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Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby jerry_mcmanus » Mon 19 Sep 2016, 23:41:07

I'm a little tired of all the Hubbert bashing from the peak-oil crowd lately, quite annoyed really, so I barfed it all out onto a pdf:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ci5zMS_2kZOW1VdGxOUURCdVU/view?usp=sharing

Enjoy!
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 00:29:55

Jerry - The Rockman appreciates your motivation. But what I find more interesting is how many folks think it's important to prove or disprove anything Dr. Hubbert postulated. This ain't the 1950's and what anyone thought, rightly or incorrectly, then has no bearing on our future. He was predicting what might happen in the US in the next few decades after he published his paper. But now, 60 years later, his work (which was truly brilliant compared to the industry mindset at the time) has no relevance to what has happened in the last 10 years let alone the future.

It's sort of like the continuous debate about the Etp model. Right? Wrong? Does it really matter: I've yet to hear how anyone is using it to make any significant changes of the energy path we're on. If a model has little or no practical utility being applied I really don't care if it's correct or not.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby SumYunGai » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 00:53:36

ROCKMAN wrote:Jerry - The Rockman appreciates your motivation. But what I find more interesting is how many folks think it's important to prove or disprove anything Dr. Hubbert postulated. This ain't the 1950's and what anyone thought, rightly or incorrectly, then has no bearing on our future. He was predicting what might happen in the US in the next few decades after he published his paper. But now, 60 years later, his work (which was truly brilliant compared to the industry mindset at the time) has no relevance to what has happened in the last 10 years let alone the future.

It's sort of like the continuous debate about the Etp model. Right? Wrong? Does it really matter: I've yet to hear how anyone is using it to make any significant changes of the energy path we're on. If a model has little or no practical utility being applied I really don't care if it's correct or not.

The Etp model has a very practical utility. It forecasts that oil prices will continue to decline. You don't like that forecast very much, so you just disregard the Etp model. Poof, no worries.

And what on earth makes you think we can change the energy path we are on? Human will cannot override physics. As a species, we have no control over our thermodynamic destiny. We are like yeast in a vat of grape juice.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 01:42:51

To the contrary, you as a modern day consumer have all the choices available to you. You can choose Green energy sources over fossil fuels, you can choose practical electric vehicles over oil burners. You can choose locally sourced organic foods over supermarket packages. You can choose a residence built with Green materials or various petrochemicals.

Yes, it is true that all the planet-saving alternatives cost more than the FF versions. If you were not so thoughtless and you actually could even acknowledge your own responsibility for killing the planet, that would be a start. But you won't or can't admit that your own choices are killing the planet, because you are greedy and want more stuff that you don't actually need to live.

Some of us yeast animals are climbing over the rim of our wine fermentation vat, and going elsewhere and doing other things. It is up to you, everything hinges on the choices made by consumers.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby SumYunGai » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 02:16:18

KaiserJeep wrote:To the contrary, you as a modern day consumer have all the choices available to you.

We may currently have some choices as individual "consumers". But as a species, we have no control over our thermodynamic destiny.

KaiserJeep wrote:You can choose Green energy sources over fossil fuels, you can choose practical electric vehicles over oil burners. You can choose locally sourced organic foods over supermarket packages. You can choose a residence built with Green materials or various petrochemicals.

Unfortunately, there are *WAY* too many people for everyone to choose "green" energy sources, electric vehicles, locally sourced organic foods, and "green" building materials for their residences. Thus, as a species, we are screwed.

KaiserJeep wrote:Yes, it is true that all the planet-saving alternatives cost more than the FF versions. If you were not so thoughtless and you actually could even acknowledge your own responsibility for killing the planet, that would be a start. But you won't or can't admit that your own choices are killing the planet, because you are greedy and want more stuff that you don't actually need to live.

Twisted. None of us asked to be born into this insane civilization at the worst possible time. The current situation isn't anybody's fault. What possible purpose is served by playing some stupid blame game? As a species, we are all in this thing together.

KaiserJeep wrote:Some of us yeast animals are climbing over the rim of our wine fermentation vat, and going elsewhere and doing other things.

Climbing over the rim? You are living in a dream vat! Those choices you are so proud of are all subsidized by fossil fuel use. And most yeast cannot even afford the choices available to the privileged few.

You cannot climb over the rim of the vat, no matter what you might dream. The only reason you can even see the rim is because you climbed on top of so many other yeast. But you can't admit that.

KaiserJeep wrote:It is up to you, everything hinges on the choices made by consumers.

Yes, individual outcomes may vary, but as a species...
Last edited by SumYunGai on Tue 20 Sep 2016, 03:24:26, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 02:37:58

Sum - "The Etp model has a very practical utility. It forecasts that oil prices will continue to decline." Great! Then tell me who is using it and how they are doing so. Are you using it to make investment decisions? Is anyone? IOW if it isn't being used for a practical purpose it has no utility. IOW is its only value something to argue about? Because so far that's all I've seen it used for.

And that isn't very f*cking practical in my world. LOL.

As far as liking or not liking the Etp forecast it's of no importance to me right or wrong either way. It has no bearing on my work or life choices. Does it for you?
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 02:56:35

[rant]
Sum, when presented with new and unsettling information, the human animal goes through fives stages which are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

You are in stage 1. Most of us have already progressed to stage 4 or 5. You will make it as well, unless a "fast crash" derails you first. So I am going to summarize how your understanding of peak oil will most likely progress.

All the things you are discussing are symptoms of human overpopulation, caused by a species which refuses to acknowledge that it cannot continue unlimited growth on a limited planet. Peak oil (more generically, peak fossil fuels) is also a symptom of overpopulation.

However, mankind is an ape, a primate with primate behaviors. Another member (Ibon) coined the praise "Kudzu Ape" which is unfortunately all too descriptive of human behavior. It is ape behavior, plus technology, science, medicine, agriculture, etc. We multiply like the Kudzu weed, and cover the Earth.

We will either all die or (optimistically) fall back to a sustainable population number when the cheap fossil fuel energy we use for EVERYTHING runs out. I personally am part of a minority here that honors the theme of this Forum - I believe that most people will be killed by the lack of oil when the easily recoverable petroleum is gone. Others think that Anthropogenic Global Warming will kill us off, or drug-resistant superbugs, or financial shenanigans, or whatever.

The recently recognized new factor is my particular belief that the present humans are now a cybernetic hive species, networked by the mobile devices and PCs we all use constantly. I believe - I hope - that this is our means of survival. Meanwhile, it exacerbates every other problem we have.

[/rant]
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby SumYunGai » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 03:05:14

ROCKMAN wrote:Sum - "The Etp model has a very practical utility. It forecasts that oil prices will continue to decline." Great! Then tell me who is using it and how they are doing so. Are you using it to make investment decisions?

Yes. I have made a decision not to invest in oil. LOL.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby Observerbrb » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 05:29:14

SumYunGai wrote:
ROCKMAN wrote:Sum - "The Etp model has a very practical utility. It forecasts that oil prices will continue to decline." Great! Then tell me who is using it and how they are doing so. Are you using it to make investment decisions?

Yes. I have made a decision not to invest in oil. LOL.


You can always go "short on oil" (bet that oil prices will go down).

If someone had followed Steve Ludlum's advice back in 2012, he could have won a ton of cash.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby donstewart » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 08:30:32

Rockman
I will give you my layman's assessment of where Hubbert fits into the big picture, and where the ETP model fits into a bigger picture.

From The Systems View of Life: 'An iteration found very often in nonlinear systems, which is very simple and yet produces a wealth of complexity, is the mapping equation...
x maps to kx(1-x) where the variable x is restricted to values between 0 and 1
This 'logistic mapping' has many important applications. It is used by ecologists to describe the growth of a population under opposing tendencies and is therefore also known as the 'growth equation'.'

Now, notice a few things. The equation is ONLY capable reflecting TWO opposing tendencies. If you are trying to deal with 'the ten thousand things', then the equation will not do what you want it to do. But all of science has been an attempt to find basic laws which allow us to deduce simple or complex patterns, and to stop believing that there was a god or spirit inside every rock and tree. In many cases, a logistic equation is good enough.

Where does the ETP model fit into this scheme. What follows is my amateur take on the subject. The logistic model frequently works well if there is an infinitely large world out there within which something is growing. We may exhaust all of a particular asset, but there are plenty of other assets. And so Hubbert drew his curve of the depletion of oil, with the growth of nuclear energy making the loss of the oil not particularly important for humans. (Please note that if we had actually built all that nuclear, we probably wouldn't be screwing around with tight oil and tar sands.)

In the decades since Hubbert did his work, we have learned that nuclear isn't going to save us. We also have a much sharper understanding that oil is the key to transportation, and that transportation is, indeed, very important. Those understandings were what underpinned Robert Hirsch's work around 2005.

The ETP model adds a second layer of complexity beyond the simple 'two opposing tendencies'. The ETP model takes Hirsch's insight that oil is the key to transportation, and the insight that transportation is the key to our ability to produce GDP, and proposes a mathematical model of what happens to our ability to produce earnings with which to buy oil, as the productivity of the oil falls in response to depletion and the rise of overhead complexity in the general economy. And if we can't afford to buy oil, we won't produce very much GDP.

Thus, we are looking at a very long chain of intellectual activity which stretches from Leonardo da Vinci, arguably the originator of systems thinking, through the ecologists and Hubbert working on depletable resources, and Hirsch thinking about the centrality of transportation and the role of oil, and finally an elegant model which ties a lot of things together. The elegant model is not so limited as the 'two opposing forces' of the logistic equation, but nor does it try to embrace 'the ten thousand things'. But the model is pregnant with suggestions which impact how we think about and react to 'the ten thousand things'. For example, we can calculate how much of the 200 trillion dollars of global debt will ever be repaid. If we know a little about psychology and sociology, or even have read Dmitry Orlov, we can predict some things about social and economic dysfunction as rich people see their wealth vanish. And so forth and so on.

The criticisms I have seen of the ETP model fall into three groups:
*Nit pickings, such as 'you shouldn't have excluded the Oil Embargo years, because it is immoral to exclude data'. But the oil price is the indicator chose to represent the cost of producing oil, and the price during the oil embargo years was not indicative of the cost of producing oil. Consequently, those years are excluded for a valid reason. One can find many other nit picky objections which make a similar lack of sense.
*The model is incomplete because it doesn't include 'the ten thousand things'. Gail Tverberg is fond of this objection. But this type of objection fails to understand the way science has always worked...which is by simplifying. Einstein said 'models should be simple, but not too simple'. The Hubbert model is 'too simple', while Gail's models are 'too complex'. The ETP model, in my estimation, is 'just right'.
*The model is useless because nobody is going to change their behavior anyway (Rockman's Law). There are some people who believe that it will be very difficult or impossible to get people to change behavior. For example, BW Hill has said that one of his purposes is to convince leaders that going to war over oil is simply stupid...he doesn't seem to be succeeding in moving the world in that direction.

George Mobus posted this a day or two ago: 'This is just a note to alert readers that this Equinox posting will be the first of a five-part series that will (I hope) signal the end of the set of questions I have struggled with regarding the human condition. I have spent no small amount of bytes to the subject of how screwed up things are. Now I want to explore new territory. I'm curious as to what it all means. The Equinox is the 22nd. See you then.'

If we look at the long sweep of humanity from the ancients with a spirit in every tree, to the ubiquity today of our dependence on things we cannot see, such as quantum tunneling, we can see that science really has changed our behavior. Whether we have reached a dead-end, as Mobus suspects, or whether BW Hill will go down in history as the man who prevented an insane war which would have obliterated everything, remains to be seen.

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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby diemos » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 08:55:08

ROCKMAN wrote:But what I find more interesting is how many folks think it's important to prove or disprove anything Dr. Hubbert postulated.


There's a large contingent of the population who is incapable of understanding anything for themselves. For them everything in life that they believe comes down to which particular guru, sage or holy man they've chosen to put their faith in.

They literally cannot understand that it's the idea that matters not the person who popularized it.

I understand the mechanism that produced fossil fuels and therefore know that it is not being produced in significant quantities today. Therefore the amount that is available to be dug up and burned is finite. Therefore consumption will rise, peak and fall off to zero. That is a mathematical inevitability.

I do not know exactly how much is available, what extraction technologies will eventually be developed to extract it, when or how high the peak will be, what alternative energy technologies will be put in place as fossil fuels declines or how the transition will play out socially.

But I do know that scholars in the year 3000, if any are still around, will look back at a graph of world fossil fuel consumption over time and see something that looks roughly like a bell shaped curve.

I believe that because I understand how fossil fuels are produced and I know math, not because I have faith in St. Hubbert.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby radon1 » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 09:24:49

donstewart wrote: and where the ETP model fits into a bigger picture.


"ETP model" does not exist.

A model has to have an object that it is modelling, and "ETP model" does not have such an object.

The only thing that "ETP model" does have, is an "output" in the form of a poor imitation of SL's rants. And why look at imitation if we have the original in abundance? Plus "ETP model" has a bunch of trolls who convert any thread into ETP shilling contest.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby donstewart » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 10:36:55

For those who want to react rationally (perhaps a vanishingly small number in this Era of Soundbites), I highly recommend Fritjof Capra's book Learning From Leonardo.

It's certainly not true that Leonardo got everything exactly right 500 years ago. But I think you will be amazed at how many things he did get right. Capra's evidence supports his thesis that Leonardo got so many things right because he asked the right questions. For example, on page 310:

'With this insight, described precisely and in beautiful poetic language, Leonardo was centuries ahead of his time. The definition of living organisms as 'open systems' that need to feed on a continual flux of energy and matter was proposed by the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1940s, more than 400 years after Leonardo had clearly recognized it...It took another 30 years before a mathematical theory of open systems was formulated. This was achieved by physicist and chemist Ilya Prigogine, who called those systems 'dissipative structures' and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his theory. Today, the flow of energy and matter through a dissipative structure is considered a defining characteristic of life, and the image of the flame of a candle is still used (500 years after Leonardo used it) as a simple illustration.'

The ETP model asks the question: 'What happens if the world, instead of resting on a stack of turtles, rests on the burning of a candle composed of crude oil with some fairly limited chemical characteristics?'

The question is the correct one, in my opinion. The judgment of history on its utility remains to be seen.

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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby jerry_mcmanus » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 10:41:39

I'm not really trying to prove or disprove anything..., no really!

But seriously, it just bothers me that anyone with half a brain and even a rudimentary understanding of Hubbert's work could have seen that a sharp near-term peak and steep decline in oil production hasn't been in the cards for at least the last 40 years.

But for some reason that's all the peak-oil idiots wanted to talk about for the entire 10 years or so that I've been following the "debate", if you can call it that. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, now they are bashing the man himself!

"What a bunch of maroons!"

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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby Observerbrb » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 12:23:27

radon1 wrote:
donstewart wrote: and where the ETP model fits into a bigger picture.


"ETP model" does not exist.

A model has to have an object that it is modelling, and "ETP model" does not have such an object.

The only thing that "ETP model" does have, is an "output" in the form of a poor imitation of SL's rants. And why look at imitation if we have the original in abundance? Plus "ETP model" has a bunch of trolls who convert any thread into ETP shilling contest.


Calling someone a "troll" because he doesn't agree with you, does not make that someone a troll. In fact, chances are that you are the only one trolling here.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby shortonoil » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 13:08:32

Don,

I am presently working with a number of scholars around the world. I am sending them a link to your post here. Your continual insights never cease to amaze me!

Be well,
BW
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby radon1 » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 13:15:48

ETP clowns screwed this thread too. How unusual and unpredictable.
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby anarky321 » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 14:22:05

the most important aspect of his prediction is the fact that we inevitably will pass the peak, this is pure mathematics and as of today i see no replacement for fossil fuels....sands and fracks have extended the plateau...ok...but nothing has changed...coal natural gas and oil will still peak and decline as predicted...this is a mathematical certainty...and the impact won't be any less dramatic than if it happened decades earlier

the current oil pricing is an anomaly, and gives people the false impression that everything is ok now...it's not
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby Observerbrb » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 14:49:21

radon1 wrote:ETP clowns screwed this thread too. How unusual and unpredictable.


Well, if you consider that you brought up the same topic that you don't want to discuss, and started to call them "clowns" and "trolls"... I suppose that it was a quite predictable outcome
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Re: Why Hubbert is right and peak-oil idiots are wrong

Unread postby frankthetank » Tue 20 Sep 2016, 15:21:37

In 50 years we can all come back to this thread and have a few laughs.
lawns should be outlawed.
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