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What happens when we run out of cheap oil?

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After church on Sunday, I purchased the lowest grade gasoline I could find in Denver for $3.36 per gallon for my four-cylinder car.   It ripped a hole in my wallet!     However, in Los Angeles, car owners pay a whopping $3.86 for a gallon of gas.   Diesel costs $4.17 per gallon in California.

In London, according to my British contact David Hepper, English citizens have paid an equivalent of $8.00 per gallon for the past several years.

While Americans burn 20 million barrels of oil daily, the human race burns a mind-numbing 84 million barrels of oil every single day of the year.  

China, closing in on the American Dream of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, today adds 16 million automobiles to its roads annually. They suffered a 60 mile traffic jam last fall, commonplace in Los Angeles and Chicago!   (Source: Brian Williams at NBC New)   At China's current rate by 2030, according to James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, they expect to burn 98 million barrels of oil daily!   That's one country with 1.3 billion people and adding 8.0 million net gain annually. They will burn more gasoline per day in the next 19 years, than the entire human race burns daily in 2011.

To display the dynamic of burning 84 million barrels of oil daily in 2011, let's take an oil "drum" that holds 42 gallons. It measures 20 inches at the base. If you take 84 million of them and stood them side by side, they would create a "belt" around the world at the equator of 25,000 miles.   We fill all 84 million of them with oil pumped from the ground and burn them down to nothing but "carbon footprint" every single day of the year.   (Source: Dr. John Tanton, www.thesocialcontract.com) Check the carbon footprint damage at www.350.org for the accelerating environmental damage to our biosphere created from such a horrendous and continuous burn of fossil fuels.

While you and I may complain that gasoline costs too much and it's not back down to the .19 cents a gallon that I paid as a high school kid, what will happen when gasoline reaches $10.00 per gallon and higher? (Source: Chris Steiner's book--$20 Per Gallon)    After that, what happens when it runs out?

Yes, you will hear that the planet makes unlimited amounts of oil because it's busy under the surface creating black gold.   You will hear from others that we have enough oil for another 100 years.   You will hear all sorts of tales like the story about the preacher in Alaska where he heard from an oil man that the tundra holds billions of barrels.   You will hear that Montana holds more oil than Saudi Arabia.

What if none of that's true?   Anybody ever thought about the prospect of running out of oil?   What if unlimited oil is all conjecture?   What if, in fact, at some point in the future, the human race cannot pump any more oil out of the ground?   After all, this is a finite planet!

How would we fill our tractors that plant the crops for the food we need?   How would we heat our homes--all 312 million of us?

As a side note: what if the conjectures of unlimited supply proved to be true?   What if it didn't run out and we continued endless human expansion?   Would any other life on this planet survive the human onslaught?   Other creatures suffer extinction at a rate of 80 to 100 species per day in 2011 from human encroachment. (Source: Norman Meyers, Oxford, UK)

"The cheap oil age created an artificial bubble of plentitude for a period not much longer than a human lifetime....so I hazard to assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world reserves move toward depletion, we will be left with an enormous population...that the ecology of the earth will not support. The journey back toward non-oil population homeostasis will not be pretty.  We will discover the hard way that population hyper growth was simply a side-effect of the oil age.  It was a condition, not a problem with a solution. That is what happened and we are stuck with it."  James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency 

What if Kunstler is correct?   Isn't it interesting that M. King Hubbert, the world renowned geologist, who predicted that the USA would drop from 9.0 million barrels pumped daily to 3.1 million barrels by 1970, proved correct?   This is known as the "Hubbert Curve."   His calculations in the Middle East, South America and Mexico show oil fields draining emptier by the day!

In his ground breaking book Peak Everything: Waking up to a Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg, he addresses limited water, resources, minerals and metals as our greatest crisis along with Peak Oil.   Is he wrong?   Is his scientific research flawed?  

What about the mathematical deductions of limited oil, water and resources by Chris Clugston in his work, "The real inconvenient truth--on American sustainability: Anatomy of a Societal Collapse."  

Do you think the preacher is correct?   Or, do you think research scientists provide greater gravity to the issue?

"As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we do this century, will the "civil" part of civilization survive?  As we both know there is no way that alternative energy sources can supply the amount of per capita energy we enjoy now, much less for the 9 billion expected by 2050. And energy is what keeps this game going. We are involved in a Faustian bargain--selling our economic souls for the luxurious life of the moment, but sooner or later the price has to be paid."  Walter Youngquist, energy  

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www.frostywooldridge.com

Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
 

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This article nails the spike into our collective c... by Frosty Wooldridge on Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011 at 9:14:33 AM
Where/who in the world did you hear that from, Gle... by Sister Begonia on Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011 at 2:23:58 PM