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Oil and gas may run short by 2015, say industry experts

Geoffrey Lean, The Independent
Humanity is approaching an unprecedented crisis when not enough oil and gas will be produced to keep industrial civilisation running, the world’s top oilmen warned last week.

The warning – which is being hailed as a “tipping point” on both sides of the Atlantic – marks the first time that the industry has accepted that it may soon no longer be able to meet demand for its products. In Facing the Hard Truths about Energy, it gives authoritative support to concern about impending shortages, following a similar alert by the International Energy Agency less than two weeks ago.

The 420-page report, the most comprehensive study ever carried out into the industry, has been produced by the National Petroleum Council, a body of 175 authorities that reports to the US government. It includes the heads of the world’s big oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum, Shell and BP.

…The predictions should send a shiver down humanity’s collective spine as a shortage of oil and gas has been predicted to cause industrial collapse, market crashes, resource wars and a rise in poverty. Some forecast that fascist regimes will rise out of the chaos.

Chris Skrebowski, editor of the Energy Institute’s Petroleum Review, said the report’s publication showed the industry “‘fessing up that it really has a problem on its hands”. Until now, he said, “companies, full of share options, have been terrified of frightening the markets” by revealing the truth.
(22 July 2007)

Mountaineers- climate criminals?

David Strahan, Summit Magazine (British Mountaineering Council)
Mountaineers are a special class of climate criminal. We clearly have a particular moral duty to protect the icy landscapes we enjoy, and most of us like to think of ourselves as environmentally responsible. But the reality is rather different. When it comes to flying, just like the hordes heading off to the beaches of Magaluf, we remain in stubborn denial about the damage our emissions cause, and carry on regardless.

In a recent three page article for The Independent entitled ‘The Melting Mountains’, Joe Simpson bemoaned the destruction of classic routes in the Alps from melting ice and massive rockfalls, without a single mention of his own airmiles, still less the helicopter fuel used to haul him off the Dru. At a meeting of the Alpine Club last summer, one speaker regaled us with stories from a lifetime of expeditions and slides showing evidence of glacial retreat, without once making the connection.

…There is of course scant chance that climbers will forego their flights voluntarily, but it is now becoming increasingly clear that soon this will cease to be a matter of choice. The fleeting age of the jet-setting pack rat is about to come to an end, not primarily because of climate change, but because of its stealthy companion: oil depletion. Topping out on far-flung hills courtesy of BA or Easyjet will soon be consigned to history because of one apparently insurmountable problem: the peak of global oil production, known in the industry as peak oil or Hubbert’s Peak.

…The global aviation industry consumes only about an eighth as much fuel as road transport, but in some ways the problems of replacing jet kerosene are even more intractable. As well as the resource constraints already discussed, there are serious technical obstacles to using clean alternatives in the air

…As a result, when oil production peaks the consequences will be particularly severe for the aviation industry,

…So what should climbers do? The cynical response would be to fly as far and as often as possible to bag all those peaks you dream of climbing before the crisis hits or personal carbon trading really begins to bite. But that would be to corrupt the traditional justification for climbing – ‘because it’s there’ – into one that is utterly selfish and self-fulfilling: ‘because it soon won’t be’. The only responsible and sensible approach is to prepare for the last oil shock by starting to reduce your energy consumption right away, and working out what climbing opportunities remain achievable within a contracting energy budget.

… there will still be plenty of opportunities, especially in the early years, provided the fuel reduction is caused by progressively tightening carbon rations, rather than a paralysing oil shock. The Alps will still be in reach by train or coach, although probably less frequently as time goes on. At home, personal carbon trading will encourage car-sharing: a trip to North Wales might not be so prohibitive with four ration-holders in the car.

Since personal carbon trading will cover all your fossil energy consumption, extreme conservation around the house might allow you to save rations towards the trips you are still desperate to make.

David Strahan is an award winning investigative journalist and documentary film maker who worked for the BBC for a decade before leaving to write the Last Oil Shock.

This feature article originally appeared in Summit 45. Opinions expressed are of the author – not necessarily the BMC, and should be taken in the context of time.
(31 March 2007)
Contributer Ronanov writes:
After quitting flying, a recent personal audit revealed that almost all my climbing equipment relied on oil-based material, not least nylon ropes and sticky rubber, which define modern mountaineering.

Peak Moment Newsletter

Janaia Donaldson and Robyn Mallgren, Peak Moment
If you’re new to Peak Moment Television, check our website,, to learn about our online and DVD video programs highlighting individuals and communities going local and sustainable, particularly as we face climate change and energy decline. …

The Peak Moment Duo

Even if you’ve watched a Peak Moment Conversation, you may not have met both halves of the Peak Moment duo. Janaia hosts and produces the Conversations. Behind the camera and editing equipment, you’ll find Robyn, the technical wizard. We do just about everything ourselves — show production, website, distribution, graphics, and most of the funding. We do this work from our off-grid home of 17 years on 160 acres of forested land near the Yuba River. Hence the name for our business, Yuba Gals Independent Media.

The “Peak Moment-mobile” Arrives

Last year, when we visited 20-plus communities along the west coast and taped more than 140 shows (see Janaia’s blog at, we packed our video gear and ourselves into a Vanagon camper. As we imagined longer trips in which we could produce and upload shows along the way, we realized we needed something a bit larger. We envisioned a motorhome equipped with a small taping studio and edit bay. Through some amazing synchronicities, “Jigalong” came to us in May. We’ll tell you more about our plans for “Jig” in our next newsletter.
Sixty Eight Conversations Online

Watch all of the Peak Moment Conversations online at Or on YouTube, where we’ve just passed 100,000 views since last October! Programs are also on Global Public Media, Free Speech TV online video library, and Yes! Magazine Video Online. If you want to be notified as each show goes online, subscribe to the Peak Moment channel on YouTube. (Find the “Subscribe to peakmoment’s videos” link partway down the page on right.)

Janaia’s Reflections

Science is bringing us news that serious climate change is well underway and happening even faster than the projections. Our planet has a fever caused primarily by our burning of fossil fuels. It would be convenient if simply switching to “green” products and practices like biofuels could turn it all around. But indicators are that won’t be sufficient — we’re consuming the planet beyond her ability to renew, including some of the very mechanisms, such as forests, that help keep things in balance.

We need to change our belief in limitless material growth, and change our behavior to reduce our impact. Humanity is at the most defining moment in its history — and the future of many species, including our own, lies in the balance. Our Peak Moment shows are dedicated to those pioneering a path towards a sustainable future.

Perhaps we are part of a larger upwelling on the planet, as expressed in Paul Hawken’s new book Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming:

“We can no longer import our lives in the form of food, fuel and fundamentalism. Life is homegrown, always has been. So is culture. And so too are the solutions to global problems.”
(22 July 2007)
A great resource. See the orginal URL for more descriptions and links to the programs. I’d like to post some of their photos, but I’m having technical problems. -BA

An Extension of the World Import/Export Land Model

Mark B., The Oil Drum
…There are many people on either side of the Export Land Model issue: those who think the internal consumption of an exporter will continue to increase at the detriment of exports and those who think there will be enough pressure, be it economic or otherwise, to stifle internal consumption so that net exports don’t suffer. I see no reason we won’t see both of these situations occurring depending on the specific details of a given exporter. The question, I think, is which effect will be dominant in the aggregate and to what degree? If, after the peak in world oil production, either effect is dominant in the extreme then “bad things” happen. If internal consumption continues to grow, importers will have to drastically decrease consumption. If exporters force their populace to decrease consumption for the sake of exports, my guess is this would initiate or fan unrest and increase instability in the exporting countries – possibly resulting in production loss (i.e. Nigeria) and hence a decline in net exports.

What I’ve set out to do in this post is to construct a World Import/Export Land Model (extending the work of westexas and Khebab, the most recent of which can be found here) followed by an investigation into one of the possible extreme situations above: the pre-peak rate of change in internal consumption of Export Land continues post-peak.

Mark B. has a B.S. in Physics and is presently in graduate school in an area of Applied Physics/Engineering
(21 July 2007)