Peak Oil | Peak Oil India | Exploring The Coming Energy Crisis And The Way Forward

Archive for the category “Peak Oil”

Peak Oil (Or why city slickers should learn to get their hands dirty)


Peak Oil, Food Security and Urban Agriculture

T. Vijayendra

Abstract
Peak Oil refers to the point when oil production reaches a peak, and henceforth can only fall. This has already happened. This has enormous implications for food security. It raises cost and prices of food because farm inputs – primarily fertilisers and pesticides – are petroleum based products. Also the cost of transport goes up. This has resulted in food prices going up and within the present system it will only go up further. The alternative is socialism with local food security based on organic food production. Urban agriculture, particularly for perishable foods like vegetables and fruits is becoming a must. Read more…

News update

5 reasons why Tibet’s melting ice is a disaster for India, Europe and US
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
Did you know that rivers originating in Tibet’s glaciers supply water to 1.3 billion people? That’s equivalent to the entire population of India. But these glaciers are fast disappearing due to global warming. Tibet’s sustainability is crucial for sustenance of the world, but this fact is not commonly known. The glaciers are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Gulf will soon be too hot for human beings – literally
Scroll.in
A study by Jeremy S Pal and Elfatih AB Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that human beings will not be able to survive in the Gulf just 65 years from now. “Our results expose a specific regional hot spot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,” the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said.

World set to use more energy for cooling than heating
The Guardian UK
The world faces a looming and potentially calamitous “cold crunch”, with demand for air conditioning and refrigeration growing so fast that it threatens to smash pledges and targets for global warming. Worldwide power consumption for air conditioning alone is forecast to surge 33-fold by 2100 as developing world incomes rise and urbanisation advances. Already, the US uses as much electricity to keep buildings cool as the whole of Africa uses on everything; China and India are fast catching up. By mid-century people will use more energy for cooling than heating (Also read: How America became addicted to air conditioning).

The Rapid and Startling Decline Of World’s Vast Boreal Forests
Jim Robbins, Yale Environment 360
Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the fate of the huge boreal forest that spans from Scandinavia to northern Canada. Unprecedented warming in the region is jeopardizing the future of a critical ecosystem that makes up nearly a third of the earth’s forest cover. (Also read: Why have thousands of trees dropped dead in New South Wales?)

How our energy problem leads to a debt collapse problem
Gail Tverberg
Usually, we don’t stop to think about how the whole economy works together. A major reason is that we have been lacking data to see long-term relationships. In this post, I show some longer-term time series relating to energy growth, GDP growth, and debt growth–going back to 1820 in some cases–that help us understand our situation better.

What happened to peak oil? The cycle of a meme and of its
Ugo Bardi
Unlike Nibiru or the E-Cat, peak oil is a serious concept, backed up by a lot of research. However, it didn’t really get viral enough to become a mainstream meme. The main problem, here, may have been the choice of the term: “peak oil” conjures a specific moment in time when something exceptional should happen, even though it is not clear what. When people saw that nothing special was happening, they lost interest. The decline of the peak oil meme was helped by the anti-memetic system that created effective antimemes such as “they have been predicting peak oil already for 30 years ago.”

Money Cannot Manufacture Resources (Podcast)
Kurt Cobb
As any fourth grader will tell you, a finite system will not yield unlimited resources. But that perspective is not shared by those controlling the printing presses. And so they print and print and print, yet remain flummoxed when supply (and increasingly, demand for that matter) does not increase the way they expect.

The Passing of Bhaskar Save: What The ‘Green Revolution’ Did for India
Colin Todhunter, Countercurrents.org
Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese organic farmer once described Bhaskar Hiraji Save’s farm as “the best in the world, even better than my own!” By using traditional methods, he demonstrated on his farm that yield is superior to any farm using chemicals in terms of overall quantity, nutritional quality, taste, biological diversity, ecological sustainability, water conservation, energy efficiency and economic profitability. Bhaskar Save died on 24 October 2018 at age 93.

News update

World will pass crucial 2C global warming limit, experts warn
The Guardian UK
Pledges by nations to cut carbon emissions will fall far short of those needed to prevent global temperatures rising by more than the crucial 2C by the end of the century. This is the stark conclusion of climate experts who have analysed submissions in the runup to the Paris climate talks later this year. A rise of 2C is considered the most the Earth could tolerate without risking catastrophic changes to food production, sea levels, fishing, wildlife, deserts and water reserves. Even if rises are pegged at 2C, scientists say this will still destroy most coral reefs and glaciers and melt significant parts of the Greenland ice cap, bringing major rises in sea levels.

Climate Change “Tipping Points” and the Fate of the Earth
Michael T. Klare, Tom Dispatch
Not so long ago, it was science fiction. Now, it’s hard science — and that should frighten us all. The latest reports from the prestigious and sober Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make increasingly hair-raising reading, suggesting that the planet is approaching possible moments of irreversible damage in a fashion and at a speed that had not been anticipated. Scientists have long worried that climate change will not continue to advance in a “linear” fashion, with the planet getting a little bit hotter most years.  Instead, they fear, humanity could someday experience “non-linear” climate shifts (also known as “singularities” or “tipping points”) after which there would be sudden and irreversible change of a catastrophic nature.

Inadequate attempts by US to combat climate change shifted burden to India: CSE
Livemint.com
Inadequate attempts by the US to combat climate change have shifted the major burden of battling it to countries like India, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said, calling American promises ‘much ado about nothing’. In a report released on Wednesday, CSE, a noted environment think-tank in India, termed US’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) as just ‘business-as-usual’. The study said the energy system in the US would remain fossil fuel dependent, with 76% of total primary energy coming from fossil fuels in 2030 while renewables will contribute just 15%, up from the current 11%. (Also read, CSE press release: ‘Capitan America’ and its climate promises: Much ado about nothing)

Southeast Asia’s energy demand to grow by 80 per cent in 2040: IEA
Down to Earth
Southeast Asia’s demand for energy is projected to grow by 80 per cent to just under 1,100 million tonnes of oil in 2040, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The share of fossil fuels in the energy mix of the region is expected to rise from 74 per cent in 2013 to 78 per cent in 2040, the report titled “Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2018” said.

Elon Musk says the current refugee crisis is just a glimpse of what’s to come if world ignores climate change
Tech Insider
Billionaire visionary Elon Musk painted a bleak picture of the future on Wednesday when he said the current refugee crisis is just a glimpse of what we can expect if nothing is done to address climate change. “Today’s refugee problem is perhaps a small indication of what the future will be like if we do not take action with respect to climate change,” Musk said during his opening remarks at a business seminar.

World’s oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn
The Guardian UK
Scientists have confirmed the third-ever global bleaching of coral reefs is under way and warned it could see the biggest coral die-off in history. Since 2014, a massive underwater heatwave, driven by climate change, has caused corals to lose their brilliance and die in every ocean. By the end of this year 38% of the world’s reefs will have been affected. About 5% will have died forever. But with a very strong El Niño driving record global temperatures and a huge patch of hot water, known as “the Blob”, hanging obstinately in the north-western Pacific, things look far worse again for 2016. (Also read: Coral reefs are not just pretty – they are vital to life)

Oil and the Global Economy
Jan Mueller, Jim Hansen, Stephen P.A. Brown, – The Energy Xchange
The remarkable economic expansion of in the United States and other industrial nations over the past century or more has been fueled by a steadily growing supply of low-cost energy—mostly from fossil fuels—oil in particular which accounts for more global energy consumption than any other source.
But there is growing uncertainty whether this trend will continue as it has in the past. How will shifting trends regarding the cost, demand, and supply for oil affect the global economy and the outlook for investment and economic growth?

The Peak Oil Story We Have Been Told Is Wrong
Gail Tverberg
Most people believe that low oil prices are good for the United States, since the discretionary income of consumers will rise. There is the added benefit that Peak Oil must be far off in the distance, since “Peak Oilers” talked about high oil prices. Thus, low oil prices are an all-round benefit. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The Peak Oil story we have been told is wrong. The collapse in oil production comes from oil prices that are too low, not too high. If oil prices or prices of other commodities are too low, production will slow and eventually stop. Growth in the world economy will slow, lowering inflation rates as well as economic growth rates.

Anna Swaraj: The only way we can rescue Indian farmers from debt and suicide
Vandana Shiva, Scroll.in
After the crash of the Green Revolution dream, the loss of this season’s cotton is the second big blow to Punjab’s farmers. Stemming from the failure of genetically modified cotton crops, it makes clear again that genetically modified organisms and chemical pesticides are ineffective at pest control. Scientific studies worldwide prove that their use has birthed super weeds and pests – and yet state governments in India continue to promote their excessive use and subsidise them. (Also read: How 18 villages in Haryana kept the whitefly attack on cotton away)

Means of transport to be switched to electric mode in 2 years: Gadkari
Business Standard
In a bid to cut oil import bill and mitigate pollution, the government is working on an ambitious project to switch diesel and petrol-run vehicles across the country to electric mode in two years, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday. “Our scientists have made cost-effective, made-in-India lithium-ion battery (rechargeable) which will be extensively used to convert all means of transport to electric mode,” the minister said here at a function organized by the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC).

One Scientist’s Hopeful View On How to Repair the Planet
Yale Environment 360
For a researcher who studies how humanity is pushing the earth close to potentially disastrous tipping points, Johan Rockström is surprisingly optimistic. Although he reckons that our species has crossed four of nine “planetary boundaries” — including those on climate change and deforestation — he believes there is still time to pull back from the brink and create a sustainable future based on renewable energy and a “circular” economy that continually reuses resources.

News update

India pledges 33-35% cut in carbon emission intensity by 2030
Livemint.com
India has said it aims to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels, and achieve 40% of its cumulative electric power of around 350GW installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources, mainly renewable power. The statement comes ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris in December 2018, where countries would try to forge a new global climate agreement based on “climate justice” and principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Our seas are being degraded, fish are dying – but humanity is threatened too
Callum Roberts, The Guardian UK
Last week the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zoological Society of London issued their most comprehensive look at the state of life in the sea. The report makes uncomfortable reading. Taking in more than 1,000 species worldwide and 5,000 populations of fish, turtles, marine mammals and a host of others, it draws the bleak conclusion that there is only half the amount of wildlife in the sea today as in 1970. Although 1970 is their baseline year and seems long ago, life in the sea has been in decline for much longer. In short, that means the picture is worse than the report suggests.

Are Nomads a Climate-Change Weathervane?
Tom Hart, New Internationalist blog
Urban civilizations have done their best to curtail nomadism. It’s a life that doesn’t fit well with owning vast tracts of land and an ordered, well-administered state. What states have failed to achieve deliberately might be finished by climate change accidently. Ironically, the moment in history when states more or less tolerate nomadism could also be the very moment when the environmental basis for the phenomenon could be undermined.

Emphasizing co-benefits motivates people to take action on climate change
The Guardian UK
A new paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change provides encouragement that people can be motivated to act on climate change. The title of the paper is, “Co-benefits of Addressing Climate Change can Motivate Action Around the World.” Lead author Dr. Paul Bain and his colleagues wanted to know if emphasizing co-benefits when talking about climate change would motivate people to take action. They found that in many cases, the answer is yes.

Why Johnny can’t understand climate: functional illiteracy and the rise of “unpropaganda”
Ugo Bardi
The problem with the literacy scale has to do with the debate on climate change. Here, we see the development of a communication technology that exploits the lack of functional literacy of a large fraction of the public. We may call this technology “unpropaganda.” Traditional propaganda (literally, “what is to be propagated”) aims at passing a message by eliminating or hiding all contrasting information. Unpropaganda, instead, aims at stopping a message from propagating by presenting a lot of contrasting information to a public unable to fully evaluate it.

Global Extinction Rates: Why Do Estimates Vary So Wildly?
Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360
Most ecologists believe that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. Humanity’s impact on nature, they say, is now comparable to the five previous catastrophic events over the past 600 million years, during which up to 95 percent of the planet’s species disappeared. We may very well be. But recent studies have cited extinction rates that are extremely fuzzy and vary wildly.

Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries
Jason Hickel, The Guardian UK
Orthodox economists insist that all we need is yet more growth. More progressive types tell us that we need to shift some of the yields of growth from the richer segments of the population to the poorer ones, evening things out a bit. Neither approach is adequate. Why? Because even at current levels of average global consumption, we’re overshooting our planet’s bio-capacity by more than 50% each year.

Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?
Jan Mueller, Jeremy Gilbert, John Kingston, Steve Andrews – The Energy Exchange
Whatever happened to “peak oil” – the assertion that the rate at which oil is extracted from the Earth is nearing a maximum or peak level? With falling oil and gasoline prices and a boom of new oil development in the United States and elsewhere, concern about global oil supplies have faded from public view. But have concerns about peak oil really disappeared? What key factors have changed in the oil industry, and what challenges remain? Are we entering a new era of “abundance” or are the risks of the world’s dependence on oil rising?

Backyard Carbon Sequestration Is Something Nearly Everyone Can Do
Ecological Gardening
Anyone who owns or rents a little land on which plants grow can, him or herself, sequester carbon, and may even be doing so at this very moment without even realizing it. It’s not hard. Healthy soil does this naturally. All we have to do is help nature along. And as we do so, we can help improve ecosystems, improve soil fertility, and even help endangered species survive.

News update

Global Harming: India’s rich have a bigger ecological footprint than the world average
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
It is no secret that there’s a growth in luxury goods in India. A 10-minute walk in any big city would attest to this. Over the last few generations, lifestyles have changed significantly, and a culture of consumerism is setting in at a fast pace. It is mind-boggling then, that environment minister Prakash Javadekar declared last week that Indians believe only in “need-based consumption” and shun “extravagant consumption”, thanks to their “value systems”.

Incidence of dengue higher due to erratic rainfall this year
Down to Earth
The rapid progression of the disease has taken many by surprise as the high incidence is unseasonal compared to earlier trends. The dengue virus usually strikes the city only after the end of the monsoons in October. The reason for the temporal shift, say experts, is the erratic weather and rainfall that the country has witnessed this year. Many scientific studies in the recent past have drawn connections between weather variables and the incidence of dengue. Many scientists are in agreement that a combination of higher mean temperature in a region and high humidity fosters higher rates of dengue transmission and incidence. (Also read: Climate change and vector-borne diseases go hand in hand)

Delhi will record world’s largest number of premature deaths due to air pollution
The Times of India
In another 10 years, Delhi will record the world’s largest number of premature deaths due to air pollution among all mega cities in the world. By 2025, nearly 32,000 people in Delhi will die solely due to inhaling polluted air. Kolkata will see its number of premature deaths spike between 2025 and 2050 and will record 54,800 deaths due to air pollution – more than Delhi which will record 52,000 deaths and Mumbai with 33100 deaths during the same year. (Also read: More people die from air pollution than Malaria and HIV/Aids, new study shows)

World’s first smog filtering tower goes on tour
The Guardian UK
The Dutch city of Rotterdam has opened the world’s first smog-free tower. Co-designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, the seven-metre high tower sucks in dirty air like a giant vacuum cleaner. Ion technology then filters it, before returning bubbles of smog-free air through the tower’s vents. It is able to clean 30,000 cubic metres of air an hour, according to Roosegaarde.

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change
The Guardian UK
Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 ft) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process. That finding comes from a new paper published in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high. That was about 3m years ago, when the globe was about 3-5F warmer on average, the Arctic 14.4F warmer, megasharks swam the oceans, and sea levels stood at least 20 ft above their current heights.

Will the Paris Climate Talks Be Too Little and Too Late?
Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360
At the upcoming U.N. climate conference, most of the world’s major nations will pledge to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But serious doubts remain as to whether these promised cuts will be nearly enough to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Are Nomads a Climate-Change Weathervane?
Tom Hart, New Internationalist blog
Urban civilizations have done their best to curtail nomadism. It’s a life that doesn’t fit well with owning vast tracts of land and an ordered, well-administered state. What states have failed to achieve deliberately might be finished by climate change accidently. Ironically, the moment in history when states more or less tolerate nomadism could also be the very moment when the environmental basis for the phenomenon could be undermined.

Syria peak oil weakened government’s finances ahead of Arab Spring in 2011
Matt Mushalik, Crude Oil Peak
While the attention of the world is on the refugee crisis we need to look at the causes of this mass exodus. In this article we analyse to which extent peak oil contributed to a fiscal deterioration so that the Syrian government was forced to introduce unpopular policies (tax increases, removal of fuel subsidies, increasing cost of cement etc) which contributed to the unrest.

Peak Oil Has More To Do With Oil Prices Than You May Think
Robert Rapier, Oilprice.com
We should really talk about peak oil as a function of oil prices. In that case, we can say with a pretty high degree of certainty “The world has passed peak $20 oil.” If we could magically freeze the price of oil at $20, we would see the sort of peak that the imminent peakers projected. That doesn’t mean that oil prices will never again fall to $20, as supply/demand imbalances do wildly swing prices at times. It just means that $20 isn’t a sustainable price for meeting current global demand. That also means that the average price of oil in the future will be much greater than $20, which is why I downplay those predictions of very low oil prices.

Sustainable Development: Something New or More of the Same?
Charles Eisenstein
The new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) convey real concern and care for the environment. Yet at the same time they are wedded to the ideology of economic growth — more GDP, more industrial infrastructure, roads, ports, etc. — without considering whether other forms of development could better meet their goals of poverty elimination and ecological sustainability.

 

 

News update

Peak Oil: Myth Or Coming Reality?
Gaurav Agnihotri, Oilprice.com
We have yet to see evidence that we are nearing a peak in oil production. On the contrary, agencies like EIA and IEA have predicted a stable increase in crude oil production for the next few years at least. But supplies may not be the only, or even the most important factor when analyzing the end of the oil era. The world is making progress at moving beyond oil. So instead of discussing Peak Oil in terms of supply, perhaps it is now more useful to analyze ‘Peak Demand’.

Global oil demand to peak in 2020 under IEA climate proposal
Platts.com
Global oil demand would need to peak within five years under an ambitious set of low-carbon policy measures being proposed by the International Energy Agency to limit greenhouse gas emissions within accepted safe levels. The proposal is the result of a major new assessment of the energy sector impact of global climate change pledges that the IEA is presenting ahead of the critical COP 21 Paris climate talks in December.

Will methane hydrates be the future of energy or bring on the apocalypse?
Cleanleap.com
At the bottom of our oceans and buried deep beneath permafrost surrounding the arctic circle is a vast store of methane – a natural gas produced by the anaerobic decomposition of millions of years of organic matter. If permafrost temperatures rise (as predicted with global warming) the ice crystals will thaw, releasing methane directly to the atmosphere. As is well known, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 20 times more potent than CO2 on a weight-for-weight basis.

Catch them if you can: the pragmatic ways to cut carbon emissions
The Guardian UK
Within five years Britain could have three power stations that capture around 90% of their carbon before it reaches the atmosphere. And in the US, a synthetic resin could absorb CO 2 far more efficiently than trees. We examine the technologies involved in the battle against climate change.

How Tesla will change the future
Tim Urban, Wait But Why
An extremely long but thoroughly well-researched piece that traces the arc of energy use by humans, the history of the automobile industry and how Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors could revolutionise things – all of it written in a lucid and simple style.

The Front-Runners In Fusion Energy
Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com
Fusion power has been something of a holy grail in the energy field for decades. At the same time, despite decades of research, fusion energy has yet to come close to being a reality. In the last decade, there has been a proliferation of interest in fusion power from commercial sources. The largest company doing work in fusion power is probably Lockheed Martin. Lockheed claims that it will have a prototype reactor in a just a few years’ time and that a commercial product could be coming within a decade.

News update

G7 leaders bid ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to carbon fuels
Reuters
Leaders of the world’s major industrial democracies resolved on Monday to wean their energy-hungry economies off carbon fuels, marking a major step in the battle against global warming that raises the chances of a U.N. climate deal later this year. The Group of Seven’s energy pledge capped a successful summit for host Angela Merkel, who revived her credentials as a “climate chancellor” and strengthened Germany’s friendship with the United States at the meeting in a Bavarian resort. (Also read: Merkel convinces Canada and Japan on CO2)

India’s energy consumption increase at all-time high: BP
Livemint.com
India’s energy consumption increased by 7.1% in 2014, reaching an all-time high and accounting for 34.7% of the global consumption increment in 2014, said British oil and gas giant BP Plc. in its review of world energy consumption in 2014. The note by BP, called as the BP Statistical Review 2014, said India’s domestic energy consumption reached an all-time high in 2014 with the year seeing the fastest growth for the last five years.

BP boss widens transatlantic rift in energy industry over climate change
The Guardian UK
Bob Dudley,CEO of British Petroleum, said the UN’s global warming summit in December needed to broker agreements that encourage energy efficiency, renewable power such as wind and the use of gas. His comments came amid signs of a transatlantic rift in the oil and gas industry over how to tackle global warming. Last week, BP and a group of European oil companies including Shell and Total of France wrote a letter to the Financial Times calling for “widespread and effective” carbon pricing to be part of a Paris deal. It was dismissed by John Watson, chief executive of US-based Chevron, who said he believed that putting a price on carbon emissions was unworkable.

No, BP, the U.S. did NOT surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production
Kurt Cobb
Even the paper of record for the oil industry, Oil & Gas Journal, got it wrong. With the release of the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, media outlets appeared to be taking dictation rather than asking questions about which countries produced the most oil in 2014. If they had asked questions, they would have ended up with a ho-hum headline announcing that last year Russia at 10.1 million barrels per day (mbpd) and Saudi Arabia at 9.7 mbpd were once again the number one and number two producers of crude oil including lease condensate (which is the definition of oil). The United States at 8.7 mbpd remained in third place.

Why EIA, IEA, and BP Oil Forecasts are Too High
Gail Tverberg
It is easy to get the idea that we have a great deal of oil resources in the ground. Given these large amounts of theoretically available oil, it is not surprising that forecasters use the approach they do. There appears to be no need to cut back forecasts to reflect inadequate future oil supply, as long as we can really extract oil that seems to be available.

We Could Power Entire World on Renewables by 2025, Says Global Apollo Program
Ecowatch.com
The authors of an initiative called the Global Apollo Program say that, given the required high level of investment, it should be possible within 10 years to meet electricity demand with reliable wind and/or solar power that is cheaper—in every country—than power based on coal. They say the scale of ambition needed to produce “baseload” power from renewable energy that is generated consistently to meet minimum demand matches that which sent the first humans to the Moon in 1969—at a cost, in today’s prices, of about $230 billion.

The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables
Roger Andrews, Energy Matters
Even if the world succeeds in developing wind and solar to the point where they supply 100% of its electricity the job is still less than half-done because electricity supplies the world with only about 40% of its energy. The remaining ~60% comes from the oil, gas and coal consumed in transportation, heating etc. How to decarbonize that? Again no solution is presently in sight.

Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth
Richard Heinberg
The world needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That’s the only sane response to climate change, and to the economic dilemma of declining oil, coal, and gas resource quality and increasing extraction costs. The nuclear industry is on life support in most countries, so the future appears to lie mostly with solar and wind power. But can we transition to these renewable energy sources and continue using energy the way we do today? And can we maintain our growth-based consumer economy? The answer to both questions is, probably not.

Peak Oil from the Demand Side: A Prophetic New Model

Avery Morrow, Peak Oil Barrel

The most attention-grabbing attempts to predict oil futures have come from geologists and environmental activists, who tend to look solely at production. An overlooked doctoral thesis by Christophe McGlade, Uncertainties in the outlook for oil and gas, in contrast, focuses on how both supply and demand might be constrained in the coming decades. Peak oil researchers should take note of McGlade’s thesis because he predicted, in November 2013, that oil prices would sink, and that they will stay low throughout the second half of this decade. I found this paper on Google Scholar and have no connection with the author, but I appreciate his careful consideration of peak oil arguments, and his ability to distance himself from the more narrow-minded aspects of both economic and geological thinking. Here’s a representative quote from the middle of the thesis, p. 216:

The focus of much of the discussion of peak oil is on the maximum rates of conventional oil production. Apart from issues over how this term is defined, results suggest that focussing on an exclusive or narrow definition of oil belies the true complexity of oil production and can lead to somewhat misleading conclusions. The more narrow the definition of oil that is considered (e.g. by excluding certain categories of oil such as light tight oil or Arctic oil), the more likely it is that this will reach a peak and subsequent decline, but the less relevant such an event would be.

Read more…

News update

G7: End of fossil fuel era?
BBC News
The G7 has called for a transformation of electricity generation towards renewables and nuclear by 2050. And they said fossil fuel should not be burned in any sector of the economy by the end of the century. Their targets are not binding – but they send a clear message to investors that in the long term economies will have to be powered by clean energy. The world’s leaders have effectively signalled the end of the fossil fuel era that has driven economies since the Industrial Revolution.

The coal boom choking China
The Guardian UK
Chinese miners last year dug up 3.87bn tonnes of coal, more than enough to keep all four of the next largest users – the United States, India, the European Union and Russia – supplied for a year. The country is grappling with the direct costs of that coal, in miners’ lives, crippling air pollution, expanding deserts and “environmental refugees”. Desire for change contends with fears that cutting back on familiar technology could dent employment or slow growth, and efforts to cut consumption do not always mean a clampdown on mining.

Delayed gratification for OPEC, more pain for investors
Kurt Cobb
Delayed gratification is said to be a sign of maturity. By that standard OPEC at age 55 demonstrated its maturity this week as it left oil production quotas for its members unchanged. Why OPEC members chose to leave their oil output unchanged is no mystery. The explicit purpose for keeping oil prices depressed is to close down U.S. oil production from deep shale deposits–production that soared when oil hovered around $100 a barrel, but which is largely uneconomic at current prices. That production was starting to threaten OPEC’s market share.

Over the barrel: For a low carbon path
Vikram S Mehta, The Financial Express
The government’s policy pronouncements over the past year have thrown into sharp relief the conflict between its energy policy and its green agenda. It should endeavour to settle this conflict over the coming year. The purpose of this article is to recommend the steps it should take to do so.

Forget ‘peak oil.’ Is the world’s economy heading toward ‘peak demand’?
Nathanial Gronewold, E&E Publishing
Peak oil, meet peak demand. The hypothesis that oil production is about to peak is being swiftly replaced by the idea that the world’s thirst for crude oil is about to hit a ceiling, posing challenges for firms that face investor pressure to grow. One idea has it that even crude demand in emerging markets is on track to peak and then steadily decline, as is occurring in much of the developed world today.

Peak oil isn’t dead: An interview with Chris Nelder
Brad Plumer, Washington Post
Warnings about “peak oil” have been with us since the OPEC crisis in the 1970s.But after a worrisome series of price spikes starting in 2007, oil triumphalism is once again ascendant. Not everyone’s convinced, however, that oil is really on the verge of a new boom. Energy analyst Chris Nelder, for one, has spent a lot of time scrutinizing the claims of the oil triumphalists. Our newfound oil resources, he argues, aren’t nearly as promising as they first appear.

Why We Have an Oversupply of Almost Everything (Oil, labor, capital, etc.)
Gail Tverberg
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article called, Glut of Capital and Labor Challenge Policy Makers: Global oversupply extends beyond commodities, elevating deflation risk. To me, this is a very serious issue, quite likely signaling that we are reaching what has been called Limits to Growth, a situation modeled in 1972 in a book by that name.

Where will nuclear power plants of the future be built?
Paul Dorfman, The Conversation
In terms of new build, 67 reactors are under construction worldwide with a total capacity of 64 GW. For the nuclear industry this at first sounds promising, but then “under construction” doesn’t necessarily mean it will be finished any time soon – work first began on one reactor opened in Argentina last year back in 1981. Of the 67 currently being built, eight reactors have been under construction for more than 20 years, another for 12 years; and at least 49 have significant delays.

More video interviews by Mansoor Khan

Here are some more additions to Peak Oil India member Mansoor Khan’s ongoing series of  video interviews with experts in various fields from ecology to energy to economics. The interviews take off from the themes covered in Mansoor’s book, The Third Curve: The End of Growth. As We Know It!.

View more videos at: The Third Curve YouTube channel 

Claude Alvarez
Claude Alvares is an environmentalist based in Goa, India. He is the editor of the Other India Press publication based in India and the Director of the Goa Foundation, an environmental monitoring action group. He is a member of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). and the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Wastes constituted by the Supreme Court of India.
Read more…

Post Navigation