Buddhism and Peak Oil

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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Aemilius » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:14 pm

Huseng wrote:Peak oil is still something of a fringe movement, but nevertheless it is growing. The basic assertion of peak oil is that fossil fuels are obviously limited and that there are ecological limits to growth. Some thinkers also suggest that industrialization is ultimately unsustainable and self-defeating. While people generally subscribe to the religion of progress and assume some new miracle technology will allow for infinite economic growth and that their industrial lifestyle will always be available no matter what.

The International Energy Association already quietly admitted that the world reached conventional petroleum production in the middle of the last decade, which means at present we are either at a plateau or starting the long descent downward where production will decrease no matter how many more wells are drilled.

This basically means energy will no longer be abundant and the cost of it will increase. Unless some miracle technology is produced, industrial civilization will over time come to an end and we will more or less return to pre-industrial conditions. No more commercial aviation, private automobiles, mass production or industrial food production.



The problem is solvable, and without new "miracle technologies", it just needs co-operation world wide, & peaceful gradual adjustment. Here for example some figures of the possibilities of solar energy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power
The existing technology is capable of solving it. But people may subconsciously want catastrophes, they have learned to expect them, as signs of "end times" etc... And so we create it for our selves.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:23 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Huseng wrote:Peak oil is still something of a fringe movement, but nevertheless it is growing. The basic assertion of peak oil is that fossil fuels are obviously limited and that there are ecological limits to growth. Some thinkers also suggest that industrialization is ultimately unsustainable and self-defeating. While people generally subscribe to the religion of progress and assume some new miracle technology will allow for infinite economic growth and that their industrial lifestyle will always be available no matter what.

The International Energy Association already quietly admitted that the world reached conventional petroleum production in the middle of the last decade, which means at present we are either at a plateau or starting the long descent downward where production will decrease no matter how many more wells are drilled.

This basically means energy will no longer be abundant and the cost of it will increase. Unless some miracle technology is produced, industrial civilization will over time come to an end and we will more or less return to pre-industrial conditions. No more commercial aviation, private automobiles, mass production or industrial food production.



The problem is solvable, and without new "miracle technologies", it just needs co-operation world wide, & peaceful gradual adjustment. Here for example some figures of the possibilities of solar energy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power
The existing technology is capable of solving it. But people may subconsciously want catastrophes, they have learned to expect them, as signs of "end times" etc... And so we create it for our selves.



I don't think it has anything to do with people wanting catastrophes. It has more to do with the desire for power and comfort that comes with being hooked on fossil fuels while the looming end of that resource appears on the horizon, and like an addict one is unable to let go of it. A lot of greenies will speak of how sacrifice is needed, but don't make any sacrifices themselves.

Alternative energy sources are good, but they don't pack the same power has hundreds of millions of years of stored energy in the form of fossil fuels. You can't have a transcontinental superhighway, urban street system and millions of automobiles with just solar power. You might have solar powered cars of some sort, but the infrastructure and all the resources that go into the development and production of both the machines and the infrastructure depend on fossil fuels. Solar and wind power can only pack a fraction of the punch that petroleum can.

The reality is that even if you had a whole country with the commercial electrical grid running on alternative energy sources (which may or may not be actually possible in the long-run as a lot of those alternative power generation methods require fossil fuels for their production), the rest of the infrastructure from cars to buildings to agriculture still will need petroleum if they are to be maintained at present day standards.

Our industrial civilization was simply an anomaly in history. We burned through several hundred million years of energy in the form of fossil fuels at brilliant speed and when they run out, they're gone for good.

What that means is that industrial civilization along with most of what we cherish from it will end.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:30 pm

Kai wrote:
Huseng wrote:Fusion has been in the works for decades and nobody has produced a system that actually generates more power than what goes into it.


Under the constant pressure of various oil companies (Who love more money and apparently see the development of nuclear fusion as a threat) and the political plays of their powerful friends in the government, the nuclear fusion research is being undermined and with no serious attention (except lip services) given to it for past few decades but with the threat of rising oil prices, all this might change soon......(hopefully)

Although I think that either Japanese or Europeans are the ones that will make a breakthrough in nuclear fusion research instead of China.


My understanding is that fusion gets plenty of funding, but in reality it doesn't work despite the promises its researchers give.

You put more energy into it than you get out of it.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:14 am

Huseng wrote:My understanding is that fusion gets plenty of funding, but in reality it doesn't work despite the promises its researchers give.

You put more energy into it than you get out of it.


We have a perfectly fine fusion reactor 8 light minutes from us. The physics clearly works. Creating a safe fusion reactor on or near planet Earth is another matter but we've only been working at it for 50 years. Some problems take time.

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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:07 am

Huseng wrote:I don't think it has anything to do with people wanting catastrophes. It has more to do with the desire for power and comfort that comes with being hooked on fossil fuels while the looming end of that resource appears on the horizon, and like an addict one is unable to let go of it. A lot of greenies will speak of how sacrifice is needed, but don't make any sacrifices themselves.

Alternative energy sources are good, but they don't pack the same power has hundreds of millions of years of stored energy in the form of fossil fuels. You can't have a transcontinental superhighway, urban street system and millions of automobiles with just solar power. You might have solar powered cars of some sort, but the infrastructure and all the resources that go into the development and production of both the machines and the infrastructure depend on fossil fuels. Solar and wind power can only pack a fraction of the punch that petroleum can.

The reality is that even if you had a whole country with the commercial electrical grid running on alternative energy sources (which may or may not be actually possible in the long-run as a lot of those alternative power generation methods require fossil fuels for their production), the rest of the infrastructure from cars to buildings to agriculture still will need petroleum if they are to be maintained at present day standards.

Our industrial civilization was simply an anomaly in history. We burned through several hundred million years of energy in the form of fossil fuels at brilliant speed and when they run out, they're gone for good.

What that means is that industrial civilization along with most of what we cherish from it will end.


It depends on what you cherish as "civilisation"?? Human culture has existed in Europe and elsewhere on a substantially lower consumption of crude oil products, say like in 1700's,1800's, and the beginning of 1900's. Do you not call that human culture and human civilisation? I'd say that its standard will only improve with the coming shortage of crude oil. What is essential will survive, the essential will prosper and flourish. I see fantastic possibilities ahead of us.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:45 am

Aemilius wrote:It depends on what you cherish as "civilisation"?? Human culture has existed in Europe and elsewhere on a substantially lower consumption of crude oil products, say like in 1700's,1800's, and the beginning of 1900's. Do you not call that human culture and human civilisation? I'd say that its standard will only improve with the coming shortage of crude oil.


I said industrial civilization.

Humanity and civilizations will continue to exist, but our industrialization will fall apart and ultimately cease.

What is essential will survive, the essential will prosper and flourish. I see fantastic possibilities ahead of us.


I doubt this will be the case. When civilizations fall apart, there is normally a lot of violence, disorder, chaos and disruption at all levels of society.

In all likelihood several billion people will be wiped off the global population. Industrial food production and industrialized medical care allowed for the human population to go from a billion to seven billion.

Basically, we're heading for a dark age. There is no bright future ahead. This is the kaliyuga.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:20 pm

Huseng wrote:I said industrial civilization.
Humanity and civilizations will continue to exist, but our industrialization will fall apart and ultimately cease.


Some historians have said that already in ancient Rome there was mass production of goods, and that it could be called industrial production. They call some wealthy romans factory owners. At its peak there lived two million people in the city of Rome.
Humanity has learned the principles of serial & mass production well, because it is now so habitual it won't cease. Energy from solar power is still energy, what makes it so hard to accept it ?

I once studied the Second World War as an incredible industrial production event. It is a truly miraculous feat of intense production in difficult situations when there is often shortage of everything, including crude oil. If you still doubt the capacity of humanity for making miraculous feats in adjusting to shortages of every kind, you should study this period of intense production and intense creativity.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:25 pm

Aemilius wrote:Some historians have said that already in ancient Rome there was mass production of goods, and that it could be called industrial production.


The Romans depended on slavery and tribute. Industrialists depend largely on machines for production and distribution of goods. The Romans never had industrialization.


They call some wealthy romans factory owners. At its peak there lived two million people in the city of Rome.
Humanity has learned the principles of serial & mass production well, because it is now so habitual it won't cease. Energy from solar power is still energy, what makes it so hard to accept it ?


Solar power possesses a fraction of the energy potential as fossil fuels do. That means you can't run the world's production and transport infrastructure as it stands now on solar panels.


I once studied the Second World War as an incredible industrial production event. It is a truly miraculous feat of intense production in difficult situations when there is often shortage of everything, including crude oil.


The Germans actually had superior technology, but lacked the oil to win the war. The Americans had an abundant seemingly unlimited supply of petroleum. Hence the Germans lost the war. The same applies to the Japanese. After bombing Pearl Harbor and taking Hong Kong, they made a dash for the East Indies to secure petroleum, but eventually lost that oil lifeline. They lost the war as a result.

If you still doubt the capacity of humanity for making miraculous feats in adjusting to shortages of every kind, you should study this period of intense production and intense creativity.


The Germans and Japanese lost the war because they ran out of oil.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:18 pm

Huseng wrote:
The Romans depended on slavery and tribute. Industrialists depend largely on machines for production and distribution of goods. The Romans never had industrialization.


Look at for example the roman aquaducts, the structuture of their roads, and their large buildings, they manufactured millions upon millions of tiles for these. They didn't have machines, that's true, but they had some form of mass production of tiles. It is justified when historians have said that certain emperors owned tile factories.

Huseng wrote:Solar power possesses a fraction of the energy potential as fossil fuels do. That means you can't run the world's production and transport infrastructure as it stands now on solar panels.


Please, find out some facts! Here it says:" Solar areas defined by dark disks could provide more than the world's total primary energy demand. That is, all energy currently consumed, including heat, electricity, fossils fuels, etc., would be produced in the form of electricity by solarcells."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_land_area.png

Huseng wrote:The Germans actually had superior technology, but lacked the oil to win the war. The Americans had an abundant seemingly unlimited supply of petroleum. Hence the Germans lost the war. The same applies to the Japanese. After bombing Pearl Harbor and taking Hong Kong, they made a dash for the East Indies to secure petroleum, but eventually lost that oil lifeline. They lost the war as a result.


Don't get sidetracked into the war itself. The main point is that germans built factories for the production of synthetic oil, they could run their war machine and their very massive production lines with synthetic fuels and with whatever they had. This means that "biodiesel" is nothing new. Germans even flew airplanes with synthetic fuel. Lack of oil was not a primary cause, and I hope we don't get lost in the swamp of war speculation!
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:19 pm

Aemilius wrote:They didn't have machines, that's true, but they had some form of mass production of tiles. It is justified when historians have said that certain emperors owned tile factories.


Yes, millions of slaves.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:40 am

Actually romans did have machines, here is a picture of a roman sawmill, as an example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:R%C3%B6mische_S%C3%A4gem%C3%BChle.svg

About roman engineering science:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_technology
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:05 pm

Aemilius wrote:Actually romans did have machines, here is a picture of a roman sawmill, as an example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:R%C3%B6mische_S%C3%A4gem%C3%BChle.svg



Yes, run by slaves. The cotton gin was also a machine, albeit run by slaves.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby justsit » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:33 pm

Aemilius wrote:" Solar areas defined by dark disks could provide more than the world's total primary energy demand. ...
(emphasis mine)

It's a very long way from could to actual implementation.
Theoretically a lot of things could happen. Unless there is the motivation (read, profit), technological know-how, and adequate financial backing, they will languish like the electric car in the 70's. Big oil will make sure of that.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby Nemo » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:03 pm

Things are getting very complicated. Solar can only supply about 20% or less of total grid energy. There are these things in the sky called clouds and when they go by energy production almost stops. Backup power generation is needed within minutes. The only things that spin up fast enough are natural gas generators. There are no great energy storage solutions currently.

There are also pressing issues about the 6 billion people who appeared since 1940. It took the entire length of human history pre 1940 to get to 1 billion. Things are precarious. With automated production competing with defacto slave labour in third world countries the majority of the population in Western countries is rapidly becoming surplus. The laboring classes will soon no longer be capitalism's primary market. That changes things radically when the majority of people have no useful work and more critically no buying power. Capitalism will find new markets. Then what will happen to the lazy bums who expect the government to pay them a living. Those who remain will adapt to the new markets. We will adapt to a techno-industrial machines needs not the other way around. Scary times are coming by the end of our lifetimes.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:47 am

Aemilius wrote: They didn't have machines, that's true, but they had some form of mass production of tiles.


That's not entirely true. The Romans did have some machines but they were mostly toys. However there is a factory ruin in Spain that used water power. It seems to have been in part a kind of cement factory although it was also thought for a long time to have been an automated threshing factory for grain.

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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:58 am

Nemo wrote:Things are getting very complicated. Solar can only supply about 20% or less of total grid energy.


There's no theoretical reason why this is true. We could consistently supply a much higher percentage than 20% with no trouble even with clouds. Now it could be that solar furnaces will become more widespread. However we'd need at least 70000 solar furnaces to do the trick. After the entire economy converted to electric only power (and while solar furnaces are not overly bothered by clouds there output is degraded - the major advantage to solar furnaces is that they have stored energy in a molten material during the day and so they do operate at night).


There are also pressing issues about the 6 billion people who appeared since 1940. It took the entire length of human history pre 1940 to get to 1 billion. Things are precarious.


To say the least. The best case scenario is a soft landing at 8.5B by about 2050. However that's unlikely.

Capitalism will find new markets. Then what will happen to the lazy bums who expect the government to pay them a living.


Well the managers and the rich might (the lazy bums who expect the gov. to pay them a living) face a militant population. However people who produce things and ideas will have to implement their own solutions. And the majority of them will do so.

We will adapt to a techno-industrial machines needs not the other way around. Scary times are coming by the end of our lifetimes.


Well that's unnecessarily pessimistic.

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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:00 am

Namdrol wrote:
Aemilius wrote:They didn't have machines, that's true, but they had some form of mass production of tiles. It is justified when historians have said that certain emperors owned tile factories.


Yes, millions of slaves.


Just like the Chinese and the leading English dominant countries (esp, the US and UK). Just their form of slavery is different . The Chinese are more honest about it.

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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:03 am

justsit wrote:
Aemilius wrote:" Solar areas defined by dark disks could provide more than the world's total primary energy demand. ...
(emphasis mine)

It's a very long way from could to actual implementation.
Theoretically a lot of things could happen. Unless there is the motivation (read, profit), technological know-how, and adequate financial backing, they will languish like the electric car in the 70's. Big oil will make sure of that.


Very true. But profit is not the sole motivation. The French and Scando-Germanic world has taken other paths and they have the technology, engineering expertise and have the money. In the meantime the US and the UK have become the nations of Can't.


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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:08 am

Ironically, it is the US's political stance with regard to both energy needs and greenhouse gas emissions to hold out for a technological solution that will fix the problems. The European nations you mentioned have all sought to reduce fuel consumption by choosing not to subsidize gasoline, and to utilize high fuel taxes as a coercive measure to limit fuel consumption. Likewise they've accepted the need to reduce emissions rather than wait for higher efficiency technologies.
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Re: Buddhism and Peak Oil

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:29 am

mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:Ironically, it is the US's political stance with regard to both energy needs and greenhouse gas emissions to hold out for a technological solution that will fix the problems. The European nations you mentioned have all sought to reduce fuel consumption by choosing not to subsidize gasoline, and to utilize high fuel taxes as a coercive measure to limit fuel consumption.


This was so promising ....

but then ....
Likewise they've accepted the need to reduce emissions rather than wait for higher efficiency technologies.


Well that's one way of looking at it. Another way is that they will enhance the efficiency of their motor vehicles out of necessity as electric-gas hybrids.

As for other energy producers/consumers: they are a mixed bag. The French have very solidly committed themselves to nuclear power and are the world's leading nuclear power state with ~80% of their electricity produced from nuclear power. Sweden was also going down that path but then they completely abandoned nuclear power. Germany has committed itself aggressively across the political spectrum (by which I mean lead by the SPD, CSU/CDU, Greens and no one else much objecting including the FDP - which really means that the Green agenda from the 70's has won) to renewable energy and at a breathtaking scale. It remains to be seen if their 80% renewable by 2050 target can be reached (but even if they reach 50%, something that would be easily doable in a resource rich nation [Germans are not that resource rich], then that demonstration will be followed by all of Central Europe and possibly Eastern Europe). Denmark in partnership with the UK has committed itself to large offshore wind farms. Finland may be looking at a market killer in some form of renewable engineering after Nokia. The Norwegians are happy hunting but they and the Icelanders are investing in geothermal.

America is stuck in Can't-Do but will likely play catch up after the demo technologies have been proven by others. And that unfortunately is one of the lesser lauded historic patterns that the US follows.

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