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Tompkins County Relocalization Project

Jon Bosak (editor),
This is a long and evolving document, this extract from ‘Purpose of this document’:
This document is intended to interest a few researchers in a project to create an emergency relocalization plan for Tompkins County, New York.

The Editor, who has experience in the development of collaborative large-scale research and publication efforts, proposes to lead the volunteer participants in an initiative named the Tompkins County Relocalization Project. The purpose of the Project is to research and document an emergency plan for relocalizing the production and distribution of essential goods and services in Tompkins County in response to an economic crisis precipitated by an irreversible, perpetually increasing rise in the price of oil, a crisis that now appears to many of us to be inevitable and not much longer in coming.

A basic assumption of the Project is that the County, like other governmental bodies and the American people generally, will not be willing to undertake realistic measures to deal with the problems caused by the end of cheap oil until an emergency economic situation is already upon us. In other words, the TCRP does not assume that any of the sensible measures that could now be taken to ameliorate the coming crisis will, in fact, be implemented, but rather acknowledges that we will probably arrive at the day of reckoning unprepared and looking for a plan.

The purpose of the Project is to be able to produce that plan without further delay. Perhaps the reader remembering recent events can compare this to preparations for a hurricane; prevention of the hurricane is not within the scope of the plan to deal with it. …
(10 October 2005)

The End of Cheap Oil

Dan Box, The Ecologist
Oil is proving harder to find, harder to extract and harder to refine… the century long era of cheap oil, and with it everything upon which our lifestyles depend, is about to end.
… Yes there is still oil out there – both reserves that we know of, and sources still to be found. But in the rush to satisfy our ever increasing appetite for oil, we have used up almost all the oil that is easy, and therefore cheap, to obtain. The century long era of low-priced oil, and with it everything upon which our lifestyles depend, is about to end.

… What or who is driving this demand [for oil]? You need look no further than China. Over the last 25 years, world oil demand has continued to grow, but at a fairly stable average of about one percent a year. Five years ago this all began to change, with the economic boom in a number of developing countries, most of all China.

… Currently the “oil debate” is focused on three key questions: How big are existing reserves? How much oil can we recover from existing reserves? And how much more can we find? The debate is fierce and not as one sided as the current media coverage would have you believe. What’s more, those who believe that demand is due to exceed supply imminently are no longer confined to the ecological / geological fringe.

… The result is that no one really knows how much recoverable oil there is left. But with what we now know of the industry’s history of creative accounting, it’s unlikely to be as much as they say it is.

It is not only the size of oil reserves that is important, however, … – if you can’t get it out quickly and easily, it’s of little value to the world. It’s like a jar of Marmite. No one throws the jar away when it’s empty, but when it’s just too difficult and time consuming to get enough on your knife to cover a piece of toast. The same is true of oil.

Dan Box is a correspondent for the Sunday Times.
(October 2005)
Peak oil is the cover story of the October issue of The Ecologist magazine (UK). The lead article is a long, well-written summary; much of the material should be familiar to people who follow PO. The emphasis is on reserves, extraction techniques and the possibiities of oil sands and tar shale. The implications of Peak Oil are only briefly mentioned. Thanks to David H. for pointing out the article to EB.

The Ecologist has not put the article online, but a copy of the article currently appears on the Autonomy & Solidarity website.

Exxon Sell-Off Underlines Oil Market Muddle

Adam Porter,
Oil markets have continued in their recent run of perplexing moves. As continued uncertainty surrounds the state of the post-Hurricane U.S. industry, new events are adding to the mix.

Category 5 hurricane Wilma is the strongest hurricane ever recorded by the U.S. national hurricane centre. It is moving north into the Gulf of Mexico. Most predictions are taking Wilma, the third major hurricane of the season, into Florida. Florida’s oil industry does not compare to those of Louisiana or Texas. Florida has seventy operational wells but no refineries. It does however have over 5% of America’s gasoline stations.

However experience from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita show that the actual landfall site remains unknown – often until just a few hours before arrival. This in itself should be a bullish factor on crude prices. Yet despite a rally earlier in the week the NYMEX crude price is some nine dollars off its Katrina highs. Some analysts think the bearish pricing is missing the point.

“It’s premature,” said Bruce Evers of Investec Bank in London. “But there has been a big sell off in commodity shares in general. Not just in oil and gas but also in mining. If you look back over the last five years, the oil sector has tended to under perform in the fourth quarter.”

Perhaps the biggest event of the oil week was the sell-off of $1.4 billion in Exxon Mobil shares. The finger is pointed at Goldman Sachs by analysts and the word on the street. But so far Goldman Sachs have refused to comment.

“Goldman Sachs did it,” said Evers straight to the point. “It’s obviously a very big U.S. institution taking a view that the run in the
oil shares was over. But it’s not surprising that there is profit taking, we are well into the final quarter and equity markets have been
extremely difficult this year and oil shares are an area where there are substantial profits to be taken.”
(19 October 2005)
As oil prices go up and reserves go down, short term profits look good, but long term prospects look bad for the oil companies.-AF

Peak oil and sustainability at SF Green Festival Nov 5-6

Green Festival
The Green Festival in San Francisco (Nov 5-6) has several speakers on Peak Oil, plus many on sustainabiity topics. Presenters include: Richard Heinberg, Joanna Macy, Brian and Ann Weller of the Willits Economnic Localization Movement, Nancy and John Todd, Hazel Henderson, Amy Goodman, William McDonough and Sim Van der Ryn.
schedule (PDF)
bios of presenters (PDF)
exhibitors and map (PDF)
homepage for SF Greenfest
(October 2005)

Does peak oil signal the end?

Aarti Betigeri, World News Australia (SBS)
World News Australia reporter Aarti Betigeri has been investigating the future of the world’s oil reserves. In this special report she talks to oil experts about ‘peak’ oil and what some believe is the beginning of the end for carbon based fuels.

Petrol prices may be steady for now, but there are fears they’re set to reach even higher levels than we’ve seen in recent months.

The reason for this, experts say, is simply because we’re soon going to start running out of oil.

The argument that oil supply is running out is one that is running hot in business and scientific circles but is only just starting to gain attention in the Australian media.

…”We’ve come to the end of the first half of the age of oil, not to the full end of the age of oil, just the first half of it,” said Colin J Campbell, oil geologist and chair of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.
(19 October 2005)
This unprecedented news segment appeared within a standard evening news bulletin. This viewer was shocked by the unspun description of C.Campbell/ASPO as experts, without any mention of more optimistic official forecasts or ‘debunkers’, and the general framing of ‘is this the end?’!! A welcome broaching of the topic, but nearly reckless in its presentation.-LJ