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Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

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

Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Pops » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 16:59:42

Way back we had a thread about how we guessed peak oil might affect real world conditions, this is a continuation of that. For the purposes of this thread let's stipulate that supply & demand controls price and whether through falling net energy affecting demand or geologic constraints affecting supply, or both, the price of oil products consume a larger and larger portion of personal and commercial budgets. And, rather than stabilizing as after previous episodes, this time the pain continues to increase.

I'll begin:
Weaving po into the current economy is tough mainly because the economy itself is being upended daily. Generally, much of the economy is the churn of replacing broken windows financed with cheap energy and a mortgage on future inflation. The US spends 18% of GDP on healthcare for example and easily 30% of that goes to arguing between insurers and providers, and profits of course. Another 15% is "financial intermediation" - real estate agents, mortgage brokers, banks, which is all gravy (rent). Only a few percent goes to primary sector: agriculture, extractive mining, forestry, etc; only a few more to processing, refining, etc; maybe 6-7% is construction. The rest is making and selling geegaws to each other taxing and spending each others money, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The thing is, even those most trivial of jobs, like graphic designer, puts food on someone's table... food grown by about 2% of the population currently because of oil, BTW. As has been said by septic tank pumpers since time immemorial "It may be shit to you, but it's my bread and butter.".

Upshot is we have a huge economy based on non-essentials that provide the essentials at cost lower than at any time in history, arguably centered on a single finite resource and the technology it supports.

Leaving aside the current push of .gov to promote dependence on fossil fuels and deregulate pollution, the cost of renewables will consistently be cheaper than fossils by 2020. This is no small thing. It was the subject of 15 years of arguments here. I think it is far more important in the long run than the temporary reprieve of improved drilling techniques.

Mitigation through alt. energy and efficiency technology is the only path forward.

The increase in all types of efficiency from lightbulbs, to vehicles (potentially if not in practice), to homes, to energy storage has been phenomenal, lightbulbs alone have undergone more improvement in the last 10 years than the previous 100. Even the ease of telecommuting makes it fairly effortless compared to the adventure it was when I first began working from home 20 years ago.

Not to make this political but one of the biggest problems right now is that one of the 2 US political parties is all in on fossils and determined to eliminate the only mitigation we have available in favor of oil/coal/gas. Renewables and all the improvements in efficiencies have grown way beyond my hopes in large part because of government support. Now we have the opposite: tariffs on PV, elimination of subsidies, credits, and CAFE. Then there is deregulation of the FF industry, favorable tax changes, relaxing or eliminating coal plant emissions regs, even walking away from climate agreements that are inadvertent po mitigation, the list goes on and on.

Two is the concept of peak oil itself. The most people ever online here was over 25k people in a single hour if you can believe it and for the most part they weren't trolls. Where are those folks now you ask? Driving a Hellcat and pretending they were never here. They and other folks who pooh-poohed the idea will be the last to be "fooled" again.

Three, the rebound from high oil prices of 5-15 years ago and the mentioned increase in fuel efficiency has combined to give us the biggest fleet of mediocre mileage vehicles we could never have imagined 5 years ago. I guess on the bright side, they do get better mileage than their predecessors and will be nice and roomy for the carpoolers and make nice tiny houses after the tires are burned to keep warm. ...Sorry, LOL, my inner doomer.

I hocked my crystal ball but my hope would be for a production plateau and a slowly rising price. Unlike the earlier consensus here, people have shown they are generally reasonable and will voluntarily change their ways when given a sufficient signal.

...
That's a start.
How do you see the situation?
.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 17:34:26

Pops wrote:....the cost of renewables[/url] will consistently be cheaper than fossils by 2020. This is no small thing. It was the subject of 15 years of arguments here. I think it is far more important in the long run than the temporary reprieve of improved drilling techniques.


I agree 100%, except with the 2020 date.

I think the 2020 date is too optimistic, but whenever it is that renewables become cheaper and better then FF, people will shift away from FF. People tend to buy the cheaper, better product.

We're not nearly all the way there yet, but the progress has been amazing.

Pops wrote:... tariffs on PV....


Considering that the US invented PV technology, we'd be crazy to let the Chinese run us out of the PV business or any part of the renewables business. PV is going to be a very very very important industry going forward, and especially important after PO, and the US deserves a fair share of this business. Renewables are the future---we can't let China subsidize their manufacturers to the point that they undercut US manufacturers and run us out of business. If it takes tariffs---or the threat of tariffs---then we have to go down that road until we get a fair shake for US PV manufacturers and other US suppliers of renewable technology.

Cheers!
Last edited by Plantagenet on Fri 28 Dec 2018, 18:27:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 18:12:31

I also think 2020 is too soon for parity between fossil fuels and renewables. Until one of the fossil fuels becomes scarce there isn't the price pressure to keep the renewables competitive. It will certainly happen someday but 2020 is just thirteen months away.
As to the CAFE requirements I think they are a waste of time. When fuel gets expensive compared to other things people will demand and get more fuel efficient cars but in the meantime having the government telling you what you have to buy just ticks off people that still believe this should be a free country.
On the tariff front I think they should be set to level the playing field so that say if China is subsidizing PV panels to the tune of $3.00 per square foot while US manufacturers are being taxed $5.00/sf the import tariff should be $8.00/sf.
Of course if China changed their subsidy the tariff should immediately change.
That would give some of those over paid federal bean counters something to do.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Cog » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 18:21:16

PV's will never be able to replace fossil fuels. The end of the oil age is the end of civilization as we know it. Sorry, there is no free lunch at the end. The end of the oil age won't mean the end of humans, just most of them.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 18:25:01

Cog wrote:PV's will never be able to replace fossil fuels. The end of the oil age is the end of civilization as we know it. Sorry, there is no free lunch at the end. The end of the oil age won't mean the end of humans, just most of them.
I'd be interesting to see what facts and math you are using to make that assertion.
Civilization is constantly changing and the end of the past does not equate to no future.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Cog » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 18:38:11

Compare the energy density of oil to any other renewable. Its no mystery why we use it. Even renewables and the infrastructure to build them require oil use.

The sun shines half the day and wind is intermittent. Germany already knows their move to get away from coal isn't going to work. To have a modern civilization you need 100% availability of energy. Renewables don't get you there. Not even close really.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 19:12:34

We can move SOME things from FF to alt but not EVERYTHING. That will string out how long this civilization can hold out. It might be quite a long time, ignoring other factors for sake of argument. Yet the day will come when we do run out of oil for those things where it is essential. That might be a long time off, for a human of a 80 year life span but in the span of human history it’s pretty darn near.

For half the year we live a pretty low energy lifestyle. From one perspective our biggest energy draw is our ice box and that we power with wind and solar. (And I’ve got a big bucket of free wind energy ATM 8O.). But in totality we are very dependent upon ff.

Food to the islands is almost 100% non-local, shipped in.
Sails are made from ffs.
The paints and coatings to maintain the boat are from ffs.
When I need to use power tools that’s more power than my batteries can handle, so I have to run a gas generator.
Tools and batteries and generator require ffs for mfg, at least now.
This stuff is affordable because of insanely cheap transport costs that are unlikely to ever be replace by alt energy.
The steel in the hull requires big chunks of energy.
I cook using kerosene.
And sometimes, often more than I like, I have to resort to using the Diesel engine to get around. That ain’t happening with electric power.

And on it goes.

Lots there that will be very difficult to transition from Ffs to alts.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Cog » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 19:23:07

Yes, the world is not coming to an end tomorrow by any means. Perhaps not for a decade or two. But it will end and not in a good way. But before the end, we will burn every bit of carbon that we can find to put off the inevitable. Coal, natural gas, and oil gets burned until there is no more to get. Didn't we conclude a long time ago the lowest hanging fruit gets picked first? Fossil fuels are our low hanging fruit.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 19:35:17

Cog wrote: To have a modern civilization you need 100% availability of energy. Renewables don't get you there. Not even close really.


True enough.

And thats why we need something like nuclear power or fusion power to provide baseline power without emitting CO2.

There is a great deal of really interesting R & D going right now to create safe and small modular nuclear power units (known as Small Modular Reactors or SMRs). If we had a set design for a small safe SMR power plant that could produce 50-100 MW we could manufacture them on assembly lines, greatly cutting the cost.

Demo SMRs are up and running already-----in fact DOE is converting two demo SMRs into a full time power plant right now.

DOE-agreement-supporting-power-generated-from-demo-SMR

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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 19:36:56

Interesting article on how shipping needs to react, lots of blue sky thinking here.

The International Maritime Organization has helpfully called for ships to produce about 85 percent less sulfur by the end of next year, and to halve their total greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

The shipping industry is properly responding with various obvious strategies: emissions-scrubber systems, slower operating speeds, and the use of cleaner-burning fuels, including liquefied natural gas. These are essential steps — yet not adequate. To meet the 2050 target, shippers will need to try alternative sources of energy.


https://gcaptain.com/cargo-ships-can-go ... editorial/
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Pops » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 19:45:59

It isn't a matter of "belief", onshore wind has been competitive for a long while. PV has fallen dramatically and is already cheaper in many cases. The key word in this report is "consistently" cheaper.

Last year in the US 20% of generation was RE for the first time. First quarter of this year 98% of new generation was RE, I'm guessing the rest of the year was a mix of RE and nat gas. That's utility scale, homeowners still pay a premium for the associated electronics.

Image

It doesn't make me feel less free that vehicle manufacturers are forced to preemptively make improvements to efficiency and safety that they would not otherwise make. Remember the '74 Pinto? That's what happens when you leave efficiency to just appear from nowhere when required. The foresight of US consumers and the profit imperative of automakers begs to differ. The obvious impact of freezing the CAFE is slower improvement in MPG, harder impact of PO

We could theoretically build out PV generation faster using cheap panels subsidized by the Chinese government and tax breaks for US homeowners. Instead we've put tariffs on panels and give the breaks to mine owners. Upshot being slower buildout of RE, harder impact of PO

I won't spend a lot of time arguing those kinds of things, might as well be debating pinhead dance floor limits for all the minds that change. lol

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/ ... o-research
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 1d63bb4ff2
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 20:20:46

Pops wrote:... slower buildout of RE, harder impact of PO


I hate to break it to you, but just about no one is worried about PO anymore.

The reason electrical utilities in the US are shifting to NG and to a lesser extent to PV, wind and other renewables is because these power sources are competitive or even cheaper then coal or oil for power generation. PO has absolutely nothing to do with it---

In transportation its a different story. EVs tend to be more expensive then ICE vehicles, so we're not seeing a rapid shift from ICE vehicles to EVs.

As in so many things, its all about the money.

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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Pops » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 20:42:54

Plantagenet wrote:I hate to break it to you, but just about no one is worried about PO anymore.

just about no one was worried about it in '04 either
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 21:53:08

Plantagenet wrote:Considering that the US invented PV technology, we'd be crazy to let the Chinese run us out of the PV business or any part of the renewables business.


If you want to defend the GOP's anti-RE and anti-environmental stance you've got your work cut out for you.

Plantagenet wrote:And thats why we need something like nuclear power or fusion power


Spoken by the same person who thinks EVs cause cancer. There isn't any sort of inner-consistency in your positions.

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-Frequent-flyers should not cry crocodile-tears over climate-change.
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 22:01:35

asg70 wrote:If you want to defend the GOP's anti-RE and anti-environmental stance you've got your work cut out for you..


You're having another fantasy, mos/ennui/asg. My post didn't say anything on those topics.

I'm happy to chat with you, but please make posts that are sensible and based in reality.

Cheers!
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 22:05:29

Plantagenet wrote:My post didn't say anything on those topics.


I don't see how your post can be evaluated unless you're willing to weigh in across the board. Since your anti-EV position is well established, it's fair game to bring it up.

By all means illustrate your Plant utopia so it can be fully dissected rather than constantly crying foul over netiquette.

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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 22:24:17

asg70 wrote: .... illustrate your Plant utopia so it can be fully dissected ....


I have no idea what you are talking about. :lol:

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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 28 Dec 2018, 23:40:22

Plantagenet wrote:I have no idea what you are talking about.


In other words, you have nothing of value to contribute. Par for the course.

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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby EdwinSm » Sat 29 Dec 2018, 01:51:41

Pops wrote:I hocked my crystal ball but my hope would be for a production plateau and a slowly rising price.


I to wish that this would happen, as I see this as the kindest way to get people to change, as in the saying (sorry I don't know who to attribute it to) "People are very good a changing, if you give them enough time to do that."

However, I do not see things working out to provide a steady slow rise. The markets are trying to decide whether they will fall or stabalise after a 'correction' and prices jump around, not really giving the correct signals for people to change. Politicians, could have provided a system for slowly rising price though increasing (or decreasing if the prices rise too fast) a carbon tax, but again I don't see them doing that in the near future.

So I expect a bumpy ride with prices, which will not provide price signals for most people to downsize their ICE vehicles. [Personally, I drive too little for the high initial costs of a new, or newer, (ev?) car to make sense to trade in my 12 year old car]
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Re: Effects of Peak Oil - 2019 Edition

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 29 Dec 2018, 06:37:27

I think a case could be made that we are already past peak and are experiencing the first stages of the slow decline. There is a slow awareness coming into existence that oil will run out and that the emissions are bad for us. There is the beginnings of a transition to alts and to conservation. It’s just that at these early stages the signs are weak and not pervasive.

The trend will build, hopefully not to become a tsunami.
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