Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nelder: Peak Oil Isn't Dead

Chris Nelder's article: 'Peak oil isn't dead; it just smells that way' is a helpful and relatively recent update on the peak oil discussion.

Since at least 2005 there has been a massive increase in the financial investment to fund production in oil.  This has been paid for by higher prices for fuel.  The result, however, has been merely a rough global plateau of production in crude oil since that time.  Global demand keeps rising as population and expectations rise also.  So other forms of liquid fuel (such as ethanol) have been employed to supplement supply.  However the energy intensity and the energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of these alternative fuels is significantly lower than for crude oil.

The world, in summation, already has an energy-related transport crisis in the respect that the fuel we use to run our vehicles is now much, much more expensive than it was compared to a decade ago and the prices continue to rise at a faster rate than our incomes do.  The result can only be reflected in a lower general standard of living without changes in lifestyle.

4 comments: said...

My two observations here are that 1) fracking has serious problems that will limit it more than many now think, and 2) we are also becoming more aware of the problems with biofuel, with it well known that the subsidies for maize ethanol in the US being a complete waste, and the increased prices for crops used this way harming poor people around the world, and even some arguing that the runup in these prices during 2005-08 playing significant, if previously unnoticed, role in the global financial and economic collapse that hit in Fall 2008.

Larry Signor said...

Any replacement for conventional fuel sources will be valued substantially at par for the commodities it replaces, so your conclusion, "a lower general standard of living without changes in lifestyle." is relevant, irregardless of the fuel. Lower energy costs are not in our future.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Can't argue with either of you.
Are there any signs of a reversal of urban-industrialism anywhere in the world yet?

" ... Before industrialism, most cities stood apart as modest workshops or markets whose ethos was bounded by their own walls. They were an option in the world, one way of life among many possibilities. The supercity, however - or rather the artificial environment taken as a whole - stretches out tentacles of influence that reach thousands of miles beyond its already sprawling perimeters. It sucks every hinterland and wilderness into its technological metabolism. It forces rural populations off the land and replaces them with vast agrindustrial combines. Its investments and technicians muscle their way into the back of every beyond, bringing the roar of the bulldozer and oil derrick into the most uncharted quarters. It runs its conduits of transport and communications, its lines of supply and distribution through the wildest landscapes. It flushes its wastes into every river, lake, and ocean, or trucks them away into desert areas. The world becomes its garbage can - including the capacious vault of the atmosphere itself..." Theordore Roszak, 'Where the Wasteland Ends'. Page 15

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Roszak wrote 'Where the Wasteland Ends' in 1972 and earlier, btw.