Fracking has changed the energy outlook, with major geopolitical implications 

About a decade ago, there was much concern about ‘peak oil’ – that the production of oil would peak and then fall off quickly leaving the world’s transport system stranded. The idea is really an extension of the two hundred year old insight of Thomas Malthus that the demand from an increasing population would exhaust food production with resulting starvation  because land was limited. America had gone through a peak-oil experience with its production rapidly falling off about this time.

Economists were more cautious. After all, if as revered a member of the profession as Malthus got it wrong, who were we to be sure? In fact Malthus did not allow for the opening up of vast productive farmlands in North America and the Southern Hemisphere, together with the rising productivity of farming. Most economists probably have an assessment similar to mine; the Malthus logic was impeccable but various things have deferred the reversal; we cannot predict when it will happen.

The assumption that since peak oil happened in America it would happen everywhere else combined American isolationist chauvinism with colonial cringe among some non-Americans. The economic model accepted that at some time oil production would peak but there would not be a sudden collapse in production because rising prices would encourage reworking of old wells and drilling in deeper and more expensive ocean sites. Moreover, there were alternative sources of transport energy which, while costly, would be stimulated by higher oil prices; in any case, the costs of these new energy sources were falling.

I remember going through the list of possibilities, trying to assess what was available and their likely cost. I concluded that total energy was not a physical problem although it might be expensive. Transport fuels might be more problematic although there were options such as electric- and gas- propelled vehicles.. One thing I concluded was that infrastructure mattered and that we should be planning our cities to conserve transport energy; I was particularly keen on putting in public transport corridors (especially in Auckland and Wellington) which might run at a loss but would lead to a reconfiguration of housing along them over thirty years or so.

I did not predict the fracking of the shale reserves – I do not recall anyone mentioning it (tar sands were in my calculations). I am going to talk only about its economic and geopolitical implications but mention environmental concerns in a couple of end notes.

Fracking can apparently easily produce oil at $US60-70 a barrel, a higher price than in the past, but not an intolerable one. Moreover, it can produce – for practical purposes in the medium term – unlimited supplies at this price, in effect setting a medium-run ceiling for the oil price. There are various caveats such as that it takes a little time to get a production unit underway, so sometimes the oil price will temporarily go above the $60-70 a barrel.

One effect will be to inhibit alternative energy sources, although they will still steadily phase in as their costs come down to the medium-run cost of fracking. Plans for conventional drilling are being put off too. But yes, there is not an unlimited supply of oil from fracking, so one day it will phase out, although not soon.

The geopolitical implications are intriguing. For a short period while the world was learning to frack, the oil price rose up to around $US110 a barrel. Some countries’ budgets were geared to this price; now they are struggling.

One such country is Russia which is also suffering Western financial sanctions. Apparently hardship is rising there – perhaps more as Russia tries to roll over some large Western loans. There is the worry that Putin will try to divert the populace with military adventures, a long-run strategy which is more difficult if he is broke, but is already causing pain in the Ukraine.

Another country whose budget is badly compromised is Saudi Arabia, where they have used the largesse from oil to buy middle-class acceptance. They have substantial foreign reserves which are being run down, but budget tightening and related measures (some impact on immigrants) is also taking place.

There has also been a shift in OPEC, a cartel which brings together various oil producers. It seems to have accepted that it no longer has the muscle to have a major effect on the oil price and supply.

The geopolitical implications? America is importing less oil because of domestic supply from fracking. It is not so dependent on the Middle East and need not be so threatened by a rational Russia (which may require Putin to move on).

It is a very different energy world from the one that was troubling us a decade ago. No doubt there will be a different one in a decade’s time.

 

Endnotes on Environmental Implications

I am not convinced that the local environmental implications of fracking are fully worked out. My stance is that we should not frack in New Zealand until they are. But is that not to rule out fracking one day.

Many see fracking adding to climate warming. As I understand it, the biggest source is coal (not in New Zealand) which it is expected to be used less (although the reductions are not fast enough to prevent climate warming). It is not impossible that without fracking there would have been more greenhouse emissions because the world would have turned to coal-fired electricity for cars. Fracking or not, we need to keep up the pressure to reduce the emissions. I would prefer to do this by reining in demand rather than directly restricting some sources. But the analytic principles that bgan with Malthus, will continue to apply. 

Comments (20)

by barry on July 27, 2015
barry

I think you may be overestimating the availability of frackable oil.  Fracking in the US is giving every appearance of being a bubble as the easily accessible oil is encouraging more investment in more speculative ventures.  I think fracking is delaying peak oil by a decade or so but not much more.

As far as greenhouse gas emissions are concerned coal is worst worst, and natural gas least worst.  However we still can't afford to be burning it for very long before we switch to renewables if we are to stop bad things happening.  If fracking caused coal burning to  replaced by natural gas burning for a short time while renewables were brought up to speed then it would be good.  But Gas plants will have a 30+ year life.  We shouldn't be wasting money building them.

As for not fracking in NZ until we know it is safe.  I think it is too late.  That particular horse has bolted.

by Andrew R on July 27, 2015
Andrew R

Brian you are significantly underestimating the need to move from fossil fuels to try and keep climate change to below 2 degrees. It means that we can allow the extra carbon from the burning of just 20 odd per cent of the known reserves of oil, gas and coal.  

by Murray Grimwood on July 27, 2015
Murray Grimwood

This is a post by an economist. As such, it could be expected to be linear-thinking, and is.

I’ve already given this kind of offering, an F:

 http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/64527/murray-grimwood-serves-his-best-shots-media-way-they-report-growth-does-he-convince

Sadly, while the Western (exponentially consuming, exponentially polluting) middle class continue to believe these convenient priests, we will continue until we can't. Malthus was absolutely correct – his hypothesis having been held in abeyance by nothing more than the exponential increase in the amount of fossil fuels applied to agriculture (and the unsustainable draw-down of aquifers, soil, absorption capabilities, of course).

 

Fossil fuels are a finite resource - fact. We go for the best of such things first, which means that we are left with sequentially-worse sources - fact. Without the one-off energy-hit that fossil fuels give, most of what we do won't get done - fact. (renewables don't match the EROEI of oil, never will).

 

If you take energy away, nothing happens (the same cannot be said of money). But when you attempt to value energy with money - well, you can't.

 

We are now seeing the planet essentially not able to mount the 'business case' for forward extraction, because the energy required to get the remaining energy, takes too much of the energy we need to be available so we can pay for it.

 

Peak conventional oil happened - as predicted - in 2005-6. 'All liquids' is what the touts quickly went to reporting, but those of us who look at thing from an energy point of view moved on; we worked out that unless we become steady-state (in other words, unless we became sustainable in physical terms) then we are stuffed anyway.

 

Ironically, a fiscal meltdown is the inevitable precursor to physical collapse. The obvious reason is that debt is a forward expectation that there will be energy available in the future (to do the work required to produce the goods/services the trading of which pays off the debt). Worse,

We are already seeing the problem globally – we can’t afford to pay more for ‘commodities’ and can’t afford the real (energy) cost of energy. Unsurprisingly, we are seeing zero and sub-zero interest-rates; the only rate which fits on the downside of the Hubbert Curve.

Recently, the Pope issued a statement. You can read the whole thing here:

 http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Contained within part 106, is where we find the kicker:

“This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit”.

Then there’s this:

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2015/03/bbc-questions-indefinite-growth

and this:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/

and a very succinct:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/trouble-money/73469

and the graph – still tracking as predicted (except we’ve done more junk debt that they probably anticipated…..)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

Brian’s piece seems very much a ‘if we shoot the messenger we can ignore the message’ effort. Peak Oil has been and gone. The problem now is a global population probably 5 billion overshot thanks to fossil fuels, and it’s not dealing with it’s pollutive/depletive impacts even while it hogs the oil. Leaving a double whammy for future generations: all the pollution (including climate change) for them to deal with, but none of the energy.

I guess you have to deny that…..

 

 

by Chris Morris on July 27, 2015
Chris Morris

The oil & gas bearing shales that can be fracced are mindbogglingly large. There are formations in Europe that are thousands of metres thick and are country sized. Look at the Bowland as just one. Even in the US, there are large deposits that haven't been touched yet. Because there is an oversupply of gas at present, there is no pressure for these fields to be developed. However, the mere existence puts a lid on organisations like OPEC. It is also the cause of a lot of energy companies' problems in Australia. And to add to your list of countries in trouble, there is Venezuela, thought that is more inept government than low oil prices.

Despite all the doomsayers, there are no significant problems with well managed fraccing. Anyone who mentions "Gaslands" just doesn't know what they are talking about.  The methods and practices have changed so much in even the last eighteen months. Cutting edge stuff done just five years ago is now a different epoch. New technology is even using LNG or liquid CO2 for the work. That takes away the reason for many of the objections. The technique can also be used on the deep or narrow coal seams.

Whether NZ does it or not depends more on control of a critical energy supply, rather than economics. 

by Murray Grimwood on July 28, 2015
Murray Grimwood

If Brian is saying Malthus is/was correct, then I apologise.

As for 'most economists', sorry, I have yet to see/hear any in this country mentioning peak/gaussian/limits to growth. If they were, we wouldn't be addressing a 'housing bubble', we would be discussing a 'population bubble'.

We aren't, and the media look to the economists (experts) and the politicians spout whatever the recipients of the media message vote for. Growth, apparently.The whole thing seems uncannily akin to the Emperors Clothes.

Chris M - Hubbert always recognised that there would be much more in the ground than had been used, at the point of peak delivery-rate. When you are growing exponentially, no amount of a resource staves off the result by much, due to the exponentially-shortening time periods. The Limits to Growth crowd, somewhat shaken by their 'standard run', ran it with 'double resources'. Another planet, including presumably a whole extra planetary supply of fossil fuels. If extended the time before collapse by a mere 30 years.

The practical peak flow will be limited by there being no case mountable for new refineries, pipelines, tankers or tanks, in a post-peak scenario. That will effectively bottleneck the max flow-rate, which is what peak oil is all about.

If we take economics and nimbyism and environmental objection (including climate change) out of the picture (how you fund the drilling then,I don't know) then there remains EROEI. Any ratio over 1:1 is theoretically worth going for. Really, though, we have to morph to the new - and it better be sustainable rather than unsustainable like fossil fuels - paradigm using the old before that gets too problematic.

 

by Chris Morris on July 28, 2015
Chris Morris

Murray

I think you are quoting Mr Hubbert wrong. He never talked about conventional oil. He  made two predictions. It would happen in the US in 1971 and the world 1995. Neither of which came true.  No sensible person denies that fossil fuels are infinite. The price will rise as the demand increases and the easier exploited fields are consumed. However, as the price goes up, as well as demand dropping, the available resources increases as marginal fields become economic.

The shales will provide energy (at current consumption rates for maybe 2-300 years. Even small deposits like Utica have recoverable reserves of gas measured in TCF and billions of barrels of oil. Increase the price and the quantities increase. The gas can buy generations of time to develop alternatives - using Thorium reactors to provide energy to recombine water and CO2 to make liquid fuels is an example.

You must be joking about EROEI. A ratio of 1 is a make work scheme. It should be about 10 to be of real benefit. and even then, I would be wary of any analysis as there is so much values judgement in the assumption.

by Murray Grimwood on July 29, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Chris - that's conventional economic thinking. And it always goes on to say that 'at a certain price, an alternative will become economically viable. The problem - happening now - is that it requires future energy to underwrite future money (more accurately, future debt-repayment). In a dwindling-net-supply scenario, the price can't 'go up' as you claim; the underwrite will be missing. The only possible results can be debt-defaults or the rapid de-valuation of money. Economics never talks about ultimate scarcity, and certainly never about the ultimate scarcity of the essential linch-pin ingredient (energy).

Current rate of consumption? Good comment. Don't forget that that eliminates growth - so you've just vetoed profit, interest, dividend , rental, and the underwrite for capital gain So you've vetoed pension funds, Acc investments...... Or those all have to displace something else (as they already are, bank bailouts vs depositor haircuts) under the fixed/sinking lid. Gonna be a different world, then.

Yes, I was joking. I agree that 10 is a reasonable lower limit to support even the maintenance of the status-quo (we've never had more infrastructure globally, and it's never been older).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesgruber/2014/01/26/shale-oil-charlatans/

"Shale oil and gas have EROEIs of 5:1 while tar sands and biofuels are even lower at 3:1".

Long way from 10. It always pays to factor in cherry-picking, too; we start with the best and trend to the worst. Yes you gan become more efficient (there are thermodynamic limits to all efficiencies) but you're always chasing your tail.

Our debt-based growth-requiring fiscal system (even with the 90% getting rapidly resource poorer while fooling themselves via their most recent house valuation) is tottering, as it inevitably was going to post 2005. Whether we can re-boot is moot - I see a more likely scenario as a full-blown war over what's left.

We are at zero (real physical, rather than transactional/virtual) global growth now; gas has to be able to do less than oil, so we de-grow. While juggling more infrastructure balls than ever before, in the face of Climate change, soil degradation, other resource depletion.......

I admire your optimism.

by Murray Grimwood on July 29, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Re Hubbert:

From my 'McGraw-Hill Encyclopaedia of Energy, 1976:

Chapter 2, Outlook for Fuel Reserves, by M King Hubbert.

p18 - World crude oil production - "upon the assumption of an orderly future evolution....a peak production rate.....about the year 1995".

p20 Other fossil fuels. "Besides coal and lignite and the petroleum fluids...........the principle remaining fossil fuels are tar or heavy oil-sands, oil shales......."

So not included.

Prof Deffeyes carried on his work:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2010-10-14/review-when-oil-peaked-ken-...

"This new book updates the peak oil debate on a broad range of fronts, beginning with oil prices and their role in the current recession, the topsy-turvy economics of oil exploration and development in a post-peak world and the uncertainty inherent in so many new oil prospects that have been glibly touted as our energy saviors".

 

by Chris Morris on July 29, 2015
Chris Morris

Murray rather than go off other's interpretations, I actually read the actual article he wrote where there are no qualifications. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/wwf1976/

With regards to the ERoEI, I was looking at shale gas. The oil is often a byproduct from that production. I don't agree with the tar sands extraction but that is tied up in nationalism and a secure energy supply. Anyway for power stations and the like, the Energy Yield ratio is the important number as that takes into account the life. Even then one has to also factor in the environmental and other effects. For example, a hydro drowning a river valley. The loss of that valley doesn't show in the costs. For energy sources, the energy density is also a critical consideration. That is why liquid hydrocarbon fuels are so critical. It is also why a low ERoEI can be acceptable changing one energy source into a more usable one, like tar into petrol.

And getting back to Brian's original article, the resources change with price. A good example is "In California's San Joaquin Valley, production has well exceeded its initial 800 million barrel estimate, with 2.5 billion barrels already drilled and production continuing to grow through secondary recovery efforts"

The big problem at present is overpopulation in poor and corrupt countries. If the money that has been put into alternative energy subsidies and climate change research over the past twenty years had been used to educate women and take domestic electricity/ clean water to the masses in third world countries, then we wouldn't have the problems that people insist we are now facing.

by Murray Grimwood on July 30, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Actually, the problem in physics/nature is over consumption and depletion. Population is a problem in that we tend all to consume. Povery and corruption tend to follow resource-depletion (which is the flip-side of overpopulation, yes? Hard to fund education and water infrastructure then.

And the big problem, resource-depletion-wise, is us, not them. We are the rapacious users, we are the ones using Nigerian or Iraqi or Saudi oil, buying goods from environment-trashing source countries, forcing rain-forest clearance for palm-oil/kernel......... .

Denial is common, avoidance understandable, truth absolute......

Yes, I count build energy and O&M energy into account with hydro, solar etc. The problem with denial of 'peak' is that you just go on to a worse peak, a short time later. Even if it's twice the prediction, going on until you're there just magnifies the morph problem, while removing even more of the existing buffer. And it'll only take one more doubling-time. It's just illogical.

by Chris Morris on July 30, 2015
Chris Morris

Murray. You are shifting goalposts and putting up straw men. I did not claim that there wouldn't be a peak. You claimed it had already happened. I referenced the article to show that Hubbert got his dates wrong.

Poverty and corruption were there long before resources were exploited and they occur in countries with no significant wealth potential. Rainforest clearance is happening because of "green" policies so that is bit of an own goal there. There have been a lot of other wasteful activities done to harvest carbon subsidies, like the HHC factories in India and China.   They are the big sources of corruption.

In your eyes, it is a waste of time trying to do education and infrastructure improvement. Oh great, Malthus lives.

by Murray Grimwood on July 30, 2015
Murray Grimwood

Interesting comment.

Hubbert got 1970 dead right for Peak oil in the Lower 48 (the USA). 2005 will do me for global peak, same definition. Consumption in 1970 was 14 mbpd, now about 19 mbpd.

You must be clinging to the fraccing blip of recent times, which has perhaps allowed 'all liquids' to match the 1970 'production' figure. Whoopee. Same goes for global 'all liquids'. Google 'IEA oil production graph - images. Note the blue in most of them.

Don't put words in other folks' mouths please; I advocate education 100%, do a lot of it myself. IInfrastructure improvement? Illogical. In a world perhaps 5 billion overpopulated on a long-term sustainability basis, there's already enough infrastructure. What we lack most is systems-thinking (of which that was an example)

A good read is Stephen Emmett's '10 Billion' - especiall the last few pages....

 

by Chris Morris on July 30, 2015
Chris Morris

Murray. On current growth http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2014/07/10/world-sets-new-oil-product... it is likely that there will be a second peak in US oil production and it will also change world figures. I don't know what the production will be in 2-3 years time. Do you? You  also forgot to mention that Hubbert made a prediction about US Natural gas production gas which was wrong. http://stevemaley.com/2012/01/26/whats-wrong-with-peak-oil-theory-consid...

Back then natural gas was seen as a low value by-product but it was still covered within the hydrocarbon production. Now, a significant proportion of the oil is a by-product of gas production.

by Murray Grimwood on July 31, 2015
Murray Grimwood

I sense a 'shoot the messenger, feel better about denying the message' here.

Shale-plays seem to fall off much faster than conventional ones - which makes physical sense. Then there's the inevitable decline of the s/g's:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6248

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5432

But of course, crash the growth-requiring fiscal system (which relies on herd belief and can crash the instant it becomes herd disillusionment) and demand will crash also. I've never thought or suggested that the downside of the gaussian would be smooth.

NG? Has huge handling/logistical problems compared to oil. In a global economy already stagnant in real (physical) terms, how can that not be a backwards step? What you gonna triage?

Last comment; good luck to you,

by Chris Morris on August 02, 2015
Chris Morris

Murray

You are a right little cheer germ, aren't you. From other posts, I notice peak oil is a monomania of yours. If they aren't with you, they are in denial - bit of a projection issue there I think.

 I also notice you don't even bother reading the links you post. Both are about rundown of Ghawar. So what? They aren't fracced wells in the American shales where all the technological development has been done. And yes, they do rundown faster because the ball of fracced rock is very small. This is because the cube rule rapidly drops the overpressure to below the strength of the rock - but that isn't what the fear merchants want to hear.  If they are going after natural gas, then the well can be fracced numerous times. With the slimline holes into a known resource, it isn't that hard to pull back, insert a fish, and target virgin rock 100m to the side of the depleted and abandoned well. The wells still produce for a long time, just not at a "commercial" rate. Look at all the Mum & Dad operators running nodding donkeys  on exhausted oil fields. Gas shows are now different.

   Liquid fuels are best for mobile use, sure, but gas is great for heavy static consumers  like CCGTs, hospitals and the like.  (For Brian, it is mainly CCGTs that have decarbonised the US) Fossil fuels will get more expensive as the cheaper sources run out, but it won't be a sudden change. OPEC is very much a spent force. The price rise will make new technologies more viable. That is the future.

by Mark Wilson on August 02, 2015
Mark Wilson

Where is the apology from Jeanette Mary Fitzsimons? She is repeatedly on record years ago saying peak oil was passed and that well before now we would be paying $200 per barrel! She was plain wrong but will she admit it?????

by Murray Grimwood on August 03, 2015
Murray Grimwood

http://transitionvoice.com/2010/11/its-official-peak-oil-came-in-2006/

Fitzsimmons, like a lot of us, didn't think the finance thing through. To be fair, the leverage/debt/virtual/overhang nature of finance is better understood since 2005-8.

The problem in a nutshell, is that society - like us - is an energy-requiring system. We took our eyes off the ball and unanimously went about collecting the proxy rather than the produce. We also specialised, so had to rely on others. Tainter and Diamond document this problem in their excellent books, both titles -and it's no coincidence - contain the word 'collapse'. A collection of specialists is like hamsters on a wheel, all they can do is their specialty, more. No use if the wheel is approaching a cliff.That would require someone - a generalist - to command. Fat chance in a 'free market'.

There may also be a problem with the majority of folk not understanding exponential math. http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2015/04/programmed-to-ignore/

 

The problem with money - what Fitzsimmons missed, what I missed at the time and which I linked to above http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/trouble-money/73469 is that you need ever-more money underwritten in a future-growth scenario, so you need the future to have available ever-more energy (efficiencies being the only mitigating factor).Otherwise future debt - think mortgages - can't be paid off in any meaningful way.

For some time - and I contend it's to do with energy not keeping up with expectations of 'wealth', we've increased what we think we're worth without actually doing anything. Assuming that because our house is 'valued' at 100k more, that somehow we are 'richer' even though the house and the planet - it's the only source of anything - are the same (although the latter is being depleted at an accelerating rate, so it's actually worse that status quo).

On that basis, oil can never get beyond a certain price point before global activity contracts.It can pass that price in a rush-up (as per $148 in 2008) but not for any length of time.

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Ten-Reasons-Why-A-Sustained-Drop-I...

It's not Fitzsimmons who has to admit that - it's our current crop of leaders; politicians, business, media. Don't hold your breath.

 

by Charlie on August 14, 2015
Charlie

When I was at university in the early 70's we had the Arab induced oil shock and we were being told by earnest 'experts' that there was only five years of oil left. So when the same story came around again 40 years later I was somewhat cynical, having actual 'heard it all before'.

The linear thinkers are the ones that don't reckon on the market to respond. Higher prices stimulate the following reactions:

1. More oil exploration. The world is awash with untapped oil but in many places politics gets in the way. Here I'm thinking of South China Sea, Falklands, the Arctic, Gaza.

2. Alternative fossil fuels. For example Bangkok is full of CNG powered cars because that government decided to look for cleaner cheaper alternatives. There is so much natural gas in the world that there is no fear of shortage for a century or more.

3. Increased extraction efficiency. Of which fracking is just one.

4. Increased efficiency in usage. The taxi that took me to the airport yesterday uses half the fuel that a taxi did a decade ago.

5. More careful usage. People cut out frivolous usage as the price goes up.

6. Technological alternatives. The electric car is here. Prices are dropping and range is increasing with more to come. As a minister in the Saudi government said: The Stone Age didn't end because they ran out of stone.

7. Alternatives to travel. Video conferencing. Moving nearer to work and school. Moving businesses nearer to home in the suburbs.

So through normal market mechanisms, solutions appear. Adam Smith Rules!

The problem with oil is the multi-decade cycle caused by the time required to turn a prospect into a production well. So the reaction to sudden price spikes only results in increased supply a decade later. Hence the price cycle.

So in summary, Peak Oil was just another alarmist scam to try and get people to propel certain people into powerful political positions on the back of the panic they'd induced...A bit like 'global warming'....

It seems the sky isn't falling in ;-)

by Murray Grimwood on August 16, 2015
Murray Grimwood

I've come across trolls over the years, particularly industry ones, and of late they have learned to be less cowboyish, more plausible.

They still have a problem in that spin will always be - by it's very nature - a degree of departure fron the truth.

Nobody said 'we only have 5 years oil left'.

http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/MSSI-Research...

1. study EROEI.

2. http://www.drydipstick.com/2004Scenario.jpg

3. Dimishing returns. End story.

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

5. flawed logic; too little too late, by the time the signal arrives.

6. Most nations have coal in their electric-grid mix - the US over 40%, Australia 80+% - so electric cars are 'part coal cars'. As is the powering of the 'cloud'.

(Classic spin - oil is an energy source, stones aren't. Apples with apples, if you please; that's an old chestnut now, that one. I've always assumed the original was deliberate spin, let alone the subsequent parrottings)

7 -yep, agree. So do the Transition Town movement and the Permaculture folk.

Thats nothing to do with 'market mechanisms'. Where do you get that from?

Smith actually anticipated an end to economic growth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady-state_economy

{anticipated the transition from economic growth to a "stationary state"}

Oil's problem is that capex relies on repayment in the future, which requires ever-more future energy. A boostrap problem which few grasp, but it's happening now.

If you have a finite resource and you keep using it, it will run out. Your problem isn't at the end, it's when the production-rate can't be increased without creating a Seneca event.

http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/fossil-fuels-are-we-on-edg...

You blow it with the 'global warming' comment, but congratulations on avoiding 'communist'. I guess that shows we're progressing. If I had to tick the check-boxes listed in 'this is spin', though, they'd all be ticked.

Besides saying 'boring', can I ask a serious question? Have you ever studied 'inverted quarantine'? Theres YOUR problem.    :)

Go well go Sh....... oh no, we don't have it any more.

by Charlie on August 18, 2015
Charlie

Murray when I said 

"I was told by earnest 'experts' that there was only five years of oil left"

I was reporting my personal experience in the 1970's. So don't go denying my personal experience.

As a Chartered Professional Engineer and a consultant to this sector I'm here to inform you that the power sector is just fine, with a bright future ahead of it. The addition of solar generating capacity, LED lighting and other developments means that there will be capacity to spare which hopefully will be channeled into electric vehicles just as 'illuminating oil' was rendered obsolete by electricity and the oil was redirected into cars a 100 years ago.

 

 

 

Post new comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.