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Old 05-05-2006, 08:59 AM  
NewChief NewChief is offline
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Peak Oil Debate: Scary Stuff

I just read the entirety of this article last night. This is pretty nutty stuff.

http://outside.away.com/outside/feat...ler-oil-1.html
[quote]
James Howard Kunstler
Oil Spiel
President Bush says Americans guzzle too much petroleum, and James Howard Kunstler would certainly agree. But the flamethrowing author of The Long Emergency—a wickedly entertaining and terrifying look into a future without cheap fuel—thinks the world isn't doing nearly enough to get ready, and nobody is safe from his wrath.

By John Galvin

"You're not going to run Walt Disney World and the interstate highway system on ethanol or hemp! Or biodiesel! Or hydrogen! Or solar power, or all of them together," booms the man at the podium in the conservative khaki suit. "That isn't going to happen!" he continues in a staccato blast of invective. "We are going to have to make other ar-range-ments for how we live!"

James Howard Kunstler, a stout, bald 57-year-old author from Saratoga Springs, New York, is in the throes of his modern-day hydrocarbon jeremiad. He's pacing. He's yelling. He's livid. And just in case you missed his point, he's jabbing his fingers downward to show the direction of things to come.

America, Kunstler argues, is about to become one fantastically miserable place. Why? Because our entire standard of living is propped up by cheap oil, and the days of cheap oil are over. "No combination of alternative fuels is going The Peak Oil Debate
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to allow us to run the United States the way we've been used to running it," he tells the Dallas crowd. And though tonight he'll resist calls to pinpoint when the nightmare will begin, he's told the online environmental magazine Grist.org that "we're going to be feeling the pain" in as little as three years, and suburban collapse might start in ten.

Sounds preposterous, on the face of it. But Kunstler bases his predictions on a geoeconomic concept called "peak oil" that is gaining credibility even within the petroleum industry. The theory holds that humankind has nearly, if not already, tapped 50 percent of the world's fossil-fuel reserves—the half that's highest in quality and easiest to pump out of the ground. Once we hit "peak," as the halfway mark is called, the global supply will decline and extraction costs and gas prices will skyrocket ($7 per gallon by 2010 is one ballpark figure that gets thrown around) while demand continues its inexorable climb. This doomsday scenario—along with what Kunstler calls the American propensity for "sleepwalking into the future"—is the basis for his hot-selling 2005 book The Long Emergency, now in its tenth printing.

Kunstler, meanwhile, has been on what might be called an "eve of destruction" speaking tour. Tonight's stop is Dallas's Southern Methodist University for an event called "The Unfolding Energy Crisis and Its Impact on Development Patterns." Even with a stultifying title like that one, the auditorium is packed.

Hanging on Kunstler's every caustic word are students, enviros, urban planners, and fans like Jeffrey Brown, 49, a native Texan and concerned independent oil producer who helped organize this peak-oil talk.

A clutch of buttoned-up oil-biz men sit in the front rows, among them the legendary tycoon-turned-hedge-fund-manager T. Boone Pickens, who invests in oil and gas futures and alternative-energy firms. Nearby are some execs from Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy, which, like Pickens's firm, kicked in $5,000 to SMU to help pay for the event. The petro-professionals mainly showed up to hear the first speaker in this doubleheader, leading oil-industry investment banker Matthew Simmons, whose book Twilight in the Desert concludes that Saudi crude is running out. Stockbrokers, lawyers, traders, and Herbert Hunt, of the famous Texas oil clan, are all on hand. Although, at the moment, they probably wish they weren't.

"We are going to have tremendous problems!" Kunstler is shouting. The crowd sits erect, at attention, looking somewhat wan. Without cheap crude, Kunstler declares, the earth can't support six billion people, and so a lot of us aren't going to make it. Modern-day agriculture, with its gas-guzzling infrastructure and natural-gas-based fertilizers, will collapse and be replaced by enraged waves of citizens forced into hardscrabble lives of subsistence farming. "The long emergency is going to make a new, large group of losers," says Kunstler, holding his fingers up in the shape of a capital L. "And they will be very angry about that!"

Suburbs—which Kunstler believes have turned Americans into depressed, overweight blobs—will become ghost towns once exorbitant gas prices make commuting unaffordable. Wave goodbye to the swingin' big-city life, too, Kunstler says—we'll survive only in small towns where we can grow our own food. Wal-Mart? Big-box stores? Doomed. And say ciao to the U.S. as we know it: While the nation battles China (and others) for access to the remaining oil overseas, the states back home could likely Balkanize into fractious mini-regions.

Nuclear power can't help—nobody wants a plant near them, and even if they did, it takes too many years to get one running. Fuel cells, biomass, whatever techno-fix you favor—nothing, says Kunstler, is ever going to be as plentiful, practical, and scalable as oil, and no amount of positive thinking and good ol' Yankee ingenuity can save us.

"History is merciless," he says, sounding like a Yale philosophy prof while he reloads the flamethrower. "History doesn't care if we pound our society down a rat hole. It's up to us to make more intelligent choices about how we live!"

The crowd starts clapping—resoundingly. As if to concur, Yes, most absolutely, we are screwed!

"We have created thousands and thousands of places in America that aren't worth caring about," Kunstler continues, "and when we have enough of them, we're going to have a country that's not worth defending."

And if the audience was applauding before, now they're really putting some muscle into it. Even the oilmen join in.
[quote]

That's the first page. Click the link to read the rest.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
That's the first page. Click the link to read the rest.
tap,tap,tap,tap,tap,tap,tap...
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:22 AM   #3
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tap,tap,tap,tap,tap,tap,tap...
Hrm?
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:34 AM   #4
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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I'm not sure I hang my hat on the Peak Oil theory anymore.
There is a recent book book out that says it's renewable as new fossils get created continuously. Nevertheless, when prices get too high....someone somewhere will create something that fulfills a need in the market. The rest is history. Don't forget there wasn't enough sperm whale oil to satisfy the 19th century, hence we go oil.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:38 AM   #5
NewChief NewChief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
I'm not sure I hang my hat on the Peak Oil theory anymore.
There is a recent book book out that says it's renewable as new fossils get created continuously. Nevertheless, when prices get too high....someone somewhere will create something that fulfills a need in the market. The rest is history. Don't forget there wasn't enough sperm whale oil to satisfy the 19th century, hence we go oil.
I'm not completely convinced either. Even if the estimates are correct about peak oil, I'm not sure we won't adapt. The question is how painful that adaptation will be. BTW, I don't think that sperm whale oil was quite as much of a lynchpin of their society as crude is of ours. When you think of how the use of oil absolutely touches so many facets of our lives and economy, it's pretty scary to think of what it's scarcity could bode for us.

That being said, the internet and our information tech driven economy could certainly ease some of the commuting requirements that he predicts as being so problematic in an oil-scarce society.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:00 AM   #6
Iowanian Iowanian is online now
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Its a good thing A country boy can survive.


I'm feeling better and better every day about buying into bioD.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:05 AM   #7
NewChief NewChief is offline
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Its a good thing A country boy can survive.
.
No doubt. He actually says something about that, claiming that during times of upheaval the countryside is a bad/dangerous place to be. Ummm, I think I'll take my chances.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:15 AM   #8
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It will be painful, and it will be expensive, but industrial society will adapt.

Convert your autos and plant your gardens now, and you could either be genious on a Noah scale, or the biggest idiot around. Could go either way...
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:16 AM   #9
Iowanian Iowanian is online now
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The fact is, if the shat ever really hits the fan, its the "country folk"...the "mindless rednecks" the urban elitist make so much fun of, who will be fine.

They can grow food, have livestock/food sources, fish, hunt, usually have access to weapons they are skilled in the use of, and there is alot less competition per square mile.

I don't think the bio products are the cure....but they'll definitely help. I think Biomass(grasses that can be grown on unsuitable farmground currently in CRP, pelletized and used for Electricity), Ethy, BioD and Wind energy are all good choices for alleviating the oil pains.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:18 AM   #10
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Nuclear power can't help—nobody wants a plant near them, and even if they did, it takes too many years to get one running. Fuel cells, biomass, whatever techno-fix you favor—nothing, says Kunstler, is ever going to be as plentiful, practical, and scalable as oil, and no amount of positive thinking and good ol' Yankee ingenuity can save us.
I don't know about the rest of you, but if this guy's peak oil catastrophe predictions are true, they can build a nuclear reactor in my backyard right next to my tool shed if they want to. I'd rather that than have to plow my lawn by hand and grow all my own food.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:23 AM   #11
jidar jidar is offline
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Peak Oil is a reality. The question is just how much it will affect us.
Oil is not renewable, these people arguing that are crackpots.

That said, these doomsday predictions are most likely overblown. The wasteful society we live in today simply cannot continue, but that's fine really. The truth is we're so wasteful now that a reduction in energy by 50% or more is absorbable.
Probably electricity is going to be mostly replaced by Nuclear, and transportation is going to become much more difficult than it was, beyond that I doubt it's going to be all that bad.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:29 AM   #12
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:34 AM   #13
Brianfo Brianfo is offline
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When the media starts blowing about running out of oil, that means we are getting close to a peak in the price of crude oil. You can mark my words. If I had any balls, I would sell a couple contracts of crude oil on the board. Crude Oil is due for a correction. I'm not saying the top is in, but we will have a set back.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:35 AM   #14
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Tax breaks for motorcycles.
I'm considering getting some kind of Vespa-type scooter for commuting and intown use.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:38 AM   #15
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I'm considering getting some kind of Vespa-type scooter for commuting and intown use.
Personally, living where you live, I'd go ahead and spend just a little more and get an enduro-type motorcycle. Street legal, yet good for getting out to the boonies.
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