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Peak Oil
The Rimini conference on oil depletion: a lost opportunity
Ugo Bardi
Peak oil was discussed in Rimini, Italy, for three full days on oct 27-30 at the 32nd conference “The Soul of The Empire” organized by the Pio Manzu’ center. The conference was sponsored by the United Nations, the European Commission, the Italian goverment and other international bodies.

Initially, the conference had been planned to revolve around the so called “Rimini Protocol” proposed by Colin Campbell two years ago at a previous Rimini conference. Campbell, founder and honorary president of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas), had conceived the protocol around the idea that governments should agree on a voluntary reduction of oil consumption before being forced to do so by depletion.

However, despite a number of excellent presentations, including the one by Campbell himself, the conference seemed to have lost aim and focus along the way. The “Rimini protocol” was mentioned by some of the speakers, but it was never discussed in any depth. Talks wandered over a large number of subjects, from geology to new forms of energy. Some were too specialized for the audience and others were merely advertising for the nuclear industry.
(7 November 2005)
For more on the nature and importance of the Rimini Protocol see How to avoid oil wars, terrorism, and economic collapse by Richard Heinberg -AF

Also see the article by Jeremy Leggett in the Guardian (UK): Running on empty at Rimini -BA

China continues to fill up on oil, but pace slackens

Patrick Barta, Wall Street Journal
Some Forces That Fueled Surge in Demand Dissipate As Local Bottlenecks Ease
BEIJING — Two years after China emerged as the world’s biggest source of new oil demand, its thirst for petroleum has slackened, a development that could mean it will put less strain on global oil markets in the future.

Last year, China’s breakaway economic growth — and its burgeoning appetite for more cars, factories and power plants — accounted for about 30% of the world’s new consumption of oil. This spike in demand, which was generally unexpected, played a major role in driving up global oil prices and causing the world’s car owners pain at the pump.

This year, Chinese oil imports have slowed significantly, and there is mounting evidence that the remarkable demand surge of 2004 was exaggerated by factors that are fading or might not recur. If China’s thirst can be quenched with less foreign oil, the global supply system may get more breathing room to cope with sudden shocks like Hurricane Katrina. It also would mean that other factors, such as tight refinery capacity in the U.S. or elsewhere, would exert more influence over oil prices over the next several years.
(9 November 2005)
To find the story on the WSJ site, you probably will have to go through an online ad, then click on the headline at the bottom of the page. Tom Philpott commented on the WSJ story at Gristmill.

Charles gives US a parting shot

Caroline Davies, UK Telegraph
[San Francisco] is a city where “environment”, “organic”, “sustainable” – indeed all the buzz words that excite [Prince Charles] – are common parlance.

The prince has many supporters here, so where best to deliver the most powerful speech of his tour than a seminar on “peak oil, climate change and business action”?

He pulled no punches, hardening a message he had hinted at during a banquet with President George W Bush at the White House last week.

He told a seminar at San Francisco’s Ferry Building: “The environmental crisis we face is another situation in which I believe the United States could use its power and influence to help create a sense of unity in a common cause among disparate peoples and sectors of society.”

An especially appreciative female member of the audience yelled: “Come and be our president.”

The prince said: “We simply can’t go on as we are. Somehow we have to find the courage to reassert the once commonplace belief that human beings have a duty to act as the stewards of creation.”

Speaking at one of his final engagements before he and the Duchess of Cornwall return to Britain, the prince urged America to reshape its economy to help the environmental cause.
(9 November 2005)

We are our own worst enemies on energy issues

James Bishop, Jr, Arizona Republic
Like a rerun of the film Groundhog Day, fuel prices area once again erupting. Arizonans feel victimized by Big Oil, the utilities, the local gasoline station, so we shake our fists, write letters – and go back to burning fossil fuels again.

Sometimes, however, glimpses of the real villain are visible in the bathroom mirror. “We have met the enemy,” admitted Walt Kelly’s Pogo when lost in a swamp, “and he is us.”

It is “us” because so few of us behave like the cheap-fossil-energy party is really over. To be fair, denial is understandable because we have treated fossil fuels as income, not as capital – refusing to acknowledge their finiteness and climate-changing impact.

Despite strong evidence that our energy future isn’t what it used to be, it is also “us” because similar to viewers of the film The Matrix, we choose to believe in illusion. Stewart Udall says that we’re blind to act because we are conditioned to believe that “humankind is perpetually on the threshold of discoveries that will magically solve our dilemmas.”
(9 November 2005)

ASPO Newsletter 59 (November 2005)

Colin Campbell, ASPO Ireland
Each month, ASPO releases a newsletter which follows the latest peak oil related news and developments. The newsletter is written by Dr Colin Campbell of ASPO Ireland. Contents:

* 625 The Energy Cost of Agriculture
* 626 Returning BP’s challenge
* 627 President Chavez recognises Peak Oil
* 628 The Age of Oil
* 629 Country Assessment – Chad
* 630 Describing the Past is easier than Forecasting the Future
* 631 The Chimera of Oil Shale
* 632 New books
* 633 Expansion of ASPO
* 634 Waking Up To Peak Oil
* 635 Database
(November 2005)

Clean energy soon indispensable as oil runs low: experts

AFP via Physorg-dot-com
As fuel consumption continues to rise around the world despite high oil prices and a growing fear of a shortage of the “black gold”, experts at an international conference in Stockholm has said that clean energy will soon be indispensable.

The conference, on environmentally-friendly vehicles and fuels, was told that after decades of concern that petrol would run out, forecasts on future oil resources had become even more pessimistic.

“China represents 21 percent of the world’s population and consumes eight percent of the world oil production. Will it be able to consume 21 percent of the world production? I don’t believe it,” said Kjell Aleklett, physics professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University and a petroleum expert.

“Some time ago I was called a crazy guy,” for warning about dwindling oil reserves, he told an audience of several hundred at the conference.
(9 November 2005)