Peak Oil – Redux

I came across this article today:  Peak Oil Returns: Why Demand Will Likely Peak By 2030  by Think Progress.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hmmm, I don’t believe a word of this.  Well, maybe some of it is all right.

But when they talk about peak oil is dead, or peak oil returns (with a different definition), they are issuing mixed messages, neither of which contains any truth.

Peak oil, by the original definition, which says that oil production (that is oil in barrels, not still in the ground, and not requiring some form of further extraction to make it even look like oil and flow like oil and act like oil) would fall behind oil demand at some point and never again rise above it.  That point being named ‘Peak Oil’, occurred in 2005.  That is indisputable, if you look at production graphs broken by type of oil produced over the years of this current century.

Yes, I know that total oil production has always marginally led demand during this century, and demand has unexpectedly begun to fall in recent years, such that we are globally storing oil from over-production, but that is really all smoke and mirrors.  Here’s why:

The world corporate, government and financial sectors could never accept that ‘Peak Oil’ might arrive of course, because if it did, that would mean the end of our modern society, the end of growth, the end of our ability to wage modern warfare, or pursue industrial agriculture, globalised transport and commerce, and as a result usher in the end of our economic and financial structures.  Societal collapse.  So, expecting an ever increasing demand (the foundation of growth) from an ever increasing population (a second foundational pillar for growth), they took whatever measures they could to ensure that ‘Peak Oil’ never happened, or at least never appeared to happen.  They began the ‘Drill, drill, drill, baby, drill’ project of unearthing anything that vaguely resembled or even smelled like oil, in a mad, mad, rush to beat ‘Peak Oil’ at any cost.  And I mean ‘At Any Cost’, no matter whether it was sustainably profitable, and ignoring any perceived risk to public welfare or environmental hazard.

Well, of course that didn’t last long. It never could last long.  We are now seeing the result of that folly.

But I am getting carried away and straying from what I intended to say, which is:  Any breakdown of oil production this century, will show that total production has marginally kept increasing over the years.  But if you take the amount of real oil, produced from genuine oil-fields, oil that needs no extra processing to make it fit for purpose other than the standard refining processes, has been on the decrease since 2005 as expected and forecast.  It will continue to decline as good wells and fields expire and close.  It will never entirely cease of course, until the ability to pay for it falls behind the benefits of having at least some small amounts for certain specific needs, and it will definitely outlast all other forms of commercial oil production carried out today.

So, ‘Peak Oil’ has never died.  It has just been cleverly or mischievously hidden from public view.  That subterfuge is now being revealed for what it is, and the peak-oilers who caved in to peer pressure and went along with the general flow are revealed for the weaklings that they are.

Just what is this new definition of peak oil about then?  Well, they are saying in this post – I will quote it: “The idea of peak oil supply — the notion that our reach (demand) for oil would exceed our grasp (global supply) — is dead.”  But (I say) that has never been what peak oil is about.  As I explained above, peak oil has nothing to do with ‘demand’.  ‘Peak oil’ is the point in time when the maximum daily production amount (an amount that cannot be exceeded) is reached.  Simply that, and nothing more.

So, the new peak oil – ‘Peak Oil Supply’, is actually nonsense.  It depends on two variables.  One which is most likely, from now on, always going to be on the slide (supply), whether we are talking about good oil or anything resembling oil, and one which can operate in either direction almost at will (demand).  There is no sense to that.  It can never peak.  Perhaps that is the point they want to get across.  Idiots.

The conclusion, according to the ‘new peakers’, and I quote:

“It appears instead that homo sapiens might just be wise enough not to over-reach, that we may voluntarily let go of oil (and coal) before they destroy a livable climate for the next 50 generations.  Let’s hope so.”

To which I say:

“Utter Balderdash!”

The conclusion, according to me:

First thought – “Mankind is genetically pre-disposed to consume everything in its path, whatever the cost, until it renders itself unviable as a species.  The End.”

Second thought – “Maybe, by some chance of fate, enough of us will be left over in some dark corner of the world to start the whole process over again, from scratch.  Nature does tend to run in cycles.  Another million years or so of human development to reach the same point as we are at now.  The world might even have grown (grown?) some more oil by then” 🙂

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Something Stinks. Odious (or should that be ‘Odorous’) Debt?

How else, by what other means, in what specific way, apart from a Zombie Apocalypse, could a modern global society – yes one like we have now – come to a grinding halt and disappear into the mists of time?

Yes, we all know – don’t we? – about the risks from Peak Oil (which literally means Peak Everything, since nothing runs without it).  We also all know about the risks (not a small thing) of global pandemic, eating away at our capacity to do anything, including survive.  We also all should have by now realised the implications of an out-of-control population explosion and/or climate catastrophe making it impossible to provide adequate supplies of food and water for all, or even most.  We all know that there are many other possible spokes-in-the-wheels of the machinery of civilisation, including collapse of the world’s Financial and Monetary Systems.

Talking about Financial Collapse, an impending event the crumbling edge of which the world has been treading and tip-toeing around for quite some years now, I just came across something that I feel may be, or has the potential to be, the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the thing that brings the whole financial house-of-cards tumbling down – Odious Debt.

A couple of days ago (well it might have been yesterday as I don’t know which side of the world, longitudinally, the writer resides), Zero Hedge published an article on that subject in relation to the Greek financial situation.  I had not come across this term ‘odious debt’ previously – well, why would I, really? – so it piqued my interest.

Firstly, let’s define for ourselves just what the term ‘Odious Debt’ means.  Well, that has actually already been done quite nicely by Wikipedia.  Where would we be without Wikipedia?  Have you donated yet to keep this worthy resource going?

The Wikipedia definition below, and lots of other interesting information on the subject, can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odious_debt

“In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.”

It appears that the Greek Parliament has established a “Debt Truth Committee” to investigate the legality of the €320 billion debt that has been forced on the nation by the Troika and its own previous government regime.  Read the Zero Hedge article for evidence of this claim.  The aim is obviously to erase some or all of that debt as illegally imposed.  As Zero Hedge states:

According to Greek Reporter, Konstantopoulou has said that the newly established “Debt Truth Committee,” will investigate how much of the debt is “illegal” with a view to writing it off.

The new Greek government has recently claimed that it would would honor all of its debt commitments.  It can still claim to have done so, without paying much or anything at all, if all or most of those debts are declared illegal.

Can you imagine what effect such an action would have on the European banking system?  Banks, already wobbly, would fail.  The Troika would collapse.  The ripples would be felt worldwide.

What is more, what if other nations struggling under IMF and other imposed debt took up the same stand as Greece?  Zero Hedge puts it like this:

If the Greek “Debt Truth Committee” indeed persists with determining how much of its debt is legal and enforceable, and ultimately decides to rescind some (or all) of it, the only question is how long until other countries around the world, all of which are burdened with massive, untenable debt loads across the government, financial and household sectors, decide it is time to do the same and declare a fresh start.

Because as the end of the day, the winners will be 99% of the population – or all those who have been trampled upon by the central banking regime and their crony capitalist, private bank and oligarch backers. The only losers will be that 0.01% of the population which benefited during the past 8 years of what is now obvious to all has been nothing more than a farcical global “recovery.”

In case you missed it in the above quote, here again is the link to the ‘massive, untenable debt load’ currently faced by 39% of all other countries (including Australia).

Oh, I can’t wait to see something like that happen.  What an interesting year 2015 is turning out to be.

On even a whiff of something like this happening, you will need to turn any money, or what passes for money these days, that you have in electronic storage within the banking system, into something more tangible and of lasting value pretty quick smart (and I don’t mean into other paper currency), before your wealth evaporates into thin air never to be seen again.

Take heed.

Postcard From My Facebook Page

I sometimes do quick posts to my Facebook page and then wonder why I didn’t think to do them here first.  Here is one of those:

I have a growing respect for this health website for the fine articles they publish. Here is a very down-to-earth one from Peter Gray MD, “a small town family physician in Ontario, Canada”, which contains some very sound and sobering advice particularly for those of us who are users of electricity, who like eating and consider this is a daily practice that they would like to be able to keep doing, or those who depend on modern medical practice in some way.

The piece contains a very insightful quote I would like to share as an appetiser: “As oil begins to get more expensive and go away, food will begin to get more expensive and go away, and ultimately, the people who depend on that food will have to go away.”

And here is the link to the article, which comes with my recommendation as a good read: http://healthafteroil.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/postcard-from-the-frontline/

Exercise in Futility

I am repeating here something I just posted on my Facebook page because I feel I should go on record as having expressed this view more widely.

The stupidity or outright crassness of sections of the media, including the BBC, simply astounds me. Many are crowing that the ‘myth’ of peak oil is over and that we will never run out of oil in the ground. The second part of that sentence is true but only because we will never have the technology or the funds to extract it and even if we did we would seal our own doom by doing so.

The fact remains that oil production has not been able to lift its game to escape the production plateau it has been on since 2005 even though demand is always increasing and has not yet reached its own peak.

This article explains it better than I can.
http://gu.com/p/3hfta

I will say though that however much or how little oil we extract and burn up in the future, our civilisation will not survive the effects of climate change that our fossil fuel consumption has already set in motion.
A report soon to be released estimates that it will take an amount of at least $60 trillion (equivalent to the whole world’s annual GDP) to mitigate the impacts of climate change at an increase in temp of 2Centigrade above pre-industrial levels of the methane release (50 Gigatons) from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf alone, leave alone all of the other factors.

The world just does not have the means to fight such a battle. A battle which it is also estimated to be arriving on our doorstep 15-35 years earlier than previously expected. This means that much of our civilisation will be wiped out in 20-40 years and there is not a thing we can do about it.

How much does that put into perspective the loony ideas of planting a few trees or changing a few light bulbs. And how insanely futile does the plans for more oil drilling and more coal mines seem.

I should add to this, and I wish I had included this in my Facebook post, that the effects of climate change originally estimated to result from a 2C temperature increase, we are now seeing globally at less than 1C (currently temperatures have risen only ~0.8C).  A 2C increase was in the past seen as a safe value to work towards setting as a do-able limit.  There is recent serious talk of reaching something between 4C and 6C increases before the end of the century.  These things are always, have always been, underestimated. What horrors await us I cannot even begin to imagine.  Well, I can, but I would choose rather not to contemplate such things.