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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/12/16

Peak Oil: Start With Reality Pt 3

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'[O]ur Peak Oil problem is a case of simple mathematics.
'We stopped finding large oil fields 40 years ago. The production from those fields decreases every year and we simply can't bring enough smaller fields on fast enough to offset those declines and grow daily oil production....
'The demand side of the equation is no help either. Population grows every year. And the most populous countries in the world grow per capita oil production every year as well. When you consider how many people are in China, India and other emerging countries and then consider how little oil each of them uses, it isn't hard to see that changes in their lifestyle to include more oil consumption will make a big difference.' [quoting John Hess, CEO Hess Corp]

The challenges will only become more onerous as time passes. For all the billions of barrels of fossil fuel resources still to be found and/or produced, the truth is that successfully doing so will require more investment [time, money, effort]; more energy to be used in the process of doing so; longer lead times from discovery to availability; adaptation to a variety of expanding geopolitical concerns; new technological hurdles to be overcome, and sufficiently high market prices [for starters] to provide any semblance of adequate supply in the years ahead.

Doable? Eventually. We hope. But will those produced resources be sufficient to meet demand on time, at affordable prices, and of adequate-enough quality so that there is no decline in meeting the needs of everyone? There's the rub.

Having sort of enough today--in a world economy treading water--with economic factors producing a short-term oversupply, is not the answer to our future energy supply needs. Foolish/disingenuous/fact-averse statements still suggesting we have ample resources to last us all forever and a day still never manage to explain all of those incidental but absolutely vital factors about the future of fossil fuel production.

Deliberately misleading the public is not an accident, and it is not being done to help them today or tomorrow. There are those benefiting from limiting the dissemination of needed information, but it most definitely is not the public. No Information; No Worries might be a pleasant tactic in certain instances, but not when it comes to how we live our daily lives

We're not going to wake up on a Tuesday morning X number of years from now and suddenly discover there is no more oil to be had, which is an unstated but obvious message peak oil deniers hope to convey to the unsuspecting public. The steady stream of that juvenile argument is of course still front and center.

"We're not running out of oil" is a convenient, dismissive argument used by those from and in bed with the fossil fuel industry to convince the public that peak oil proponents are nothing more than a collection of doom-and-bloomers with too much time on their hands. [That no credible proponent makes that argument is of course conveniently overlooked.] If it weren't for phony straw man arguments to prop them up, what else would they do and say to convince the public that there's nothing to worry about?

As inconvenient a reality as it may be, fossil fuels are still finite resources. They continue to be drawn down every day; it continues to be more expensive and energy-intensive to maintain supply; exporters are still keeping more for themselves, and once again we leave another day behind when meaningful discussions and contributions from those in the know have not taken place.

Hoping that peak oil means either a cataclysmic one time event will happen, or else it is an entire phony concept, is certainly a strategy and a plan to contest what peak oil proponents continue to suggest. As strategies and plans go, they both suck! But given they have not much else other than variations of the same themes with carefully-scripted wordings, they'll continue to go with what got us all here. That's not necessarily a good place.

Advanced degrees in fossil fuel production aren't required to appreciate that when a plentiful, magnificently-adaptable resource starts out as finite and remains so, the magnificent adaptations and usages developed over decades and used with greater variety by more people with more plans for more usage will collide with the truth which has remained so since the moment it was first discovered: it is still finite, and there is much less of it now than before. That won't change, and we have neither the time nor the investment resources nor the technologies to extract those untold billions and trillions of barrels of resources in a time frame anywhere close to satisfying the needs of billions among us.

A moment's reflection should suggest that given the ongoing expansion of this ever-developing problem and the countless ways it will impact countless individuals, companies, communities, economies, and nations, starting to plan now for what will have to be done is a better decision than wishing/hoping based on not much more than Blind Faith [still and always a better rock band than strategy].

Those are the inconvenient and daunting realities about our fossil fuel supply. Being fooled into thinking that because it's not really much of a problem, if it is at all, today or tomorrow or next year is not the answer. We need more of us to appreciate that fact, and more honest distribution of the positive aspects as well as the challenges ahead from those who know. One-sided contributions won't cut it.

Adapted from a blog post of mine


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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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