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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gas Station

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gas Station Nowhere to Run Or Don’t Worry, Be Happy The ideas presented here are explored at greater depth in… The Mountain Sentinel ( www.mountainsentinel.com ) www.survivingpeakoil.com

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gas Station

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  1. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gas Station Nowhere to Run Or Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  2. The ideas presented here are explored at greater depth in… • The Mountain Sentinel (www.mountainsentinel.com) • www.survivingpeakoil.com • & in the forthcoming book Eating Fossil Fuels, due out in fall of 2006 from New Society Publishers.

  3. Peak in 2005?

  4. OPEC’s August 2005 Market Report • non-OPEC production of sweet, light crude dropped from 27.06 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2000 to 23.8 mb/d in 2004, for a net decrease of 3.26 mb/d. OPEC added 1 mb/d of light, sweet oil production over the same period. As a result, global sweet light production declined by 2.26 mb/d from 2000 to 2004.

  5. Major Declines In 2005, all of the oil majors (except BP) reported declining extraction rates BP is now the world’s largest oil producer. Petroleum Review, October 2005

  6. Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, Iranian energy consultant • "In my humble opinion, we should now have reached 'Peak Oil'. So, it is high time to close this critical chapter in the history of international oil industry and bid the mighty 'Peak' farewell... At present, global oil output fluctuates around 82 mb/d as some institutions try vainly to push 2005 statistics towards 83 and 84 mb/d (as they always do). But they will be obliged to backtrack as 'actual' oil supplies fail to follow their 'paper' ones." From Peak Oil to Transition One, October 2005

  7. Colin Campbell, noted petroleum geologist • “…the maximum peak of production as far as the normal so-called oil has come [this year]; after that will be a long decline. Meanwhile, for other types of hydrocarbons… the peak will occur by 2010." Petrolio/Campbell: In 2005 Produzione, Poi Iniziera' Declino. Presentation at Rimini conference.Apcom, October 28, 2005.

  8. Oil Production over TimeJoin Us as We Watch the Crisis Unfolding; February 11th, 2006.Kenneth S.Deffeyes

  9. Top 5 Super Giants20% of World Daily Production

  10. Iraq - Kirkuk • Damaged by questionable pumping techniques during the embargo • Damaged by 1st & 2nd attacks on Iraq • Iraq unable to repair damages. “The United States placed over 80% of the holds on oilfield equipment.” –Benon Sevan, head of UN Iraq program • Post-invasion production is still down. Attacks on infrastructure likely to increase. • Civil war could compound the damage.

  11. China – Daquig or Daqing • Has already peaked. • Production declined by 5% in 2004, & another 3% in 2005. • Production projected to shrink by 7% per year for the next several years. • PetroChina promises to work hard to slow or halt Daquig’s decline.

  12. Kuwait - Burgan • Chairman of the State oil company recently said that Burgan is exhausted. • Kuwait Oil Company will spend $3 billion annually to hold production steady. • International Energy Agency expects production will decline. • Well fires burned 4-6 mb/d.

  13. Mexico - Cantarell • Cantarell accounts for 60% of Mexico’s production. • 88% of Mexico’s exports go to the US. • In 2005 PEMEX announced Cantarell had peaked. • 2005 production down 5% from 2004. • Production could collapse by 2008.

  14. Saudi Arabia - Ghawar • 6.5% of world daily production. • Recent reports indicate water cutting at 55%. • Aramco is injecting 7 barrels of water to get 1 barrel of oil. • Water is present throughout the field. • Oil column is now 150 feet thick (was originally 1300 feet thick).

  15. Efforts to Arrest Decline • Put in more wells. • Pump in more water, natural gas or nitrogen. • Both strategies will boost current production, but at the cost of future production. • Technological innovations lead to a steeper decline, or a crash.

  16. New Discoveries • No discovery with 1 mb/d capacity since Cantarell in 1976. • Only 26 giant fields discovered since 1980. • Total production of post-1980 discoveries is 4.5% of world daily production, or less than 10% of the production of all giants. • 400+ fields discovered in 1990s, only 2.5% are giants. None have production capacity in the range of 200,000 b/d.

  17. New Discoveries • Only a few deep sea projects may have a peak capacity in the range of 250,000 b/d. • Only 2 or 3 new Middle Eastern projects might fall within this range. • None of these will come online until 2010 at the earliest. • Recent discoveries tend to be smaller, peak sooner, and decline more steeply.

  18. What Does this Mean for US?

  19. There are no Technofixes • Nothing can match fossil fuels for availability, energy content, economics or usefulness. • No combination of alternatives can match fossil fuels. • There is no time left to research & ramp up an alternative.

  20. The Hirsch Report • Prepared by a private firm for the US Department of Energy • A study of peak oil, it’s implications and mitigation. • The report concluded we will need 20 years to prepare for the peak. • If we do not begin preparations until the peak, then it is too late.

  21. Even if We had the Perfect Technofix Ready & Waiting • A technofix would only buy us a little time, at best. • Peak oil is only a symptom of the true problem, like global warming, pollution, overpopulation, ect.

  22. The Real Problem(The Socio-economic Problem) • We have a socio-economic system dependent upon constant growth and consumption. • We live on a planet that is finite.

  23. The Real Problem(The Psychological Problem) • We view personal reality in a subjective manner. • We view our environment an objective manner. • Our conscience is woefully ineffective at reining in our ego.

  24. The Real Problem(The Thermodynamic Problem) • Entropy: the amount of energy in a system that can be used to do physical work. The higher the entropy, the less energy that is available to do work. • All physical systems move from a state of low entropy to a state of high entropy. • The amount of energy available in a system is always less than the total energy of the system. • Whenever energy changes forms, or is used, a portion of it is lost to entropy.

  25. The Entropy of a System • The entropy of a system cannot be reduced without introducing more energy from outside of the system and, • Producing a proportional increase in entropy outside of the system.

  26. Entropy & Life(The Shell Game & the Balancing Act) • All life is maintained by processing the energy available from low entropy systems, while depositing higher entropy elsewhere. • Living beings appear to produce low entropy from high entropy, but they are really producing more entropy (wastes & dissipated heat energy) than they take in.

  27. Yeast • A Brewer’s vat full of mash is a low entropy environment rich in carbohydrates & sugars. • Yeast feed on this abundant energy & multiply. • Yeast produce high entropy in the form of carbon dioxide gas and ethanol. • When the vat exceeds some critical level of entropy, the yeast dies off. • Some yeast will remain to feed on the little remaining low entropy, but the vat will never return to its low entropy state without being emptied and refilled.

  28. Humans are Superior Entropy Creators • All human technology derives products from low entropy systems through an increase in displaced entropy. • Our modern civilization produces entropy at a prodigious rate. • This entropy (and our civilization) is currently subsidized by abundant, cheap fossil fuels. • The high entropy is found in landfills, environmental degradation, pollution & global warming.

  29. The Human Brewing Vat • Our vat was filled with low entropy fossil fuels. • We have multiplied our numbers while feeding on this mash, and we have produced an abundance of material goods. • We have produced high entropy in the form of environmental degradation, garbage, pollution and global warming.

  30. The BIG Question(s) • How close are we to the critical level of entropy in our system? • Can we slow the production of entropy? • Can we replace the entropy slide with a sustainability treadmill? • What will happen if we cannot make the transition?

  31. Sustainability Defined • Nothing lasts forever. • Long-lived, stable ecosystems are the best examples. Such ecosystems share certain characteristics. • They are maintained by cycles (i.e. water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, etc.) • Nutrients and resources are used at the lowest rate possible to maintain the system. • Everything that can be is recycled. • Entropy is kept at a minimum, preferably below the level of incipient solar energy.

  32. The Industrial System • Is linear (resources are processed into food and goods, refuse is discarded). • Exploits nutrients and resources at the highest rate possible. • Very little is recycled. • Entropy is maximized, & is offset by cheap & abundant fossil fuels.

  33. Real Solutions • Replace the dominant industrialized system with a sustainable system that will reduce entropy production to a minimum. • Replace the dominant Socio-economic system with a more equitable and democratic system that incorporates the costs of entropy. • Grant legal rights to all organisms and environments. • Foster a stronger ethics based upon healthy relationships with our fellow human beings and our environment.

  34. A Sustainable, Equitable, Democratic System • Relocalization. • Organized from the bottom up. • Guaranteeing basic rights to sustenance, housing and education. • Replacing the urge-driven consumers of Edward Bernays with informed citizens.

  35. Sustainable • Consumption must return to the minimum necessary, as it was previous to Edward Bernays & the advent of conspicuous consumption. • People need to derive their satisfaction not from consumption, but from community and personal accomplishment.

  36. Sustainable Agriculture • Given that animal feed is produced on the same farm & animal manure is returned to the soil… • The area of balanced agriculture needed to sustain 1 person: 0.2 hectares (ha) per person, with complete recycling of human wastes and garbage. • (1 Hectare = 2.471 acres, so 0.2 ha = ~½ acre) • Vulnerability in Agriculture: Energy Use, Structure & Energy Futures, Günther, Folke. INES Conference, June 2000.

  37. Persons needed to recycle the nutrients in the food from the balanced agriculturehttp://www.holon.se/folke/

  38. Simplified Balanced Agricultural Cyclehttp://www.holon.se/folke/

  39. Sustainable Agriculture – Community Scale • 40 ha could support 200 people. • 160-270 ha could support 3 to 4 distributed settlements of from 800 to 1,200 people per settlement. • 200,000 ha for a city of 1 million people. • 1,600,000 ha for New York City

  40. Sustainable Agriculture – National Scale • US Population: 298,444,215 (July 2006 est.). • Land Area: 9,161,923 km2(1 km2 = 100 ha). • Permanent Crops: 0.21% or 192,400 km2. • For present population, balanced agriculture would require a minimum of 59,688,800 ha or 59,688.8 km2 (31% of US permanent cropland). • (All data from the CIA World Factbook).

  41. Such a System would be More Economically Favorable for Consumers & Farmers(Even if production costs increased 30%)

  42. Other Studies • Folke Günther’s model is based on the recycling of phosphorus as the limiting factor in sustainable agriculture. • Other reliable studies place the maximum population in the US for a sustainable economy at around 200 million. The Tightening Conflict: Population, Energy Use, and the Ecology of Agriculture, Giampietro, Mario and Pimentel, David. NPG Forum Series, 1995. http://www.npg.org/forum_series/tightening_conflict.htm; Energy and Population, Werbos, Paul J. NPG Forum, 1993? http://www.npg.org/forum_series/werbos.html; Impact of Population Growth on Food Supplies and Environment, Pimentel, David, et al. Population and Environment, 19 (1): 9-14; 1997.

  43. More Research Needed, No Time Left • If these other studies are correct, then the US population would have to decline by 98,444,215 in order to be sustainable. • The problem with all of these studies is that there is no agreement about the variables. • Sustainability should have long ago been the subject of intense & exhaustive research. • We need answers now; there is little time left to debate.

  44. An Equitable & Democratic Society • Government & business should be organized through direct democracy on a local level. Local governments should be federated, but all federated issues should be brought back to local communities for discussion and democratic decisions.

  45. Stewardship • All ecosystems and species should be granted rights equal to citizenship. • No resource should be harvested unless it can be demonstrated that the ecosystem will ultimately benefit from this harvest. • Local communities should control their resources and have stewardship over local ecosystems in an informed & democratic manner. • If the local community deems that a resource should be used, they should award the contract to worker-run cooperative. • Profits of resource harvesting should be distributed 1st to the ecosystem, 2nd to the local community, and 3rd to the cooperative.

  46. What Can I Do?

  47. Personal Survival • Get out of debt. • If you are where you want to be & can do so, pay off your mortgage. If you are not where you want to be, or cannot pay off your mortgage, sell your house. • Sell your stocks, bonds & mutual funds before the market crashes. • Buy gold & silver. • Rent a place in the area where you want to be. • Get involved in your local community. • After the crash, buy a house, preferably without a mortgage.

  48. Where to Go • If you are living in the country, you will want to become an independent farmer. • If you are living in a wilderness area, you will want to become totally independent, and probably hide your location as well. • If you are living in an urban area, you will want to organize your community, so you can survive with the cooperation of your neighbors.

  49. Do You Really want to Move? • You will be the new kid on the block. • Even in wilderness areas, there are residents who will look upon you as the new-comer. • If you move too far, there will be cultural and language differences. • You may always be the outsider. If things become difficult, you may be persecuted. • If life becomes difficult, communities are not going to welcome the displaced.

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