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Page added on December 5, 2016

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Tumbling Down the Net Hubbert Cliff

Tumbling Down the Net Hubbert Cliff thumbnail

 

SenecaCliff

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

I gave a mini presentation at a Griffith University “sustainable economy” seminar on 29 November 2016 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B21KVqpkTSnrQ2haWFAwaU5MRjQ/view As the themes were slanted towards “business opportunities”, I chose this title for my talk: “Tiny House Communities: grassroots solutions for those with sufficient initiative to exit a collapsing industrial civilisation”. In my pre-conference paper/abstract submission to the GCSE, I made it clear I was going to talk about much more than just tiny houses. Ultimately I spent only 5 minutes talking about tiny house communities and 15 minutes talking about our collapsing industrial civilisation. I focused especially on the sudden global energy descent we will soon be facing and tried to explain the key concepts with my “post peak oil” slides http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/11/12/post-peak-oil-slides-for-diners/

I received the usual denialism response I have come to expect from one individual in particular, a person who in a previous session advocated that if only we use objective science to persuade the public, we can transform society and create a great future. That person also said we should not convey negative messages to the public because that would alienate them. I had neither the time nor inclination to engage with that person. I did not bother to point out the obvious contradiction in his position: that objective science unequivocally shows our future to be dire, which by necessity will convey a “negative” message to the public.

At a subsequent main session, Professor Susanne Becken, a highly acclaimed professor of “sustainable tourism”, spoke about Peak Oil and Aviation and projected this slide from the International Energy Agency on the screen:

tumblingdownthenethubbertcliff_html_m1e90c2e4

To her credit she couched those IEA future oil projections in cautionary terms and advised the audience NOT to invest in the aviation industry.

As an audience member at the Q&A session, I made this comment and posed this question to her (I paraphrase here. The event was recorded and my exact words may be audible if Griffith eventually post the session as a webcast):

I was amused to see the IEA slide you displayed, which included “oil yet to be found” and “oil yet to be developed” in the projection of future oil available, which made the future total oil curve look flat or even rising. Such wild speculation brings to mind the thought that if pigs had wings, pigs could fly and flying pigs will solve all our aviation problems. IEA are well known for always overestimating future oil availability, then having to revise those figures downward when reality proves them wrong. In terms of deceit they are second only to Daniel Yergin’s CERA, a stooge of the fossil fuel industry. I am sure you know who I am talking about. I am sure you are familiar with David Murphy’s Net Hubbert curve which takes into account energy returned over energy invested. I am sure you are familiar with Jeffrey Brown’s export land model, which looks at future oil availability for oil importing countries. If you superimpose the ELM on the Net Hubbert curve, which you must do if you believe in basic physics and mathematics, you will realise that Australia will have no more conventional oil available to import within ten years. Do you not think such a graph is more accurate and appropriate to use?”

To her credit, the professor did not take offence at my “flying pigs” comment and acknowledged the validity of my points. She really had no choice, otherwise she would be denying basic physics and mathematics, which would make her look foolish. She accepted that proper assessment of actual oil availability should subtract the amount of oil needed to produce that oil. To her credit she stated that unconventional oils such as tar sands have such poor EROEI that in reality they are not worth pursuing. However with regard to the short term prospects for her particular fields of interest (aviation and tourism), she was sanguine. She expressed a “Realpolitik” view that when there are competing interests for diminishing oil supplies in the future, such as whether to allocate oil to produce food for the poor or to fuel the aviation industry, the business interests of aviation will win out and the poor will starve. She made a valid, if cynical point there. That view is not dissimilar to my own view about how the “five fingers” of net energy will be allocated in the future when we tumble even further down the net Hubbert cliff: Military activities will be given priority over everything else, thus promoting human die-off. Gotta love the human race.

My ongoing concern is that such “peak oil experts” continue to use fraudulent fantasy graphs based on cornucopian speculative projections in their presentations, which to a less critical audience will otherwise be accepted and go unchallenged. Here is one solution to this conundrum: make the audience less critical by getting rid of troublemakers.

Needless to say I do not expect to be invited back by that particular department of Griffith University in the future. And so it goes.

G. Chia Dec. 2016

 The Doomstead Diner



10 Comments on "Tumbling Down the Net Hubbert Cliff"

  1. makati1 on Mon, 5th Dec 2016 8:48 pm 

    Dreams and reality do not mix.

    Flying will disappear and food for survival will remain. Anyone in or thinking about a career in commercial aviation needs his/her head examined. As for military oil vs survival oil … maybe numbers will matter?

    Military – 2,000,000 people.
    Survival – 320,000,000++ people.

  2. Davy on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 7:06 am 

    These are great points that in general academia that is concerned with the truth must embrace. I say this not as a tool for growth but as a mechanism to leave denial. The status quo and social narrative will be too strong to break until broken. Instead those who are enlightened need to paly mental judo to shape the destructive change ahead. Use peoples failings to help them avoid failure. That is the best we can do and it boils down to “managed” failure.

    “I received the usual denialism response I have come to expect from one individual in particular, a person who in a previous session advocated that if only we use objective science to persuade the public, we can transform society and create a great future. That person also said we should not convey negative messages to the public because that would alienate them. I had neither the time nor inclination to engage with that person. I did not bother to point out the obvious contradiction in his position: that objective science unequivocally shows our future to be dire, which by necessity will convey a “negative” message to the public.”

    “My ongoing concern is that such “peak oil experts” continue to use fraudulent fantasy graphs based on cornucopian speculative projections in their presentations, which to a less critical audience will otherwise be accepted and go unchallenged. Here is one solution to this conundrum: make the audience less critical by getting rid of troublemakers.”

    If we are troublemakers we will be rejected so live the status quo to leave it. Embrace it to destroy it. It is not hard to trick trickery if you know the rules of the game.

  3. rockman on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 8:55 am 

    Dave – “…such “peak oil experts” continue to use fraudulent fantasy graphs…”. And the “New Policies” graph is a perfect example. Folks shouldn’t skip over it to quickly. In particular focus on the current producing oil field portion. First, hopefully folks understand that whether we’ve reached PO or not it has no effect on the decline of EXISTING fields. Second, once the oil prices fell obviously NEW production fell off. Yet the world is producing much more oil now then at that magical point it highlights in 2009. If it did not increase from new wells obviously it’s coming from older existing fields…production that should have declined by the charts projection. That should cause one to question: if they project a decline for a period when we’ve actually seen an increase what confidence should we have in their ASSUMED decline rate of existing fields?

    Which also brings up another question: why post a story which projects a continuing surge in NEW oil production after prices and rig counts collapsed? Look at the curve again: it isn’t just projecting a sustained growth in new oil production since 2013 (when the bust hit) but actually INCREASING.

  4. J-Gav on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 2:15 pm 

    “Dreams and reality do not mix.” They can, and they sometimes have to good effect (voting rights for women for example). I do get your point though. When it comes down to what’s there and what’s economically recoverable,energy-wise,in other words – available net energy per capita – we’re definitely headed toward some hard limits that no form of utopianism will be able to handle.

  5. makati1 on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 5:56 pm 

    J-Gav, I think we have hit the limits in many important areas that are going to drastically impact our future. There is no easy way forward. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the world’s population is going to die before we see 2050.

    A large share of them, contrary to the belief of Americans, will be in the 1st world and the U$ especially. No 3rd world country has the high percentage of obesity, self caused disease, drug use and just plain stupidity as does the United States of Arrogance.

  6. Davy on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 6:22 pm 

    Sure makati, run the numbers where most of the people live and who is most exposed to a decline in food and fuel. You are right in the middle of that mess. You are screwed.

  7. onlooker on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 6:37 pm 

    Can I say Davy and Makati, your both right and your both wrong haha. Actually your both right. Asia is screwed if nothing else because the potable water is running out. As well as what Davy said. Not to mentioned Global warming is set to do a number on them. US and rich countries are screwed for reasons Mak said and yes of them, US is the most screwed.

  8. makati1 on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 6:48 pm 

    Onlooker, I would not count the Asians out. Pipelines can carry water as well as oil. Asian countries have been diverting rivers for a very long time. And then there is that huge country full of natural resources just to their north that would be glad to sell water and farmland when the time comes.

    Glad we agree that the U$ in that crowd also. I would not drink out of any flowing water in the U$ and certainly not the lakes. 30 years ago, most of the lakes in the Adirondack region of New York were already undrinkable due to a little parasite. I am sure it has spread by now. 3rd world in the 1st world or is it just a ‘pretend’ 1st world now?

  9. Nony on Tue, 6th Dec 2016 10:24 pm 

    The graph is from 2009 but was presented in 2016. Somehow the presenter, the critic, Rockman, and the rest of you all missed this. Just look at that line on the graph to the left of 2010.

    Just read. And analyze. This isn’t about left versus right. Or cornie versus peaker. This is just about 7th grade level of being able to read a chart. Just look at it.

    Oh. And we have already produced MORE total liquids this year than the chart said it would take us all the way to 2035 to rise to. So, obviously the chart was not so sooper optimistic.

  10. Davy on Wed, 7th Dec 2016 4:57 am 

    Good point Nony. Welcome back

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