Peak oil - July 28
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Michael Ruppert on Peak Moment TV
Global Public Media
Exploring the Terrain of Peak Oil: Michael Ruppert, publisher of From the Wilderness.com, has made connections between money, Peak Oil, and geopolitics for years. He discusses his move to Ashland and offers specific to-do's around money and investment "in light of the imminent collapse of the U.S. economy": invest locally.
"Canadian Dimension" features peak oil
The July/August issue of "Canadian Dimension" has several articles on peak oil. Online articles include:
Responding to the Challenge of Peak Oil by Richard Heinberg
Peak Oil and Alternative Energy by Jack Santa-Barbara
Scouring Scum and Tar from the Bottom of the Pit by Petr Cizek
(July/August 2006 edition)
New Statesman political magazine covers oil scarcity
Douglas Low (ODAC) writes:
The New Statesman is one of two main political magazines in the UK. I suspect that its publication of a series of articles on the scarcity of oil may make discussion of the subject in the UK easier, and more acceptable:
Note: the New Statesman website allows free access to only one article per day.
The New Statesmen is a left-of-centre political magazine published in the UK, with a wide readership amongst the politically motivated. Two weeks ago it ran a front-cover story with the title 'Oil - A lethal addiction', covering oil scarcity issues. Peak oil and oil depletion are not mentioned explicitly. The main article Oil: We're addicted largely compares and contrasts the current oil crisis with that of 1973/4: "Soaring prices for crude oil, falling production surpluses, wild speculation in commodities, a rush into the precious metals, turmoil in the Middle East, assertive oil producers: it is 1973-74 all over again, and at dictation speed. From a low of $16 a barrel in the winter of 2001, the price of crude oil has risen to $75 a barrel. That is a fourfold rise, which mirrors the quadrupling of prices in 1973-74... The supply of crude oil has become stretched."
The second article asks When will the oil run out?, a good question with a very good answer: "It won't. Certainly not in the sense that humans will ever empty the last oil well of the last drop. Yes, the supply must be finite, and yes, we are using it at an alarming rate, but long, long before we get to that last well the stuff will have become so expensive that all but a tiny minority of us will be living without it. That process may have begun, as the huge jump in demand, particularly from China, combined with the Iraq war and other political uncertainties, have driven prices up sharply... So the higher the price, the more oil will turn up. But that doesn't mean we are off the hook, because higher prices will mean hard choices. First, this oil may be too precious to use for film DVDs and Evian bottles. Then it will be non-essential travel such as school runs and holidays. Then mobile phones and computers will jump in price. Poor countries and poor people will struggle to pay for oil and oil products. The world will begin to change."
The third article Stuff of dreams suggests that while the dismantling of Yukos and jailing of Khodorkovsky has 'shocked many in the business world outside Russia', Russians in general are happy with the prosperity that oil and gas production has brought: "High oil prices have given Russia renewed power, frightening the west but bringing hope to ordinary Russians."
This item comes from Douglas Low of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC). Several times a week he compiles an excellent set of energy-related news articles. (See News Archives). Low writes:
If you would like to receive ODAC News, send an e-mail specifying you wish to receive ODAC News (as opposed to Website Updates) with your name, and ideally country and affiliation, to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Online video on peak oil (VIDEO, transcripts)
Aaron Wissner, Local Future Network
In a compact new 10 minute summary video, Aaron Wissner explains the details of Peak Oil: the evidence, the impacts and the solutions.
(27 July 2006)
Wisconsin Energy Plan Flunks Reality Check
Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
Escapism Masquerading as Planning
The draft Strategic Energy Assessment issued by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is a particularly fine example of a government report that is interesting only for what it leaves out. Covering the years 2006 through 2012, the SEA purports to bring to light “issues that may need to be addressed to ensure the availability and reliability of Wisconsin’s electric energy supply.” Unfortunately, from a planning perspective, what the report does not address is far more critical to Wisconsin’s electricity future than what is presented in the report.
Take, for instance, the impending global Oil Peak, which many respected petroleum geologists believe will occur between 2006 and 2012. One searches in vain for any reference to a phenomenon that promises to subject the nations of the world to a profoundly wrenching and traumatic transition as supplies of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel become less available and more expensive. How should Wisconsin, which is bereft of any fossil fuel reserves and therefore must import all its coal, oil and natural gas, go about preparing for an energy-constrained future? It’s a question worthy of public discussion and debate, but one the PSC, notwithstanding the first word in its name, lacks the stomach for, or so it would appear.
Coal prices provide one obvious clue as to how the oil peak might affect utility operations. Right now, transportation costs account for about half the price of coal that is delivered to Wisconsin power plants. Therefore, when diesel fuel prices increase, as they have over the last 12 months, so too will the cost of coal generation. Yet the report omits any discussion of likely coal price behavior over the next six years. How is the public served by ignoring the relationship between escalating fuel costs and the delivered cost of coal for power generation?
Natural gas prices will also have a bearing on the economics of coal, the principal source of electricity in Wisconsin. Escalating natural gas prices provides coal producers with more headroom in bidding up their prices, a strategic opportunity they seldom fail to capitalize on.
(26 July 2006)