Worried about the future? Then don't peek!

Tue, 2007-10-23 08:31Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Worried about the future? Then don't peek!

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 a barrel.

Previous Comments

Just to be clear, the Guardian is making a gross error in claiming that the report states “production will now fall by 7% a year”. The report itself (executive summary available here: http://www.energywatchgroup.org/fileadmin/global/pdf/EWG_Oil_Exec_Summary_10-2007.pdf ) only ever suggests that production will fall by “several %” a year. Furthermore, they suggest that production will fall from approximately 81 Mb/day in 2006 to 39 Mb/day in 2030, which is closer to 3% per annum… Still very worrisome, but the Guardian just demonstrated again why it is still so often referred to as the Gruaniad…

“extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.”

So true. If lack of oil causes war, then abundance causes peace. Why, just look at how peaceful it is in the Middle East!

Your skewed logic makes one wonder how you have the intellectual ability to access the internet. I suspect that you are one of the usual trolls on this site.

Ian Forrester

Normally I agree with the general logic of your posts, though not always the tactic. I cant say I agree here. The comment is true, peak oil has been predicted a number of times but with exploration and newer techniques/equipment in extraction reserves are increased. While common sense dictates that peak oil will eventually arrive, I am not so sure we have reached that point yet, maybe, as there are still a lot of proven reserves that could be tapped….bottom line though I am in the maybe peak oil has arrived….call me sceptical right now.

Whether it has peaked or not, surely the point here is that even those who don’t believe the earth is warming have got to take seriously the fact that the oil won’t last forever anyway, and we will all be much SAFER if we have prepared & adapted to renewable energy. There will come a point, not so far down the road, that scarcity will drive the cost of fossil fuels so high that the people with the alternative energy systems ready to go will be able to write their own ticket. And while they’re at it, create new jobs, drive the economy, etc etc etc.

… there is coal. Who has a lot of coal? Well there is a lot of it in the US and in China. With fuel cell and other battery-powered cars on the way, there is still plenty of fossil fuel left for wasting and polluting – contrary to what J.I.K. says below.

Maybe it’s not so peaceful there because oil’s not so abundant, hmmmm? There is a reason it’s referred to as a “non-renewable” resource, you know… somehow related to the reason it’s also called a “fossil fuel”, as I recall…

If oil production has already reached its peak, then that is wonderful, but as demonstrated, our use of it is clearly not falling fast enough, and the countries of the world must set stricter standards for its use. The U.S. Congress is currently debating a bill that could include a 15% renewable resource standard by 2020 and 35 mpg standard also by 2020. This is a monumental step in the right direction for the world’s #1 consumer of oil, and its important that the bill pass in its entirety. If you agree, sign the petition at Energy Bill 2007, and perhaps oil consumption could fall at a rate larger than 3% per year.

If oil production has already reached its peak, then that is wonderful,

Look up shale oil, tar sands, and fisher tropsch. This could be very very bad for the environment.

Now we don’t have to worry about CO2 for much longer.

There is a lot of repetition of this quote from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in the blogosphere [original source and date not identified]: “The oil boom is over and will not return,” “All of us must get used to a different lifestyle.”
[Except King Abdullah, his family and his rich friends that is!]

11 July, 2006
World oil production is at its peak and set to fall 32% by 2020 as discoveries wane, said Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, a former executive of Iran’s state oil company…,
“We don’t know how far the price has to go for demand to begin to be dented; the normal economics don’t work any more,’’ Bakhtiari said at a lecture in Sydney, hosted by the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. “Is it $125, is it $150? I don’t know. I don’t think it can go much higher than $300.’’..,
“I can see the peak very easily,’’ Bakhtiari said. “In the short-term future production can only decline. It will not go up again because there’s faster depletion in all these fields than new fields coming on stream.’’..,
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has a maximum production capacity of 31mn bpd, while non-Opec countries have a maximum of 50mn, Bakhtiari said.
“Neither of these two entities can today go above these capacity figures,’’ he said. Saudi Arabia, which produces about 9mn bpd, is “struggling’’ to keep up production, particularly at the Ghawar field, the world’s largest, Bakhtiari said…,
Kuwait’s Burgan field, Mexico’s Cantarell field and the North Sea fields are already in decline, he said. Russia’s production probably already peaked in September 2004, he said. Oil producers, including Russia, are overstating their output, said Bakhtiari…,
..,Bakhtiari, who publishes papers and lectures on the theory that global oil production is on the verge of imminent decline.
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=96728&version=1&template_id=48&parent_id=28

Living in a world of a declining oil output with increasing demand and spiralling oil prices is clearly going to be dramatically different from living in a time where oil output was increasing, abundant and cheap. [paraphrased]
Reference
Lester Brown Plan B 2.0

What does it all mean?

It seems perfectly likely that Bush will do what ExxonMobil tells him [unless ExxonMobil REALLY means to stop spreading disinformation about climate change] and that’s look for more oil and that may extend into biofuels, [they sound so environmentally friendly but sadly things aren’t always what they seem] with their dreadful consequences, rainforest deforestation, rocketing food prices as foods are increasingly diverted for conversion into vehicle fuels and third-world starvation.

[the grain needed to make 25 US gallons of bio-ethanol is sufficient to feed one person for one year]

Bush’s flawed policies, if continued, seem destined to exacerbate the peak oil enforced slowdown and damage the US economy severely by failing [yet again] to act in accordance with the best available scientific advice.

Whereas, what Bush should be doing is looking ahead and diverting the monies presently ear-marked originally for the questionable manned Mars landing into research and development grants to industry for renewable energy sources, new transport technologies, increased energy efficiency and preparing for the inevitable decline in oil output. That way, the worst effects of the slowdown resulting from the passing of peak oil can be averted and the US economy could be given a substantial boost and move ahead. These new technologies would boost exports, reduce the trade deficit and could help benefit the world by helping reduce its dependence upon fossil-fuel.

At the same time CO2 emissions could be reduced substantially. Which might just be quite a good idea! What about it President Bush?!

[x]
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