Friday Funny: Peter Piper picked a peck of peakage

One of the favorite phrases used by alarmists as a way to worry us over fossil fuels (besides the CO2 component) is to cite “peak oil”, to make us think we won’t be able to locate additional reserves soon. This graph below was prominently featured in Treehugger.

Only one problem, it is a unitless graph, no timeline, no volume. So, it then becomes not science, but propaganda art. While we were discussing the thread NIPCC, Gleick, heads, sand, water bottles, and all that commenter DirkH found yet another “peak” which seems pretty amusing:

DirkH says: September 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

[Peter] Gleick is head of the Pacific Institute; according to wikipedia, they have discovered “peak water”. While reading about it, I accidentally found a list of peak-somethings on this wikipedia page (near the end):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_water

I like especially “peak soil”. I think it’s time to declare “peak BS”; the moment the production of BS cannot conceivably go any higher and future BS production will dwindle until mankind runs out of BS.

Hey look, another unitless graph from Wikipedia:

File:PeakWaterAquifer.PNG

Here’s the peakage list. Who knew?

Other resource peaks

I’ve given some extensive thought to what other peaks have been observed or are expected to happen:

Peak Gore (this has already occurred):

When a skeptic blog can kick yer butt on the Internet every day of the week and twice on Sundays, you know nobody but the faithful is listening anymore:

Traffic rank: lower number (higher on the graph) is better - click for the source

Peak Hansen: (May have occurred this week)

The three strikes rule is well recognized in law and in baseball, with three arrests now has the mighty Jimbo struck out at NASA?

Peak McKibben (This is far into the future)

There’s no limit on crazy pronouncements o_O especially when combined with Keith Olbermann.

http://im.wk.io/images/v/5486e4/bill-mckibben-talks-about-tar-sands-and-the-d-c-sit-ins-on-countdown.jpeg

Peak Public Opinion on Global Warming (Occurred in 2008, according to Gallup poll)

1997-2010 Trend: Do You Think Global Warming Will Pose a Serious Threat to You or Your Way of Life in Your Lifetime?

Peak Pikas (Cancelled, told ya so)

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113 thoughts on “Friday Funny: Peter Piper picked a peck of peakage

  1. Excellent Post. A major tip of the hat to both Dirk and Anthony. I hope Josh can do a “Peak BS.”

  2. This fits in nicely with a paper I am going to submit to Nature. My hypothesis is that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in irrational behavior and asinine asinine statements. I will call my theory “global dumbing.”

    Tim

  3. I do believe that “Peak Oil” graph is not stationary, either–It slides to the right as time goes by. (I was told while in geolgoy grad school back in the ’70’s that Peak Oil would be around the year 2000 (“In 30 years!”) yet we have more oil now than ever, especially if you factor in fracking for oil from shale deposits.)

  4. Tim Fitzgerald says:
    September 2, 2011 at 9:06 am

    This fits in nicely with a paper I am going to submit to Nature. My hypothesis is that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in irrational behavior and asinine asinine statements. I will call my theory “global dumbing.”

    Tim

    It must cause stuttering, too.

  5. Isn’t all this “peak” nonsense based upon Malthus? Human overpopulation is a very popular green meme which is so ingrained it can’t be challenged by any amount of reason or fact. Peak oil, peak coal, peak water and all just variations of this same theme, with catchy names derived from focus group studies.

  6. There will never be a peak “peak doomsday” predictions. Someone will always make up something that will require immediate action and transference of wealth into a few of the enlightened’s wallets. It is really easy, just add “peak” to almost anything and make a pseudo-scare. Peak electricity, peak wind, peak happiness, peak prosperity, peak grass, peak milk, peak mining. There is no end to the peaks.

  7. Sadly, it means we have passed Peak Rock, and we are nearly out of new good tunes…..

    Insert Bieber and Brittany jokes here…

  8. I’d like to see the climate models adjusts for the amount of oil the peak oil people say is remaining. Since we already used 1/2 and oil use will quickly diminish, what’s that do to long range temp forecasts?

  9. You need to include realclimate as well as WUWT. We are on the same page so make the relevant comparison. I heard it said that an army of independants are marching forward. We have no leader and will accept none! Provide the facts only, we will sort out the direction. It will not be an autocracy. Possibly a bit philosophical (if such a word exists), but relevant. Continue the united march for the truth!

    Sincerely yours

  10. Is there not something about “peak population” because large numbers of the Globe’s 6.5 billion people do not have access to clean water and sufficiently nourishing food? If the projections are right (by some solar physicists) that global temperatures may fall over the next 20 years or so and the human population may reach 9 billion by 2050, would that not potentially cause more misery to more people? Food production may fall and population increase by up to 50%. I must admit to being concerned about such scenarios.

  11. Let’s not forget the hazard of peak population, pleeeze! A founding member of Germany’s Green Party, paying a visit to my mother in law, happened to meet me there. After exchanging civilities, this old, listless, childless, green spinster discovered three kids playing on my in-law’s ample lawn, sneering at them from a distance.
    “Who could be irresponsible enough to add three fresh polluters to our overpopulated world?” she inquired, anticipating consent from the aged relative and self. To which the old relative, true to her form and aware of Europe’s hopelessly ageing indigenous societies, curtly replied, “Why, my son in law is.”
    “And his wife,” she added just in time, remembering that it takes all kinds, including her own, to make a world.

  12. Assuming that it’s true (peak, whatever), why is it a problem that must be dealt with? The ‘problem’ invariably solves itself.

    While a loose analogy, I’m sure there was a ‘peak’ in the number of horses available for transportation, and the pollution generated by said horses. Somehow, our transportation requirements were met without extreme action and wibbly-wobbly-tube-man arm flailing.

  13. Artificial oil can be generated from coal, which should ease things after the peak. And from natural gas. Or natural gas could be used as a fuel for autos.

  14. Peter says:
    September 2, 2011 at 10:09 am
    “A founding member of Germany’s Green Party, paying a visit to my mother in law, happened to meet me there. After exchanging civilities, this old, listless, childless, green spinster discovered three kids playing on my in-law’s ample lawn, sneering at them from a distance.
    “Who could be irresponsible enough to add three fresh polluters to our overpopulated world?” she inquired”

    They’re at an evolutionary disadvantage. Germany seems to have passed Peak Green shortly after the Fukushima accident. Approval rating heading down to 10% (their natural prevalence in the population).

  15. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 2, 2011 at 10:32 am
    Anthony, didn’t I predict they would start flogging “peak oil” when the global warming scam was nearing its end?

    This is indeed fantastic news, the end if nigh!

    Unfortunately, they have just changed their point of attack, not their objectives.

  16. PT Barnum would not agree on Peak BS.
    No upper limit to that.
    We probably have passed Peak Cheap Oil.
    As for Peak Water, if you take more out than Mother Nature
    puts in, you don’t have a peak, you just run out.

  17. Coincidence or not, just finished reading a Dutch populair science magazine from 1981, peak oil would occur in about 9 years from the time that magazine was published.

  18. Then you have the Bubbles at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park. They were called the Boobies, but when it became a national park, they decided to moderate the name a bit. I liked the old name.

  19. Notwithstanding Peter Piper’s and Chicken Little’s Left Wing contribution to science, The Bear who Went Over The Mountain established the truth about all this intentionally ginned up apocalyptic hysteria about “Peaks” and “Tipping Point Events”, long ago: “seen one, seen ‘em all”.

    Maybe the parasitic allegedly brilliant CO2 = CAGW scammers and their acolytes should read Freud’s, “The Future of an Illusion”, where, iirc and me taking some liberties here, he argues in part that people’s fear of Nature, and thus of LIfe, results in the production of “Religion” – perhaps such as the institutionalized quest for a ‘possession obsession’* like ‘money, love and power’* – which ultimately attempts to avoid Death?

    But sadly, no, my dear Secular ‘Humanist’ Materialist Communist Relativist Absolutist Narcissists, give it up, you can’t do it! So please leave the rest of us alone and try discovering your own mind and its valid wonders instead. That’s all you got anyway, and “then you won’t have to go around, baby, honey worrying other people’s minds,”* a true gift to your fellow humans to boot.

    It’s your call, and a wonder in itself that you or anyone can even make it! At least if you can see the choice to begin with.

    *Hall and Oates, Possession Obsession

    **Jimmy Reed, “You Can Help Yourself”, baby, all you got to do is try one time.

  20. The maximum tolerable amount of alarmism, before the ‘boy-who-cried-wolf’ effect starts to generate disbelief, resentment, and disdain, should be termed the “Peak-of-Boo”.

  21. John Peter says:
    September 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Is there not something about “peak population” because large numbers of the Globe’s 6.5 billion people do not have access to clean water and sufficiently nourishing food? If the projections are right (by some solar physicists) that global temperatures may fall over the next 20 years or so and the human population may reach 9 billion by 2050, would that not potentially cause more misery to more people? Food production may fall and population increase by up to 50%. I must admit to being concerned about such scenarios.
    =========================================================
    John, world population will level out as soon as developing nations develop, many think world population will indeed level off at about 9 billion.

    As to food, yields have significantly increased throughout the years and there is no reason to believe the increasing will stop anytime soon.

    Clean water supply is simply something Malthusians use to hyperventilate about. Water doesn’t get used, it simply moves. It gets cleaned and refined daily by nature. If populations grow where supply is limited, mankind has developed a myriad of solutions more than sufficient to supply the world with potable water. From proper water management in terms of canals and damns to de-salinization plants, world water supply should be the least of anyone’s concern. The easiest part, of course, would be to ensure populations don’t move to or grow in places where water is scarce. (Like the pinheads that move to the desert, water their lawns and then whine because water levels are low.)

  22. The Peak Oil theory is to model a given physical resource in a given region with a given technology.

    The serious issue is that US lower 48 states light oil production peaked in 1971 as Hubbert predicted. By 2007, US 48 states production had fallen from 3.5 billion bbl/year to 1.5 billion bbl/year.

    Expect to see a rollercoaster in fuel availability as we try to transition to alternatives.
    See the Bundeswehr English version (112 pgs) of their extraordinary analysis of peak oil.

    Robert Hirsch provides a popular discussion of the likely consequences. See
    The Impending World Energy Mess. that was presented at the 9th ASPO conference 2011.

  23. David L. Hagen says @ 12:10 pm:

    The Peak Oil theory is to model a given physical resource in a given region with a given technology.

    And more than that, it’s the economic competition from other oilfields. When world oil prices go up, production in the U.S. (with it’s higer production costs) goes up to match. Or so my “big oil” royalty checks indicate.

  24. “…- and all his men
    Looked at each other with a wild surmise –
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”

  25. Just wait… the next meme coming down the track, bigger and better and steamier than before, must surely be… Twin Peaks!

  26. David L. Hagen says:
    September 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    “Expect to see a rollercoaster in fuel availability as we try to transition to alternatives.
    See the Bundeswehr English version (112 pgs) of their extraordinary analysis of peak oil.”

    I’m not impressed. AGW consensus alarmism hook, line, and sinker… rich bounty, here’s only one excerpt: “If technologies for a climate-friendly coal power generation (carbon capture and storage
    (CCS) etc.) are not used globally to the necessary extent in the period under review, the CO2
    concentration in the atmosphere will increase considerably and accelerate climate change
    with all relevant consequences, also in the field of security policy.”

    They refer to all kinds of UN reports of the same gist, like this one

    http://www.un.org/en/events/environmentconflictday/pdf/08.05.2008%20WGLL%20Background%20Note.pdf

    They even use WWF material. Something about biomass, German:

    http://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/pdf_neu/nachhaltige_biomasse.pdf

    That Bundeswehr report is a kind of “Greatest Hits Of Environmentalism 2000-2010″ compilation.

    If you want a German report from people who actually know something, try this one.

    http://www.bgr.bund.de/cln_160/nn_331084/DE/Themen/Energie/Produkte/energiekurzstudie__2009.html

    Bundesanstalt fuer Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

  27. David L. Hagen says:
    September 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The Peak Oil theory is to model a given physical resource in a given region with a given technology.

    The serious issue is that US lower 48 states light oil production peaked in 1971 as Hubbert predicted. By 2007, US 48 states production had fallen from 3.5 billion bbl/year to 1.5 billion bbl/year.
    ==================================================================
    Oh my…… restriction of access and regulatory suffocation wouldn’t have anything to do with your statistic, would it? Costs? Economics of oil? …..naw…..

    You should take a closer look…..Texas, for instance, has increased oil production. We recently found billions of barrels in the north plains of the U.S.

  28. And then there is the “peak high” that comes from the first hit of heroine or cocaine, condemning the addict to a life of chasing that virginal, first time high, that can never be repeated. Now there is a nightmare fit for a modern hedonistic Malthus.

  29. From some civil engineering work I was involved with in the 1980’s. There exists a seam of LIGNITE approximately 50 to 70 feet high, about 70 feet below the Missouri river valley floor.

    The M.V. floor is roughly 15 to 30 miles wide, all the way from N.D. to St. Louis.

    At 9000 BTU per lbm, and approximately 60 lbm per cubic foot, and at the current consumption of all fossil fuels in the USA, how many years would THAT RESERVE ALONE SUPPLY OUR ENERGY NEEDS?

    Answer: Around 500 to 600 years.

    Peak OIL indeed!

  30. Retired Engineer @11:25 a.m. “As for Peak Water, if you take more out than Mother Nature
    puts in, you don’t have a peak, you just run out.”

    And where does that water go? It doesn’t escape into space in any appreciable amount, does it? Which means it must still be right here on the good ol’ Earth. :)

  31. @James Sexton says:
    September 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    [Snipped to get to…]
    “Clean water supply is simply something Malthusians use to hyperventilate about. Water doesn’t get used, it simply moves. […]

    Excellent point, sir. Not only that, but the earth is constantly getting more water in the form of ice balls from space. We’ll hit peak water when when it stops raining down from space or we’ve split off all the ‘O’ to get at the hydrogen in H2O, whichever comes first. (No, I’m not holding my breath for either one.)

  32. The depth and breadth of ignorance displayed by the folks posting here is simply stunning. Peak Oil is a serious subject. You folks don’t need to agree with it. I don’t completely myself. But you should understand it because if true, it is important to your future. And unlike “climate science” it has made at least one accurate prediction.

    It is based on the work of 20th Century American Geophysicist M King Hubbert who studied oil and gas field development and production. Hubbert suggests that oil and gas production in individual fields and overall follows a sort of bell shaped curve called a logistic curve. Peak production occurs when about half the recoverable resource has been produced.

    Hubbert predicted that peak oil production in the US would occur around 1970. And it did. Not all Hubbert predictions have been accurate. In particular he mispredicted peak natural gas production … twice. It’s unclear whether the problem is that the theory is wrong or estimates of recoverable resources are often too poor to support accurate predictions. Still though, oil companies and energy planners take Hubbert’s theory seriously.

    I have to tell you folks that even though I think global warming is largely pseudo-science and that many of the well known spokespersons are either sincerely misinformed, opportunists or outright charlatans, I take energy issues seriously. I expect that those of you who dismiss them are in for one hell of a surprise — maybe in the next few years — maybe in a decade or two. We aren’t gonna die. But we aren’t gonna be real happy either.

    For more information try Wikipedia and or http://www.theoildrum.org

  33. Tim Fitzgerald says: “This fits in nicely with a paper I am going to submit to Nature. My hypothesis is that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in irrational behavior and asinine asinine statements. I will call my theory “global dumbing.”

    Ach. Der gotterdummerung!

  34. Don K says:
    September 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    The depth and breadth of ignorance displayed by the folks posting here is simply stunning. Peak Oil is a serious subject.

    The term itself has been polluted by the insane “The End Is Nigh” crowd, and likely can’t ever be recovered. It is also merely a potential retrospective judgment: we won’t know we’ve passed over “Peak Oil” until at least a few years (if not more than a decade) after the fact. Ergo, it’s relatively useless to even talk about Peak Oil outside of a few specialist conversations.

    It also doesn’t actually mean anything at all to the average end-product consumer, since we have to pay whatever it costs. Even if you’re an oil investor, it’s still not something you can use to guarantee any particular position.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that anyone who talks in public seriously about ‘Peak Oil’ deserves precisely the abuse they receive.

  35. Peak oil is baloney. Every year since the 1970’s, we have been at the peak of “peak oil”.

    This is because technology keeps expanding discovery and reclamation, which keeps increasing supply in step with increasing demand.

    Eventually, this trend may not continue. But, then, who says the population and energy demand will be forever increasing?

  36. One thing we unfortunately haven’t reached yet is “Peak Human Stupidity” even though
    I’m quite sure that the human race achieved “Peak Intelligence” many years ago!

  37. Sorry, forgot to mention…has anyone read Monseigneur Hansen’s attack on Obama?
    Called him a GreenWash President!!!! This is going to be better than a Colombian Bullfight…get a seat, bring a picnic…but remember, don’t sit not too close to the arena fence…if you know what I mean!

  38. For every day the population grows, we’re always at peak poop.

    For some reason the greens do nothing to reduce the pooping. Why is that? Can’t they even fathom the amount of energy needed to clean up their crap? Cows might be damned by the greens but my God we’re all damned by the emissions from the the greens accumulated crap.

    The greens are so looney they think it is the amount of water used to flush their crap that is the problem. Fine, I say, then don’t flush your god damn toilet no more, you smelly bastards! :-()

  39. I think the ‘Hubbert’s curve’ often used to model resource consumption may be missing a demand throttling parameter such as that imposed by OPEC to flatten out the top of the curve and delay the onset of irreversibly ‘Declining Oil’ production. It may well be that the steep gasoline price rises prior to the crash in 2008 were due to false predictions of “Peak Oil.”

    I note that the Hubbert’s-curve based, ‘Peak Oil’ toy provided by the University of Chicago shows that ‘World Oil Production’ with an assumed peak width of 35 years, and ‘Total Reservoir Size, Gtons’ of 300 (50 Gtons more than the BP estimate) and peak year of 2020 will just about match the world production data from about 1900 to 1955 and 1994 to 2003 (last data provided.) The Y-axis scale does not appear to be logarithmic as claimed in the second note.

    Hubbert’s Peak Calculator

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/hubbert.html

    The point of the story about ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’ was not that he cried wolf when there was no wolf, but, that after doing this, nobody believed him when the wolf really did come.

  40. So, by implication you are saying there is an infinite source of oil? There will never be a time in the future when all the oil has been consumed? If the source of oil *is* finite, then surely at some time it must run out? What message are you trying to convey here, that we have infinite resources so we should just carry on? (No one here has mentioned the biogenisis theory of oil production, have they? The idea that deep rock bacteria are perpetually generating oil that floats to the top? Even that has a problem because it can only be produced at a certain maximum rate, so there would be a limit to extraction there as well.)

  41. The peak oil wiki page is quite informative, and I have looked into the Energy Information Administration’s data on production quite a bit. As I understand it peak oil is a potential problem for the economy for the following reasons…

    ** Individual oil wells exhibit a production curve that looks like the curves shown (quite similar to a bell curve, known as the Hubbert curve).
    ** Countries and regions can also exhibit roughly the same shape when production is not restrained (North Sea is a good example of this).
    ** The Earth is a finite collection of countries, and so far seems to be forming the first half of the Hubbert curve.
    ** World production of oil has held pretty flat since 2004/2005, despite record high oil prices that should have encouraged production. If this trend keeps up for another year or two, it would be unprecedented in the production record, which usually increases year-by-year.
    ** Oil company CEOs have admitted that conventional oil has become more difficult to find.
    ** Oil discoveries worldwide have been on a decreasing trend since the 60’s. The graph of the discovery record exhibits much the same bell shape.
    ** Worldwide production has outstripped discoveries since the 80’s, meaning we have been digging into reserves discovered in the past. Roughly 25 Billion barrels produced worldwide per year currently (and going up). Roughly 10 Billion barrels discovered per year currently (likely going down if trends continue).
    ** Optimistic estimates for the biggest new players such as the tar sands and western Iraqi oil coming online may not be able to offset quickly enough the declines in other major producers such as Mexico, North Sea, and the USA.
    ** There are rumors that the Saudis have been injecting the largest field in the world, called Ghawar, with sea water in order to increase production. This is generally a sign of a mature field that is at or near peak.

    This is something that ought to be investigated further and addressed, unless you like a shrinking economy. Investment and hard work are needed. It ought not be relegated to the funny pages.

  42. How come if the US is past it peak in oil production and starving for energy, that it is the second largest exporters of coal in the world? How come if the EU is so “green” and “environmentally friendly” it is the single largest importer of coal in the world?

    Or maybe I have it wrong. Maybe the EU is busy sequestering carbon by burying all the coal that the US is digging up and shipping to the EU, in return for carbon credits. Buy one ton of coal from the US for $17, $3 a ton to ship it to the EU, then bury it in the EU and get a $30 carbon credit. Make $10 a ton as fast as you can ship it.

  43. Surfer Dave says:
    So, by implication you are saying there is an infinite source of oil?

    No, the supply of cheap oil is limited. However, there is still quite a bit of expensive oil, and quite a bit more of the very expensive oil. There is an infinite supply of infinitely expensive oil.

  44. vigilantfish says (September 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm): “Here’s a horrible one: peak jobs”

    Well, we do seem to have hit peak “buggy whip maker” jobs; some time ago, in fact. :-)

  45. I find the chart reassuring. They have been pumping oil for about 100 years, so we should have about another 100 years to go … long after I’m dead so maybe I’ll see it’s end (since I’m going to live forever).

  46. Les Johnson says:
    September 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

    There is a remarkable correlation between rock song quality (as measured by Rolling Stone Top 500), and US oil production.

    This is uncanny and must, I mean must have a deep inner meaning. Just don’t ask me, I have no idea. I now focus almost entirely on old French Canadian Country Western Music. And though I greatly admire Lucille Starr, can find no correlation to global warming.

    Peak oil. Please. Stop. The Stupid. Enough. Projections are not needed.

    The market, and the market alone will figure out when we reach peak oil and it will not be in our life times. It will not be in our life times. Really. Stop being stupid. Quote all the crackpots you want. We will never see peak oil in our life times. Wake me up when we get to peak oil.

  47. I am with Don on this one – I am certainly not convinced by the AGW arguments – but the theory and science behind peak oil is a lot more serious

    Read the Oil Drum blog, and also Chris Martenson

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

    this should be compulsory reading for all politicians and policy makers

    IMHO

  48. Responding to Don K

    The criticism isn’t about the underlying theory, but its political misuse. It’s just malthusianism in yet another disguise. Yes it’s true that the planet is finite and eventually all resources are finite. But that doesn’t mean doom and gloom are about to happen. Humanity has quit the use of many mineral resources in the past without ever encountering any “limits to growth” or economic collapse. In most cases we abandoned a given resource long before we “ran out” of it, because better technologies came along, long before any economic collapse had a chance to occur. Market mechanisms are quite good at preventing it.

  49. anorak2 says:
    September 3, 2011 at 3:11 am
    >> “Humanity has quit the use of many mineral resources in the past without ever encountering any “limits to growth” or economic collapse. In most cases we abandoned a given resource long before we “ran out” of it, because better technologies came along, long before any economic collapse had a chance to occur. Market mechanisms are quite good at preventing it.”

    What specifically are these mineral resources that humanity has quit using? What specific market mechanisms prevent any economic consternation when an important resource begins to become scarce? Most peak oil folks do not want doom and gloom, but they do want some foresight and alternatives to be considered when there is evidence of a decline in an important resource on the horizon.

  50. “Peak Oil” is no more about the price of gasoline, diesel and Jet-A than “Global Warming” is really only about temperature change. 

    Both issues are used by those with agendas of worry and change, primarily to destroy our prosperity and our liberty.  Our great-great-grandparents didn’t worry about “peak whale”, because the higher price that was caused by dwindling supply was mitigated by adaption, innovation and changes in behavior.  Whale oil for illuminating homes gave way to the use of oil made from coal and later from crude oil.

    With respect to “peak oil”, nobody buys oil to burn in their car or airplane, they buy a technical product that is made by breaking down and reassembling a feedstock of hydrocarbons that  presently is in the form of crude oil.  However, should  the price of crude climb higher than the hydrocarbons found in other sources such as coal or agricultural wastes, then those sources will be used.  The only issue is cost.  This does not mean that there cannot be supply disruptions when oil suddenly jumps in cost, as it has recently. However, there is abundant documentation, such as the Barna report (Office of the Secretary of Defense, Clean Fuel Initiative [1]), that show we are awash in convertible hydrocarbons. The only thing stopping their use is cost and government.

    The truth is that we are awash in hydrcarbons that can be converted to usable fuels. And the economic truth about crude oil is that the ONLY thing that matters is the price of the finished fuel product at the pump. That price reflects how much people are willing to pay for it. At today’s price, we can afford to convert many sources of hydrocarbons into the fuels we need. It just happens that for the time being, crude oil is the most economically efficient feedstock. The instant that some other source is better, we will start making our fuels from it.

    [1] Dr. Theodore K. Barna., OSD Clean Fuel Initiative

    http://www.westgov.org/wieb/meetings/boardsprg2005/briefing/ppt/congressionalbrief.pdf

  51. “At today’s price, we can afford to convert many sources of hydrocarbons into the fuels we need. It just happens that for the time being, crude oil is the most economically efficient feedstock. The instant that some other source is better, we will start making our fuels from it.”

    Except for price, we could use solar energy to extract CO2 from the air and water from the oceans and turn this into gasoline and oxygen. Our cars could then turn this back into CO2 and H2O in a completely re-useable process. The obstacle is price. Thus, by adding a carbon tax, we artificially increase the price of oil and coal, making solar energy more competitive.

    16CO2 + 18H2O + solar energy ==> 2C8H18 + 20O2 + carbon credit
    2C8H18 + 20O2 ==> 16CO2 + 18H2O + car energy + carbon tax

    What is left out of the equation is this:

    carbon tax – carbon credit = skim

    This skim is used to finance friends of government, with a percentage returned to politicians through contributions, perks, appointments, honorariums, lawyers trusts, etc, etc, etc.

    Increase the tax high enough and it will be cheaper to convert plants (read solar) into gasoline, very effectively starving the poor people of the earth to death. The rich (Al Gore and company) will then inherit the earth, which is the underlying purpose of the IPCC. To save the earth by getting rid of the poor.

    Not by making them wealthy as is happening in India and China. But by following the UN model which we see repeated throughout Africa. “Aid” from rich countries to poor counties being used to destroy the local economies in the name of saving the starving millions, leading to permanent refugee camps and dependency of the local population on the UN for their existence, generation to generation. It might be said that: UN AID. Has killed more Africans than AIDS.

  52. Don’t forget about APO – Anthropogenic Peak Oil. This is when man deliberately puts obstacles to extraction, such that production peaks, without man subsequently reducing demand. Scarcity is the necessary literary ingredient to a Orwellian system. GK

  53. IMHO: the antropogenic-global-warming theory was developed to wean us from fossil fuels.
    The Inconvenient climate-porno from Al Gore should drive us to a modest lifestyle, using less fossil fuel and more renewable energy.

    Depletion of oil and coal reserves is the achilles-heel of the IPCC-projections. There may not be enough recoverable oil and coal to double the CO2-concentration in the atmosphere.

  54. Don K ‘s hyperventilating about his peakoil knowledge is rather silly since he doesn’t even quote correctley what Hubbert said! Hubbert never assumed anything about the shape of his curve on the depletion side since he recognized there are too many factors. In short, he only claimed he knows how we get oil, not how we spend it, a rather reasonnable premise even if his simplistic theory based only on reserves and production (and nothing else !!!) is BS.

  55. We are living in the scarcity of the resources that may be available in peak quantity in 2100. Now that could be solar energy collected in space, or something else. So the question isn’t whether the peak oil prediction will bear out, but whether we’re innovating. There’s two kinds of Malthusian: those who believe the world will end if we don’t stop, and those who believe the world will end if we don’t keep moving forward. I think the latter are correct. “Sustainability” as often described (live within EXISTING limits) is not for real — that is stagnation and death. That’s exactly what we want to avoid.

    The point about the bacteria in the petri dish who multiply until they run out of nutrient, isn’t that their population crashes — and that therefore we humans should try to limit our numbers before we crash — the point of that should be more obvious; the bacteria needed to find a way to leap outside the petri dish. But they didn’t adapt, and so then they crashed.

    It really doesn’t matter much if they crash, because they’re only going back to an earlier step. If we ran out of oil and went back to pre-industrial life, well that’s what we were doing for a long time anyway, and many generations had lives and wrote poetry and suffered and died. Not really a lot of difference, except that there was a lot of slavery. Saying “stop industrialising” is confining much of the world to that kind of living anyway, today. Die of AIDS and lack of sanitation and gang warfare and corruption — you can already do that now. Much of the world is not industrialised, educated, or safe.

    There is no “balance”, “sustainability”, “harmony” unless you are a middle class Westerner who can afford a nice house in the countryside — and then they get upset when someone wants to ruin their view with a windfarm. Apparently they make too much noise. Ruins the peace.

    We need innovation, adaption, creativity, ingenuity. The rise of India, China, Malaysia, etc. is good because it raises the chances of someone somewhere making a breakthrough. Seven billion people isn’t just mouths to feed, it is also brains. Mmmm, brains.

    The real scary graph would be one of rates of innovation. If we’ve peaked innovating and are running out of ideas, that would be cause for alarm. If we have peaked oil production the only way that argument matters in a productive way is in terms of how we innovate.

  56. RE: cassandraclub: (September 3, 2011 at 9:09 am)
    “IMHO: the antropogenic-global-warming theory was developed to wean us from fossil fuels.”

    Somewhere, perhaps in the Climategate Emails, I seem to recall a statement to the effect that even if they were wrong about the impending climate catastrophe, ‘going green’ would still be a good idea because we are about to run out of petroleum anyway. In this case, intentionally falsifying the science would destroy public trust at a time when it would be most needed. I think the term ‘noble-cause corruption’ best describes what has happened.

    Even if we were at peak oil now, I think it would probably be another twenty or thirty years before that fact became obvious. There are alternative non-solar based energy sources, some temporary, some potentially unlimited.

  57. Peak oil occurred in 1973. I have a copy of Limits of Growth by the Club of Rome that proves with computer models

  58. Titan is a moon of Saturn. It appears to have large amounts of liquid methane. It would appear that not all fossil fuels need to come from fossils. I would think that the ingenuity of engineers would allow us to one day mine Titan, and produce a steady supply of energy for Earth. We just need the will to do it.

  59. David L. Hagen says:

    September 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    “The Peak Oil theory is to model a given physical resource in a given region with a given technology.

    The serious issue is that US lower 48 states light oil production peaked in 1971 as Hubbert predicted. By 2007, US 48 states production had fallen from 3.5 billion bbl/year to 1.5 billion bbl/year.”
    This is an interesting strawmant. Notice several specific phrases/words:
    “given region”
    “Light”
    “serious”
    I can’t verify the above qualifications and they are never mentioned when peak is claimed as a serious problem, but if true, the peak oil claims are totally phoney and useless since the above qualifications have no bearing on whethe the world is running out of OIL. Who cares if the oil is in another region or it is not light. There has been lots of heavy oil found numerous other places so the claim is meaningless when the anti oil group claim we need to push the useless and costly renewables.
    Also what is so serious if we need to go to another region or use heavier oil or tan sands.

    Even the peak oil claim for the US is very deceptive since the government enviro’s have placed huge constraints on exploration and production. The peak is forced upon us by government action in the US, especially with the present administration that placed an illegal moritorium on Gulf drilling, places obstacles on exloration and production almost every day, confiscates huge finds in the Gulf, fabricates issues (enviromental impact statement did not properly include workboats) to stop offshore Alaska, and other Alaska production, makes up phoney concerns about fracking, instead of working to solve issues, adding regulations, etc., etc.

    Looks to me like some folks are creating and propagating a phoney strawman and other constraints in or to make people belive we have reached peak oil !!

  60. @catcracking

    it is about flow rate, those “other” sources of oil cannot be extracted with the same ease and flow rate of light crude the world has been running on for a century

    Having to resort to other sources such as tar sands and the orinco tar belt are actually symptoms of peak oil and part of peak oil theory. The low hanging easy to pick fruit is used first, the lower quality more energy intensive stuff comes later and that is important because as you progress into these lower quality oils the energy return drops and so does the production rate. Mostly it is just basic physics. Viscous thick oil doesn’t respond to field pressure like the lighter crudes nor can it flow at high rates thru a porous substrate it is trapped in and most of these deposits are found very very deep making the fight against gravity even greater. It is a case of diminishing returns and most mined resources exhibit the same basic characteristics. Typically peak oil theory has been applied to “crude plus condensates” as tracked by the IEA or any of the other various agencies in order to be consistent. Total net energy output wise the tar sands for example are closer to low grade coal mining than crude oil production, it isn’t even close to a one to one match with actual crude oil. The US has done the same with the coal industry, we used up most of the anthracite first followed by the lower grades and from a total energy content perspective despite increased production we have been barely breaking even since around 1999. The lower grades have less energy per ton so you need far more volume to get the same result.

  61. Peak Oil should not be an issue of pushing or not pushing. The laws of supply and demand pricing should apply. If the supply becomes constricted, the price will go up. If that were an artificial constriction, the constrictors risk forcing a premature switch to a lower cost alternative fuel or otherwise being negatively impacted.

    I do expect to see more offshore drilling allowed with the establishment of a quick response force that is fully trained and provisioned to shut off deep-water runaway blowouts and simple oil leaks.

  62. Elbatrop,
    Don’t believe all the inaccurate information you get from the far left and oil haters.
    I worked on one of the early tar sands plants in the late 70’s and the plant was capable of producing over 200,000 bbd. Today it’s capacity has been significantly expanded and many more plants added. I know what it takes to produce synthetic oil from tar sands and all that stuff you read is BS.These plants hydrofine the heavy oil and provide an excellent crude for a refinery.There are no constraints on capacity as you suggest since there are numerous sites an multiple plants. It’s not like growing corn or chopping down trees for “renewables”. And they use less water per gallon of fuel than it takes to manufacture ethanol from corn.

    Also there seems to be some confusion from others about heavy crude, we have been using it for years and technology to produce and refine it is widespread in the industry. Yes the oil from Venzuela is even heavier, but they have been producing it for years and we have been importing it.

    When the tar sands plant was built in Alberta the price of crude was about $12/bbl and the project was close to being cancelled, so don’t believe it can’t be produced with a profit at $75/bbl. The older plants up there are gold mines today. New plants were recently cancelled because the demand fell off, they will return unless the enviro’s have their way, and the Chinese are waiting for the US to refuse to use oil from the tar sands (thank you Nancy Pelosi). Could anyone be that stupid?
    We have not been running on light crude for a century. Over the years refineries have been processing heaver and heaver crudes
    I also worked on units to process heavy crudes in the late 60’s and virtually every refinery has been converted to process heavy crudes in the US. The technology of exploration, production, and refining has advanced considerably and all the concerns you raise has long been adressed and overcome years ago..
    The far left will talk about and raise concerns about peak oil while taking every action to implement it via government actions/regulations.
    Is there anyone in the Administration that understands how crude is produced and refined?
    I guess the academics and enviro’s don’t have a clue while they themselves fly around and use limo’s at the drop of a hat.. BTW the heaver crudes have more BTU/bbl than a light crude. Just note the higher efficiency of diesel over gasoline because it has more carbon and less Hydrogen as well as a higher compression ratio.

  63. @ catcracking

    you are missing the point which is entirely predictable by your language

    flow rate vs energy used to achieve that flow rate vs energy out from the product

    The tar sands deposits are huge yet they only produce around a million barrels per day of sub quality oil, bitumen is at the bottom of the hydrocarbon food chain. Had this been a good quality light crude oil reservoir they’d be at 2-4 times that already and be spending far less energy doing so and getting far better product out. This is part of what peak oil theory involves and you ironically confirmed it with your post. So flow rates vs energy used to achieve them are declining worldwide as is the quality of the product being extracted from the ground, peak oil. The first half of just about any mined resource exhibits the same traits, oil is no different.

  64. I peaked at my peeking oh a few years ago, mid 40’s, now that I am 55 peeking-about have seen it all- is on the downhill side.

  65. Elbatrop
    If the tar sands are so difficult to produce, why are the far left and the enviro’s so afraid that it might add so much CO2 to the atmosphere. Al Gore and Hansen are making outrageous comments regarding the impact of the tar sands from Alberta. Gore claims it will threaten our survival, while Hansen gets locked up while demonstrating against the pipeline that will bring the oil to the US.

    What do they know about the potential of the tar sands that seems to be beyond your grasp?
    Maybe you should tell Gore and Hansen they are wasting their time?

    See below:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/sciencetech/environment/article/729836–oil-sands-threaten-our-survival-al-gore-warns

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/prominent-nasa-%E2%80%98climate-change%E2%80%99-scientist-arrested-at-d-c-protest/

    Also since I have been involved in developing technology to process heavy feeds for over 40 years I can’t buy the claims from the far left since the facts speak for themselves. In case you don’t believe me, listen to the CEO of Chevron who is serving it’s stockholders quite well:
    “Watson said ever-increasing development of liquefied natural gas, high-sulfur heavy crudes and natural gas liquids requires refining expertise and plants that can process them.”

    “It helps to be able to run those in your own refinery,” he said. “There’s never been a time when I have felt it was more important to be an integrated company.”

    http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFN1E77U1RS20110831

    Don’t believe those “economists” from the WH that never got out of the university until they got a job in Washington.
    The comment below reveals a total lack of how the industry turns oil from tar sands into the fuel that allows our Washington folks to fly around and bad mouth the industry and drive their big Limo’s:
    “The tar sands deposits are huge yet they only produce around a million barrels per day of sub quality oil, bitumen is at the bottom of the hydrocarbon food chain”.
    Who cares, it runs the machinery!

    Finally don’t underestimate the capabilities of the US energy business to produce and process fossil fuels and to develop technology to find and process from the more challenging sites. All this without a stimulus. They stepped up to the plate during WW II to produce high octane fuels that was critical to keep our air force flying, using the best engineers in the US. The technology has advanced beyond anyone’s thoughts when someone invented “peak OIL”

  66. theBuckWheat says:
    September 3, 2011 at 6:27 am
    “Peak Oil” is no more about the price of gasoline, diesel and Jet-A than “Global Warming” is really only about temperature change.

    The Chinese are currently consuming about 3.5X the amount of coal being consumed in the US.
    If the Chinese were to consume 3.5X the amount of petroleum used in the US that would amount to 63 million barrels a day. Chinese automobile sales are currently running about 1.5X US automobile sales.

    Natural Gas vehicles are currently selling like hotcakes in India because natural gas is much cheaper on a per BTU basis then oil.

    ‘Peak Oil’ doesn’t occur because we run out of oil, peak oil occurs because the cost of the substitute good ends up being cheaper.

    If humanity is good at anything…’Save My Wallet’ is one of them.

    If I could buy a dual fuel – gasoline/natural gas vehicle and I had a corner filling station I would.

  67. Bubble Boy A says:
    “the constrictors risk forcing a premature switch to a lower cost alternative fuel ”

    Bubble Boy B says:
    “peak oil occurs because the cost of the substitute good ends up being cheaper.”

    You boys will get a shock when the bubble bursts.
    There is no alternative to fossil fuels, and any belief you have that there will be some other substitute found is a hope devoid of any presently achievable plan.

    Ultimately atomic power is the only source of energy there is, whether that is in the form of artificial nuclear reactors, solar PV from that big natural nuclear reactor in the sky, or captured atomic energy compressed into harmless atomic batteries in the form of fossil fuels. Atomic power is the only *source* of energy there is, regardless of when and how it is captured or stored or transmitted.

    Until a technology is devised for capturing the energy from sunlight in a way that can be scaled up without competing with food production, there can be no tangible plan for prolonging the industrial technological lifestyle to which we have (in a single generation) become accustomed.

    This is not inevitable, it is just what must happen unless the unforeseeable saves us.
    Hope is not a plan. Accepting our likely fate and preparing for it is better than sustaining a delusion.

  68. otter17 says:

    What specifically are these mineral resources that humanity has quit using?

    Rock for example, at the end of the stone age. Wood as an energy source (not mineral I know). Coal, while not exactly quit, has been replaced as an energy source in many applications. We can probably predict that the use of copper will go down in the near future due to glass fibre and wireless technologies. Use of several other metals in automotive and aviation construction is likely to go down due to carbon fibre and other modern replacements. etc.

    What specific market mechanisms prevent any economic consternation when an important resource begins to become scarce?

    Prices go up, thus development of alternatives becomes attractive for investors, which they do such that replacements become available to consumers just in time.

    Most peak oil folks do not want doom and gloom

    You haven’t been reading much of the “peak oil” websites have you?

    but they do want some foresight and alternatives to be considered when there is evidence of a decline in an important resource on the horizon.

    There is nothing wrong with thinking ahead, but there’s a lot wrong with restricting the access to energy sources, artificially raising prices, outlawing technologies etc. Unfortunately malthusianism in its various incarnations is used as a justification to those ends, and that is objectionable.

    None of those policies are necessary, while they put a burden on economic development and personal well being of many people. If one day conventional oil really becomes scarce (of which there are currently no signs, but let’s just assume it happens), then the development of unconventional alternatives will become viable. It’s already happening in part, e.g. shale oil and coal liquefaction. This is happening without any political intervention, just market forces at work.

    One day in the future, the internal combustion engine and the jet engine (the only two petrol based applications for which we currently have no viable alternatives) may eventually become uneonomical to run, but that day is not here now, and it’s still far in the future. Chances are, another more attractive technology will come around long before that happens. But that day is not here yet. At this stage we have no viable alternative to the combustion engine, so let’s use it until other technologies mature.

  69. Janice says:

    Titan is a moon of Saturn. It appears to have large amounts of liquid methane. It would appear that not all fossil fuels need to come from fossils.

    Methane is a very basic compound that is abundant in the universe. Some biological processes generate methane (hence natural gas), but that doesn’t mean that is the only way it can emerge.

    I would think that the ingenuity of engineers would allow us to one day mine Titan, and produce a steady supply of energy for Earth. We just need the will to do it.

    It wouldn’t be economical. You need thousands of times more energy to transport the stuff from there to here than is contained in it. No engineer can do away with this fact. But it’s not necessary, there’s plenty of energy down here.

  70. anorak2 says:

    September 5, 2011 at 2:43 am

    This was an excellent post

    Re
    “There is nothing wrong with thinking ahead, but there’s a lot wrong with restricting the access to energy sources, artificially raising prices, outlawing technologies etc. Unfortunately malthusianism in its various incarnations is used as a justification to those ends, and that is objectionable.”

    Well stated, my analogy is the government policy is like Tarzan traveling through the forest letting go of one branch before the next is within reach. But there is a lot wrong with wasting resources and dollars while chasing technologies that have a zero chance of providing a meaningful amount of energy. The recent solar company collapse is just one example. Cellulosic ethanol production is another. When investors and the populace finally catch on (there are signs already) , there will be little interest or trust that the government has the ability to take our tax dollars to manage and select the right technologies for development. One of the problems is that there is a rush to commercialization before the basic research is carried out. Also there appears to be no economic analysis. Of course the other concern is that by squandering the resources today, we will not be able to afford the research and development if and when it is really necessary.

  71. Catcracking:
    i had a friend that grew up in the Escondido Ca. area during the depression and he told me that they had oilwells down there that the oil was so “light” that they could run it directly into pickups and burn it without to many problems. (remember this was an era when compression ratios were less, sparkplug gaps were greater………).

    on the other end of the scale there was a mine in Utah that was bitumen and was so thick that they dug it out with picks and shovels, shipped it in burlap bags piled six high on flatcars on a purpose built railway. as i understand it was “refined” and the product was the usual mix of oils, solvents……..

    C

  72. Catcracking:
    i saw a small article referred to in the Bakersfield local news to the effect that the EPA was talking about regulating “deep ground water”, water that is now totally contaminated by natural salts and chemicals (thousands of feet below what is considered potable water) as it “might ” be a future source of fresh water. that is if “someone” ever develops a purifying process……

    it disappeared immediately.

    what do you think?
    C

  73. RE: “Robert says:
    September 2, 2011 at 11:35 am
    Coincidence or not, just finished reading a Dutch populair science magazine from 1981, peak oil would occur in about 9 years from the time that magazine was published.”

    I can recall when “Peak Oil” was “just around the corner” in the 1970’s. That, combined with Jimmy Carter’s mishandling of the Arab Oil Boycott, convinced me to install solar hot water in the late 1970’s. We had a back-up electric water heater, for we lived up in Maine, but we hardly ever used it. The solar system seemed to work quite well, though I’m sure it was a primative model. However I did feel a bit of a fool, when the “oil shortage” was followed by an “oil glut.” When the system eventually needed repairs, (just as electric or propane water heaters
    eventually rust out and requires replacement,) we discovered the company that made it had gone belly up. So we went back to the old ways.

    It does seem to me that every morning around 100 million showers start pouring hot water d0wn the drain in the USA, and that if we really needed to reduce our use of oil, solar hot water would be the easiest place to start. The simple fact no one bothers is all the proof I need that there is no crisis.

  74. PK,
    I’m not a geologist, and can’t comment on the deep ground water. The Saudi’s as well as ships desalinate sea water so maybe it is possible to “purify” the water, the question may be whether or not it is economic. Desalination units are even available for small pleasure yachts.

  75. RE: Caleb: (September 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm)

    “I can recall when “Peak Oil” was “just around the corner” in the 1970′s.”

    According to some total world oil production data that I have found on-line, it does appear that a narrow ‘hubbert’s curve’ peak in the mid 1970’s when added to a standard Gaussian curve having a wide peak about four times higher and at dates between 2015 and 2020, depending on the optimization criteria used, can give a reasonable match. Unlike temperature data, I have not found any official listing of total world oil production over the whole twentieth century. It is probably naive in the extreme to assume that any simple mathematical formula will predict world oil production. Time will tell.

  76. The reason Peak Oil got the traction it did, was that OPEC hides its reserve data and therefore future OPEC production is difficult if not impossible to predict.

    Were a normal market in oil to exist, then as someone pointed out above, Peak Oil would occur when a cheaper alternative becomes available.

    The biggest impediment to non-conventional oil is the fear OPEC will crash the price in order to bankrupt non-conventional producers as it tried in the 1990s.

    The solution is for governments to tender for long term supply from non-coventional sources at fixed prices. Not only will this ensure secure supply, it will dramatically reduce the power of OPEC.

  77. Here is a link to an official Document on this issue:

    “When Will World Oil Production Peak?”
    by Guy Caruso, Administrator, Energy Information Administration U.S. Department of Energy, for the 10th Annual Asia Oil and Gas Conference at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia June 13, 2005

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/Caruso061305.pdf

    The bottom line is not soon, but sometime in the latter part of this century.

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