Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peak Oil: Will we wait until the wells really do run dry? TNR.v, CZX.v, RM.v, LMR.v, LI.v, WLC.v, CLQ.v, RTP, BHP,, RES.v, GM, FDX, SLV, F, FCX

We were running on Oil for the last 100 years - what will be the next Energy basis for our survival? If we account all expenses for Oil and military protection of its supply Oil price is already well above 100 USD/barrel. Now BP Oil Spill national disaster will add billions to this price. Will Obama use this chance and move his Energy Security Agenda forward now, when time is running out with every barrel of Oil burnt in our engines? We are talking not only about our life styles and poor birds dying in the Gulf: we are talking about West as a society based on Oil addiction. It is not sustainable any more. There is no Cheap Oil any more left:


"Didn't anyone notice that it is the height of insanity to be drilling down 18,000 feet down into a seabed which is 5,000 below the surface of the sea?

There's plenty of oil around, really; we're just drilling down 23,000 feet into marginal oil deposits just because we enjoy a challenge."

Our whole survival is based on our ability to transform our Energy sector in a military style exercise, when risk is assessed on the National Security level and all resources are put together to make this technological transformation possible. There is technology, there are people who can make it possible and bring Electric Mobility in order not to fight last war to the end of Empire for last drop of oil. The only thing we need now is a political Will for a Change.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward is certainly due blame, but he isn’t the only one. (Jeff Overs/ Reuters/ BBC)

Will Tony Hayward become only the most hated man in America now or will Oil Spill bring us all realisation that something needs to be done and very soon?

"Recent Ash Cloud events in Europe brought a very sobering sense of the feeling to be grounded. It is amazing how many things are taking for granted. This time it is Ash Cloud - what will happen with oil above 150?

Electric Cars is the only commercially viable technology today to sustain mobility world wide with rising Oil prices. Lithium is at the heart of Green Mobility revolution - it is an industry adopted standard for batteries and billions of dollars are invested into battery technology and upcoming by the end of this year Electric Cars on a mass market scale. This Bull market is still very young - only a year or so from the beginning after the crash of 2008."

Rethinking our oil-drenched lifestyles

LIKE MANY people, I spent a good portion of last week looking at pictures of oil-drenched birds and marveling at the chutzpah of BP. The company’s ads are contrite on the surface but brazen underneath, filled with images of pristine beaches and industrious volunteers, suggesting that soon, all will be well in the Gulf of Mexico so offshore drilling can start again. Just buck up, America, and have faith! Stiff upper lip and all that.

Pity the birds; hate the company. But I couldn’t help but wonder how much I should hate myself, too. My life, after all, is one giant petroleum glut, from the diapers and diaper rash ointment for my son to the toothpaste in my bathroom to the Lycra in my jeans. Oil gets me to work and back, puts food on my plate, gets pumped into the tank in my basement every winter. Imagining a world without it is next to impossible.

But there are some people who are trying.

Their work is based on the controversial concept of “peak oil,’’ the theory that US oil production reached its apex in the 1970s and global production will reach its high point by 2020. There will still be oil to be had, the theory goes, but less of it, harder to reach, requiring risky technology like BP’s deep underwater wells. The threat of ecological disasters and foreign encumbrances are nothing compared to the spectre of the spigot turning off. And the theory implicates us all; according to Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the California-based Post Carbon Institute, half of the world’s non-renewable resources have been used up in the lifetime of the Boomer generation.

Even as a thought experiment, refuted by some scientists and futurists and optimists, “peak oil’’ is an opportunity to think past the relative placebo of renewable grocery bags and remember that our oil dependence wasn’t preordained. Early plastics were made from coal resin, says Brian Black, professor of history and environmental studies at Penn State Altoona. Petroleum just made them more malleable and cost-effective. Early car production was electric; Henry Ford even fiddled with an electric version of the Model T. But during World War I, we got hooked on the internal combustion engine, which fueled the suburbs and the road trip and the frequent flier and the culture of expansion we’re accustomed to now.

Changing that culture will be tough, because it inevitably means sacrifice. “No politician wants to stand up in front of his constituency and say look, fossil fuel should be more expensive, we should be traveling less and so on. He’d be hooted off the stage,’’ Heinberg told me.

But he paints a dire portrait of contraction if no one acts, a time when oil is so costly that it limits economic expansion, when big houses are a liability and cars hard to afford. (His institute is developing ways to facilitate carpools, a sort of post-petroleum Zipcar by necessity.) The trick, he says, will be to put a positive spin on the change: We’ll get used to having smaller houses and less stuff. We’ll spend more time outdoors with our families.

Black’s vision is less dramatic. He imagines a slow weaning process that begins with reducing our dependence on foreign oil; he supported the president’s call for more offshore drilling before the BP disaster struck. He calls for policies such as cap and trade that put a price on oil’s long-term implications. And because transportation takes up the bulk of oil consumption, he believes that if we all convert quickly to fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll still have enough petroleum available for the little things we rely on, the pharmacutical ingredients, diapers, and toothpaste tubes.

There have been moments when we’ve entertained these sorts of ideas. The Exxon Valdez spill, 21 years ago, reminded us how much oil can hurt the environment. The gas price spike, two summers ago, made us pity anybody with an SUV. Neither of them stuck. Will pictures of birds and anger at Tony Hayward do the trick now? Or will we wait until — sooner or much, much later — the wells really do run dry?

Joanna Weiss can be reached at"
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