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Approaching the Olduvai Cliff?


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#31 advancedatheist

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 01:59 AM

Given recent events, Spencer Abraham sounds like he's ordering other countries to give their natural gas to the U.S., "or else.":

http://www.arabicnew...2003121934.html

U.S. calls for creation of global natural gas industry
Regional-USA, Economics, 12/19/2003

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has called on natural gas-producing countries to step up to the challenge of creating an "immense" global gas industry.

Speaking December 17 to energy ministers from 18 producer countries and private sector representatives, he said that, working in partnership, these countries and natural gas importers must develop new fields, build new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, expand LNG fleets, and enter into "mutually beneficial," long-term agreements to satisfy growing global demand for natural gas.



#32 etc966

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 04:53 AM

Hello everyone.
I am new to this forum and probably far behind all of you in my reading and knowledge of Transhumanist issues.
I grew up with Mike West, although I'm younger than he is, and I have been bitten by the same bug that infected his curiosity with
the desire to conquer aging and eventually death.

I see two key issues rising above the multitude of things to think about with regards to advancing humanity.

1) Peak Oil and fossil fuel depletion. Our entire world population and all of our technology is built upon this weak foundation.


The major problem isn't fuel for heating and vehicles, or even energy production (electricity). The problem is that ALL of our
Agriculture is based on fossil fuels used for FERTILIZER. Allow me to briefly explain.

Normally most soil that is usable for growing the world's food supply produces around 16 bushels of grain per acre.

Use of artificial fertilizers has raised this to 130 bushels of grain per acre.

The growth in food production has caused a corresponding growth in human population. (6 Billion)

These FERTILIZERS are mainly Ammonia based (like Ammonia Nitrates). This is made directly from NATURAL GAS.

Natural gas travels adequately through pipelines, but must be liquifide and compressed for storage in tanks for transoceanic shipping.
This has an inordinate COST......***** key point here********.....this INORDINATE COST is not in money, But in ENERGY EXPENDED.

In other words you reach "diminishing returns". You use 2 barrels of oil in energy expenditure to produce and ship 1 barrel in usable product.

Quite soon Oil and Natural Gas will reach the peak event and then steadily decline forever. No new oil field discoveries can or will change this.
No new extraction techniques will alleviate or ameliorate this problem.

Also we cannot simply CONSERVE our way out of this problem. The mathematical projections and human dynamics are such that this will
become a major problem as soon as 2012. (Possibly sooner)

The projected human population for the year 2012 is 7 Billion people. By 2020 there will be 8 Billion people.

When fossil fuel production peaks , but human population continues to rapidly grow, the amount of consumed resources will rise higher than the rate of any alternative fuels or technology's capability of offsetting.

You can't fertilize a crop with solar energy. As land made farmable by fossil fuels and irrigation returns to it's formerly nonproductive state
food production will drop. And as we run out of Natural Gas to derive fertilizers from the remaining farmable land will see Bushel/acre yields
drop back from 130 Bushels per acre to 12-16 Bushels per acre.

So in 17 years time human population will grow by 33% to 8 Billion, while food production will DROP by approximately 88%.

To my knowledge there is nothing that will prevent this scenario from happening, we are ALREADY past the "tipping point".

The earth seems to be able to "sustainably" support approximately 2 Billion humans. The clock is ticking what are the solutions ?

Will these solutions be AVAILABLE soon enough to avert this ? Currently Hydrogen Fuels that have been proposed are actually made
FROM fossil fuels and are a NET ENERGY SINK. Meaning you use More energy by employing them than they produce.

Diminishing returns again. And currently producing Hydrogen from water USES more energy than it Produces.

This could end up sidetracking or even stopping in it's tracks much of our current science and technologies.

Problem #2...(.remember there were two problems that I am working on)...#2 is the apparent inability of the MAJORITY of the human
population to "Think LATERALLY"........... I currently see the ability in approximately 7% of the population.

Everyone else is parasitic on this 7 percent's ability. Everyone else is merely derivative and in a low grade way at that.

THIS is where I see Natural selection and evolution in practice. Those who CAN'T think Laterally seem as different as the Chimps.

Problem #2 impacts on problem #1 , in that there are not enough suitably gifted and productive creative thinkers to properly address
these problems within the given time frame and produce an acceptable outcome. Plus not many are working to solve any of this.


Depopulation......to the 2 Billion level by 2020 is a "workable"(?), albeit genocidal solution. It is not clear if this is even logistically
feasible........setting aside it's sheer horror.

Genetically engineering crops does NOT solve the problem, Alternative Energy does NOT solve the problem,
radical conservation does NOT solve the problem. COMBINING all three of these simoultaneously does NOT solve the problem.


For the data necessary to crunch the numbers on this go to : http://www.dieoff.org

It's a huge database, relatively accurate EVENTHOUGH it is somewhat dated (old data).

Tell me what you think, and see if you can see any solutions that will work within the given timeframe.




Thanks for your help .


etc966


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Edited by etc966, 28 December 2003 - 01:23 AM.


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#33 etc966

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 05:05 AM

Lazarus,

The reason that I posted to this thread is that it was "active" at the time I wanted to post and you were currently online.

I really hate slow motion forums with weeks or months in between posts. I realize that this can't always be helped, but
it keeps me sane to get timely feedback. I want to thank you for replying so quickly.

I read the first thread link (The Olduvai Cliff Thread) to get up to speed and see the level of discussion on this topic.

I , of course, have thrashed all of this out in other forums over the past few years and I'm very familiar with all the data.

So as not to continue posting the wrong topic in this thread, I will just make these quick points:

1) I have talked to Duncan to see if his conclusions have changed (with more recent updates), they have not .
The new data supports the prior conclusions, with a slightly accelerated slide event due to current war (the great eater of fuel).

2) You said:
For what it is worth you are probably correct that none of these alone, or even in combination with vastly improved efficiencies
and Zero Population Growth will likely completely solve the problem but they do improve conditions and buy a little time
(like most of the 21st Century).

This viewpoint has several assumptions underpinning it, that may fall by the wayside do to human nature and
current governmental trends.

These assumptions are :

A) That these factors CAN and ARE implemented together.

B) That these factors are implemented in TIME, as there is a big "lag" factor involved,
(Like turning a giant oceanliner, no immediate results even after taking a course correction).

C) That Zero population growth over the ENTIRE planet is even achievable, and within the deadline.
Current efforts suggest that it is NOT.

D) That we have not already passed the point of no return, (with regard to the lag factor), and that steps taken now
and in the near future will slow down or stop the event.......giving us more time.

All four of these underpinning assumptions must be met favorably in order for us to get that " time extension" to which you refer.

What do you suppose, given that the NeoCons hold sway over our current governmental regime and maybe up to 2008,
is the probability that all FOUR necessary conditions will be successfully met simoultaneously AND in time ?

That being the case, what are the odds that what you said will be true ?

If the odds are poor, what will be the consequences of failure ?

How will that "failure" manifest itself with regards to Transhumanist goals ?


OK, I will copy and link BOTH of these posts to the Olduvai thread....even though it was last active 13 NOV 03.

Thanks again for humoring the "newbie".




etc966



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#34 Lazarus Long

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 05:56 AM

Actually as you can see from the above dates we are a little more active here than you claim but you are correct that in taking the "Long View" we might wander away from a thread for a period of time only to return at a much later time with fresh data or argument. You have provided just such a concise perspective and incentive; thank you.

The assumptions you have made are essentially correct and they are a major reason that I take a very contrary stand to the neo-cons as I see it is absolutely vital that we commit to an International agenda of social development, general reconciliation and amelioration of the cultural conflicts that are compounding the dilemma at the very time we need a rational and pragmatic appeal for unity.

It is vital to reestablish the legitimacy of the UN as we don't have the time or really the need to reinvent that wheel. Instead we are facing foreign and domestic intent to destroy that institution largely funded and served by Transnationalist Corporate Corsairs, Military Industrialists, Fundamentalist Religious, and Fanatic Revolutionary & Nationalist interests. Not to mention Criminal Cartels that have their tentacles woven into all of the above.

It is at times like this I wish there could be a credible alien threat, even from an asteroid as the most obvious solution would require an outside third party (external) threat to unite the seemingly impossibly disparate forces of our world. But back to reality, it is ourselves that pose the greatest threat to ourselves.

These assumptions are :

A) That these factors CAN and ARE implemented together.

B) That these factors are implemented in TIME, as there is a big "lag" factor involved,
(Like turning a giant oceanliner, no immediate results even after taking a course correction).

C) That Zero population growth over the ENTIRE planet is even achievable, and within the deadline.
Current efforts suggest that it is NOT.

D) That we have not already passed the point of no return, (with regard to the lag factor), and that steps taken now
and in the near future will slow down or stop the event.......giving us more time.

All four of these underpinning assumptions must be met favorably in order for us to get that " time extension" to which you refer.

What do you suppose, given that the NeoCons hold sway over our current governmental regime and maybe up to 2008,
is the probability that all FOUR necessary conditions will be successfully met simoultaneously AND in time ?

That being the case, what are the odds that what you said will be true ?

If the odds are poor, what will be the consequences of failure ?

How will that "failure" manifest itself with regards to Transhumanist goals ?


As I said I agee your assumptions are valid but what are the alternatives?

Arm and entrench ourselves in small highly organized family structured militias strategically placed in agriculturally fertile regions of low interest far from targeted regions and socioeconomic and ecological collapse zones surrounding most major cities? I am afraid the "bunker mentality" is a contributory factor to the problem.

It probably should be considered a "stand-by strategy" (a contingency plan) but it is a "lifeboat solution" when the Titanic hasn't yet hit the ice berg and adopting it as the primary strategy is like abandoning the helm after seeing the ice pack but before entering the ice field. Depopulation is not really controllable and the results of taking that avenue will cause incalculable blow-back. Adopting ZPG through economic enhancement is far more credible and the statistical analysis shows that people do self limit population growth voluntarily when the socio-economic factors are addressed.

One problem is that we are not behaving in the US as global leaders anymore and this may not be reparable in the time allowed. We have begun to focus too myopically but it may be possible to create a global Marshall plan that targets a collection of key states and combines resources to bootstrap them ahead of the US technologically in a relatively short period to function as archetypes for the next technological phase of development. These states would then in turn influence their neighbor states through very intentional positive socioeconomic engagement as both model and wellspring for advancement by providing jobs, constructive new tech products, educational resources, health care, and "stabilizing force" (boots on the ground).

Some nation/states for example that could be brought together for such a coalition might be Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, and a few others like Iran and Israel if they could be convinced to stand down and cooperate along with some serious support from radical transnationalist corporations that want to see the shift go forward for a Next Age technology involving some of these nations as the new manufacturing centers and also the new consumers. Nations like Canada and Australia would have a lot to gain from cooperation with such a coalition as well.

The trap we are in is that the emerging economies (like China, India, Mexico, SA, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc.) are following in lock step a dead end strategy because it is the only proven strategy, it also happens to be very profitable to the vested interests of the current Oil Oligarchs, Monopoly Capitalists, and Global Banking Interests. The counter strategy I propose will never be completely embraced by them but it can be structured to protect some of their profit sectors so as to at least bring them to the table. The oil based industries aren't going to be replaced overnight. Venezuela for example is just such a flash point that this analysis and negotiation process should address, and very soon.

I will leave the discussion at this at this point and encourage you to reply because I suspect I could go on at great length on this issue. I am quite willing to discuss the specifics of the technological shift. Examples of just such paradigm shifts in history are not that old. We have done as much twice in two hundred years, first at the beginning of the 19th century and the slow transition to steam and mechanization and then more profoundly in the 20th with the development of combustion fuel and electronic tech.

In both cases few that were comfortable and secure with previous technologies either made the transition economically, or were supportive of the change, and in some cases revolutions were the result but we lack the time for such gradual approaches and revolutionary political economics will generally be much more destructive than beneficial in the growing crisis and at best are another extreme alternative like life boats and bunkers.

The point is to appreciate that there exists precedent for making the kind of transition I suggest. Creating a clearly positive example that can be easily followed by many divergent peoples while building a competitive and profitable Next Age economy is one of the best ways for accomplishing this goal. Spread sufficient "real" wealth to enough people by the creation of a true majority global middle class and they will demand education and peaceful reform, shake off their shackles of fundamentalism, and seek the kinds of reasonable alternatives that ensure the pragmatic survival for our world into a peaceful and progressive future. We need to make the incentive of "life" and long life at that, worth much more than the short term benefits of revenge, hate, and death.

I am not a pessimist. I am a pragmatic optimist and a realist about risk.

Edited by Lazarus Long, 27 December 2003 - 03:12 PM.


#35 advancedatheist

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 06:52 PM

Members from the financial elite are starting to acknowledge the emerging natural gas crisis:

http://sg.biz.yahoo....4/15/3gvu8.html

Thursday December 25, 4:00 AM
TIP SHEET: Merrill Fund Sees Natural Gas Demand Lasting


   By Gretchen L. Wilson
   Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--While consumers bemoan rising natural gas prices, Bob Shearer hopes robust pricing of the resource is here to stay.


Shearer, the portfolio manager of Merrill Lynch's Natural Resources Trust (MAGRX), is wagering that limited supply and strong demand will keep North American natural gas prices strong through 2004 and beyond.

"Despite a rebound in drilling activity, we continue to see declining production year-over-year," said Shearer, who manages the fund from Plainsboro, N.J.

The U.S. is considered a "closed market" for natural gas, because of rapid depletion of domestic reserves and constraints in the pipeline system, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. In addition, the U.S. will soon reach full utilization capacity of its four existing facilities to process gas.

And while Canadian gas imports have risen to meet rising demand in the U.S., Shearer said exports from Canada will decline this year for the first time since the mid-1980s, and that Canadian production is facing the same rapid depletion that has debilitated U.S. producers.

Yet consumer demand for the commodity shows no sign of easing, and Shearer wants to reap the benefits while others are left in the cold.

"The solutions to the natural gas supply problem will really be years away," Shearer said, noting that in 1998 he began investing heavily in stocks expected to benefit from higher natural gas prices. That was soon after he became manager of the fund in December 1997.



#36 etc966

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 10:32 PM

Lazarus,


I was "chipping bandwith" , accessing the net in 60 second or less intervals, and that explains my mistake on the frequency of posts in the thread. The 13 NOV 03 post was the last I saw...apparently the others failed to download before disengage took over.

Careless oversight on my behalf, I apologize if it gave offense .


You mention this solution as a fall back position:

"Arm and entrench ourselves in small highly organized family structured militias strategically placed in agriculturally fertile regions of low interest far from targeted regions and socioeconomic and ecological collapse zones surrounding most major cities?"

This is ACTUALLY exactly what I am presently doing. Setting up multiple communities of this basic nature that are connected by alternative and durable communications systems. This will be based on the sustainable building model set forth by the "earthship" projects.

Your preferred proposal :

......"create a global Marshall plan that targets a collection of key states and combines resources to bootstrap them ahead of the US technologically in a relatively short period to function as archetypes for the next technological phase of development."

I have incorporated similar bootsrap plans into my interconnected communities efforts.

The basic idea borrows from the sustainable living and permatecture community pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds. You can see what this is like, (if you are unfamiliar with earthships by going to : http://www.earthship.org ).

My idea is to develop a sustainable, ecofriendly, "parallel economy", to run along side the current one. Offering an open alternative that embraces extropian ideas and leads the way toward a future that can be embraced as BOTH a " Lifeboat" and "Incubator" for future living systems.

I envision Solar Panel Manufacturing and Installation businesses, BioDiesel Co-ops (manufacture and distribution), Earthship Building Contractors, Organic Farming, Genetically modified PharmaPigs for medicine production, Community Outreach programs to raise awareness, assist with local problems and build bonds to the local populations, MicroBusiness enterprises, and Development of Survival and Disaster Preparedness Programs. With the more technologically based businesses to follow on in the second phase, boutique laboratories serving niche markets.

The idea is to maintain quality of life and standard of living while preserving technological expertise and scientific freedoms.

I too, am a pragmatic and PROACTIVE optimist. I believe in MAKING the future that I desire, regardless of which direction society as a whole chooses to pursue.

I feel compelled to help as large a number of people as I can, but I am realistic about just how large that number might be.

I won't spread myself so thin as to dilute my efforts into meaningless oblivion and failure.

I don't necessarily think that my fate depends on the fate of the entire world's population. Instead I'm trying to think in terms of LONG TERM viability and the necessary genetic diversity within a given breeding population to support survivability . The current human population has already squeezed through a genetic bottleneck, I see no reason to believe that it cannot happen again.


These are my thoughts and intentions along these lines, tell me what you think.





etc966




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#37 outlawpoet

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 12:50 AM

Self sustaining communities, and long term design are major interests to any immortalists(or should be). Do you have your major plans in concrete form, like an essay or even project notes? it seems like you have very SPECIFIC ideas, which are much more useful than theory.

Also, such an essay might make a decent contribution to the upcoming IMMINST BOOK PROJECT, particularly if it already exists. :-)

#38 etc966

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 02:15 AM

Self sustaining communities, and long term design are major interests to any immortalists(or should be). Do you have your major plans in concrete form, like an essay or even project notes? it seems like you have very SPECIFIC ideas, which are much more useful than theory.

Also, such an essay might make a decent contribution to the upcoming IMMINST BOOK PROJECT, particularly if it already exists. :-)




Specific Ideas (?)......Better than that Outlaw....I've acquired land, started construction, began recruiting participants, drawn up business plans, made political affiliations, started nascent businesses, planted and harvested our first years crops, started training our initiates, and already participated in our overseas outreach program.

Now granted, this is still in it's infant form. And many in our group think adverse publicity might kill us at this stage. But I do have essays , project notes, curriculums, guidelines, statements of principle, etc.....

I am holding a lot of it close to the vest for now, there are those who would oppose and stop us if they could.
I'm testing the waters right now, trying to gauge public acceptance and possible hurdles to going public.
Mike West is a good example of what harm going public with Extropian projects can lead to.

Michael Reynolds has been working on HIS community for 30 years (http://www.earthship.org). I can't be expected to catch up to his accomplishments overnight. But, that being said, we did pretty well this year and will do even better in 2004.

I am considering a documentary style book, chronicling the beginnings of our project, and a website laying out the overall parameters. But I'm not yet ready for peer review. This thing could still fail if I make the wrong moves too quickly. I have watched with interest (and participated in) Jason Sorens "Free State Project" (http:www.freestateproject.org), and seen how technology and recruiting might progress, also people's propensity to accept this type of life changing endeavour.

I am currently looking for next year's group of new participants, I'd hoped that this forum might lead me to one or two such individuals......but I'm in no hurry. I'm looking for quality over quantity and I'm still learning to lead effectively.

Thanks for your interest, and suggestions. I leverage my time by relying on intelligent people, such as yourself.

I'll see what I can formulate for the ImmInst Book project you mentioned, time permitting. Not sure if my literary capabilities are up to publishable standards as of yet.


etc966



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#39 cyberchrist

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 03:17 AM

There are limitless sources of energy, both on Earth and in the rest of the universe. We just need to learn how to harvest those alternative energies:-)


The trick is to harness those sources of energy without expending more energy than you are receiving.

Solar energy is free and abundant, and I believe that this is where we need to look to the most. Wind is also there, although it is not as efficient as people might think.

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#40 advancedatheist

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Posted 28 December 2003 - 04:12 PM

Evidence that America's NIMBY philosophy will interfere with developing the infrastructure we need to take enough in cryogenic natural gas from overseas as domestic production crashes:

http://www.delawareo...algasshipm.html

Natural gas shipment raises concern
Del. River terminal planned
By JEFF MONTGOMERY
Staff reporter
12/28/2003

Concerned about the safety of shipments similar to those proposed for the Delaware River, Boston officials last week delayed the arrival of a tanker carrying liquefied natural gas into Boston Harbor. Their action came in response to the heightened terrorist threat last Sunday.

The tanker is similar to a new and larger generation of ships energy giant BP hopes to send up the Delaware River twice a week. The tankers would offload at a storage complex proposed for Logan Township, N.J., opposite Claymont.

BP's plan for a $500 million Crown Landing Terminal was announced at a time when national debate is growing over the safety and security of liquefied natural gas shipping operations. The U.S. Department of Energy recently called for a reassessment of tanker industry hazards after critics said past safety forecasts had underestimated threats to surrounding areas from attacks, spills and fires. Results are due next month.



#41 advancedatheist

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 07:33 PM

More empirical evidence of declining energy resources:

http://www.nytimes.c...ness/10oil.html

Shell Cuts 20% Off Estimates of Oil and Gas in Its Reserves
By JONATHAN FUERBRINGER

Published: January 10, 2004

Royal Dutch/Shell said yesterday that it was reducing its proven oil and gas reserves by 20 percent, a surprising announcement that raised questions about the company and about the tabulation of oil and gas reserves throughout the industry.



#42 Lazarus Long

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 08:11 PM

Citizens Committee on Oil Peak and Depletion

...now forming - sign the petition at http://www.copad.org.

STATEMENT

Statement On Global 'Oil Peak'
We, the members of the educational and scientific communities involved in the study of the worldwide peak of oil production, offer the following statement on the problem and its implications for our future:

Oil is a finite resource.
Oil was formed in the geological past, and a growing number of the world's leading petroleum geologists agree that more than 95 percent of all recoverable oil has now been found. We therefore know, within a reasonable degree of certainty, the total amount of oil available to us. As of this statement, we have consumed approximately half of the recoverable oil, and we continue to consume about 75 million barrels per day. Since 1981 we have consumed oil faster than we have found it, and the gap between our growing consumption and shrinking discovery continues to widen. Oil is now being consumed four times faster than it is being discovered, and the situation is becoming critical.

{Full Text}

I am not the author of this statement but I support its goals.

#43 advancedatheist

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 12:21 AM

From:

http://www.cnn.com/2...1/16/cold.snap/

Freeze strains Northeast power grid
Cold kills 5 in Michigan, AP reports
Friday, January 16, 2004 Posted: 4:33 PM EST (2133 GMT)

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Temperatures remained below zero Friday morning across New England after plunging to near-record lows, straining power grids and bringing life to a near standstill in some places.

Officials asked residents to conserve energy voluntarily or face rolling blackouts....

The weather has created high demand for electricity, and as a result some power generating plants ran out of natural gas Thursday and increased the burden on other plants, according to ISO New England.



#44 advancedatheist

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 06:21 AM

From:

http://www.newsday.c...inews-headlines

Cold Triggers Concerns for Electricity

By Tom McGinty
Staff Writer

January 17, 2004


The Northeast cold snap has produced a problem normally associated with the summer air conditioning season -- tight electricity supplies.

Long Island and New York State set records for peak wintertime electricity use Wednesday and Thursday, and still had adequate supplies of juice to meet the demand. But utility officials in New England warned of rolling blackouts Thursday and Friday, which didn't occur, and pleaded with residents to conserve as much energy as possible.

Grid operators in New England said there wasn't enough natural gas to heat homes and businesses and keep all of the region's power plants running. Some experts say the problems there portend a broader natural gas crisis largely brought on by growing use of that fuel to generate electricity.



#45 advancedatheist

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 04:05 PM

From:

http://famulus.msnbc...17.asp?bizj=HOU

Demand outpaces gas production

By Monica Perin
Houston Business Journal

Jan. 19 — The natural gas industry faces a year of conflicting extremes in 2004.
        Houston-based and multinational energy companies will pursue a number of extremely huge exploration and production projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

But the amount of natural gas they supply, although substantial, will be woefully inadequate to offset a U.S. production rate that continues to dwindle at an extremely rapid pace.
        And events like the freezing cold snap that hit much of the country in December and caused gas prices to spike 50 percent only represent the tip of the iceberg.
        This bleak assessment of the disparity between expanding production and shrinking supply comes from Houston energy guru Matthew Simmons.
        The president of Simmons & Co. International, an energy investment bank, believes the United States faces a serious natural gas crisis that could have a devastating impact on the national economy.
        And Simmons is not alone.
        In October, the National Petroleum Council (NPC) revised its official natural gas outlook with a 180-degree turn.
        Four years ago, the council was projecting a bright future for the fuel, with ample supplies and prices averaging under $3 through 2015.
        Now the NPC is saying that, "there has been a fundamental shift in natural gas supply/demand balance that has resulted in higher prices and volatility."
        As a result, the NPC has lowered gas production estimates for North America by 22 percent, or 7.5 trillion cubic feet per year -- more than 16 billion cubic feet a day.



#46 Lazarus Long

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 04:26 PM

I have been contemplating some of the impacts of demand as relating to supply shortages and the most obvious scenario that will begin in the next few years is an upward inflationary spiral. This is probably the underlying reason the Fed is bottom fishing on interest rates at this time and seeking to put price control measures in place before the distributed costs of fuel start a new cycle of inflation that begins to crush the economy under its own mass.

In the '70's the OPEC triggered the effect intentionally but the shortages were contrived and competition for demand wasn't as forceful as will occur with a true global economy and the many emerging technologies coming online at the same time as current population figures reach a level of 2 to 3 times the global population of that period.

I think we have a little time but the inflationary cycle has already begun with energy and as it starts overtaking shipping and infrastructural costs I expect general prices on many items we have been taking for granted (like food) will spiral to where they start competing with gadgets and cars and this will deflate those sectors to lower profit margins. As the revenues dwindle so will much of the investment capital in these sectors.

Enjoy it while we can is somewhat valid but I suggest we buy quality over quantity because at some point in the not so distant future what is now being marketed as disposable tech may turn into durable goods.

#47 advancedatheist

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 04:59 PM

From Hydrocarbons and the evolution of human culture, Nature, 20 November 2003:

Energy and political costs of getting oil

The future of oil supplies is normally analysed in economic terms.
But the economic terms are likely to be dependent on other costs. In
earlier work we summarized the energy costs of obtaining US oil and
other energy resources and found, in general, that the energy
returned on energy invested (EROI) tended to decline over time for
all energy resources examined. This includes the energy cost of
obtaining oil by trading (energy-requiring) goods and services for
energy itself. For example, the EROI of oil in the US has decreased
from a value of at least 100 to 1 for oil discoveries in the 1930s, to
about 17 to 1 today for oil and gas extraction. We are not
aware of such estimates for other parts of the world, although we do
know that both heavy oil in Venezuela and tar sands in Alberta
require a very large part of the energy produced as well as substantial
supplies of hydrogen from natural gas to make the oil fluid. The very
low economic cost of finding or producing new oil supplies in the
Arabian Peninsula implies that it has a very high EROI value, which in
turn supports the probability that productivity will be concentrated
there in future decades. Alternative liquid fuels such as ethanol from
corn have a very low EROI. An EROI of much greater than 1 to 1 is
needed to run a society, because energy is also required to make the
machines that use the energy, feed, house, train and provide health
care for necessary workers and so on.


This shows why many of the "alternatives" proposed to conventional fossil fuels are thermodynamically impossible. A purely economic analysis of the energy situation is misleading because economics arose in, and incorporated, the scientific worldview of the 18th Century, before physicists discovered the principles of thermodynamics. Hence modern economics implicitly assumes the existence of perpetual motion machines, which any physicist will tell you cannot possibly exist, and why.

#48 Lazarus Long

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 05:34 PM

This graph demonstrates some interesting coincident trends. I may not agree with the inevitability of any one particular factor but when looking at how longevity will influence the other trends we can see why many vested interests will unite to prevent what we are seeking to promote.

Posted Image

This one is just for reflection on the topic, it is the sat photo after over half the black out was restored but much of the NE sector was still dark.

Posted Image

And I am curious what folks think of these authors and their theory.

The Fourth Turning
by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe. This book, along with their original work, Generations, explains in detail the theory which inspired this list. The book web site is also the location of the premier generations theory discussion forum, which is always full of activity. It addresses the "Cycles of history".

http://fourthturning.com/

LifeCourse and Generation Watch

#49 Lazarus Long

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 05:46 PM

Here is a bit of an excerpt.

**************************

Strauss and Howe base this vision on a provocative theory of American history as a series of recurring 80- to 100-year cycles. Each cycle has four "turnings"-a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling, and a Crisis. The authors locate today's America as midway through an Unraveling, roughly a decade away from the next Crisis (or Fourth Turning). And they recommend ways Americans can prepare for what's ahead, as a nation and as individuals.

A turning is an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people feel about themselves and their nation. It results from the aging of the generational constellation. A society enters a turning once every twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their next phases of life. Like archetypes and constellations, turnings come four to a saeculum, and always in the same order:

The First Turning is a High —an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and weakening individualism, when a new civic order implants and the old values regime decays. Old Prophets disappear, Nomads enter elderhood, Heroes enter midlife, Artists enter young adulthood—and a new generation of Prophets is born.

The Second Turning is an Awakening —a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime. Old Nomads disappear, Heroes enter elderhood, Artists enter midlife, Prophets enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Nomads is born.

The Third Turning is an Unraveling —a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants. Old Heroes disappear, Artists enter elderhood, Prophets enter midlife, Nomads enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Heroes is born.

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis —a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. Old Artists disappear, Prophets enter elderhood, Nomads enter midlife, Heroes enter young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists is born.
Like the four seasons of nature, the four turnings of history are equally necessary and important. Awakenings and Crises are the saecular solstices, summer and winter, each a solution to a challenge posed by the other. Highs and Unravelings are the saecular equinoxes, spring and autumn, each coursing a path directionally opposed to the other. When a society moves into an Awakening or Crisis, the new mood announces itself as a sudden turn in social direction. An Awakening begins when events trigger a revolution in the culture, a Crisis when events trigger an upheaval in public life. A High or Unraveling announces itself as a sudden consolidation of the new direction. A High begins when society perceives that the basic issues of the prior Crisis have been resolved, leaving a new civic regime firmly in place. An Unraveling begins with the perception that the Awakening has been resolved, leaving a new cultural mindset in place.

The gateway to a new turning can be obvious and dramatic (like the 1929 Stock Crash) or subtle and gradual (like 1984’s Morning in America). It usually occurs two to five years after a new generation of children starts being born. The tight link between turning gateways and generational boundaries enables each archetype to fill an entire phase-of-life just as the mood of an old turning grows stale and feels ripe for replacement with something new.

The four turnings comprise a quaternal social cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth). In a springlike High, a society fortifies and builds and converges in an era of promise. In a summerlike Awakening, it dreams and plays and exults in an era of euphoria. In an autumnal Unraveling, it harvests and consumes and diverges in an era of anxiety. In a hibernal Crisis, it focuses and struggles and sacrifices in an era of survival. When the saeculum is in motion, therefore, no long human lifetime can go by without a society confronting its deepest spiritual and worldly needs.

Modernity has thus far produced six repetitions of each turning, each repetition lasting roughly the duration of a phase of life and corresponding to an identical constellation of generational archetypes. Each sequential set of four turnings constitutes a saeculum.

The Anglo-American saeculum dates back to the waning of the Middle Ages in the middle of the fifteenth century. In this lineage, there have been seven saecula:

Late Medieval (1435-1487)
Reformation (1487-1594)
New World (1594-1704)
Revolutionary (1704-1794)
Civil War (1794-1865)
Great Power (1866-1946)
Millennial (1946-2026?)
America is presently in the Third Turning of the Millennial Saeculum and giving birth to the 24th generation of the post-medieval era.

http://www.fourthtur...__turnings.html

#50 advancedatheist

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 04:41 AM

From:

http://news.ft.com/s...p=1012571727088

China unable to quench thirst for oil
By Victor Mallet in Hong Kong
Published: January 20 2004 11:35 | Last Updated: January 20 2004 22:59


China's fast-growing economy has overtaken Japan to become the world's second largest consumer of crude oil after the US, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Chinese government.


Latest IEA estimates say China consumed 5.46m barrels a day last year, compared with Japan's 5.43m b/d. In the last quarter of 2003, the IEA says, China was the "main driver of global oil demand growth".

The US remains by far the biggest oil user, consuming more than 20m b/d. The growth in Chinese demand is expected to continue this year, at a time when Opec has little room to boost oil output and US commercial oil inventories are at their lowest levels since 1975, creating tight conditions in the global market.

Benchmark US crude futures hit $35.95 a barrel yesterday, their highest level since US-led forces invaded Iraq last March.

The latest figures underline China's thirst for natural resources to fuel its industrial revolution. Yesterday, China reported economic growth of 9.9 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2003, taking full year growth to 9.1 per cent.

They also confirm that the economy - to the dismay of the ruling Communist party - is becoming ever more dependent on energy imports, mainly from the Middle East.



#51 advancedatheist

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 05:29 AM

From:

http://www.signonsan...llbusiness.html

Soaring energy prices could hurt economy

By Rachel Beck
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1:54 p.m. January 20, 2004

NEW YORK – The troubled labor market might not be the only thorn in the economy's side. Surging energy prices could also do their part to throw the recovery off its course.

In past recoveries, lower energy prices have helped boost the economy as it bounced from a prolonged slump. But we don't have that happening this go-around – in fact, prices are unexpectedly high, due to the troubling mix of shrinking supplies, a cold winter and the weak dollar.

The big concern is whether prices will stick at these levels, and if that happens, how much – if anything – they'll knock out of economic growth.



#52 advancedatheist

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 03:53 PM

From:

http://www.forbes.co...rtr1219931.html

ANALYSIS-Oil freight at 30-year high as China, U.S. compete
Reuters, 01.21.04, 10:08 AM ET


By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Booming economic growth in China, a recovering U.S. economy and tougher environmental laws on oil tankers have sent costs soaring for transporting crude oil, the lifeblood of world trade, analysts and brokers said on Wednesday.

Freight prices on some of the busiest global routes for supertankers have hit 30-year highs over the last week -- piling on further costs for oil consumers already hit by a crude price surge.

Since October last year freight costs have quadrupled on a typical journey from West Africa or the North Sea to the United States - a fivefold increase from the tanker trade's dog days of 2002 when the September 11 attacks on the United States exacerbated the global economic downturn.

Daily charter rates for a typical supertanker across the Atlantic now exceed $140,000 a day, up from about $20,000 in October.

China, the world's fastest growing economy, with a GDP growth at a whopping 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003, has been the engine of the oil freight spike.

Rampant Chinese demand for raw materials such as iron ore and coal, has already sent prices rocketing for dry-bulk freight, a separate sector to "wet" trade in oil freight.

"A resurgence in the economic cycle of western economies is coming at the same time as a structural growth in China that is pulling in a record amount of oil. Both are having an impact on shipping markets," said Louisa Follis, an analyst with Simpson Spence and Young (SSY) shipping brokers in London.

Chinese crude oil imports in 2003 rose 30 percent over the previous year, while refined products rose 40 percent, said Follis.

The growing Asian demand for oil has meant that supertankers have been more heavily employed on long-haul routes. And it has meant that U.S. refiners are finding their import costs rising inexorably as they compete with China for vessels.

"In terms of the tonne-mile ratio on journeys especially from West Africa and Europe, ships are being tied up for much longer voyages," Follis said.



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#53 Mind

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 09:47 PM

We have a "stocks watch" list here at Imminst. Maybe we should be investing in oil futures to make money.

I am willing to bet oil prices will continue to climb over the next year or 2, but in another 10 years I believe it will be cheaper than dirt. To quote a former Saudi Oil Minister "The stone age didn't end because of a lack of stones and the oil age will not end because of a lack of oil".

#54 kevin

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 01:19 AM

Lazarus:

All bets are off.. I think the 'natural' rhythm that the fourth turning proposes is real and in place.. but our lifecycle is about to be hijacked by technology and thankfully so. Additionally never before has the natural cycle been so heavily weighted with having more older people than younger. Especially ones who are not willing to go gently into that dark night and have the funds and technology to do it. I think the next turning is going to be a little more warped than the authors might expect.

Perhaps the periodicity of the the cycles can be increased a tad but we will have to be especially cognizant of the issues surrounding the turning and perhaps use the studies of these gentlemen to our benefit.

#55 advancedatheist

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 01:39 AM

I am willing to bet oil prices will continue to climb over the next year or 2, but in another 10 years I believe it will be cheaper than dirt. To quote a former Saudi Oil Minister "The stone age didn't end because of a lack of stones and the oil age will not end because of a lack of oil".


A few years ago natural gas in North America was really cheap. Now it is becoming so expensive that U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has been giving "or else" speeches to foreign gas producers, practically ordering them to build the infrastructure so they can send cryogenic natural gas to the U.S. market. Since oil seems to be following the same trajectory, there are good reasons to believe that the era of cheap oil is pretty much over.

#56 advancedatheist

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 07:01 AM

Warren Buffett proves once again that he sees where the real money can be made. Unfortunately natural gas from Alaska won't be getting to the Lower 48 market for years.

From:

http://www.canada.co...fc-bc426f7889fb

Warren Buffett company applies for Alaska natural gas pipeline permit
 
Canadian Press


Thursday, January 22, 2004


JUNEAU (CP) - A unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate took the first formal steps Thursday to build a 1,200-kilometre pipeline to carry natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to the Alaska-Yukon border.

Gov. Frank Murkowski made the announcement in Fairbanks with representatives of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, and Alaska native corporations that would own a portion of the project. Murkowski said the companies filed applications with the state Department of Revenue to negotiate tax and financial terms with the state.

The $6.3-billion, 48-inch-diameter high-pressure line, designed to carry 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day, would connect at the border with a new companion line that "will be built either by TransCanada through its Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. subsidiary, or others," stated MidAmerican, 80 per cent owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

"Development of Alaska's enormous natural gas reserves has long been hampered by unfavourable economics related to the remote location of the reserves and the difficulties and costs of delivering Alaskan natural gas to markets," said David Sokol, MidAmerican's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We believe those circumstances are rapidly changing and believe by the end of this decade Alaskan gas will begin to play a critical role in meeting North American gas demand."



#57 advancedatheist

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 07:10 AM

America's NIMBY philosophy will interfere building the infrastructure we would need for importing liquified natural gas (LNG).

From:

http://www.heraldnew..._id=99784&rfi=6

LNG tragedy has locals scared
 
JAMES FINLAW , Herald News Staff Reporter  01/22/2004

FALL RIVER -- A deadly explosion that ripped through a liquefied natural gas terminal in Algeria on Monday has local officials concerned that a similar catastrophe could happen here if a New York-based company makes good on its bid to construct an LNG import terminal in the city’s North End.

Weaver’s Cove Energy is currently seeking federal and state approval to build a $250 million LNG import terminal at the former Shell Oil site off North Main Street.

In some ways, the proposed facility would be similar to the LNG terminal in Skikda, Algeria, that erupted in flame Monday evening.

An explosion tore through the Algerian oil and natural gas complex at 6:40 p.m. on Monday night, scattering debris across the 227-acre site, the Reuters news agency reported. At least 24 people were killed and 74 injured in the blast and ensuing fire, which took fire crews hours to extinguish. The death toll is expected to climb, as up to a dozen workers were still unaccounted for on Tuesday.



#58 advancedatheist

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 07:31 PM

http://www.quicken.c...ar&column=P0DFP

Data Cast Doubt on Oil Discoveries   
Friday, January 23, 2004 01:01 AM ET  Printer-friendly version 
 
LONDON -- Major oil companies appear to have been significantly less successful at discovering petroleum than recent regulatory filings suggest, Friday's Wall Street Journal reported, citing a new report by energy consultant Wood Mackenzie.

The report paints a dismal picture of the oil industry's recent exploration performance. It also raises questions about the usefulness of the Securities and Exchange Commission's guidelines for reporting reserve estimates at a time when those numbers already are under scrutiny after Royal Dutch/Shell (RD, news) Group (RD, news) slashed its tally of oil and natural-gas reserves by 20% earlier this month.

Wood Mackenzie calculated that the combined discoveries of the 10 largest Western oil companies, which include Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM, news), BP PLC (BP, news) and Shell, rose steadily from 1997 to 2000, peaking that year at about 13.05 billion barrels. Discoveries then fell sharply to just 4.02 billion barrels in 2001 and 3.34 billion barrels in 2002. The study didn't examine the performance of individual companies, but rather looked at the top 10 companies -- by market capitalization -- as a group.

That's not to say the world is running out of oil. Many of the most prodigious deposits of oil are in the Middle East, which is still largely closed to international oil companies. But other regions have been picked through during decades of exploration, making big new finds difficult.



#59 advancedatheist

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 03:54 AM

http://www.kansascit...rld/7801258.htm

Posted on Mon, Jan. 26, 2004 

China's demand for foreign oil rises at breakneck pace
BY TIM JOHNSON
Knight Ridder Newspapers

RENQIU, China - (KRT) - The horizon here is dotted with the bobbing arms of rusted oil pump jacks that can't draw enough crude out of the ground to fuel China's surging economy.

"The reserves are limited," said oil worker Geng Shuguo, toiling at an aged pump.

China has hit a plateau in oil production; yet its appetite for energy soars. China's likely to surpass Japan this year as the world's No. 2 consumer of oil, after the United States, forcing it to rely more on oil imports. China's global oil purchases are jostling energy markets and helping to keep world oil prices high, including at U.S. gas pumps.

Huge energy demands in China are painfully obvious. Regular blackouts this winter have hit parts of the central, eastern and southeastern regions. Urban traffic jams attest to China's swelling middle class and its rush to buy cars.

Oil imports rose some 31 percent last year, a surge that the International Energy Agency called a "breakneck pace." China now imports a third of its oil. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that by 2020 China will import two-thirds of its crude, or up to 7 million barrels a day.

That means China - like the United States, which imports two-thirds of its oil - increasingly must scour the world, particularly the Middle East, for stable oil sources.

"People worry that if there is a constraint of oil supplies, China and the United States will compete for oil," said Kang Wu, a research fellow at the East-West Center, a research facility in Hawaii funded by the U.S. government.

Senior Chinese officials, scrambling to reduce strategic vulnerabilities, clearly are uneasy over the nation's growing reliance on imported oil.

"In case something unexpected happens, say a war broke out, China's oil shipments would be stopped. It would have a very serious effect on China's economic development," explained Dong Xiucheng, vice dean of the Petroleum University near Beijing.



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#60 advancedatheist

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 03:57 PM

This article correctly points out the problem of "energy returned on energy invested" (EROEI) regarding proposed "alternatives" to traditional oil deposits.

http://www.thestar.c...ol=968350116795

Jan. 28, 2004. 01:00 AM

 
Demand for oil outstripping supply


RICHARD GWYN

In some year ahead — and by no means one necessarily that far ahead — we'll go through another bout of winter weather like this one but with one critical distinction that will make all the difference, even though it will have nothing to do with the weather.

Assume that we experience the same prolonged, extreme cold and high winds and succession of snowstorms, all right across the country.

But assume, as well, that in that year the fuel by which we heat our houses, offices, factories and stores, and by which we power our cars, trucks, airplanes, trains and buses, is having to be rationed.

Rationing doesn't here mean actual physical rationing, with householders and car drivers limited to so many litres a month.

It means, instead, rationing by price. As oil supplies dwindle, not in themselves (or not for a long time) but in relation to demand, so will the price at first escalate, and then soar.

That's bound to happen. It will happen because the demand for oil is bound to outstrip the supply of oil, and of natural gas and coal and of other hydrocarbons.

The U.S. Energy Department reckons that this ``tilting point" won't happen until 2037. Its calculation is widely criticized, with its forecasts for increases in demand dismissed as far too conservative.

One well-known petroleum geologist, Colin Campbell, has put the tilting point at 2010, or little more than a half-decade away. Another, Kenneth Deffeys, forecasts that it will occur this year.

The basis facts are these: The entire world now both produces and consumes some 75 million barrels of oil a day. By 2015, or a decade away, demand is expected to increase by more than two-thirds, or by another 60 million barrels a day.

This extra demand simply cannot be met. We would have to find and develop the equivalent of 10 new North Sea oilfields in just a decade. Even if Iraq's oilfields are fully developed, with almost unlimited new investment and new technology, it could only produce an extra 6 million barrels, or a mere one-tenth of the amount needed.

Certainly, new supplies are being found in places such as Siberia, the Central Asian Republics and west Africa. But these are not net additions to the total output. At the same time, production from all existing super-giant and giant fields is contracting by 4 to 5 per cent a year.

Additional supplies could be generated from tar sands and oil shale in Western Canada and in Venezuela's Orinoco belt. But more than half as much energy is used extracting this oil as the energy value of the oil produced. Other potential supplies, such as polar oil and liquid natural gas, are horrendously expensive.

The real problem isn't supply, though. It's demand. Last year, one element of the demand equation clicked into place. In 2003, China overtook Japan to become the world's second-largest consumer of oil. The International Energy Agency describes China as "the major driver of global demand growth."

The U.S. remains the world's gas guzzler. It consumes about one-seventh of global production. (Canada, relatively, is as liberal and as wasteful in its consumption.)

A bit surprisingly, President George W. Bush, himself an oil man, has actually expressed some concern about the issue. He's said, "It's becoming very clear that demand is outstripping supply."

In fact, a lot could be done. Tax loopholes could be closed, like the one that makes SUVs artificially attractive. Regulations could mandate higher fuel-efficiency standards. Tax incentives could motivate householders to improve their heating efficiency. Other remedies could range from minimizing urban sprawl to developing alternatives to hydrocarbons, such as hydrogen cells. Energy economist Philip Verleger reckons that the U.S.'s oil imports, of some 11 million barrels a day, could be cut by half.

Bush, though, has done nothing about the problem other than to mutter that it does exist, and no Democratic presidential candidate has dared to mention the subject. The reason is obvious: the last politician to talk seriously about conservation, Jimmy Carter in 1977, was trounced in the next presidential election.

Nothing is going to happen until the crisis of oil demand outstripping oil supply is clear, unmistakable and urgent.

And by then it may be too late. Too late, that is, to avoid what former British energy minister michael Meacher forecasts will be, "the sharpest and perhaps the most violent dislocation (of society) in recent history."

So enjoy today's weather.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Gwyn's column appears on Wednesday and Sunday. gwynR@sympatico.ca.




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