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Aussies Living Simply

Peak Oil Nonsense.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 358 total)
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  • #252071
    porgeyporgey
    Member

    There is so much nonsense about declining oil (& other fossil fuels) reserves. Of course a decline in something we rely on is problematic but there are so many much better alternatives to oil that I welcome a reduction in oil supply, bring it on I reckon.

    We now have the ability to store energy in much better ways than in oil liquid or gas form. The technology involved in compressed air, molten sand, plasmas, ammonia and mineral batteries are now getting so advanced, reliable & available that they are able to reliably supply much of our storage needs. The ability to convert solar power into storable energy is reaching the magic threshold of being more economically advantageous than oil derived energy production. Then of course there is hydrogen fuel, geo thermal, wind, wave, tide, human etc. etc.

    So we have both the ability to replace oil as our energy source and store energy in a useable form. So why panic about peak oil?

    The world is addicted to oil (& other fossil fuels) as our main energy source and our politicians love it because they can tax it and big business love it because they can control it and make obscene profits from it.

    The incredible advantages of not relying on oil (& other fossil fuels) for our energy needs far exceeds any disruption caused by declining reserves. So just as Y2K ended up being a a load of very expensive rubbish the ‘problems’ of declining oil reserves is a most wonderful opportunity to create a clean, green and sustainable energy supply.

    #462306
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    And once we stop spending money on oil/carbon-based technologies, the alternative technologies will advance tremendously… imo 🙂

    #462307

    I hope I’m wrong but it sounds like you look forward to it.

    By the time societies realise what is happening, it will be too late. What little energy they can derive from the remaining fossil fuels will be spent keeping the population alive. It won’t be used to power the enterprises needed to cope with the future.

    Consider the Easter Island thread recently…It’s a bit like saying, “I’ll be glad when the last tree gets cut down because then we’ll be forced to move to more wood-efficient methods of living.”

    When we don’t have the energy to continue, we’ll use it instead to survive. When there isn’t enough for that, people will die. There won’t be enough to create the new future.

    As for storage…

    Storing energy is difficult. It is exactly like keeping a spring under compression. Imagine a series of springs with enough collective power to supply the world in the off times of renewable energy (night time for PV for instance). That is the big problem such storage options have. The technology is new and still being developed.

    Even if the world devoted the remaining fossil fuels to creating such things, it would still not be enough to mitigate the problem. There are still too many problems for these technologies to be sufficient. We need to be prepared for it before it happens.

    If Peak Oil occurs (occured?) as most here seem to think it will, we will not have the ability to cope as a group. People will die. This world is bad enough without hoping for worse.

    This is not a good way to fix the world’s addiction to fossil fuels.

    #462308
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    There is so much nonsense about declining oil (& other fossil fuels) reserves.

    It’s only nonsense if you haven’t looked deeply enough into the realities of all the supposed “cures”. All of the storage methods you indicate rely on cheap and abundant oil to mine the materials and manufacture them. They’re all subsidised by oil.

    #462309
    WazzaWazza
    Member

    The President of the Maldives (1 metre above sea level and getting less year on year) said recently that back in the Stone Age they didn’t wait until they’d run out of stone before moving on to a better technology. I guess we’d see it that way, if the water was lapping at our doorstep.

    #462310
    dixiebelledixiebelle
    Member

    To me, the ‘panic’ (or for me, concern, might be a better word) comes from feeling like you can’t rely on governments and big business to get their act together until they are forced to, and that by time, the periods of adjustment will be wrought with mayhem, while society gets the alternatives into place.

    You and I might be in a mentality, and a physical situation, where we can cope better, and adjust better… and even welcome the changes and adjustments in perspective & lifestyle. But all those out there who don’t handle it so well, they make up a large part of of society, and if they are not happy (because they *shock horror* can’t have their luxuries anymore, or *don’t even mention* the basics they have come to expect), it will affect us too… unless you are living a completely self sufficient life, away from anyone else.

    It’s hard to fathom just how the hard adjustment periods could be, when our lives are so entwined with oil, and our governments have let us down on so many accounts, it makes the mind shudder. Hence the ‘panic’ vibe you might pick up on…

    So we have both the ability to replace oil as our energy source and store energy in a useable form. So why panic about peak oil?

    We have the ability, but at the moment, we don’t have the will to do so. But the motivation will come, whether it is simply financial, or actual survival… but it won’t be pretty, either way! I am sure there were panicky people leading up to Y2K (not to mention the media would ahve played up on that), and there were alot of sceptics who ignored the whole thing… and there were no doubt some smart people who got prepared as they felt was needed, without spending alot of money, and stayed calm, encouraging others to do the same.

    the ‘problems’ of declining oil reserves is a most wonderful opportunity to create a clean, green and sustainable energy supply.

    Now you’ve just got to convince everyone else in the world! 😀

    #462311
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    porgey wrote:

    There is so much nonsense about declining oil (& other fossil fuels) reserves. Of course a decline in something we rely on is problematic but there are so many much better alternatives to oil that I welcome a reduction in oil supply, bring it on I reckon.

    You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. Oil, and to a certain extent, coal and gas, are amazing energy SOURCES. Yes, technically you could say they are forms of energy storage; the ancient conversion of solar energy into decayed plant matter. But the way we use them they are SOURCES of energy.

    The most of the things you mentioned are only different forms of batteries. They don’t give us energy, just ways to store it. Renewable energies have a miniscule potential compared to the fossil fuels, and most of them are so much more expensive than burning coal, gas or oil.

    Take hydrogen “power” for example. It’s a form of energy storage, not a source. But it is amazingly wasteful. If you used the cheapest form of electrical energy to create the hydrogen, by burning coal, it would cost the equivalent of $8 per litre compared to petrol. Good luck with that one. And you would be turning your car into a bomb that could level a city block if you had an accident. I won’t be buying one; I value my life.

    I’ve talked to Prof Peter Newman of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus trial in Perth. He freely admits that they had to crack the hydrogen from fossil fuels (I think it was oil from memory), otherwise they couldn’t afford to run the buses.

    Here’s a quote from ABC’s Catalyst program on Peak Oil.

    Professor Peter Newman should know. He’s been trying to prepare his home town of Perth with a post-petroleum transport system – which includes Australia’s first hydrogen buses.

    Peter Newman: This is a transition that can’t be done overnight. Hydrogen technology is being developed but it’s a 20 year program.

    Jonica Newby, Reporter: Twenty years?

    Peter Newman: Yeah, the next 20 years are an absolute critical point where I don’t know that we can make it. I just feel we haven’t started soon enough.

    Narration: The trouble is, if peak oil is imminent, other mooted oil substitutes, like biofuels, tar sands, shale oil, could only yield a fraction of the world’s needs.

    And no one can think of an alternative fuel for aeroplanes.

    Or trucks. Or ships. Or most trains.

    Here’s what you don’t understand. Oil contains lots and lots and lots of energy, and it’s cheap, and it takes far less energy to get it than it provides (Energy On Return). Nothing else even comes close.

    When oil peaks, everything peaks. There are no alternatives to oil. This is literally the end of the road.

    By the way, I don’t think Y2K created any wars. Peak Oil has two to it’s list at the moment; Iraq and Afghanistan. We are living the effects of peak oil already, and yet people are still in denial. :@

    #462312
    PinetreePinetree
    Member

    Porgey,

    I really hope you are right, the fall out from a population forced to adjust quickly from one fuel to another will not be pretty.

    I do believe that eventually alternatives to fossil fuels will be found, but if that adjustment period is sudden, then going on the history of populations under stress, there will be a time when the full glory of human nature will be seen.

    So I am taking steps that hopefully will allow for a rang of outcomes. Plus a simple self reliant life style has its own rewards.

    Cheers Pinetree:tup:

    #462313
    Peaky RamonePeaky Ramone
    Member

    It feels so much better to belive we have alternatives waiting in the wings. I remember being pretty interestedwhen somebody told me about Lindsay Williams. I though “ah ha its all a conspiracy” but you’ve got to come back to reality.

    The reality is that we don’t even have to have a real physical decline in oil because even a politically or corporately manipulated supply shortage for any reason will have the same efffect as there being physically no oil. Example Cuba in the 90’s

    #462314
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    Pinetree wrote: I do believe that eventually alternatives to fossil fuels will be found…

    The science doesn’t back this up. All industry, even the part that goes into creating renewable energy infrastructure, relies on cheap oil. The amount of renewables required to replace oil is mind boggling.

    An example of this…if you turned every food crop in Australia into ethanol and biodiesel, you’d just about be able to run all our transport needs. But then where would you grow the food for us to eat?

    And Australia doesn’t consume much oil compared to other countries. We are at around 1 million b/d. I think the US is around 12m b/d, and China is starting to catch them.

    Faith in reneweables is misguided; it’s almost like a religion. Even nuclear energy couldn’t provide enough to sustain the world’s transport needs long enough to make a difference if you used all the uranium available.

    It’s time we prepared for this while we can and get used to living with less.

    Less:

    Money

    Welfare

    Security

    Health Care

    Jobs

    Super

    Food

    Fuel

    Entertainment

    Retirement

    Fun

    Lifespan

    But More:

    Crime

    Unemployment

    Social problems

    Financial chaos

    Wars

    Expenses

    Pain

    Stress

    Grief

    I hate to be the kill-joy on this, but there is nothing positive about peak oil. Some people even try to say that it will be better for the environment; not when you consider what governments are thinking of burning to try to place oil…more fossil fuels. Why? Be cause they are cheaper than anything else. When you convert coal into synthetic desiel you loose half the value of coal, meaning you produce twice as much carbon emissions as you would if you’d just burnt oil instead. :tdown:

    #462315
    GgangGgang
    Member

    we certainly arent panicking 😀

    I am looking forward to it as having Multiple Chemical sensitivity ( which is very simplified a sensitivity to petroleum products ) I spend all my time trying to stop petro products killing me 😆

    many people don t realise just how many products are made from oil eg perfumes, disinfectants, personal care products, pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, glues, plastics etcetc

    all of them are toxic and killing everyone slowly ………:shrug:

    I am quite prepared to stay home and live a simple self suficient lifestyle

    Anne

    #462316
    GrethGreth
    Member

    We dont have good adequate alternatives for some of the uses of oil. People who live on solar already, like us, know that the basic needs of a household can be met with renewable energy.

    Basic needs, not a refrigerated wine chiller, electronic photo frame display, electric blanket, spa bath, dishwasher and Xbox. The first thing to do if there is likely to be a shortage is to cut back on wastage, and consider what one really needs. After that you find your needs are not nearly as hard to supply as your wants were.

    Our ancestors knew wastage was a sin, harmful to the planet and a bad way to think. Modern society thrives on decadence and waste, a certain gold plated coffin comes to mind clearly at the moment. The more bling the better.

    If we cut down our oil usage to the needs, and not the wasteful wants, we would find it lasts a lot longer and creates less pollution problems along the way.

    ALSers are already people who realise this, I wish it was more general.

    #462317
    GgangGgang
    Member

    RW all things we can do without – yes a major adjustment for society and there will be a die off :shrug: but there are far too amny people already that is part of the problem

    Anne

    #462318
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    Ggang wrote:

    RW all things we can do without – yes a major adjustment for society and there will be a die off :shrug: but there are far too amny people already that is part of the problem

    Anne, don’t dismis this. If you or your family members are part of the die-off, then it really isn’t something we can do without.

    Most people on here wouldn’t know of real hardship or violence. I’m sure some do, but the vast majority wouldn’t. Being protected by a police force has allowed us to become soft regarding our own personal security. We see it as a “right” that we are protected from harm, however it is up to the individual to ensure their own protection and not to become lazy and relient on a system that may not exist one day.

    The systems we have built around our industry, commerce and society are incredibly fragile and intricately interconnected. It is like a house of cards; all it takes is to remove one key card at the bottom of the pyramid and the hole thing can come crashing down. That key card is oil and it’s about to tumble.

    #462319
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    Greth wrote:

    If we cut down our oil usage to the needs, and not the wasteful wants, we would find it lasts a lot longer and creates less pollution problems along the way.

    ALSers are already people who realise this, I wish it was more general.

    Agreed. Unfortunately our entire economic system relies on the “wants” to keep the money ticking over. At a macro level, if we removed the wants and conserved energy and resourses, the global economy would collapse overnight and probably never recover. As altruistic as it seems to think this could be a good thing, it wouldn’t be. Mass unemployment would be the result. Political and social instibility would ensue, leading to chaos and violence. Why? The whole economic system is reliant on each of the individual components being healthy, much like organs in a body. If one part becomes sick (and the “wants” are a significant series of parts) then the body will die.

    At a micro level, look forward to loosing your job and any modern conveniences you rely on. The luxuries will be the first to go…pay tv, mobile, internet…not so bad. Then essentials like medicine and health care would be threatened. How many people on here could survive without access to cheap medicine and pills? I could, however a lot of the people I love and care for couldn’t.

    Then public services would be threatened. Police, fire, ambos, hospitals, welfare. It’s a vicious cycle of spending money on useless gadgets, toys and entertainment that provides the tax dollars to keep modern society running. Why do you think the government allows things like gambling and pokies? Socially they are incredibly destructive things, however the government relies on the taxes they reap.

    Why do you think the government talks so much about Growth? It’s essential to keep the economy, and consumption of goods, services and resources growing. Peak Oil will stop growth in its tracks. We saw a brief example of it in the last few years when oil hit $140/b.

    We have reached the limits of growth. The earth can’t sustain us anymore and its about to regurgitate the human population back into the stone age. :rip:

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