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Oil Shock - The No Growth World

The price of oil hits you at the pump, in your food bill, and everything you buy. What if you can't afford it?

For years, I've covered Peak Oil as the story of a limited resource. Meanwhile, the oil industry, glutted with billions in profits, keeps drilling deeper offshore, finds more dirty oil in the Tar Sands. They have a mountain of goo in the "heavy oil" of Venezuela - the industry just needs to build more refineries capable of handling it. And we can always make more oil by liquefying coal!

All these options drop from using about one barrel of oil to get 100 barrels, like the pressurized oil wells we grew up, to using one barrel of equivalent energy to get three (like the Tar Sands.) That means many, many times more emissions for every mile or kilometer we drive, house we heat, or factory we run. Oil costs soar and it's a recipe for climate disaster.

Meanwhile, big oil companies, aided and abetted by polluting countries like Canada and Russia, are already plotting to drill in the extreme conditions under the Arctic ice. One leak there, stays for centuries. Nobody can clean it up, and the oil-eating bacteria are few in the cold environment. We can't let that happen. Oil companies must not take advantage of the ice they helped melt.

What about Peak Oil?

Economist Jeff Rubin says we've hit a new kind of peak oil: the peak price our civilization can pay and still grow. We've passed that point now, Rubin says. If China and India grow,

Western countries must shrink. And "shrinking" isn't pretty. Expect unemployment, disappointed dreams, and governments drowning in debt they cannot repay.

Who is Rubin? He was the Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets, a global-scale bank trading operation. As a forward thinker on energy issues Jeff Rubin gets a lot of press and TV appearances. His 2009 book "Why Your World Is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller" (8 minute You tube here) shook up the financial world. He predicts an end to globalization, and a return to regional production, due to ever-rising oil prices.

In this week's Radio Ecoshock show you hear Jeff Rubin's presentation at ASPO 2011. That was the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas USA, in Washington D.C. at the beginning of November 2011.

Then you'll get the main clips from a talk by Charles T. Maxwell. He is the senior Energy Analyst for Weeden Co. Charley's been a top ranked energy authority for years. Charlie outlines who has more oil (very few countries, like Norway and Columbia) and who is running out fast (like Mexico and maybe Saudi Arabia).

Rubin and Maxwell were recorded by Radio Ecoshock Washington correspondent Gerri Williams, and presented courtesy of ASP USA. As far as I know, Radio Ecoshock is the only place to find these recordings online.

But neither of these gurus include the challenge and damage of climate change in their forecasts. They don't mention it. Why not? To wrap up that angle, we'll finish off the show with a Radio Ecoshock interview with Ugo Bardi. He's a cross-breed, as founder of ASPO Italy, and an editor at the Oildrum.com blog - but also part of the Italian climatologist scene. I'll ask Ugo why these two camps, don't talk much to each other.

Read the rest of this post on Radio Ecoshock here.

Editorial Notes: From the publisher: Recorded November 4, 2011 by Radio Ecoshock D.C. correspondent Gerri Williams. Courtesy of ASPO USA. End music clip "Change, Change" by Thistle.

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