Saturday, February 23, 2008

Peak Oil & Energy Update: February 2008



The Peak Oil community's consensus is that we hit peak crude oil in 2005 and we're now currently riding the Plateau. All the easy, cheap oil has been found and only the more expensive, harder to get and unconventional oil is left. There are estimates of possible shortages in 2009-2010 and some bumps in the road until 2015 when things could start to get ugly or we could transition to alternative energies. The good news is that total liquids are increasing due to biofuels, but they are only part of the solution and will only allow us to squeeze out a little bit more time to hopefully transition to Plug-In Hybrids and fully Electric Cars.

Shockingly, we may not have 150 years of Coal like originally thought. This report from the German Government states Coal may peak around 2025. Coal Reserve Estimates are drastically being lowered and many countries haven't updated their data in decades. So the data isn't clear and we'll need more updates to "prove" more Coal exists. Germany's reserve estimates have lowered by 99%.

According to Peak Oil author and researcher Richard Heinberg's and interview with peakmoment.tv, we have extracted most of the high density coal. So in speaking of energy quantity, we peaked in the US 5 years ago. That throws the possibility of LiquidCoal replacing gas/diesel into question. Also, the USA generates 50% of it's energy from Coal and California generates 50% of its energy from Natural Gas, which is also close to peak.

Some say we have plenty of oil left, we're finding oil all the time. Yes we're finding oil but it is in smaller quantities of size and supply per day. Others say there is plenty of oil not yet found, and maybe there are conspiracies to keep the oil hidden and production low to artificially create Peak Oil.

The reality is more oil is not proven. Just hoped for. The new unconventional discoveries such as The Alberta Tar Sands, Shale in the Midwest and Alaska's ANWR will be important and will allow oil to be around for a very long time. But they will arrive in small in quantities of supply per day and unable to fully fill the demand we currently require for this lifestyle of endless consumption and growth.

Our current lifestyle is a choice. We still have time to explore and debate the possibilities of other ways of life. If we don't start thinking now, we'll be forced to change in the future and it won't be pretty.

2010-2015 will be interesting years that test the fabric of our society. I think we should be starting today to prepare to learn to live a new lifestyle. A lifestyle of reduced consumption, increased efficiency and increased use of alternative energies. More walking, bike riding, localization of food, energy and supplies.

Peak Oil should be entering mass consciousness this year or next. The 11th Hour produced by Leonardo DiCaprio will be coming out on DVD April 8th, 2008 which ties together Climate Change, Peak Oil, Environmental Destruction and Peak Resources (Water, etc).

There is even a video game based on oil shortages coming out soon. The game's plot is about a war between US & Europe vs The Red Star Alliance (Russia & China). Throughout the game, fights break out in cities with Wind Power and Solar Panels on the tops of houses.

We could have some good news on the supply side if we can get Iraq's oil online anytime soon. But due to the War, the unstable region and growing hatred for the West, anything is possible, like the middle east cutting us off like they did in 1973.

Iran is making alliances with Russia and China and has stopped selling oil in dollars. Saudi Arabia's production has already peaked and even George Bush knows it.

Iraq has the 3rd largest conventional oil reserves (9.5%) and it is largely untapped. Iran is 2nd (11.5%) and Saudi Arabia is 1st (21.9%).



The USA Uses 24% of the world's oil. China is currently using about 10% and growing rapidly along with India. China is putting pressure to get more oil from the Middle East, Canada and Venezuela).



The USA uses about 21mbd and imports about 13mbd. In order for the US & North America to be energy independent we'll need to find new supplies of oil or to reduce our consumption. These new oil sources in the short term will help us keep pace with demand and dwindling world wide supplies but they cannot fully replace our imports and/or existing oil supplies.

The Alberta Tar Sands have proven reserves equal to about Saudi Arabia. They currently output about 1mbd and the government hopes to increase production to 3mbd in 2020, and 5mbd in 2030.

Oil Shale has been found in the Midwest but the technology isn't quite there yet and the rights to extract it haven't been granted by the US Government. It is estimated to be able to output about 1mbd. It will require 10 Power Plants and huge amounts of water from the already over-tapped Colorado River. Unfortunately, cities in Southwestern United States and Mexico currently depend on the Colorado and are already planning on shortages.

Alaska is supposed to have plenty of oil. ANWR is estimated to be able to produce 0.6mbd and peak at 1.9mbd in 2020-2030. Lindsey Williams says we have a deposit the size of Saudi Arabia at Gull Island Alaska (200 billion barrels) and it was kept secret in the 1970s by the government. He says we're in the middle east to protect the use of Dollars traded in Oil ("Petrodollar Warfare") because this is the only thing keeping our dollar alive.

I've also just read that it is possible we have found a huge source of oil under the Lhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifakota Native American Land in the Midwest. Keep in mind the Lakota's just seceded from the USA two months ago - December 2007. This will be interesting.

The Bakken formation is made up of Oil Shale and Dolomite (rock). Originally found in 1953, new horizontal drilling technology and an increase in the price of oil make this source economically viable for extraction. Estimates range from 270 to 500 billion barrels of oil in the ground, with only 1% (4bbl) to 3% (12.4bbl) available to extract. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakken_Formation)

It is unknown at what rate the oil can be extracted at. And we'll have to wait and see if there really is that much oil. It's possible that this find is being overestimated, like the Caspian Sea reserves.

Good news is that we are increasing our biofuel production so total liquid production is keeping up with demand. Unfortunately, biofuels only replace a tiny fraction of our oil use and it competes with our food production. Biofuels will help fill in the gap of demand for the short term, and work in our existing infrastructure with blends in gasoline and use in diesel engines, but it will not be a replacement for oil.

Some hope for alternative energies and electric cars to solve our problems but it will take 10-15 years to replace our fleet and infrastructure. There are concerns of resource limits on batteries and questions of "Will we have enough energy to create the new technology?"

I think in the next few years we'll continue to see the price of oil rise. We're currently at about $100/barrel. The recent drastic increase in price was due to the falling dollar and we'll continue to see it playing a part in the future. Combine that with increasing demand out pacing increased supply and we could see a worldwide depression due to a global economic slowdown and credit crisis. We'll see gas rationing like the 1970's crises and possible increased international tensions for access to oil and how it will be priced (Dollars vs Euros vs a basket of currencies). We'll see massive governmental intervention to help restore order and see some government programs like "The New Deal" in the 1930s. With possible riots and chaos due to food shortages, this would explain all the FEMA/Haliburton "concentration camps" being built.

My hope is that we'll get through this crisis and eventually break out of it through a new "green" revolution. Whether we are still America or we're part of a North American Union with the Amero, we should work together with a unitary consciousness to build a sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The End of Suburbia

The last 50 years has been one of massive growth fueled by cheap oil. This age is coming to an end. We're at or near Peak Oil. The concept of Peak Oil is that we don't have to run out of oil for there to be a crisis. Once demand is higher than supply, there will be shortages. Many say we are at the peak already and we're riding a plateau. The longer we wait to change, the bigger and more catastrophic the crisis will be. In order for us to survive we need to become sustainable. Sustainable in all aspects of life.

Our society is built upon endless consumerism and growth in a global market. Corporations are motivated by pleasing the stockholders and will do anything possible to reach this goal. However, we cannot have endless growth without a replacement for oil. So far nothing has come close to the amount of energy that oil can provide for us. Fossil fuels are a very concentrated form of energy. Alternative energies are available and will become more available, but we will need to reduce our consumption and energy usage. Currently, the United States has about 5% of the population, yet we use about 25% of the energy and create about 30% of the waste.

Many of us in the USA live in Suburbia. Suburbia became a new way of life after WW2 as a mix between country & city living. Suburbia originally required developers to build light rail to the developments, but that was scrapped and ripped out to make more roads and highways. Suburbia has not lived up to its promises and depends on centralization of control, resources and cheap oil. James Howard Kunstler called Suburbia "The greatest mis-allocation of resources in the history of the world".

"The End of Suburbia", shows the history and possible future of Suburbia along with information about Peak Oil and the current and future resource conflicts over oil and natural gas.

End of Suburbia Trailer:


The follow up film "Escape from Suburbia" gives ideas and shows how other cities are working towards sustainability and transitioning out of the suburban lifestyle.

Escape from Suburbia Trailer:


Unfortunately there is no free online link to watch the full films. I bought the dvd's through their websites. Both movies are worth seeing, but if you had to choose one, get "The End of Suburbia".

James Howard Kunstler has a 20 minute presentation online called "The Tragedy of Suburbia". It's a passionate, profane and funny look at our communities. This is less about Peak Oil and more about urban design.



Jim says the future will need to be localized. We need to start designing places that are inviting to be in and places that are sustainable. Places that we want to care about and are wiling to defend. (Check out relocalize.net)

Not only does he realize that we must change to survive economically and physically, but he knows that we need to change our lifestyles to survive spiritually. This means we will need to have walkable communities, smaller, localized and organic farming and widespread use of alternative energies.

Here's a quote from Jim's blog:

"Voters and candidates in the primary season have been hollering about "change" but I'm afraid the dirty secret of this campaign is that the American public doesn't want to change its behavior at all. What it really wants is someone to promise them they can keep on doing what they're used to doing: buying more stuff they can't afford, eating more shitty food that will kill them, and driving more miles than circumstances will allow.

Here's what we better start doing.

Stop all highway-building altogether. Instead, direct public money into repairing railroad rights-of-way. Put together public-private partnerships for running passenger rail between American cities and towns in between. If Amtrak is unacceptable, get rid of it and set up a new management system. At the same time, begin planning comprehensive regional light-rail and streetcar operations.

End subsidies to agribusiness and instead direct dollar support to small-scale farmers, using the existing regional networks of organic farming associations to target the aid. (This includes ending subsidies for the ethanol program.)

Begin planning and construction of waterfront and harbor facilities for commerce: piers, warehouses, ship-and-boatyards, and accommodations for sailors. This is especially important along the Ohio-Mississippi system and the Great Lakes.

In cities and towns, change regulations that mandate the accommodation of cars. Direct all new development to the finest grain, scaled to walkability. This essentially means making the individual building lot the basic increment of redevelopment, not multi-acre "projects." Get rid of any parking requirements for property development. Institute "locational taxation" based on proximity to the center of town and not on the size, character, or putative value of the building itself. Put in effect a ban on buildings in excess of seven stories. Begin planning for district or neighborhood heating installations and solar, wind, and hydro-electric generation wherever possible on a small-scale network basis.

We'd better begin a public debate about whether it is feasible or desirable to construct any new nuclear power plants. If there are good reasons to go forward with nuclear, and a consensus about the risks and benefits, we need to establish it quickly. There may be no other way to keep the lights on in America after 2020.

We need to prepare for the end of the global economic relations that have characterized the final blow-off of the cheap energy era. The world is about to become wider again as nations get desperate over energy resources. This desperation is certain to generate conflict. We'll have to make things in this country again, or we won't have the most rudimentary household products.

We'd better prepare psychologically to downscale all institutions, including government, schools and colleges, corporations, and hospitals. All the centralizing tendencies and gigantification of the past half-century will have to be reversed. Government will be starved for revenue and impotent at the higher scale. The centralized high schools all over the nation will prove to be our most frustrating mis-investment. We will probably have to replace them with some form of home-schooling that is allowed to aggregate into neighborhood units. A lot of colleges, public and private, will fail as higher ed ceases to be a "consumer" activity. Corporations scaled to operate globally are not going to make it. This includes probably all national chain "big box" operations. It will have to be replaced by small local and regional business. We'll have to reopen many of the small town hospitals that were shuttered in recent years, and open many new local clinic-style health-care operations as part of the greater reform of American medicine.

Take a time-out from legal immigration and get serious about enforcing the laws about illegal immigration. Stop lying to ourselves and stop using semantic ruses like calling illegal immigrants "undocumented."

Prepare psychologically for the destruction of a lot of fictitious "wealth" -- and allow instruments and institutions based on fictitious wealth to fail, instead of attempting to keep them propped up on credit life-support. Like any other thing in our national life, finance has to return to a scale that is consistent with our circumstances -- i.e., what reality will allow. That process is underway, anyway, whether the public is prepared for it or not. We will soon hear the sound of banks crashing all over the place. Get out of their way, if you can.

Prepare psychologically for a sociopolitical climate of anger, grievance, and resentment. A lot of individual citizens will find themselves short of resources in the years ahead. They will be very ticked off and seek to scapegoat and punish others. The United States is one of the few nations on earth that did not undergo a sociopolitical convulsion in the past hundred years. But despite what we tell ourselves about our specialness, we're not immune to the forces that have driven other societies to extremes. The rise of the Nazis, the Soviet terror, the "cultural revolution," the holocausts and genocides -- these are all things that can happen to any people driven to desperation."

How bad will it get? Some people are preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), as mentioned over at the Survival Blog. These guys are planning for chaos and violence, pushing plans for self-sustainability and individual/small community solutions off the beaten path.

While I agree its important to have an emergency supply of food and water, I'd rather focus on building a community plan for sustainability rather than stockpiling guns and having an every-man-for-himself mindset. I'm going to focus on unity, co-operation and peace rather than selfishness, hoarding and violence.

However, I know that being in or around a big city would be a dangerous place to be in a time of crisis. I advise everyone to find a small town and work together with your neighbors, rather than building a hidden fort in the boonies and hoarding a few years supply of food, guns, ammo, tools and equipment.

If we do not plan ahead to move away from oil and utilize alternatives, we will have a crisis which could lead to a Malthusian Catastrophe. Food does not come from the grocery store, it comes from large scale farms that rely on oil to harvest and process and oil to ship this food to the market. We also are nearing peak of Natural Gas, which is used to make the fertilizer that allowed us to have such a boom in food production during the Green Revolution. If we don't take this issue seriously and plan ahead, we could have a situation where there are too many people and not enough food to feed them (or access to it).

These are scary times indeed. We don't have to let it happen.

Is it possible for the human race to be proactive and change before it's too late?

Some people hope for the "Hydrogen Economy" to fix it all, but it is full of problems and will take a lot of energy to rebuild our infrastructure. Many Peak Oil theorists doubt that we will be able to transition in time.

There is no one, quick and easy solution to all of this. We must do anything and everything to reduce our consumption and relocalize our communities.

We've had cases of societal collapse in our history, will it happen again? If so, will we rise up out of the ashes, like in a forest fire, wise and strong? Or will we delve into chaos and enter a new Dark Age?

Civilizations in history have collapsed due to the increasing complexity and lack of resources. We must learn to live within our means, husband our resources, and build a sustainable community worth living in. I hope we grow through this and shed our skin of consumerism and greed and become a real utopia of liberty, ethics, unity, sustainability and peace.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Ron Paul



No matter what happens with Ron Paul and the coming election, the movement that he has created WILL continue!! People are waking up and learning about why our founding fathers had the revolution in the first place!! They didn't have control of their money, they were over-taxed, they didn't have rights to trial by jury, they were being searched without just reason, and the leaders didn't listen to them!

The main reason we have a government is to protect liberty. That's it. Government isn't here to do everything and provide everything for us. Government can't fix things. Only we can. We must learn to be self-sufficient and take part in our communities.

The next stage for America is to become sustainable and use alternative energies. If we aren't proactive enough, we may not have enough energy left to make the replacements to keep our complex society continuing. This same problem happened in other complex civilizations in history.. don't let history repeat itself.

Here's the preface from his book coming out in April, read more about the "book bomb" here. I already pre-ordered my copy at Amazon!

" Every election cycle we are treated to candidates who promise us "change," and 2008 has been no different. But in the American political lexicon, "change" always means more of the same: more government, more looting of Americans, more inflation, more police-state measures, more unnecessary war, and more centralization of power.

Real change would mean something like the opposite of those things. It might even involve following our Constitution. And that’s the one option Americans are never permitted to hear….

With national bankruptcy looming, politicians from both parties continue to make multi-trillion dollar promises of "free" goods from the government, and hardly a soul wonders if we can still afford to have troops in – this is not a misprint – 130 countries around the world. All of this is going to come to an end sooner or later, because financial reality is going to make itself felt in very uncomfortable ways. But instead of thinking about what this means for how we conduct our foreign and domestic affairs, our chattering classes seem incapable of speaking in anything but the emptiest platitudes, when they can be bothered to address serious issues at all. Fundamental questions like this, and countless others besides, are off the table in our mainstream media, which focuses our attention on trivialities and phony debates as we march toward oblivion.

This is the deadening consensus that crosses party lines, that dominates our major media, and that is strangling the liberty and prosperity that were once the birthright of Americans. Dissenters who tell their fellow citizens what is really going on are subject to smear campaigns that, like clockwork, are aimed at the political heretic. Truth is treason in the empire of lies.

There is an alternative to national bankruptcy, a bigger police state, trillion-dollar wars, and a government that draws ever more parasitically on the productive energies of the American people. It’s called freedom. But as we’ve learned through hard experience, we are not going to hear a word in its favor if our political and media establishments have anything to say about it.

If we want to live in a free society, we need to break free from these artificial limitations on free debate and start asking serious questions once again. I am happy that my campaign for the presidency has finally raised some of them. But this is a long-term project that will persist far into the future. These ideas cannot be allowed to die, buried beneath the mind-numbing chorus of empty slogans and inanities that constitute official political discourse in America.

That is why I wrote this book."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ron Paul: More money from military members than combined opponents

from http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/

Paul: $286,764; 1349 donors
McCain: $79,597; 413 donors
Romney: $29,250; 140 donors
Huckabee: $24,562; 94 donors

Obama: $81,037; 466 donors
Clinton: $49,523; 181 donors

Ron Paul has more money from more donors than all his opponents combined!

Ron Paul: $286,764 / 1349 donors
Opponents: $263,969 / 1294 donors

Ron Paul is the only true peace candidate who will truly and honestly end our involvement in this madness! And the military men & women know it!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ron Paul Slams Warmongers



This was great, Ron Paul telling it like it is.

btw, Anderson Cooper, trained with the CIA during college. He also cut off Ron Paul a couple times in the debates.

Ron Paul only had 1/3 of the time compared to McCain and Romney. The same thing happened in the last debate. The MSM bias is so blatantly obvious. These are no longer debates, but advertisements to the chosen viewpoints of the mainstream media. These 'debates' are controlled and managed to show only a small number of issues and opinions. Luckily we still have Ron Paul and the Internet, but imagine they didn't exist.

James Turk: The "Real" Gold Price

James Turk (co-author of "the coming collapse of the dollar and how to profit from it" has a commentary corner on kitco.com (good metals related site).

Here is his latest post, discussing how our inflation index is not accurately reporting inflation and how to match gold's high of $850 adjusted for 'real' inflation, it would be in the range of $5000-$6000, so $900 is cheap!

The difference today is that we may be having a global economic crisis, where all currencies are falling together. Even then, gold still is real money, and not these fake paper things the private federal reserve gives us. Another scenario to really get gold going that hasn't taken place is for the population at large to lose faith in the dollar and to start buying gold and silver. This may take place in the future if the recession keeps sliding and consumer spending drops to minimal needs (70% of consumer spending drives the economy). We'd be seeing massive layoffs for jobs that aren't essential and then we'd be hitting into a depression and then the dollar could go into hyper-inflation as the government tries to give more and more money through stimulus packages OR we'd have deflation when the government did the smart thing and restricted the money supply to revalue the dollar and stop inflation. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon - unless Ron Paul gets elected! Japan did this in 1990 and it took them 15 years to come out of their deflationary cycle that followed the credit contraction. Not only does the US have this credit problem, so does Britain and Europe. So, expect more credit to be pumped into the world wide system, increasing the money supply, and devaluing the currencies and building the house of cards ever higher.

from: http://www.kitco.com/ind/turk/turk.html

Now that gold has climbed above the $850 high reached back in January 1980, many are proclaiming that gold is at a new ‘record’. That’s true of course when gold’s exchange rate to the dollar is viewed in terms of nominal dollars, but nominal dollars provide a distorted picture.

After all, everyone knows that because of inflation a dollar today purchases much less than it did twenty-eight years ago, so clearly, $850 today does not have the purchasing power it did back then. The question therefore arises, what price does gold have to reach in inflation adjusted dollars to equal the purchasing power of eight hundred fifty 1980-dollars?

The answer to this question depends upon which Consumer Price Index is used to calculate the inflation adjusted gold price. The two alternatives are the US government’s CPI or the CPI provided by John Williams of www.ShadowStats.com.

These two different CPI measures provide very different inflation adjusted gold prices. So which CPI should we use?

The ShadowStats CPI eliminates the changes made by the US government since the early 1980s to its own CPI measure. In other words, the ShadowsStats CPI is the same one the US government used to calculate inflation while Jimmy Carter was president.

The changes made by the government to its CPI were clearly introduced to lessen reported CPI inflation. A lower inflation rate reduces the cost-of-living increases the US government makes to welfare and Social Security recipients, thereby reducing its budget deficit. Welfare and Social Security recipients suffer the consequences. Their purchasing power is reduced because the payments they receive do not keep up with the real rate of inflation.

An example will be useful to illustrate this loss of purchasing power. Let’s assume that a recipient received $850 per month from the US government in January 1980. Using the US government’s CPI, that recipient is today receiving $2,310. However, if the US government had not made any changes to the way it calculates CPI, the recipient would today be receiving $6,255. This difference can be seen in the following chart, which presents the January $850 gold price adjusted for inflation using both CPI’s.



There are a couple of important conclusions from the above chart. First, gold at its present price of $900 today is still very cheap. In other words, it is a long way from the purchasing power an ounce of gold achieved in January 1980.Second, both measures on the above chart show that the dollar is losing purchasing power every month. So if gold in the future were to reach a $6,255 price, the inflation between now and then would require gold to reach an even higher price to equal the purchasing power it had in January 1980.

Rather than reduce inflation, the US government instead shot the messenger. By fiddling with the CPI, the US government wants us to believe that inflation is not as bad as it really is, which is the same strategy it has pursued with the other important inflation messenger – gold. Government interventions to cap the gold price prevent the gold barometer from alerting everyone that inflation is a growing menace.

To conclude, even though gold is trading at a record high in terms of nominal dollars, the real gold price is far below the old January 1980 record when adjusted for inflation. Gold is still good value, and more importantly, government interventions have kept gold cheap, thus enabling us to buy it at prices far less than would be the case if the government wasn’t intervening. Therefore, continue to spend overvalued dollars to accumulate undervalued gold.