Posts Tagged ‘peak oil’
Gail over at The Oil Drum has a surprisingly comprehensive list that goes beyond merely ‘trying to drive less’:
1. A better “cash for clunkers” program. A two year plan that gives credit for only replacement vehicles with 35 miles per gallon efficiency or greater is suggested. This program would be paid for by extending the 1978 gas guzzler tax to cars and trucks.
2. Emergency funding for endangered mass transit. The article notes that 59% of public transit networks have cut service, raised fares, or both since January 2009. More federal funding could help this situation.
3. A national telecommuting and videoconferencing initiative. Federal employees should be directed to do these as much as possible. “For everyone else, a campaign would make these more normative and socially acceptable.”
4. Smarter freight movement. Grist suggests that Congress commission a study of methods to make trucking, rail and jet transport more efficient, including approaches to improve milage and ways to reduce empty travel of vehicles.
5. Smarter land use. Grist suggests that Congress could direct (and help fund) efforts to update zoning and land use regulations, to encourage more compact development.
6. Smarter travel through IT. Grist recommends a national study, noting that UPS saved 3 million gallons of fuel in a year, by equipping its trucks with software that allowed them to map out routes that avoided left-hand turns. Also, traffic lights could be timed better.
7. Educating drivers. Drivers ed programs and other outreach programs might teach the importance of slower acceleration and maintaining tire pressure for getting good gas mileage.
8. A resolution saying efficiency is a new national priority. Congress should pass a resolution on the importance of efficiency, and tell government agencies to improve efficiency. Funding for new projects might also depend on efficiency.
9. Prizes for tech breakthroughs. A prize is now awarded for 100 mph vehicle. Similar prizes could be offered for other breakthroughs.
10. Efficiency “visibility.” Congress should fund the development of a National Energy Efficiency Data Center (NEEDC), which would study efficiency technologies.
The Cape Wind project, the nation’s first offshore wind farm, is go for launch. After nine years of controversy and heated negotiations, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today that Nantucket Sound, about five miles off the coast of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, will host a 130-turbine wind farm covering 24 square miles that will begin generating electricity as early as 2012. Salazar made the announcement from the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston and was joined by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a big supporter of the project.
Salazar included a few modifications to help protect the historical, cultural, and environmental assets of Nantucket Sound. The farm was originally intended to include 170 turbines, but he dropped the number to 130 to help reduce visual impact. He also stipulated that developers need to take additional marine archaeological surveys and other “commonsense measures” to “minimize and mitigate” potential adverse effects of the project.
The “Peak Oil Theory”, as President Obama likes to refer to it, has been what you would call a fringe idea for about a decade now, something only loony conspiracy theorists believed in and which Serious Adults dismissed without a second thought. But opinions on the matter have changed in recent years, and we can now see even a staid establishment mouthpiece such as MSNBC reporting that oil production could hit its peak and decline irreversibly as early as 2014:
Predicting the end of oil has proven tricky and often controversial, but Kuwaiti scientists now say that global oil production will peak in 2014.Their work represents an updated version of the famous Hubbert model, which correctly predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil reserves would peak within 20 years. Many researchers have since tried using the model to predict when worldwide oil production might peak.
For now, Kuwaiti scientists say that the world continues to consume its oil reserves at a rate of about 2.1 percent each year. They plan to continue including new data that can refine the model as time goes by.
Via the Christian Science Monitor:
Speaking in a Senate committee hearing, the legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said that world crude oil production has topped out.
“I do believe you have peaked out at 85 million barrels a day globally,” he told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, according to Reuters.
He noted that the United States is consuming “21 million barrels of the 85 million and producing about 7 of the 21, so if I could take just a minute on this point, the demand is about 86.4 million barrels a day, and when the demand is greater than the supply, the price has to go up until it kills demand.”
And when Mr. Pickens speaks about energy, the world listens. His ability to read markets has vaulted him into the ranks of the world’s wealthiest people. His hedge fund, BP Capital, manages more than $4 billion in assets.
This is about a year and a half old, but the trends Mr. Pickens identified have only progressed since he made his pronouncement. The Obama Administration, on the other hand, refuses to believe in the “Peak Oil theory”, instead plumping for something called the “undulating plateau”, which has absolutely no scientific basis. So naturally, he’s doing nothing about reducing our reliance on liquid fuels.
Folks, we are in a lot of trouble.
Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for finally taking this seriously:
Against the gloomy economic backdrop that Europe currently provides, siren voices shrieking that a potential energy crisis is imminent and could be worse than the credit crunch are liable to be dismissed as scaremongers. Since they are led by Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin group runs an energy-guzzling airline, and include Brian Souter, who runs Stagecoach, another energy-hungry transport business, they are also at risk of being seen as self-interested scaremongers.
But the work of the Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security shouldn’t be disparagingly dismissed. Its arguments are well founded and lead it to the conclusion that, while the global downturn may have delayed it by a couple of years, peak oil—the point at which global production reaches its maximum—is no more than five years away. Governments and corporations need to use the intervening years to speed up the development of and move toward other energy sources and increased energy efficiency.
Some dubious emails and slightly dodgy dossiers have cast a new, and unflattering, light on the global-warming debate, raising the risk of a return to the belief that we can go on consuming oil with impunity. Being a “climate-change denier” is in danger of becoming almost fashionable. But whatever the risk to the climate, scarce and expensive oil would be a threat to established economies.
We need alternatives.
(c/o The Oil Drum)
Mr. Gabrielli, CEO of oil giant Petrobras, gave a presentation last December, wherein he predicted the world’s oil capacity, including biofuels, will peak in 2010. You can download the presentation here. Some highlights from the Oil Drum’s analysis:
On another slide, Gabrielli plots cumulative decline in existing fields against time. Consequently, the world needs one Saudi Arabia every two years just to keep production constant. Fortunately, new oil capacity from sanctioned projects can offset some of cumulative decline of 30 mbd in 2015. However, the chart above still shows a gap of over 5 mbd which needs to be filled by projects yet to be sanctioned or development of undiscovered oil. If this gap cannot be filled then demand cannot be met and prices will increase to reduce demand down to supply.
Gabrielli’s concerns about peak oil capacity in 2010 and future declining world oil capacity should be taken seriously. He shows that by 2012/13 the world oil capacity will only just meet world demand, based on Wood MacKenzie’s data, highlighting the risk of a potential oil supply crunch. If Wikipedia Oil Megaproject data are used then peak oil capacity is also indicated in 2010 as well as an an oil supply crunch in 2012/13. The IEA’s Fatih Birol has also stated that an oil supply crunch is likely to occur by 2014. In other words, the world does not have enough future Saudi Arabia equivalent capacity additions to stop world oil production from declining, causing an inevitable supply crunch within the next few years.
Well, I’m frightened.