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Peak Oil

Struggling to keep a lid on oil crisis

Chris Seper and John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Kick-off article for the Plain Dealer’s coming series on “the end of cheap oil, the search for new energy sources and the implications of both.”
(29 May 2005)
Ed: Related – Editor’s introduction and Series home:

Difficult choices await a nation – and world – stuck on oil

Craig D. Rose and Dean Calbreath, San Diego Union-Tribune
But new forces in world energy markets, unrestrained consumption epitomized by the boom in sport utility vehicles and the depletion of oil have subjected the United States to buffeting by forces outside its control.

Call it the era of the permanent oil shock.

Despite a recent dip, the long-term trend for oil prices appears to be a slow but steady ascent, with just short-lived downward blips.
(29 May 2005)
Ed: Another mainstream paper publishes an original article about Peak Oil.

Report Report from ASPO 2005
Jake Gordon, ASPO Ireland
Jake Gordon, member of ASPO Ireland, gives a personal and critical reflection on the recent meeting in Lisbon of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas.
(29 May 2005)

Leaving the Stone Age
Jamais Cascio, WorldChanging
One of my favorite bright green clichés has to be: “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”

It’s a reminder that efforts to replace non-renewable sources of energy with more sustainable technologies can be driven by innovation rather than desperation. But desperation is a powerful motivator; it’s usually easier to sell policies with fear rather than hope, even if playing the fear card has nasty repercussions down the road. Desperation comes from a sense of vulnerability, not a recognition of undesirable results. And right now, the US is feeling particularly vulnerable when it comes to oil. The two most visible manifestations of the desperation agenda are the so-called “geo-greens” and the increasing visibility of the “peak oil” concept.

“Geo-greens” is Tom Friedman’s term for those who advocate renewable energy technologies due to the security problems with oil. Such advocacy cuts across party lines; while geo-greens may disagree on the connection between oil consumption and climate disruption, they all agree that oil consumption hurts Western and American political interests. For the geo-greens, American petroleum use is inextricably linked to authoritarian regimes, supporters of terrorism, and the depredations of OPEC.
(9 May 2005)

Energy-related News

Still more oil stories from Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail
More articles in their weeklong series on the oil crunch are now online:

Readers weigh in on oil series (3 pages of letters about oil series)
Getting more out of the ground
The fuel that’s locked in ice (Canadian scientists are leading efforts to tap vast deposits of natural gas hydrates within the frozen earth.)
Abiotic’ petroleum debate rocks on
Oil’s global choke points
Global pipeline survey
Investing after the oil rush
Nine reasons not to panic
Why the future will be unconventional (reassurance from EnCana Corp.)
The best energy solution involves open markets (reassurance from Enbridge, Inc.)
(28 May 2005)
Ed: If you want to read the online stories, better do it soon. They seem to disappear behind a “subscribers only” wall within a few days.
To see what a list of all the article online, go to the Globe and Mail site and search on “crude awakening” (the title of the series).

Saudis look to change of direction from King Fahd’s successor

Mark Hollingsworth and Raymond Whitaker, The Independent
Saudi Arabia remained on edge yesterday amid conflicting reports about the health of King Fahd, its ruler since 1982, and claims that the country, which is the world’s largest oil exporter and in the forefront of the struggle against terrorism, had been put on military alert.

Saudi officials said yesterday that the king, in his early 80s and incapacitated by a stroke since 1995, was in a stable condition after being taken to hospital on Friday with pneumonia. But medical sources said his condition was more serious, and the royal palace, which urged Saudis on Friday to pray for his recovery, issued no further update on his health.

Initial reports that Saudi armed forces had been put on alert and leave cancelled were denied. Security has been stepped up since a spate of attacks by al-Qa’ida militants seeking to overthrow the royal family, but life appeared normal yesterday in the capital, Riyadh
(29 May 2005)

Saudi’s Crude Calculations Don’t Add Up
Shai Oster, Dow Jones via Rigzone
Call it the 4% difference.

That’s the gap between what Saudi Arabia says it pumped since March and outside estimates of what the world’s biggest and most important oil producer actually did.
(24 May 2005)

CEO says Exxon Mobil won’t use spending spree to boost production

David Koenig, Associated Press via Midland Reporter Telegram
DALLAS — Despite high gasoline prices and a recent decline in production, Exxon Mobil Corp. doesn’t plan to speed up investment in new exploration or build new U.S. refineries, Chairman and Chief Executive Lee R. Raymond said Wednesday.

Raymond said Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, would continue its cautious approach to investment because new exploration is costly and long-term energy prices are uncertain.
(29 May 2005)

Nuclear power most likely is not a solution to reducing CO2emissions
Dr Mark Diesendorf, greenleap via energyresources maillist
Greenleapers should note that there is considerable doubt as to whether nuclear
energy could reduce CO2 emissions in the longer term.

Nuclear power stations themselves do not emit CO2, but…..

The nuclear fuel cycle is a complex process with the following steps, some of
which are large energy users
(28 May 2005)

Owners of gas-guzzling cars to be hit by five-fold tax increase
Severin Carrell, The Independent
Motorists who drive fuel-hungry BMWs, people carriers and Range Rovers face a five-fold increase in road tax under radical plans to combat Britain’s spiralling greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposals are being studied by transport and environment ministers after it emerged that car buyers are ignoring warnings about the dangers of climate change by increasingly choosing luxury cars, larger MPVs and 4x4s with large, powerful engines.
(29 May 2005)
Ed: Also at Common Dreams.

Greenpeace in rift with US branch over free flights competition prize
Severin Carrell, The Independent
The American wing of Greenpeace has been accused by its colleagues in Britain of sabotaging global attempts to combat climate change, by giving away flying holidays to remote parts of the world.

To the dismay of its British counterparts, Greenpeace USA is offering holidays to Pacific islands and remote parts of South America as prizes for recruiting new members or campaigning against nuclear power.
(29 May 2005)
Ed: Also at Common Dreams.

Solutions and Sustainability

My Story: Putting the wind in our sales

Bill Andrews, BBC
Bill Andrews has come up with a unique idea: installing a wind turbine to produce and then sell on renewable energy. He’s going to give the money he makes to energy-saving projects in his Cornish hamlet.

I know the trouble we’re in. I was an oil man and I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of world oil production figures. We’ve passed our oil production peak. We’re on our way down. Energy is running out.

We need to do something about it and setting up a wind turbine to power two thirds of our hamlet’s electricity needs is my way of giving something back. I suppose I have a bit of a guilt complex, even though I only worked on safety systems for the offshore oil industry.
(27 May 2005)

The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea
Carl Hoffman, Wired
Unlimited energy. Fast-growing fruit. Free air-conditioning. John Piña Craven says we can have it all by tapping the icy waters of the deep.
(no date)

Man of the Trees, Richard St. Barbe Baker
Richard St. Barbe Baker,(1889-1982), was the world’s greatest forester. He was responsible for the planting of more trees than anyone else in history. He also was among the first ecologists to draw public attention to the global dimensions of deforestation and desert encroachment.

In Kenya, in 1922, with the help of 3,000 Kikuyu warriors, he launched the Men of the Trees, which became an international movement that advanced tree planting and conservation in 108 countries. He conceived the Civilian Conservation Corps for U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and helped lead the efforts that saved the California coastal redwoods. He traveled the world as an advocate for tees and to share his plan for reclaiming the Sahara Desert through tree planting. He died at age 92 while on a global tour to promote environmental awareness.
(no date)
Ed: Related articles –
A tribute by Edward Goldsmith of The Ecologist
Mother Earth News.