Peak oil

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Peak oil

Postby smcj » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:19 am

Zhen Li wrote:
smcj wrote:What do you think of "peak oil"? It's a closely related topic, not quite the same of course.

Not going to happen. Story for another day.

Ok, now it's Tuesday.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:56 am

It has been discussed before in Buddhism and Peak Oil, see here http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=368&t=6400
It is a somewhat repetitious discussion. That discussion was in 2011 and 2012, and little has changed since then, I'd say.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby dharmagoat » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:56 am

Aemilius wrote:It has been discussed before in Buddhism and Peak Oil, see here http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=368&t=6400
It is a somewhat repetitious discussion. That discussion was in 2011 and 2012, and little has changed since then, I'd say.

Have you not changed since then?
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:27 pm

Aemilius wrote:It has been discussed before in Buddhism and Peak Oil, see here http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=368&t=6400
It is a somewhat repetitious discussion. That discussion was in 2011 and 2012, and little has changed since then, I'd say.

I don't remember that thread - might have been before I joined this DW - so I've just skimmed through and yes, it was a somewhat repetitious discussion.
It also has a lot in common with the "Climate Change - We're Doomed" thread, especially since it was started by the same person with the same dispiritingly negative outlook. Sigh.
On the other hand, some things have indeed changed in important ways - mostly the cost of renewables.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/03/3016441/solar-competitiveness-natural-gas/
New Report Says Solar Will Achieve Near-Global Competitiveness With Natural Gas By 2025
Solar power may be well on its way to near-global cost competitiveness with natural gas by 2025, according to new numbers from Lux Research.
… three previous reports this year predicted a coming boom for unsubsidized solar, including research by Deutsche Bank showing solar hitting grid parity in major areas around the world as early as next year. Wind power is already cheaper than fossil fuels in Australia, and solar is coming up fast.
… Finally, the latest research suggests the leakage of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — in the natural gas industry’s infrastructure is bad enough to render it effectively useless as a “bridge fuel” to renewable energy.

And the headline must be read in the context of solar already being competitive with coal and oil in many markets - without any government subsidies - see point (4) of this encouraging list - http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/18/3060131/13-clean-energy-breakthroughs-2013-2/.
When and where renewables out-compete fossil fuels, investment flows to them automatically, and that is happening already. See, for instance http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/12/renewable-energy-provides-100-of-all-new-us-electrical-generating-capacity-in-2013, "Renewable Energy Provides 100% of All New US Electrical Generating Capacity in November 2013"

What all this means to me is a very sharp fall in growth of fossil fuel use, starting last year, to be followed by a slower fall in total ongoing fossil fuel use. That in turn suggests that the really dirty oil (shale oil, tar sands) may never be wanted, since by the time it's the best unexploited option it will be far too expensive (relative to renewables) to warrant exploiting it.
And that's all without any consideration of global warming and other environmental impacts.

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Re: Peak oil

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:50 pm

I did a project on peak oil years ago, and explored possible replacements. All energy source transitions in the past are from a lower to a higher quality fuel, and renewable are a lower quality fuel, it doesn't have the same energy returns with the same levels of investment. So if peak oil does occur, it's falling into a volcano, not a nice easy transition. We also don't know precise information about energy returns on investments, so we don't know precisely what is going to be needed to transition. But really, before peak oil is reached, the nature of the market is such that the transition will be made by the logic of the system - this is why the peak is actually shifted further and further back year by year (it was supposed to be 2006 last time I checked). Peak oil is an observation about flow rates, we'll never get all oil out the ground because it's mostly unreachable - it's a world with less oil, not no oil. The only real issue I see with this is that in the past the market never made the transition from higher to lower quality fuel. So there will probably be a point at which there's a big bump. However, if the transition isn't being made by the time peak oil does roll around, just be prepared for mass starvation, because modern food distribution depends on oil. Fundamentally, we don't have enough information to predict precisely what will happen. Remember that we're also going to face a massive demographic collapse too, so what's going to happen if there's less people? If there's less people the less oil needs to be used, but at the same time, there's less demand, meaning less profit, which could similarly cause economic collapse and thus mass starvation. Also, industrial efficiency grows with time, and thus the fastest growing segment of the work force is unemployment. With most people unemployed, we once again reach mass starvation due to no demand. But yeah, I'm probably more of an agnostic on the issue because I don't think we can know enough. Just be careful of people who think they know precisely what will happen, last time it was 2006.

There are two major solutions which I think countries should invest in to avoid the collapse due to rising unemployment, and those are a return to mercantilism, i.e. change from a trade deficit to trade surplus economy, and also, limitations on technology as far as is needed - this is probably going to be aided by peak oil. So you see, in the end, things may balance out.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:54 am

Zhen Li wrote:But really, before peak oil is reached, the nature of the market is such that the transition will be made by the logic of the system - this is why the peak is actually shifted further and further back year by year

This is a good point. What I've said about renewables can be taken into account in this way, too, with the advent of cheap renewables slowing down the exploitation of remaining oil reserves and pushing "the end of oil" ever further into the future.

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Re: Peak oil

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:12 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:But really, before peak oil is reached, the nature of the market is such that the transition will be made by the logic of the system - this is why the peak is actually shifted further and further back year by year

This is a good point. What I've said about renewables can be taken into account in this way, too, with the advent of cheap renewables slowing down the exploitation of remaining oil reserves and pushing "the end of oil" ever further into the future.

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The peak shifts year by year since the oil industry is subsidized heavily by the government, making it possible for them to extract increasingly more expensive (and tragic for the environment) "oil" reserves.

Renewables are also a farce, I am sad to say, dependent as they are on rare earths which also come at an environmental premium, and entirely dependent on an industrial infrastructure which depends on oil.

The only realistic solution to the world energy crisis is to stop using so much energy. However, the free market fundamentalists, convinced that growth is a desiderata and that the market is "intelligent", are nothing more than pied pipers leading us all down a path of destruction.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:01 am

Malcolm wrote:The peak shifts year by year since the oil industry is subsidized heavily by the government, making it possible for them to extract increasingly more expensive (and tragic for the environment) "oil" reserves.

Renewables are also a farce, I am sad to say, dependent as they are on rare earths which also come at an environmental premium, and entirely dependent on an industrial infrastructure which depends on oil.

The only realistic solution to the world energy crisis is to stop using so much energy. However, the free market fundamentalists, convinced that growth is a desiderata and that the market is "intelligent", are nothing more than pied pipers leading us all down a path of destruction.

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Re: Peak oil

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:34 am

I agree, the only real solution is to use less energy. Perhaps we should promote monasticism more and the population will decline so long as baby Buddhas don't pop up in the monasteries.

New technologies and discoveries of course may emerge, who knows. Whenever I bring this up with one of my friends at Ames I get a lecture about how thorium reactors are going to be the wave of the future. We'll know sooner or later.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:54 am

Zhen Li wrote:I agree, the only real solution is to use less energy.

The more it costs, the less we'll use. That's already beginning to happen. It's also a good reason (another good reason) to put a price (or a higher price) on carbon, however unpopular that may be.

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Re: Peak oil

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:30 am

World is a manifestation of consciousness. Most of humanity has not sunk deep in evil, selfish and ignorant views and behaviour, and therefore the outer reality has not manifested a collapse of energy sources with a resulting imaginary chaos, that some pseudo-religious persons are so hungrily waiting for.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:48 am

Malcolm wrote:The only realistic solution to the world energy crisis is to stop using so much energy.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0dQiAX9gd8
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:44 am

Zhen Li wrote:I agree, the only real solution is to use less energy. Perhaps we should promote monasticism more and the population will decline so long as baby Buddhas don't pop up in the monasteries.

New technologies and discoveries of course may emerge, who knows. Whenever I bring this up with one of my friends at Ames I get a lecture about how thorium reactors are going to be the wave of the future. We'll know sooner or later.


There are so many different sources of energy that are available right now. If people will die because of the lack of crude oil, it is like a person living next to a river dying of thirst, because he was used to drinking only bottled mineral water.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:43 pm

Quite true. If it can burn, it can turn a turbine. :P
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Nemo » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:55 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:I agree, the only real solution is to use less energy. Perhaps we should promote monasticism more and the population will decline so long as baby Buddhas don't pop up in the monasteries.

New technologies and discoveries of course may emerge, who knows. Whenever I bring this up with one of my friends at Ames I get a lecture about how thorium reactors are going to be the wave of the future. We'll know sooner or later.


There are so many different sources of energy that are available right now. If people will die because of the lack of crude oil, it is like a person living next to a river dying of thirst, because he was used to drinking only bottled mineral water.


Peak oil was seen already. After the fall of the Soviet Union North Korea no longer received subsidized oil from Russia. Eventually they could not even run the pumps for the coal mines and millions starved. On economies of scale particular fuels matter. Those pumps could not run on anything else. There was no longer fertilizer or functional chemical refineries to find an alternative. Much of our society is a house of cards that can only run on cheap fossil fuels.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Aemilius » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:34 am

A similar thing happened In Cuba, there is an interview and video about it in the Youtube. But it is not an actual peak oil phenomenon because North Korea and Cuba are not oil producers. An actual peak oil has happened in the United States, the oil production peak has passed in the USA decades ago. Interesting curves and figures about it:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_depletion#United_States_production
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Re: Peak oil

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:58 pm

Micheal T. Klare wrote: Among the big energy stories of 2013, “peak oil” -- the once-popular notion that worldwide oil production would soon reach a maximum level and begin an irreversible decline -- was thoroughly discredited. The explosive development of shale oil and other unconventional fuels in the United States helped put it in its grave.

As the year went on, the eulogies came in fast and furious. “Today, it is probably safe to say we have slayed ‘peak oil’ once and for all, thanks to the combination of new shale oil and gas production techniques,” declared Rob Wile, an energy and economics reporter for Business Insider. Similar comments from energy experts were commonplace, prompting an R.I.P. headline at Time.com announcing, “Peak Oil is Dead.”

Not so fast, though. The present round of eulogies brings to mind Mark Twain’s famous line: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Before obits for peak oil theory pile up too high, let's take a careful look at these assertions....


The rest is here:

http://www.zcommunications.org/peak-oil ... klare.html
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:43 am

I read most of Michael Klare's article, it is pretty much the same as the wikipedia oil depletion article. I.e. that Hubbert's curve is still valid, though technological improvements have made some adjustments to it.
Crude oil is not going to last for 100 million years, or for the time that the stuff has been buried underground. We have a sudden and temporary supply of energy and organic raw material, in the evolution of humanity. This phase in the technological and cultural evolution of humanity will not last for ten thousand years, or even for one thousand years. Nevertheless we can be sure that it will be followed by some other stage of technological and cultural development.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:51 am

Forget about peak oil. The USA is going to be a net exporter in a decade. There is no shortage of oil, as I thought there might be 5 years ago. But burning oil still has an environmental impact over and above the energy benefit it provides. That is where the problem lies, but there is enough uncertainty around that to deny it until it causes a disaster IMO.
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Re: Peak oil

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:50 pm

Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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