

As for the price of Solar dropping drastically, I can't see it. Silicon is another resource, and, those holding the resource see a chance to earn more money. The Si used for solar is the left-over scrap from the semi-conductor industry. Solar grade silicon costs anywhere from $25 - $60 a kilogram, depending on where it comes from, and the purity. One kilogram of silicon has a maximum potential power output of about 130 watts at current production methods.

Solar is a supplemental power, it can never sustain a civilization.

Monoxide Child
2004-Jul-18, 08:09 AM
At that point who cares, I'll be dead. :roll: :roll:
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-18, 10:25 PM
Solar is a supplemental power, it can never sustain a civilization.

Wrong! Solar power has sustained life on earth since it's inception. Except for the small amount of nuclear and geothermal power generated, all energy on earth ultimately derives from the sun


1,750 Gb, the estimate of all the conventional oil that there ever was or ever will be, is less than the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in one 24 hour day.

1,750 G-barrels x 5,800,000 BTU/barrel = 10.15 x 1018 BTU, which is less than ...
445 BTU/ft²/hr x 24 hrs x 49,240,000 mi² x 5,280² ft²/mi² = 14.7 x 1018 BTU
Some people say that "solar" is a diffuse, insignificant source of energy. How long would humanity survive if we had only oil to heat the earth?!

[Note: 49 million mi² is the area intersecting the sun's light.]



Furthermore, silicon is one of the most abundant elements on the planet being the principal molecular component of sand. Finally, PV technology is still in its relative infancy and I would guess that more efficient and less resource intensive panel will be developed in the future. They aren't available now however, which is one of the reasons why peak oil presents such a problem.

Bob The Confused
2004-Jul-18, 11:14 PM
[quote=Bob The Confused]Solar is a supplemental power, it can never sustain a civilization.

Wrong! Solar power has sustained life on earth since it's inception. Except for the small amount of nuclear and geothermal power generated, all energy on earth ultimately derives from the sun

[quote]

What I meant by that was that solar as electric generation is supplemental. There's no way to build enough panels to power just the US. I work for one of the largest solar production companies in the world.

As for silicon being abundant, it is. However, solar grade silicon isn't. Silicon has to be processed to make it ready for the solar industry. Plus, there are many competing uses for silicon. There's the semi-conductor industry and the general manufacturing industry. Silicon-carbide and silicon-nitride are industrial abrasives used in cutting and grinding.

Also, casting silicon into poly-crystalline silicon useable in solar panels is a touchy process. Slight variations in temperature inside a casting station can cause bad crystal structure invalidating the silicon as useable for panels. As it stands, it takes 240kg of good silicon going into the casting process to make 170kg of potentially useable silicon. That missing 70kg? About ten of it is sent out as waste in the cutting process. About 20 of it is totally useless and the other 40 can possible be tossed back into the casting stream, assuming it's not contaminated.

Now, the 170 kg makes about about 9400 wafers. Then you lose about 10 - 15 % of them due to handling and defects. The remaining wafers get moved to the coating process where you lose about another 15 - 20%. Then the finished cell gets moved to the panel area where you lose another 2 - 4 %.

You start with 240kg of silicon and, if things go well, you use maybe 120kg out the back door to the customer.

Just because it's silicon, doesn't mean it can be turned into a solar panel.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-18, 11:41 PM
Solar is a supplemental power, it can never sustain a civilization.

Wrong! Solar power has sustained life on earth since it's inception. Except for the small amount of nuclear and geothermal power generated, all energy on earth ultimately derives from the sun




What I meant by that was that solar as electric generation is supplemental. There's no way to build enough panels to power just the US. I work for one of the largest solar production companies in the world.


Thanks for the explanation! However, this means that unless there is some technological breakthrough on the generation of electricity from the sun, the primary viable alternative to oil and natural gas is wind power. Not good when peak oil is only 5 years away at most.

genebujold
2004-Jul-19, 10:01 AM
fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission fission

yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

genebujold
2004-Jul-19, 10:29 AM
Stop making excuses and get busy.
Okay, let's start with your post then:

I ran the numbers myself using sources obtained from the federal government: <snip>

Add them all together, then apply them against the projected energy consumption rates, and wall - 2048 is the last year a drop of oil will drive anything here on this planet.
Of course as the resources get lower the price will rise. This will prompt decreased use of the resource and a further push towards alternatives. Once the price becomes prohibitive (say, $10.00US a gallon at the pump) use will decrease dramatically as the market will move towards fuel efficient cars, carpooling and so forth, similar to what happened during the energy crisis is the late 70s-early 80s

Did you factor that into your calculation?

Actually, the U.S. government factored that into their consumption rates from which I ran my calcs.



Well, that was my theory, which seems to approximate Hubbert's own theory quite closely, with a current peak production, and a drop to just 20% of current production by 2050.
No that's not close, you say by 2048 the resouce is effectively gone, Hubbert has lots of oil left by 2050. How old is Hubbert's theory anyway? Did he factor in improved efficiency in extracting resources?

I've not compared his calcs to the current U.S. government calcs, but from a few things I've read, he underestimated third-world growth, use of, and dependance on oil


Not bad for this armchair scientist!
I believe what you are doing is statistical analysis, not science.
Statistics is applied science


there are several more pieces to the equation:
1. Natural gas runs dry in 2017, just 13 years away.
Please provide support for this assumption.

2. Coal is good for a while, but pollutes the heck out of the atmosphere and waterways, oceans, etc., interrupting the food chain...
If I didn't think coal was a bad source of energy before this point is certainly not going to convince me. How does coal pollute the oceans anyway?
I suggest you type the following into Google and discover the wonder of the Internet for yourself instead of asking me to spoon-feed you. I would hope that as a scientist you would have learned to educate yourself by this time! "acid rain" and "ocean pollution"

My point is this: When otherwise well-educated people say, "explain this to me," they're either:

1. Lazy

2. Being obstinate

3. Truly ignorant

4. No otherwise well-educated

If it's the first two, and apology will do. If it's the latter two, no worries and have a nice life!



3. Nuclear fission is good to go for a couple hundred years, by which time either we've perfected fusion or we're really stupid and deserve to let bacteria inherit the planet.
"If humanity does not advance the way I expect it to then humanity is really stupid". This is not exactly a great way to support the assumption that fusion will develop in two hundred years. Surely you can come up with better evidence to support your contention.
Are you saying that if we survive the oil bust with nuclear then idly sit by and let the opportunity for fusion to pass us by we somehow deserve better than bacterial status?


5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.
Using today's technology of course. They could be improved as well. There is a lot of energy tied up in solar, wind and geothermal. The question is can we tap it effectively.
Somewhat. No where NEAR enough.


As for the nuclear nay-sayers - countless studies have proven the safety of nuclear energy over alternative forms of energy - and that's based on decades old, active-cooling reactor designs. Current, passive-cooling, dynamically stable reactors pose but a tiny fraction of the threat, and, if adopted, will reduce nuclear energy's detriments to incredibly small fraction of the detriments posed by alternative forms of energy.
I actually agree with this point. You might want to provide a sample of the "countless studies" though. Glom can help you here.
So can the Internet! Type "passive cooling" and "nuclear reactors" and "safe" into Google.


1. Write your Congressman. You're all scientists!!! They'll listen to you!!!
Although I'm not an American I strongly suspect you're being naive here at how much the political system listens to scientists. Perhaps you can point out some previous examples of this technique working.
it's not that politicians listen to scientists. It's that when a lot of them get together and raise an issue, politically, publically (might require newspapers...), they will listen - often to far fewer numbers than the general populace, because while the media will downplay one, or a dozen scientists, they won't downplay 200 of them.


2. Research the facts and give them the facts.
3. When they realize they have 1,000 letters from scientists pouring in, all of which are on the same sheet of music, and that all the letters invalidate the widely varying research from a number of different lobbying groups, they'll go, "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"
See my comments to 1
Seen. Responded to. See my response


4. Write your President. If Congress chucks too many of your letters, then the President, receiving all 1,000 in his own office, will have little recourse but to give it serious consideration and "Gasp! I think there's something to this!!!"
Gosh, and here all these people are wasting their time forming lobby groups and spend countless millions lobbying the US government when all they needed to do was write some letters. :roll: See my comments to 1.
Seen. Responded to. See my response.

Look, people - I've swayed Congressmen to switch from one side of an issue to another with just ONE well-written letter. If I, a single individual can do that, how much more can several hundred of you do in unison? Are you that apathetic that you say, "oh, no - it can't be done..." instead of picking up your keyboards and typing away for less than 20 minutes???

If so, if your that apathetic about the issue, you go ahead and decay while I and my progeny find a solution out of this mess!


At which point the Congressional Inquiry begins.
That takes ten years, at which point natural gas has just three years remaining. A crisis is declared <snip>
At this point we have an idealized long-range future scenario so I won't comment.
You just did.


But I'm more amazed at the apathy of readers like you who read this stuff and...DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT IT Why?
Why are you spending the next 2 hours on this board when you could spend the next 20 minutes writing both your Congressmen and your President?
Perhaps because your arguments are unconvincing.
Then why listen to me? Why don't you run the numbers for yourselves? Why are you saying, "Oh, well, the other guy said it would happen ten years later, so it's no big deal." Are you really that apathetic about the near future, the very survival of our society as we know it???

Dudes and Dudettes - if we bite the dust in 44 years, it's YOUR fault - the fault of apathy.

And, apparently, we've just seen a prime example of such apathy!
The "if" is important here as your predictions are likely wrong.[/quote][quote]

The cluebird really is trying to land on your shoulder, but you just keep shooing him away! I'll give you a hint - they're not "my" predictions. They're the predictions of the many scientists who've worked on this issue over the last 20 years for the United States Federal Government.

I'm using their data, their conclusions - not mine. Data which is widely available for download or review in any major library.

If you're THAT apathetic, you deserve to perish!

Then again, you may just be old, in which case I'll say to you what I recently said to my father: "Do you care that little about your grandson, that you, by your inaction, would condemn him at the age of 45 to a life of hell because you refused to write a single, simple letter expressing your concern? Are you that unconcerned about caring for your progeny?

Folks - if you're that unconcerned, then by all means grab the bag of chips and chow down. Drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you will die.

The rest of us, however, one way or another, are going to live, and we're not going to take too kindly to a bunch of apathetic couch potatoes looking for a handout when they weren't willing to take a stand on the issues when it mattered!

TriangleMan
2004-Jul-19, 11:11 AM
I suggest you type the following into Google and discover the wonder of the Internet for yourself instead of asking me to spoon-feed you. I would hope that as a scientist you would have learned to educate yourself by this time! "acid rain" and "ocean pollution"
I'd of thought you would have been at the BABB long enough to know that if you make the claim, you provide the back-up. Surely if you are so concerned about this issue and imploring us all to take action you can take that extra few minutes to provide your sources?

Please provide a link to the government statistics you used, the evidence that natural gas will run out by 2017, one of the studies showing the safety of nuclear power, and, if you feel so inclined, how acid rain from coal is damaging the oceans.



"If humanity does not advance the way I expect it to then humanity is really stupid". This is not exactly a great way to support the assumption that fusion will develop in two hundred years. Surely you can come up with better evidence to support your contention.
Are you saying that if we survive the oil bust with nuclear then idly sit by and let the opportunity for fusion to pass us by we somehow deserve better than bacterial status?
No, I'm saying your arguement on this point is poor and provides no evidence that supports your position.




5. All the solar, wind, tide, and geothermal sources combined won't amount to but a small fraction of our current needs, much less our future needs.
Using today's technology of course. They could be improved as well. There is a lot of energy tied up in solar, wind and geothermal. The question is can we tap it effectively.
Somewhat. No where NEAR enough.
Well I'll take a page from your debating book and say that either we'll perfect solar, wind or geothermal or we're really stupid and deserve to let bacteria inherit the planet. (If this argument is not convincing you, please tell me why).

I'll leave the issue on convincing US politicians alone, I'm not American and the topic is political, others may have more valid points on that matter.


Then why listen to me? Why don't you run the numbers for yourselves?
But how would we know that I'm running the same numbers that you are? That's why you need to provide them.

R.A.F.
2004-Jul-19, 01:00 PM
Gene...While I tend to agree with you that future energy sources are very important, I don't agree with your "setting a date" as to when we will "run out" of these sources. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I don't see the evidence to support your claim...)

But that's not the "real" problem with this thread...that problem lies in your Delivery...

This thread is basically, "If you don't agree with me, then you're apathetic or stupid. (You're words, not mine.) Don't you see that your "message" is all but lost among the many insulting assumptions you've made about the folks on this board??

Like I said, I tend to agree with your opinion, ie, future energy sources are important...but the way you've chosen to express that opinion is all wrong.

Sorry, that's just my opinion.

genebujold
2004-Jul-19, 01:06 PM
I sincerely tried to respond to the responders, but was told by the board's IQ (less than 1%, as it's a machine), that I could only "edit my own posts."

Since I've been an HTML programmer with no less than 9 years of experience, I've no conclusion except to believe the "error-checking" of this board does not adhere to the IEEE-mandated standards of HTML posting.

Bad Astronomer, with respect to HTML posting, there's a disconnect somewhere in your board between fiction and reality...

I hope you find it!

- Gene' Bujold

Moose
2004-Jul-19, 01:10 PM
Try hitting the "quote" button, not the "edit" button, GB.

mid
2004-Jul-19, 02:53 PM
Folks - if you're that unconcerned, then by all means grab the bag of chips and chow down. Drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you will die.

The rest of us, however, one way or another, are going to live, and we're not going to take too kindly to a bunch of apathetic couch potatoes looking for a handout when they weren't willing to take a stand on the issues when it mattered!

Sorry, Gene. You'll be just as dead too, if the world goes to hell in a handbasket. You'll get to be all smug at us as however, which appears to be your main aim here. So that's something to look forward to.

russ_watters
2004-Jul-21, 07:38 PM
Try hitting the "quote" button, not the "edit" button, GB. lol, #-o

russ_watters
2004-Jul-21, 07:41 PM
In fact, I think that cycle has been going on for quite some time. Every 10-20 years there seems to be a report that we only have 10-20 years of oil left. Odd. Yes, I learned that back in elementary school (I'm 28...). Since 20 years ago we had 20 years left and now we have 40 years left, its reasonable to assume that in 20 more years, we'll have 60 years left! I'm not seeing a problem...
It's kind of sad they way it's almost impossible to discuss OIL and the need for fuel energy, without some small mention of the tiny middle east and small politics but here it goes:
clearly Russ wasn't paying attention in class 8-[ ..if you missed class just check your 60mins or CNN to do a little catch up on geography, the price of Oil is a big concern and many of us seem pre-occupied with getting those pipe lines flowing that's how serious it is...well you know the Osama issue ( big beard evil radical guy ) no one seems to care there's a big evil terror group alive and well moving around Asia, the middle East and North Africa possibly planning something nasty soon ..well he just got sidelined and his people are not on the 'To do' list anymore..seems there are other issues bad financial scandlas and getting that Iraq oil to keep industry moving has become priority numero uno, so much for the other important matters everyone is just bogged down in Iraq and concered about the price fixings the Saudi rich merchants are making. Why the quest for a nice pipe line
well it goes like this

could put it all in a very simple manner
it goes a little like this: most of the resources in the middle East have Oil and pertoleum in its purest form..there are other sources of Oil and Gas like blasting apart areas of Alsaka or digging miles down under the Atlantic Ocean but the oil here is difficult to manage, hard to extract,
it's kind of causing a little economic crisis, but you don't have to wait for it to run bone dry
As VMA131Marine-Bad Newbie said

What peak oil means is that, probably sometime between now and 2010 mankind will have consumed half of the recoverable oil on the planet. The recoverable part is important because even in oil fields that are now deemed to be "dead" there is lots of oil left No, I was paying attention in class. All that economics, while probably true (if the premise is true) is a little complicated for a 4th grader. I remember it specifically because it scared me a little (that was the point, I think), that the statement was we'd run out in 20 years.

Look, I'm not saying we don't have a problem, because we do (IMO, the coal issue is worse than the oil issue). But the answer is simple, obvious, and already available. Its just that people don't like it because of irrational fear (partially do to politics).

Glom
2004-Jul-21, 09:54 PM
Look, I'm not saying we don't have a problem, because we do (IMO, the coal issue is worse than the oil issue). But the answer is simple, obvious, and already available. Its just that people don't like it because of irrational fear (partially do to politics).

Actually, I think coal does give us energy security for a couple of hundreds years but there are environmental problems associated with it.

The answer cannot be ignored forever. At the moment, it's easy to talk about how renewables will save the day and how non-renewables will fall by the way side when in fact they are happily churning out the joules. But, when the neglect of the non-renewables leads to their downfall, the fallacy on relying exclusively on them will be exposed.

The UK government has set the ambitious target of 10% renewable by 2010. When they started, it was at 3% due mainly to HEP, which is developed to a large proportion of potential in our country (lucky Canada, so few people, so many glacial formations). Development is way behind schedule because wind is the only practical renewable for development here.

Most certainly, the answer is important for the future energy mix.

The problem is that there is a lot of propoganda about from you-know-who.

I will cover alternatives on the FFF website.

Don't take my breeder,
Away from me.
Don't leave me without U-233.

VMA131Marine
2004-Jul-23, 05:52 AM
Actually, I think coal does give us energy security for a couple of hundreds years but there are environmental problems associated with it.


Coal is good for a couple hundred years at CURRENT rates of consumption. If you have to make coal replace oil and then, a short time later, natural gas, then the lifespan of US coal deposits is on the order of a few tens of years not a few hundreds. Coal, as a finite resource, is subject to the same Hubbert peak phenomenon as oil. That doesn't even address the fact that mining operations would have to be massively increased and that much of the coal remaining is relatively low energy density (of course, we already mined the good stuff) and has a high sulphur content (acid rain :( ). Finally, burning coal releases lots more sequestered carbon into the atmosphere as CO2 with its associated climatological impact.

Morrolan
2004-Jul-23, 06:13 AM
...that much of the coal remaining is relatively low energy density (of course, we already mined the good stuff) and has a high sulphur content (acid rain :( ).

this is defintely not true on several points:

1. there are still HUGE quantities of hig caloric coal left in the world. why? because the increasing use of oil has practically stopped the production of and exploration for coal all over the world. it was not a matter of moving to oil because we ran out of coal, we just stopped using it on a large scale. nowadays exploration has stepped up again and we are finding enormous quantities of coal.
for instance: Australia is the world's largest producer of coals, around 274 million tonnes saleable output during 2003, more than 75% of which is exported. and this is before output increases as a result of higher oil prices and substitution.
Indonesia produced around 114 million tonnes of high quality coal in that same period, also exporting 75%.

2. sulfur content varies in coal. there is a lot of low sulfur coal available. besides, nowadays coal burning installations can be (and in Europe must be) fitted with sulfur and soot filtration systems that remove most of the sulfur from the coal. acid rain is not a recurring phenomenon.

as an aside: what is not been taken into account in a lot of reports is the fact that furnaces are becoming ever more efficient. so much so, in fact, that in the past few years the resulting lower demand has negatively impacted world coal prices .

[edit typos]

quest
2004-Jul-28, 07:45 PM
Check out Changing World Technologies, they seem to have the answers.

waynek
2004-Jul-28, 10:29 PM
Interestingly, there's a couple of articles about this sort of thing in the latest Physics Today magazine. One is available free online at

http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-7/p47.html

The other is for subscribers only and is at

http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-7/p53.shtml

I'll quote a few short passages that hopefully won't bring down any copywrite wrath. 8-[


The most sacred icon in the "religion" of the US economic scene is steady growth of the gross national product, enterprises, sales, and profits. Many people believe that such economic growth requires steady population growth. Although physicists address the problems that result from a ballooning population—such as energy shortages, congestion, pollution, and dwindling resources—their solutions are starkly deficient. Often, they fail to recognize that the solutions must involve stopping population growth.
...
Most educated people understand that populations can't grow forever. But forever isn't really the issue. Already, population increases and consumer demand are taking big bites out of our energy resources. Of natural gas, Moniz and Kenderdine wrote that "US consumption represents roughly half of that for the industrialized world. . . . Developing Asia, Central America, and South America . . . are each expected to triple their demand over the next twenty years." A geological study published in 2003 reports that per capita annual production of natural gas is decreasing in Canada, Mexico, and the US.5 Production of natural gas in North America may be near the start of its terminal decline.
...
In the Physics Today essay and article, population growth is given as a cause of the problems identified, but eliminating the cause is not mentioned as a solution. We are prescribing aspirin for cancer. Indeed, the solutions outlined in the articles would only make the problems worse.


In other words, "The chief source of problems is solutions." If we keep increasing out capacity to make more of ourselves without, as others here put it, "reaching an equilibrium", the only end is a catastrophic collapse of civilization. This is the real call to arms we should be pushing. Energy, food, and all the rest is just a result of our exploding population.

daver
2004-Jul-29, 12:10 AM
This is the real call to arms we should be pushing. Energy, food, and all the rest is just a result of our exploding population.

I disagree (circle gets the square). You could say "is the result of our exploded population". Most of the industrial world is at negative population growth. China is probably pretty close to its population limit--its population should slowly decline while its energy consumption rockets up.

The problem is that industrial civilization is spreading. That causes an abrupt boom in population, as the death rate from various causes drops dramatically. That is usually (but not always) followed by a drop in birth rate (not usually as dramatic, but tending to eventually balance the death rate). But the energy and resource consumption per individual jumps by an order of magnitude or more--that's the bit that we can't handle.

We could solve the problem by cutting the population by a couple orders of magnitude, or we could solve the problem by increasing the energy and resource production by an order of magnitude, or we could solve the problem by going back to a 19th century lifestyle (which would cut the population by perhaps a factor of 10). ZPG is a necessary solution, but not a sufficient solution (but, as I said, ZPG seems to be almost automatic).

waynek
2004-Jul-29, 02:44 AM
ZPG is a necessary solution, but not a sufficient solution (but, as I said, ZPG seems to be almost automatic).

I agree that it is not sufficient, my point (and that of the article... I wish I could post the whole thing, you're all just going to have to go to the library and grab the latest Physics Today) is that most of the time ZPG is not even mentioned as a PART of the solution. There's already more people than can be supported if everyone lived as well as those in the USA. As industrial civilization spreads, we use up our limited resources faster and faster, until sooner or later we have to hit the wall. Before the whole world is industrialized and populations stabilize, cheap energy will dry up and the world economy as we know it will end. I'm not into fear-mongering, but no discussion about energy or polution etc. is complete without considering population as part of the problem AND part of the solution.

Kebsis
2004-Jul-29, 03:57 AM
We're gonna run out of oil and natural gas in 20 years? Well, I guess that solves the global warming problem.

After we run out I say we switch back to whale oil.

TriangleMan
2004-Jul-29, 01:49 PM
We're gonna run out of oil and natural gas in 20 years? Well, I guess that solves the global warming problem.

After we run out I say we switch back to whale oil.
I'm still waiting for genebujold to provide the statistics that we're going to run out of natural gas by 2017 as I've found numerous sites that disagree with that claim.

waynek
2004-Jul-29, 02:27 PM
I'm still waiting for genebujold to provide the statistics that we're going to run out of natural gas by 2017 as I've found numerous sites that disagree with that claim.

Figure 3 in the first Physics Today article I linked shows a summary of natural gas resources in the US and worldwide. The smallest is of course the US Proven reserves, which will only last until about 2012 (with no increase in usage). The estimated US reserves will get us to about 2038 (with 2.8% annual usage increase). There are lots of ways to run the numbers, but 2017 is not too unreasonable depending on your assumptions. The most generous outlook given in the article is the estimated world supply with 2% annual growth, and even that only gets us out to about 2070. It seems very likely that some of us on this board will live to see the end of useful quantities of natural gas.

For those who still don't want to take the author's word for it, he does provide references, including the link

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/

daver
2004-Jul-29, 05:08 PM
most of the time ZPG is not even mentioned as a PART of the solution
But we're already hosed--even if the birth rate went to zero today, there are too many people. For the most part, the industrialization growth rate is a bigger factor than the population growth rate.

In the 60's, ZPG was a BIG issue (heck, they even made some movies about it). In the 90's people started noticing that developed countries had NPG, and I suspect the issue declined in importance.

dvb
2004-Jul-29, 05:41 PM
So why can't we all just agree on what needs to be done instead of arguing the inevitable? [-X

quest
2004-Jul-29, 07:43 PM
I found this site ( Changing World Technologies) a while back. If thier claims are true, then our waste becomes an renewable energy source.
This would also lock up the carbon dioxide cycle as well.


CWT is the owner and developer of processes that convert industrial waste and low-value streams into fuels, oils, gases and carbons, with no hazardous emissions into the environment.

This is from their site.

daver
2004-Jul-30, 12:17 AM
So why can't we all just agree on what needs to be done instead of arguing the inevitable? [-X

We seem to have three choices. 1. Increase the death rate dramatically. 2. Nuclear power plants. Lots of them. 3. Do nothing, and let 1 happen through natural causes.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Aug-15, 08:42 AM
some news

http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050815/BUSINESS/508150320/1003
http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050815/BUSINESS/508150326/1092

try these threads

Hybrid Car gets 250mpg?
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=20854
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=16253
http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=23665