A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off

Today is a historic day, and for now, at least, I am hopeful. Our new President gave a stirring speech that addressed many of the problems that our country, and the world, are facing. He mentioned the economy, health care, our profligate energy use, the wars we are fighting, climate change. He was very clear that the road ahead will be difficult, and these problems won't be solved immediately. He says, "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility." He talks about the fact that we cannot afford to consume more than our share of resources without considering those with less, and figuring out what to do about energy without emperiling our planet or financially supporting those who would wish us harm. He said it was time to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and get to work. He is right.

Many articles I have read suggest that it may already be too late to avert damage to the planet from global warming, or prevent catastrophic effects of peak oil, due to our inaction. But listening to President Obama, I am filled with the perhaps irrational hope that maybe there is still time, if we truly put our shoulder to the wheel.

Yes, we can.


Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. said...

Pick Yo Sef Up and Prepare for Peak Oil.

global crude oil production peaked in 2008.

The media, governments, world leaders, and public should focus on this issue.

Global crude oil production had been rising briskly until 2004, then plateaued for four years. Because oil producers were extracting at maximum effort to profit from high oil prices, this plateau is a clear indication of Peak Oil.

Then in August and September of 2008 while oil prices were still very high, global crude oil production fell nearly one million barrels per day, clear evidence of Peak Oil (See Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of "Oil Watch Monthly," December 2008, page 1) http://www.peakoil.nl/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/2008_december_oilwatch_monthly.pdf.

Peak Oil is now.

Credit for accurate Peak Oil predictions (within a few years) goes to the following (projected year for peak given in parentheses):

* Association for the Study of Peak Oil (2007)

* Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of “Oil Watch Monthly” (2008)

* Tony Eriksen, Oil stock analyst; Samuel Foucher, oil analyst; and Stuart Staniford, Physicist [Wikipedia Oil Megaprojects] (2008)

* Matthew Simmons, Energy investment banker, (2007)

* T. Boone Pickens, Oil and gas investor (2007)

* U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2005)

* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton professor and retired shell geologist (2005)

* Sam Sam Bakhtiari, Retired Iranian National Oil Company geologist (2005)

* Chris Skrebowski, Editor of “Petroleum Review” (2010)

* Sadad Al Husseini, former head of production and exploration, Saudi Aramco (2008)

* Energy Watch Group in Germany (2006)

* Fredrik Robelius, Oil analyst and author of "Giant Oil Fields" (2008 to 2018)

Oil production will now begin to decline terminally.

Within a year or two, it is likely that oil prices will skyrocket as supply falls below demand. OPEC cuts could exacerbate the gap between supply and demand and drive prices even higher.

Independent studies indicate that global crude oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time, demand will increase. Oil supplies will be even tighter for the U.S. As oil producing nations consume more and more oil domestically they will export less and less. Because demand is high in China, India, the Middle East, and other oil producing nations, once global oil production begins to decline, demand will always be higher than supply. And since the U.S. represents one fourth of global oil demand, whatever oil we conserve will be consumed elsewhere. Thus, conservation in the U.S. will not slow oil depletion rates significantly.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. There is no plan nor capital for a so-called electric economy. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The independent scientists of the Energy Watch Group conclude in a 2007 report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."

With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated building systems.

Documented here:

Aonika and Richard said...

WOW... That's a heck of a comment there...

Anyway - I will admit, I didn't vote for the man. And yesterday was not the best day for me (I think the consensus is that I was subconsciously upset that Obama was no officially the president... I have to laugh at that one.)

But, I (like you) would like to hope that things are going to get better. I hope that there are GOOD changes...

Guess we will see. I LUB You dearest!

homebrewlibrarian said...

I did vote for Obama not because I saw him as the new Messiah. I thought that of all the candidates, he was most likely to affect positive change. Frankly, I was weary unto death from all the fearmongering. It's very difficult to work with others when everyone is scared to death of everyone else!

It is my hope that he can provide focus for all of us to what lies ahead and the need for all of us to work together to get through these coming dark times. And I don't think that means we'll all join hands and sing "Kumbaya." If there's a common, clear purpose, it won't require us all to think alike - we can all face the problems ahead with the strengths, talents and experiences that each of us has. Everybody has their own unique "toolbox." Let's see if we're encouraged to use it!

I'm cautious in my hope for Pres. Obama. It's a long, steep road ahead. For him as well as us.

Pack your bag and pull on your boots; it's time to get ready.