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Peak Oil

“Oil Storm” movie on Fox tonight

FX Network
“Oil Storm” will look at a series of natural and man-made disasters which interrupt the flow of oil to the United States, creating a huge set of crises and dramatically changing our way of life. Oil Storm changes the form of the traditional disaster movie, as it will be designed to be an accurate, thought-provoking and serious portrayal of what would potentially happen in the event of if oil production to America was halted.

“Oil Storm”
Sunday June 5th 08:00 pm e/p
Sunday June 5th 10:00 pm e/p
(5 June 2005)
For details, see Peak Oil: The Movie! from Energy Bulletin.

Global Warming, meet Peak Oil

Treehugger (blog)
…Nobody is going have any problem meeting Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions if we do not have any fossil fuels to burn, either because we ran out or because we do not have access to foreign sources because of political upheaval. If we cut back for security or economic reasons, reduction targets may well take care of themselves.(Unless we start burning every lump of coal left in the ground)

Its all one issue requiring one solution- Use Less. Buy Local. Walk or Bike. Stop mainlining gasoline. We will be safer in the short term (instead of having to occupy Saudi Arabia), warmer in the medium (instead of freezing in the dark) and cooler in the long (Instead of cooking because of global warming)
(5 June 2005)

[Kunstler’s] doomsday idea comes to Capitola

Chris Watson, Santa Cruz Sentinel
… Author James Howard Kunstler, scheduled to be at the Capitola Book Cafe on Wednesday, hopes you’ll read his book “The Long Emergency” and seriously contemplate what the future holds for communities built on the “oil fiesta” of the 20th century.

Understanding the deep changes the United States and the rest of the world will experience as early as this decade, he said, could be the deciding factor in which thriving communities of today become the ghost towns of tomorrow.
(5 June 2005)
Kunstler comes to the Santa Cruz area in California.

Peak Oil…Coda

Kevin Drum, Political Animal (Washington Monthly)
One final word about peak oil…This is why I think peak oil is a serious problem: at some point consumption has to drop, and I’d rather not see it forced on us by economic upheaval.

However, it’s also why I’m not a hyper-alarmist: as bad as the 1980-82 recession was, it wasn’t the end of civilization as we know it. If that’s what it takes to get us to reduce oil consumption and get serious about developing alternative energy sources, we’ll live through it. And I have little doubt that given 20 or 30 years of motivated effort, we will develop alternatives.

An awful lot of peak oil theorists seem skeptical that market forces have any effect at all, and as a result they predict worldwide calamity as soon as production peaks. History doesn’t back that up. Eventually, high prices will cause consumption to drop and will spur both new exploration and development of new energy technologies. If we twiddle our thumbs and wait for a recession to force this to happen, that’s not a future to look forward to. But it’s not a future of bicycles and truck farms either.
(4 June 2005)
Kevin may have unwittingly come up with a slogan for the new movement, “Small farms and bicycles”. Both technologies meet human needs with a small fraction of the energy required by the industrial alternatives. Both are fun and “good for you” — bicycling and gardening are two of the top leisure time activities. Wendell Berry says that small farmers are the backbone of any healthy culture. The Russian Revolution had as its slogan “Bread and Peace;” this new revolution has “Small Farms and Bicycles.” -BA

Oil Addiction: The World in Peril
Pierre Chomat, Universal Publishers
Synopsis of the book: Totally addicted to oil, Man in his industrial adventure has transformed nearly all the Earth’s ecosystems into “egosystems” designed to serve only his own needs and desires, at the expense of all other species. He persists despite the irreversible damage he is causing to the environment. He has already disrupted the Earth’s thermostats.

Western society has reached the “Age of Excess,” which will last only as long as there is still fossil energy to fuel it. The Earth cannot keep up with Man’s demand for natural resources. Her hydrocarbon reserves are shrinking rapidly and by 2010, global production will begin to decrease, setting off a period of unprecedented planetary disorder and turmoil.

Today the United States must import most of the oil it needs from faraway countries. Therein lies a terrible paradox: the power of America is rooted in dependency! The free enterprise system that it is imposing on the rest of the world cannot solve this paradoxical situation; it will only amplify it and hasten destabilization.

It is high time to wonder whether we in the West, in our suicidal quest for energy, are not running the risk of losing control of the course of our history. The invasion of Iraq by the United States military, in lockstep with American corporations, is a distressing and reprehensible step in this direction.

About The Author: Pierre Chomat was a manager in the French petroleum engineering industry and actively participated in the development of oil facilities in a number of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. He also served as a consultant to international companies in the energy sector. His professional expertise and personal knowledge of the Middle East and other oil-producing areas have given him a unique perspective on energy issues.
The first 25 pages of this book can be downloaded free by following the link.

Daily commentary on PO news

Peak Energy (“Big Gav” in Australia)
(6 June 2005)
Low-key commentary on Peak Oil and energy news — one of the many great blogs sprouting up.

Energy-related News

Washington eyes the imminent Saudi succession contest

Searching for the Truth (blog)
Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz appears to be nearing the end of his life, if he is not already dead, as was reported by Washington’s pro-democracy Saudi Institute at the end of May 2005. Rumors of the King’s demise have been swirling since late April, and they have accelerated in recent days with his recent hospitalization, which reportedly required an emergency tracheotomy. Fahd’s death will be the beginning of a period of crucial strategic importance to the world, first because the ensuing struggle for succession could create instability in the world’s biggest energy exporter, and more importantly because his ultimate successor will be in a position to determine Saudi Arabia’s future energy policies.
(4 June 2005)

Cheap flights spark runway chaos

Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend, The Observer
Expansion of Heathrow and Gatwick is condemned by planners as ‘unnecessary and environmentally unsustainable’

Plans to expand enormously Heathrow and Gatwick airports will receive a major blow this week with the publication of a report which will describe them as ‘unnecessary’ and a serious threat to the environment.

Gridlock in the skies should be tackled by persuading people to take fewer flights, not building more runways if greenhouse gases are to be curbed, according to the findings of the public body in charge of planning for south-east England.

The report will increase pressure on the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, to abandon the airport expansion plans which include a third runway at Heathrow and major expansion at Stansted. Land near Gatwick is also being made available in case a second runway is needed when current curbs on building there expire.

‘Our view is that it is environmentally unsustainable, inconsistent with international policy and they have got to change it if the Prime Minister is serious about climate change,’ said Mike Gwilliam, director of transport and planning for Seera, the South East England Regional Assembly.

‘I know it’s very difficult – people love their cheap flights and I use them myself sometimes – but that’s not the point. I think our view is we can’t go on with this sort of “as much as you like on aviation” policy.’
(5 June 2005)

Solutions and Sustainability

From Switzerland: the 2000-watt society

Jamais Cascio, WorldChanging
The “2000 Watt Society” is a radical model of efficient, high-quality living being pushed by the Swiss Council of the Federal Institute of Technology. Worldwide average energy consumption per capita is about 17,500 kilowatt hours, working out to a continuous consumption of 2000 watts. But as we all know, that per capita consumption is not evenly distributed. Switzerland, efficient for Europe, uses around 5000 watts per capita; Europe as a whole, about 6000 watts per capita. Developing nations use substantially less — the average for Africa as a whole is about 500 watts per capita. The US, conversely, runs about 12,000 watts per person. The Swiss Council wants to move the nation as a whole towards a 2000 watts per person goal, not by cutting back on the Swiss standard of living, but by dramatically improving the energy efficiency of all aspects of life.
(2 June 2005)
See original article for links to in-depth documents.

Seaweed to breathe new life into fight against global warming

Leo Lewis, The Times
REMEMBER the names sargassum and Sostera marina: if a group of Japanese scientists is to be believed, the fate of humanity may rest on colossal floating islands of the stuff.

The team envisages 100 vast nets full of quick-growing seaweed, each measuring six miles by six miles, floating off the northeast coast of Japan.

The seaweed in each net, growing to a weight of 270,000 tonnes a year, will absorb prodigious quantities of greenhouse gases and convert them to oxygen before being harvested 12 months later as a rich source of biomass energy.

If a pilot version of the project indicates that the idea is viable, and sufficient funding can be found, the concept of fighting global warming through giant seaweed farms across the world’s oceans could be included in the upcoming revision to the Kyoto Protocol.
(14 May 2005)

Satellite toll plan to make drivers pay by the mile

Francis Elliott, The Independent
British motorists face paying a new charge for every mile they drive in a revolutionary scheme to be introduced within two years.

Drivers will pay according to when and how far they travel throughout the country’s road network under proposals being developed by the Government.

Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, revealed that pilot areas will be selected in just 24 months’ time as he made clear his determination to press ahead with a national road pricing scheme.

Each of Britain’s 24 million vehicles would be tracked by satellite if a variable “pay-as-you-drive” charge replaces the current road tax.

In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Mr Darling warned that unless action is taken now, the country “could face gridlock” within two decades.

Official research suggests national road pricing could increase the capacity of Britain’s network by as much as 40 per cent at a stroke, he said.
(5 June 2005)
Related story at The Guardian.

Chain gangs raid Ford 4×4 dealers

Mark Townsend and Mahtab Haider, The Observer
Eleven climate change protesters were arrested yesterday after chaining themselves to Land Rovers at the start of a national campaign against ‘gas guzzling’ four-wheel drive vehicles.

At dawn up to 1,000 Greenpeace activists stormed Ford dealerships across the UK and attached wheelclamps on sports utility vehicles or handcuffed themselves to their steering columns.

The environmental group promised a summer of mobilisation against the marketing of 4×4 vehicles for urban use by Ford, which owns Land Rover. They particularly dislike its latest model, the Range Rover Sport, which they see as aimed at city drivers.

Placards calling the dealerships as ‘climate crime scenes’ were erected on forecourts in seven cities – including London, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow – in an attempt to disrupt sales.

Last month Greenpeace volunteers disguised as contractors chained themselves to vehicles on the Range Rover production line, bringing work to a halt for a day. Campaigners are furious at the company’s refusal to accept a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in Europe.
(5 June 2005)

Staff’s thermals saving heat cost

Staff at the Environment Agency’s headquarters are encouraged to wear thermal underwear in the office during winter, it has emerged.

The move is part of a drive to reduce heating costs at the London office of the pollution watchdog, according to its chief executive Baroness Young. Lady Young said everyone could help to reduce their impact on the planet.

The Labour peer was speaking before the launch of World Environment Day, which aims to raise awareness of pollution.

Lady Young wants the public to make minor changes to their lifestyles, such as using energy saving light bulbs, composting waste and taking a train instead of a plane. She also suggested people turn off the taps while brushing their teeth and take part in car sharing.

And she attacked the growing trend towards air-conditioned workplaces. “I think it (air conditioning) is becoming a fetish. I hate going to America where you have got to put clothes on to go into the buildings, rather than take clothes off.

“And to be frank if we got the Americans to turn down their air conditioning by four degrees, we would probably reduce the reliance on Middle Eastern oil that’s caused quite a lot of the problems that we are facing on global security terms.”
(4 June 2005)