Friday, September 12, 2008

"we can solve our energy problems with existing technologies today"

"...There is enough baseload solar potential in one 90-mile-by-90-mile grid in the American Southwest to power the whole country. A similar grid in North Africa could power all of Europe. India and China have equally large solar resources, more than enough to replace new coal.

And CSP is a decades old technology, that uses mostly commodity materials--steel, concrete and glass. The central component, a standard power system routinely used by the natural gas industry today, would create steam to turn a standard electric generator. Plants can be built rapidly, in two to three years. It would be straightforward to build CSP systems at whatever rate industry and governments needed, ultimately 50 to 100 gigawatts a year growth or more–if we got serious about global warming and technology deployment.

Once again, it is crystal clear “we can solve our energy problems with existing technologies today, without the need for breakthrough innovations."

Full details and debate, here -
http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2008/09/economist-debater-series-final-round-up.html

Friday, August 15, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

Biogas - the Wave of the Future in an Oil-Exporting Country?

HOW SUSTAINABLE IS THIS TECHNIOLOGY?
The material, components and technical know how for the implementation is readily available. The utilities for the operation of biogas technology are wastes, which are free, cheap and in abundance. There is no requirement for the addition of chemicals. Income is increased in many folds through energy, fertilizer, health and waste disposal. Maintenance is very cheap like regular painting to avoid surface corrosion of plant.
Taking into consideration of the life span of biogas plants (10-30yrs). The investment is worthwhile and highly profitable. There are no moving parts, meaning there is no wear and tear due to friction.
Nigeria and Africa has an alternaative energy source that is ready to be deployed.
With the increasing population and energy demand, the dream of attaining food security and poverty eradication and environmental management in line with the millennium development goals. It is time to act.

Lets join hands to move the nation forward. This is a call to entrepreneurs, governments and Non governmental organizations. It is time to make great thing happen in our country. Lets make Nigeria great again.

As quoted from: http://www.bioapplications.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Throw Away Consumables as Building Materials

www.garbagewarrior.com  

site has links and film trailers of an American architect who uses throw-away consumables to build "earthships";

http://www.earthship.net  (huge US website, incl. hard to get internships)

has UK followers (16 home project) here:

http://www.earthship.co.uk/earthship-homes.htm 
"..15,000 tyres would be recycled to construct the homes, at a time when the UK is planning to burn some 40 million tyres each year at great environmental cost..."

http://www.lowcarbon.co.uk/earthship-brighton  (standing earthship in UK)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Charles Hugh Smith: Oil Down $16 to $130, Everything Wonderful Again: Not

Full blog post here.

Frequent contributor U. Doran sent in this link from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA: Peak Oil Is A Done Deal .

Bottom line: Saudi Arabia and Russia, which together pump about 23% of the world's oil, are both in depletion decline. So are Mexico, the North Sea, etc.

Simply put: every time the "Oil Bull" is declared dead, as it was in January, it rises with extraordinary alacrity to new heights. The reason is not gol-durned speculators but supply and demand--even as demand inches downward, supply is declining even faster.

Let's put "demand destruction" in the U.S. in its proper context. 300,000 barrels a day is chump-change in a nation which burns 21 million barrels a day. if supply were increasing by leaps and bounds as it was in the 80s, fine, then you could have a huge demand-supply imbalance in favor of supply. But by even the most optimistic estimates, "excess capacity" (all in heavy crude few can refine) is about 1.4 million barrels a day--a razor-thin margin.

I have predicted one last "head-fake" decline in oil prices, but it's going to take serious reduction in demand, on the order of 4-5 million barrels a day globally, to get that drop.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rethink, Regroup, Rebuild - UrbanRevision

How would you rebuild a city block? Where would you start? Where would you end? The Re:Vision Community is here to learn, discuss, share, expound and, ultimately, create a sustainable street that can be the blueprint for cities everywhere. Look around or dig in. There’s a lot to do here. Because there’s a lot to be done out there.

Check out the personal statements of the members, e.g. Paul Hawken.

Plus the design competition. All available here - 

Link here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Energy-inefficient houses help to suck up the 50% of the entire US energy demand

Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change

This challenging and exciting text gives an insight into the real changes that are necessary to give our modern day built environment both 'sustainability' and 'survivability'. 

The book is based on the premise that climate change is going to happen and its impacts on our lives are going to be far worse than generally expected. Sue Roaf argues that many modern buildings are not only 'unsustainable' in themselves but are also having a catastrophic effect on the global climate. 

In a unique argument, she illustrates that the only way we can hope to survive the following century in fact is if we not only begin to radically reduce CO2 emissions from our buildings and stop building climatically disastrous building types but also build only the buildings that can survive in the changed climates of the future.

Throughout the book, traditional and modern building types are used to: explain the history and impacts of climates past, present and future on buildings; set the scene in terms of the history of building development of where we are now and where we are going in terms of sustainability and survivability of buildings; develop two main scenarios of future building development with the 'business as usual' model and the 'survival plan' model, and to make a list of recommendations based on the two scenarios of what actions should be taken by architects, planners and engineers as well as local and national governments, businesses and ordinary people in ensuring the true sustainable nature of the built environment. >from *Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change. A 21st Century Survival Guide* by Sue Roaf, David Crichton and Fergus Nicol. ISBN: 0-7506-6099-6. Published December 14, 2004 

***Energy-inefficient houses help to suck up the 50% of the entire US energy demand. The 50% that goes into powering buildings.***
George
http://transitions.stumbleupon.com

Link Here

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Peak Oil 101 from T. Boone Pickens: The Pickens Plan

The Pickens Plan

I don't really understand his affection for the role of natural gas in transportation. Most of us oil buffs know that natural gas has a sharper cliff than oil does once it runs out! He must have his money bets on the natural gas, I don't know. I do appreciate and respect his desire to bring people onto the same page and his concern for the next generations.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My vegetable garden in backyard (not mine-someone else's on youtube)

This is what I've been working on, too. Planted 2 apple trees today! Bought some feverfew and calendula from the farmer's market also. I'm going to plant it tomorrow.

Too bad I don't have a video camera or I would make my own youtube video to show! Maybe someday soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

If you could live anywhere in a post peak world, where would that be?

I found this neat website where you can explore other areas of the world to live. Click here for escapeartist.com. So far, Costa Rica seems like a nice place....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The House Resources Committee report on drilling in the Continental U.S. June 2008

If anybody is interested, here is a report from the Congressional House Resources Committee. It's a .pdf file:

Click here for full .pdf: The Truth About Americas Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits

It really explains in detail about what is available for drilling and how oil companies are not drilling where they can, basically. It would be worth it to spread this around in an e-mail to those who think our elected officials aren't doing anything in congress regarding drilling availability in the continental U.S. There are even places available for drilling in ANWR but no companies are drilling there. Why? There is nothing stopping the oil companies. It's not because of environmentalists, either.

I'm thinking that drilling will not make one difference in the price of gasoline. It explains this in the report.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More on mass transit & some recent political history

WASHINGTON — Of all the presidential prospects, Sen. John McCain appears the least likely to lift Amtrak out of the long, waking nightmare it has endured for decades. Amtrak has no more dedicated foe in the Congress than McCain, R-Ariz.

The GOP’s likely nominee is also the least likely to care about a national transportation policy. The absence of such a plan is at the heart of why motorists and airlines — and now grocers — are gagging at the price of fuel these days. ...


...In the 1990s, Moynihan was not cash-conscious. Then a Democratic senator from New York and a power on the public works committee, he wanted the federal government to invest in high-speed intercity rail. President Bill Clinton’s minions smothered Moynihan’s hopes.

The nation’s governors also turned up their noses at almost all of the mass transit subsidies Moynihan offered them.

Clinton’s disinterest in rail and mass transit might be a reflection of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s views. She supports modest Amtrak subsidies like most Democrats, but she has invested little or no campaign time talking about it. Nor has Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., her rival for the presidential nomination.

To their credit, neither has voiced the righteous outrage at Amtrak support that McCain has at every opportunity. Someone should mention that 12 states that control 180 of the 270 electoral votes needed for election are highly dependent on Amtrak.

Under President Bush, Amtrak intercity service has limped along, deteriorating by the week. Service from Buffalo to Albany is now hampered by track work that can add up to an hour to the trip.

Five days a week, Amtrak travelers from Buffalo to Boston must take a bus on the Rensselaer-Boston leg because of track work. Thanks to the Clinton administration’s creation of regional freight rail monopolies that have no oversight.

After 16 months in office, congressional Democrats have finally produced a bill reauthorizing Amtrak. It offers only anemic operating cash to the line, and fails to extend the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor into Virginia and North Carolina, whose roads choke with traffic.

But the bill backed by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, offers $24 billion in tax-exempt bonds and 80 percent reimbursement to states for high-speed rail construction.

The business is there. Gas prices, clogged skyways and air travel hassles have driven more customers to Amtrak, hamstrung as it is. Business is up 11 percent nationally, and almost 20 percent on the rickety line from Buffalo Niagara to Manhattan.

What is needed is an unapologetic presidential commitment for a nationalized passenger system on the scale of the Interstate Highway program. President Dwight Eisenhower, who built it, was no communist.


For full article click here.

Photogallery of Greenroofs

This one was my favorite.

Here is the link if you'd like to look at them.

Joyce Marcel: Our "Cheap Oil Fiesta" s Over

Click here for full article.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and for a little while, at least, it sounds lovely.

Imagine a world where the air is cleaner because fewer people are driving cars. Where you can hop on a train to visit your friends in the West River Valley or spend a day in Boston, arriving refreshed instead of wiped out from highway driving. Where chemical-drenched agribusiness is dead, and food is grown locally. Where big box stores are gone, and the shops on Main Street sell the things you need. Where small schoolhouses again dot the hills of tight little communities.

This vision harks back to a simpler time, perhaps one directed by Robert Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart. But it may not turn out to have a happy ending.

James Kunstler came through our town over the weekend, giving a talk at Marlboro College on Saturday and sharing his semi-apocalyptic view of a post-cheap oil future. He’s talking about the time when “our cheap energy fiesta” is over, and his vision has a certain relevant ring in a week when gas prices creep up over the $4 a gallon mark and truckers in Spain tie up all the roads to protest paying over $10 a gallon for diesel.

Already, many of us are driving more fuel efficient cars, converting to fry oil, trying to piggyback errands in town and, in general, driving less to save gas. And many more of us are worrying how we’re going to heat our homes next winter.

Kunstler, an enemy of sprawl, has been writing about energy issues for the past five years. He’s not coming at this topic from a right, left, conservative, liberal, progressive, Democrat or Republican perspective. In his opinion, we’ve all screwed up.

For the last 200 years, as Americans have enjoyed an upward path of progress on every level, we have taken “bigger, faster, more” as not only our motto but our birthright.

In the past, a better technology always came along to save our butts. Kerosene replaced whale oil. Electric lamps replaced kerosene. People complained about manure-clogged streets at the turn of the last century, and then along came Henry Ford and his automobile.

Kunstler’s warning is that this upward swing will not continue indefinitely. He quotes Dick Cheney’s famous line, “The American way of life is nonnegotiable.”

“Then reality will negotiate for you,” Kunstler said. “You don’t even have to be in the room.”

The reality is a world of depleted oil reserves and intense global competition for what remains. The current manipulation of the commodity markets and the devaluation of the dollar isn’t helping, either.

Monday, June 09, 2008

ANWR: Miles O'Brien just said how much oil is there on CNN

HOPEFULLY, people will hear what Miles O'Brien just said on CNN. He did the math and showed that there is only 3 months to 2 years worth of oil in ANWR by calculating the low-end estimate to the high-end estimate divided by the U.S. yearly consumption rate. He also reiterated that it would take 10 years to get ANWR oil into production. I think this amount would be better left saved for military needs for the future.

I also heard today that OPEC was calling a meeting with producers and consumers today. I'm interested in what's going on here.

That's all I wanted to say.

oh--p.s.--I think I would like Gov. Brian Schweitzer for Obama's VP. He has some interesting ideas for energy independence. You can see him here in this interview with Charlie Rose. I hope Obama chooses him. He's not totally perfect from a peak oil perspective but I think he might be the closest we can get right now. Go ahead and watch.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Permaculture Guru David Holmgren's Website: Future Scenarios

I've just found this site. I'm not sure how long it has been up but I'd like to take a moment to circulate Mr. Holmgren's website for those also unaware of it. Having to go to work in half an hour also negates me from reading it right away as well. I will also add this interesting site to my sidebar.


I ordered my first rain barrels today here at Gardeners Supply Company. You might know they are on backorder until the second week in July! They were about the cheapest I could find for what I wanted. The garden is starting out well. Hopefully I will have some pictures up soon on this site or my picture place blog....one step at a time....

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cold Fusion - 10 years after

globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

The above article contains many scientific and informative links.

Are the necessary materials available and in plentiful amounts?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Peak Oil Now--or not?

I've been reading about the recent spike in energy prices from a couple of different sources that I don't always read on a regular basis. It's kind of giving me pause about the underlying reasons for the spike. At first, I immediately attributed the price spike to increased demand from India and China. The supply/demand variable is a given precipice to price spikes in peak oil circles so, naturally, it was the first thing I thought of. However, I think there are other factors in play here as well.

I almost hate to give reference to Newsmax, because by my nature I attribute Newsmax to be a right-wing rag, and I lean more toward anything written with a liberal bias. I'm not sure how to peg Information Clearinghouse except that it seems more independent and is definitely not mainstream, although I do tend to accept the possibilities the articles that IC publishes (I owe to my inherently rebellious side). Nonetheless, I've been taught to identify the source and its biases, and also to read literature that doesn't always coincide with my own viewpoint. So, here I am presenting some articles from sources I don't naturally agree with in order to be fair and more educated on the subject myself.

After taking in this data and all of the previous data over the course of the last 4 years, I think I've come to the conclusion that while my view of peak oil remains intact, I do believe there are other variables at work at this particular time. I'm not sure that the world has actually peaked as I/we have no definitive proof that it has occurred. I think we will only know in hindsight without the proper hard evidence of proven reserves in all of the world. My feeling is that we are on a plateau and will seesaw up and down for quite awhile before sliding straight down.

What are the variables masking this seesaw plateau, you ask? In my opinion, the variables include availability of sweet crude vs. sour crude, the availability of refineries to meet demand and what grades of oil they have the ability to refine, the increase and decrease of consumption across the world, the fluctuations of demand destruction around the world caused by the higher oil prices, weather events affecting the physical extraction and transportation of oil, geopolitical events affecting exploration, extraction, processing & transportation of the oil, and market manipulations. These are just a few of the variables I can think of at this time.

With all of that said, I will give you the links to the two articles that tell me something other than JUST peak oil is in the mix:
Information Clearinghouse: The Great Oil Swindle
Newsmax: The Dollar and Oil-The Truth

The Oil Drum also has a good thread about the recent spike with some mainstream video of discussions on TV here if you want to look.

If you have time to read them, tell me what you think. Am I completely off the track?

The Coming Energy Wars by Rana Foroohar

Full article from Newsweek online here.

This spring, America hit a historic point. With average gas prices per gallon edging toward $4, America's notoriously profligate ways started to change fast. Americans are driving less, using mass transit more, buying fewer gas guzzlers, indeed shopping less wantonly in general, and lowering their previously unshakable confidence as consumers. Suddenly, Americans are acting differently; if not exactly like Swedes, then not quite like themselves, either. It's a shift that could change the world.

And there are more changes to come. So far the price shock has triggered the most obvious consumer shifts in the United States. Europeans, already greener, are also are buffered by a stronger currency, and Asians are protected from the spiking price of oil by subsidies that control the impact on gas prices at the pump. But if oil prices continue to rise, and the subsidy dam breaks, as seems likely, the energy revolution now transforming America will spread. "We sailed through $80 a barrel," notes energy authority Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power" and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "But that doesn't mean we'll sail through $200 a barrel. That sort of price would have enormous global consequences."

A year ago no one was talking about $200 oil, and now everyone in the markets is, for scary reasons. Oil prices climbed from $10 in 1999 to $95 last year without slowing the surging world economy, in large part because the markets believed the spike was at core driven by rising demand, particularly from India and China, which feeds growth. There was concern over supply, too, but nothing like the tumult prompted by the stranglehold OPEC imposed on the world in the 1970s, at least not until recent months. As the per-barrel price climbed over the last few months, with futures reaching $135 last week, the consensus began shifting to a new more gloomy view: that not only would long-term demand, led by China and India, continue to grow, but that the supply threats, including increasing conflict, falling investment, industry bottlenecks and downward estimates of big field reserves in major oil states—aren't going away any time soon. Now many (though not all) serious people take $200 oil—and the prospect of another '70s-style oil shock—seriously. Goldman Sachs warned that the $200 barrier could be hit within the next six to 24 months.
Click Here!

That's way too fast for comfort (or should be) even for those who welcome high gas prices as a way to induce energy conservation and fight global warming. Already skyrocketing oil prices are causing real pain for ordinary people, threatening global economic growth, and reviving the specter of inflation. The price pressure is now particularly acute in big emerging markets like China and India, which in recent years had become paragons of fiscal responsibility that tended to dampen global inflation by exporting cheap goods and services. Now they threaten to become exporters of inflation, particularly if energy price controls give way. Americans now making up for their losses at the gas pump by flocking to Wal-Mart for cheap Chinese goods would be out of luck. Make no mistake: $200 oil in 2009 would be a painful shock, not just a green tax on gas guzzlers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day, 2008: The Tipping Point in the Peak Oil Debate

Full article here.

Those of us who have watched for the inevitable arrival of the peak oil crisis have been waiting for years for the day when we no longer had to fight for the acceptance of the idea, and could start getting on with the hard business of what to do about it.

And then, just like that, it happened.

Like a chorus line turning in unison from left to right, the media and the financial markets turned and embraced the notion of peak oil last week.

For convenience, let's call it Memorial Day, 2008.

CNBC devoted a whole day to peak oil coverage, allowing some in-depth discussion of the issue possibly for the first time. In the evening, it broadcast a special called "Oil Crisis."

Billionaire hedge fund manager and oil man T. Boone Pickens said he saw oil going to $150 this year, and this time, was widely quoted in the financial press. (Check out this excellent interview with him from the Milken Institute Global Conference 2008 in April.) He put the reasons behind rising oil prices plainly:

"They've got to go up, because the people that have the oil want it to go up. They're running out of oil. They're going to have to have—85 million barrels a day is all the world can produce. The demand is 87 million. It's that simple. It doesn't have anything to do with the value of the dollar. It's a fact of supply and demand. That's it."

While we might politely disagree with the legendary oil investor about the dollar part, in terms of the overall trend being about the fundamentals, he was spot-on. He took a 14 percent loss in the first two months of this year by shorting oil and natural gas, and quickly learned from the error to get long again and back into the black.

Goldman Sachs analyst Arjun Murti, the only major investment bank analyst who correctly predicted oil over $100 last year, said that oil could breach $200 this year, and $150 was very likely. Again, this time, Wall Street sat up and took notice instead of laughing.

In the last couple of weeks, when I talked about peak oil in my radio and TV appearances, I didn't get shouted down immediately, or dismissed for holding a "controversial theory." Instead, they actually listened to hear what I had to say next.

In an interview with CNN radio last week, I think the host was rather shocked when she asked me if recent predictions of $12 gasoline in the next few years could happen.

"Easily," I said, "easily." And then explained why peak oil means that prices will have to keep going higher as long as global demand continues higher, because supply appears to be maxed out. Even as demand in the developed world declines due to price-induced demand destruction, the red-hot developing economies of the world are more than making up for it.

And you could have heard a pin drop when I explained that "there are no supply side solutions to peak oil" to another radio interviewer last week.

The dialogue didn't shift because pundits suddenly understood the importance of flow rates, or because the data on reserve estimates suddenly became clear.

It was the price that did it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fighting Hunger, Energy Poverty, Deforestation & Climate Change At The Same Time

How biochar works
A nation that destroys its soils, destroys itself. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Biochar is a carbon-rich product obtained from the pyrolysis of biomass. As the central element of a new and highly promising integrated soil management technique it is capable of halting slash-and-burn farming in the humid tropics by making nutrient-poor, acidic soils productive. As such it offers one of the few sustainable strategies to halt deforestation while simultaneously eliminating hunger amongst subsistence farmers at the forest margins. Biochar doubles as a stable carbon sink, making it a key tool in the climate fight.

http://biochar-international.org

Older readers will remember the original "Green Revolution" in agriculture, i.e. using petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. This led to "Silent Spring" and terrible consequences for both animals and humans.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Peakniks identified by mainstream media--that's us!

Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare

Wow. Are there THAT many of us now that they're writing articles about us? lol I didn't know I was becoming part of a movement back in '04!

Part of article here:

BUSKIRK, N.Y. - A few years ago, Kathleen Breault was just another suburban grandma, driving countless hours every week, stopping for lunch at McDonald's, buying clothes at the mall, watching TV in the evenings.

That was before Breault heard an author talk about the bleak future of the world's oil supply. Now, she's preparing for the world as we know it to disappear.

Breault cut her driving time in half. She switched to a diet of locally grown foods near her upstate New York home and lost 70 pounds. She sliced up her credit cards, banished her television and swore off plane travel. She began relying on a wood-burning stove.

"I was panic-stricken," the 50-year-old recalled, her voice shaking. "Devastated. Depressed. Afraid. Vulnerable. Weak. Alone. Just terrible."

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

Saving themselves
These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many of them believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves.

Some are doing it quietly, giving few details of their preparations — afraid that revealing such information as the location of their supplies will endanger themselves and their loved ones. They envision a future in which the nation's cities will be filled with hungry, desperate refugees forced to go looking for food, shelter and water.

"There's going to be things that happen when people can't get things that they need for themselves and their families," said Lynn-Marie, who believes cities could see a rise in violence as early as 2012.

Lynn-Marie asked to be identified by her first name to protect her homestead in rural western Idaho. Many of these survivalists declined to speak to The Associated Press for similar reasons.

'Peak oil'
These survivalists believe in "peak oil," the idea that world oil production is set to hit a high point and then decline. Scientists who support the idea say the amount of oil produced in the world each year has already or will soon begin a downward slide, even amid increased demand. But many scientists say such a scenario will be avoided as other sources of energy come in to fill the void.

On the PeakOil.com Web site, where upward of 800 people gathered on recent evenings, believers engage in a debate about what kind of world awaits.

Some members argue there will be no financial crash, but a slow slide into harder times. Some believe the federal government will respond to the loss of energy security with a clampdown on personal freedoms. Others simply don't trust that the government can maintain basic services in the face of an energy crisis.

The powers that be, they've determined, will be largely powerless to stop what is to come.


....more at link...see guys, I'm not the only peak oil obsessor out there!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why Dems and Republicans are Afraid of Two Words: Peak Oil

Full article by Kelpie Wilson on alternet

excerpt:

The economics of it make no sense. It would at best save the average motorist about $30 over a summer of driving, and at worst the increased demand would drive up gas prices. Obama's position shows he understands that oil supply is not meeting demand, even if he has not used the words "peak oil."

In the last two weeks, Congress has seen a slew of silly proposals from both sides. Democrats want President Bush to twist Saudi arms to get the kingdom to produce more oil. If that doesn't work, they want to cut off their arms -- weapons that is. Senator Reid plans to bring an expedited resolution to the Senate floor that would block $1.37 billion in arms sales to the Saudis unless they increase oil production by one million barrels a day.

Peak oil educator Richard Heinberg warns where all this confrontation might lead: "[S]uppose we get tough with the Saudis and end up destabilizing the kingdom so that forces unfriendly to us take over. Then we will feel more or less forced to invade in order to maintain access to our national drug of choice. Where would it end? Does any of this help?"

Meanwhile, what Democrats would do to the Saudis, Republicans want to do to the polar bear and the caribou. Republicans are generally in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) despite the fact that even at peak production it would meet only two percent of American's oil demand. But not all Republicans favor drilling in ANWR. Peak Oil Caucus Co-Chair Roscoe Bartlett thinks we should save the Arctic oil for a real emergency. Speaking in opposition to drilling, he said "I am having trouble understanding how it is in our national security interest to use up our little bit of oil as quickly as we can. If we could pump ANWR tomorrow, what would we do the day after tomorrow?"

Bartlett takes this position because he is operating with the knowledge that oil is finite and that the world is nearing or has surpassed peak production. If all members of Congress were operating within this framework, then we would see some very different policy proposals. I asked Lisa Wright why Bartlett's office thinks the peak oil issue has gotten so little traction in the media and with politicians. Wright blamed a human psychological condition known as cognitive dissonance, "the phenomenon that you only hear what you're interested in hearing."

"Hard truths are hard to talk about as well as hard to absorb," she said. "It's much easier to believe people who say that if we just have more American production then we wouldn't have to worry about foreign imports, without explaining that we're already pumping our minute portion of world reserves three or four times faster than the rest of the world. But we can't drill our way to self-sufficiency because you can't pump what's not there."

When asked if she saw peak oil becoming an issue in the presidential campaign, Wright said, "It will become a campaign issue if candidates make it an issue and candidates will choose to make it an issue if it shows up as being a motivating issue for voters." But, she said, "It's a chicken and egg conundrum. To the extent that voters become informed and aware through media, you'll find that candidates will follow. That's generally the way American politics works."

After years of toning down the message of peak oil in public discourse, voters need to let candidates know that now is the time to tone it up.

Fours years since discovering peak oil....

It's now been four years since I've discovered the concept of peak oil. Today a tank of regular gas is $3.99 where I live, Ford has announced that it is cutting production for the the rest of this year, the airlines will be adding surcharges and charging $15 for the first bag taken on a flight, and OPEC won't increase production. That's just what I've heard in the news TODAY.

Four years ago in February 2004, I was gearing up politically and hoping for change. In the midst of my political anticipation and hopes, I stumbled upon the concept of "peak oil" on a democratic discussion board online. Someone posted a link to Matt Savinar's website Life After the Oil Crash (listed on my sidebar under Peak Oil 101) and I decided to click and read. Needless to say, I was devastated and mentally traumatized to immobility for about 6 months when I realized the full implications of what life would be like without cheap oil. I spent that next 6 months reading and reading everything, from every source about oil...the history of oil, the geopolitical implications of peak oil, the stats, the proven oil reserves, what the government reports were saying about it, how to prepare for life without cheap oil, and on and on. Finally, I began to 'find my legs' as soon as the 2004 elections were over. All I could think of was that I needed to find like-minded community and prepare myself and my family for the coming hardships.

Now, there has and will always be a debate in my mind about how this is going to play out. In 2004, some of us thought the actual oil peak would come around 2008 and the real effects would start to rear their ugly head and come to a full throttle crash somewhere around 2012. Others gave it a little longer, maybe 20 years or so. Now looking back, I feel that things are occurring faster than I had expected starting around 2006...at least the signs are looking favorable to it happening sooner rather than later, especially with other factors in the mix.

Immediately after the 2004 elections, I scheduled a library meeting room spot and announced my presentation of "The End of Suburbia" and community discussion of oil depletion, a.k.a. 'peak oil'. Mind you, the price of a barrel of oil was ONLY $30-35 a barrel and gas was close to $2 but still nobody obviously wanted to listen or I would've had at least ONE person attend my event!

In 2004-2005 I was just like Cassandra. I was telling everyone I knew about how oil was going to go up, demand would outstrip supply and to prepare--to get a bicycle, to plant a garden, reduce consumption, save energy, etc. As you can imagine, I don't think many people listened to me or heard what I was saying. I wrote a LTTE that entitled me to become a "guest columnist" because it was so much information that it took half the page--evidently too much information for the average reader's attention span when reading the newspaper! I got no response. Through 2005, I contacted my local Mayor, the local economic development leader, the newspaper editor and told them about the end of cheap oil. When I was getting nowhere with my outward expressions of concern to my community, I turned inward toward preparing for the future myself. The compromise for letting others know about the implications of diminishing cheap oil has been redirected to this blog. It's now out here for anyone who wants to search for it.

Over the past four years, I've been learning how to grow my own food and how to preserve it. I've been working on becoming debt free since 2003, and I can proudly say that this goal has been reached! I have zero debt. Ultimately, nobody can ever be totally be prepared for life without cheap oil but as I can imagine it, I am closer to that goal than I was four year ago. At least I will be more comfortable because I have prepared to the best of my ability. It remains a work in progress.

Since finding out about peak oil I can note some things I've watched over this period of time. The president actually came out and said "We're addicted to oil". CNN, CNBC, Yahoo, The History Channel, and other mainstream media outlets have actually talked about, had specials about, and acknowledged peak oil. I've seen congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) give HOURS of presentations on peak oil in special sessions live on cspan with hardly anybody in the 'House' (makes me feel a little less alone when nobody showed up to my local presentation!).

I must also note that I still haven't heard of any refineries being built. The contemplation has always been around the peak oil crowd that the reason no refineries have been built or rebuilt is because the oil. won't. be. there. Again, if anyone wants to blame the government or the congress, remember, this IS a free market and anyone can start building or investing anytime now! Why hasn't anyone? ....and it really makes me chuckle when supposed unregulated free market advocates start complaining about price gouging, want price gouging controls, and want regulations or price controls on oil. Excuse me, but aren't these interventions against the free market ideology? I'm not arguing for or against--it's just my libertarian side poking out! Oil depletion is oil depletion and it's going to occur whether we have price controls or not. When demand/consumption outstrips supply & production, there 'ain't nothin' going to help us in the long run.

From the long view, prices will go up, then demand destruction will occur or the government will give us a temporary fix. People will think everything is alright, start consuming more again, and then the same cycle will begin again over and over until the price can't come down any longer. Like many of us peaksters have referred, it will feel just like a roller coaster. I'm not even including any other economic factors here, either.

Again, I've spent since 2005 building this blog to inform others about the coming calamity. There is a whole smorgasboard full of links in my sidebar added over 3 years. Please begin with Peak Oil 101 links and then work your way down. It's 3 years worth of work at your fingertips to get started. Climate change has been instrumental to peak oil effects, and is a cousin to the peak oil concept, so there are a lot of links that are intertwined in ideology. They might not all speak of peak oil, per se, but every link I have is helpful concerning the implications of the end of the cheap oil era.

Are we a day late and a dollar short? We are pretty close. Act now. Think globally, act locally.

U.S. House Passes Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extension Bill

Full article here.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), a bill that could extend production and investment tax credits for renewable energy, by a vote of 263-160.

...The bill could still face obstacles when it comes up for consideration in the Senate, largely because there is no consensus on how to pay for the extensions. The Bush administration has also threatened to veto the legislation.

Congress has been trying unsuccessfully for a year to extend tax credits for individuals, businesses and developers who invest in clean power. When the credits expire at the end of this year it’s estimated that more than 100,000 jobs and close to US $20 billion in investment will disappear.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Richard Heinberg on alternet: Have We Really Hit Peak Oil?

Click for full article.

Last week, Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would halt a U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia worth $1.4 billion. The implication is clear: no more war toys for the Saudis unless they agree to up their oil output.

The same day, the House approved a Senate plan to suspend oil deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in hopes of diverting that oil to the market, thus lowering the pump price a tiny amount. A week earlier, a handful of Senators proposed a bill threatening a trade dispute with members of OPEC if the organization doesn't stop "its anti-competitive practices and illegal export quotas on oil."

It's understandable that our elected leaders would want to do something about the meteoric rise of gasoline, diesel, and heating oil prices that are now bankrupting independent truckers and forcing many folks in colder states to choose between being able to stay warm and being able to drive to work. Yet efforts like the ones just mentioned are based on a profound misperception of why oil prices are rising. The real problem is summed up in the phrase "Peak Oil."

Petroleum is a finite substance and we have reached the inevitable point at which it simply isn't possible to increase the rate at which we extract it from the ground. Most oil producing countries, including the US, have already seen their glory days and are now watching output from their wells gradually dwindle. Only a few nations are early in the production cycle and able to ramp up the rate of flow. Here is a concise definition of Peak Oil from my colleague Chris Skrebowsi, the editor of Petroleum Review in London. He says: "Global oil production falls when loss of output from countries in decline exceeds gains in output from those that are expanding."

Well, how are we doing? Who's winning, the decliners or expanders?

According to last year's scorecard, the decliners won. The same happened in 2006. And that's with oil prices at record highs, presumably offering every incentive for nations that can produce more oil to do so. Does this mean we are at the all-time peak of global oil flow rates now? Not necessarily. There are large new production projects coming on line this year and next, including one in Saudi Arabia that will add several hundred thousand barrels a day to that nation's productive capacity.

Oil crosses $129 for first time, heads for $130

Click here for yahoo story.

excerpt:

NEW YORK - Oil prices spiked to a new trading high Tuesday, sweeping toward $130 a barrel as supply concerns intensified the momentum buying that has lifted crude deeper into record territory.

The June contract for light, sweet crude traded as high as $129.58 on the New York Mercantile Exchange before settling back to $129.09, up $2.04. The imminent expiration of that contract created additional volatility in the market, and raised the very real possibility that crude could hit $130 before the end of the day, when the contract was ending.

Retail fuel prices also shattered records set the previous day. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline touched $3.80 for the first time, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, while diesel jumped nearly 2 cents to a record $4.54 a gallon. Gas prices are up about 19 percent from this time last year.

Oil's trek toward $130 coincided with the Labor Department's report of an unexpectedly sharp rise in wholesale inflation last month. The combination raised fears that inflation will slice into Americans' discretionary spending, and that sent stocks falling sharply on Wall Street.

Jim Ritterbusch, president of oil trading advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Ill., said oil prices were being supported by strong demand for diesel fuel in Asia, and a weakening of the U.S. dollar against the euro, which makes oil cheaper for some investors overseas.

"We're getting a combination of two price drivers this morning," he said.

Oil prices are now about twice as high as the were just a year ago. Prices have been propelled by a number of factors, including supply concerns, soaring global demand and a sliding dollar.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Washington Post: Time Running Out for Energy in Mexico

Click here for full article.


By Marcela Sanchez
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, May 16, 2008; 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel's warning to the Mexican Congress last week sounded ominous: If legislators did not approve reforms within the oil sector, the country would suffer a "severe energy crisis" within a decade.

That's probably an understatement.

Mexico's oil production is rapidly declining. The Cantarell oil field, one of the world's largest, is responsible for almost two-thirds of Mexico's production. In 2004, it brought up 2.1 million barrels a day; today it produces only half that. Unless new sources are found, Mexico -- up until last year the second-largest supplier to the United States -- will become a net oil importer by the year 2018.

For some countries, being a net oil importer is no big deal. But for Mexico, oil represents the single largest amount of revenue for the federal government -- about 40 percent. This looming "energy crisis" would be felt more than just at the pump. It would be across the board, impacting financial, social and political sectors as well.

Still, almost every expert on this issue I've interviewed or heard speak in recent months insists that it won't get that bad. They say Mexico will come to its senses and adopt the kind of overhaul that will give the country's state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos -- Pemex -- enough flexibility to invest more of its profits in modernizing its operations. That way, the experts say, it could become more like Brazil's state-run Petrobras, regarded as one of Latin America's most well-run companies.

At the same time, Mexico's attitude about oil and Pemex's serious systemic flaws don't inspire much optimism. The energy proposals introduced last month by President Felipe Calderon offer some modest reforms, but probably not enough to stem the crisis. As Jeffrey Davidow, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, put it diplomatically, "the steps they are taking are not sufficient."

Friday, May 02, 2008

I met Barack Obama and gave him a copy of Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over" yesterday!

That's it in his right hand!

I attended a small town hall meeting in South Bend today. The meeting was mainly focused on energy and farming. Several farmers were present. Approximately 80 people were there in a pole barn with hay stacks around the speaking area.

After the meeting was over, he made his rounds shaking hands and greeting people. Since I had the opportunity, I brought and gave my copy of Richard Heinberg's book "The Party's Over: Oil, War, & the Fate of Industrial Societies" to him with my name, address, and blog address written on the inside of the cover. I told him to wait until the campaign is over and then read it and my blog where he could find more information when he has time (if THAT would ever be the case! lol). Maybe Michelle might have some time to read it.

I could've asked him a question but I'm not a very good speaker. I chickened out. I speak better with smaller crowds and definitely not while I could possibly be on CNN! The cameras were straight on me because I was sitting behind where he was standing.

Anyway, I've personally gone to the straight potential top! I'm not messing around this time! :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Can't Grow Sugar = Honey? Buzz grows over beekeeping: Boston.com



Click here for full article.

excerpt:

By Irene Sege
Globe Staff / April 28, 2008

All morning one cool, drizzly April Sunday, cars pull up to the Reseska Apiaries warehouse in Holliston - one driven by an attorney, one carrying a plumber and a machinist, another a yoga studio owner. The occasion is the arrival by truck of 270 three-pound boxes of honeybees from Georgia, all ready for pick-up by a diverse and burgeoning cadre of backyard beekeepers.
more stories like this

"When I signed up for bee school, I thought there would be six people," says Kristina Ward, a 38-year-old landscape designer from Norfolk. "It turned out there's a whole subculture."

Subculture indeed. Ward is among almost four dozen aspiring beekeepers who recently completed the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association introductory "bee school," up from 17 two years ago.

Across Massachusetts and beyond, interest in beekeeping is exploding. Plymouth County's bee school had 40 students this spring, up from about two dozen two years ago. Worcester County, home of the nation's oldest county beekeepers' association, attracted 200 to its most recent course, almost double its 2005 enrollment. Essex County turned away some 40 aspiring beekeepers this year and taught another 93, a dramatic increase in interest over 2007, when 90 students enrolled, and well above the 60 or 70 typical before that. The Massachusetts Beekeepers Association has 320 members with 2,000 hives, up from 93 members with an estimated 1,500 hives in 2006."


This is on my list of plans for the future--beekeeping. For some of us, it will be more than just a hobby! Not only would keeping bees be good for honey but they would also be good for the pollination of the food garden!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fully Renewable: biogas+wind+solar at peak and base

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR8gEMpzos4

Scientists of the University of Kassel in Germany prove that the entire country can be powered by renewables only. They connected biogas, wind and solar power in a distributed way and show it can deliver both baseloads and peakloads.

http://biopact.com/2007/12/germany-is-doing-it-reliable.html

for more info.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"The Geography Of Hope: A Tour Of The World We Need"

"The Geography Of Hope: A Tour Of The World We Need" by Chris Turner

provides examples of communities recently made sustainable by revamping and restructuring their respective energy requirements. Here's an excellent interview, according to Chris Turner, himself:
http://www.greenlivingonline.com/OurWorld/chris-turner?

Chris' own website is here (www.thegeographyofhope.com/).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Abandoned Mines = Geothermal Heat (5 min.Video)

www.cbc.ca/mrl3/23745/thenational/archive/geothermal-031008.wmv

Abandoned Mines Provide Geothermal Heat
March 10, 2008 (Runs 4:57)
Innovator Ralph Ross, of Springhill, Nova Scotia has been working in geothermal energy since the 80's and is finally seeing his idea take off.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

How I Learned To Survive Peak Oil

http://www.altenergystocks.com/ (alternative energy (AE) capitalism)

is a North American focussed site dedicated to proposing viable, comprehensive solutions using off-the-shelf technologies.

Other sites include:
http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/ (European perspective by a consultant based in the U.K.)
http://saltwatermatt.stumbleupon.com/ (Australia-based omnibus site, a bit left wing)
http://tresenglish.stumbleupon.com/ (both national and local (Teaching & Helping project) based in Arizona, USA)
http://bs1999bs.stumbleupon.com/ (excellent AE links, also has environmental focus: warning - disturbing images!)
http://peaknik.blogspot.com (omnibus site with innumerable links, USA)
http://www.cleantechblog.com ("the premier cleantech site for commentary on technologies, news, and issues relating to next generation energy and the environment.")
http://www.energybulletin.net (much more than "a clearinghouse for information regarding the peak in global energy supply")

Please add your favourite sites.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nanoparticles could make hydrogen cheaper than gasoline

URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206801669

PORTLAND, Ore. — The hydrogen economy is getting a shot in the arm from a start-up that says its nanoparticle coatings could make hydrogen easy to produce at home from distilled water, and ultimately bring the cost of hydrogen fuel cells in line with that of fossil fuels.

QuantumSphere Inc. says it has perfected the manufacture of highly reactive catalytic nanoparticle coatings that could up the efficiency of electrolysis, the technique that generates hydrogen from water. Moreover, the coatings could also eliminate the need for expensive metals like platinum in hydrogen fuel cells.

Boasting 1,000 times the surface area of traditional materials, the coatings can be used to retrofit existing electrolysers to increase their efficiency to 85 percent--exceeding the Department of Energy's goal for 2010 by 10 percent. The scheme holds the promise of 96 percent efficiency by the time cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells hit automobile showrooms, according to the Santa Ana, Calif., company.

"Instead of switching 170,000 gas stations over to hydrogen, using our electrodes could enable consumers to make their own hydrogen, either in the garage or right on the vehicle," said Kevin Maloney, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of QuantumSphere. "Our nanoparticle-coated electrodes make electrolysers efficient enough to provide hydrogen on demand from a tank of distilled water in your car."

The first commercial product inspired by QuantumSphere's technology will debut later this year: a battery using a cathode coated with the startup's nanoparticles, thereby increasing its energy density 5x over alkaline cells and boosting power by 320 percent. The first commercial nonrechargeable batteries with this increased capacity will be announced by an as-yet-unnamed major U.S. battery maker in the second half of 2008.

QuantumSphere also claims to be able to improve rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride batteries to the point where they perform better than the less environmentally friendly lithium-ion batteries popular today.

QuantumSphere's plan is first to retrofit existing electrolysis equipment with its nanoparticle electrodes to boost efficiency. Next, it intends to partner with original equipment manufacturers to design at-home and on-vehicle electrolysers for making hydrogen from water for fuel cells. Finally, the company wants to work with fuel cell makers to replace their expensive platinum electrodes with inexpensive stainless-steel electrodes coated with nickel-iron nanoparticles.

QuantumSphere's nanoparticles are available in four formulations: nickel cobalt, iron cobalt, nickel iron and silver copper. According to the Freedonia Group Inc. (Cleveland), the nanoparticles can be sold directly into the catalyst metals market, which it predicts will edge up to $4.7 billion this year.

QuantumSphere is also expected to have an impact on the battery market, which Freedonia estimates will grow to more than $5 billion by 2009. Portable fuel cells and direct hydrogen generation are markets that are growing even faster, with fuel cells estimated to top $11 billion by 2013, according to Wintergreen Research Inc. (Lexington, Mass.), and hydrogen generation to exceed $15 billion by 2016, according to Clean Edge Inc. (Portland, Ore.).

QuantumSphere was founded in 2002 with just $100,000 of private funding and still has not taken in any venture capital, although it did have a public funding round last year. The company's founding goal was to create a thimble full of the nanoparticles it invented. But now, just over five years later, it claims to have surpassed its original goal with a manufacturing plant capable of producing tons of nanoparticles per year.

QuantumSphere claims its current manufacturing capacity is enough for both the battery and electrolysis markets. With an eye on future growth, however, the company has partnered with the OM Group Inc. (Cleveland) for mass-producing nanoparticles when QuantumSphere can no longer meet demand.

After perfecting the original invention, for which QuantumSphere was awarded a patent last year, the company hired an engineering team to adapt the nanoparticles for particular applications. Leading that team was director of fuel cell research Kimberly McGrath, a protg of George Olah, the 1994 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry. Olah, inventor of the direct liquid-methanol fuel cell, serves as a scientific adviser to QuantumSphere.

"We have formulated a nanoparticle coating that has a very high surface area, enabling inexpensive coated stainless-steel electrodes to exceed the performance of the expensive platinum electrodes used today," said McGrath. "We start with raw material that covers about the size of a sheet of paper, but after converting into nanoparticles, it covers a soccer field."

The nanoparticles are perfect spheres, consisting of a couple hundred atoms measuring from 16 to 25 nanometers in diameter. They are formed by means of a vacuum-deposition process that uses vapor condensation to produce highly reactive catalytic nanoparticles, for which the engineering team has formulated several end-use applications.

"Our biggest engineering challenge was finding a way to get the nanoparticles to stick to metal electrodes," McGrath said. The company has solved that problem, she said, "enabling existing electrolysis equipment to realize a 30 percent increase in hydrogen output just by retrofitting our coated electrodes."

QuantumSphere projects that the efficiency of electrolysis using its nanoparticle-coated electrodes, now at 85 percent, can be increased to 96 percent by the time hydrogen fuel cell automobiles are in wide use. Adjusting for rising gasoline prices, QuantumSphere projects that performing electrolysis at home to power hydrogen fuel cells will then be less expensive than burning fossil fuels.

The company has also made progress in its quest to eliminate the need for expensive platinum electrodes inside the fuel cell itself, claiming that today it can replace half a fuel cell's platinum with nanoparticle-coated stainless steel. QuantumSphere hopes to demonstrate fuel cells with no platinum at all in the coming years.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Waking Up Syndrome--Hopedance Magazine

Full article here.

This article covers the emotional aspects of dealing with the realization of peak oil and other worldwide events.

Time's up for petrol, says GM chief--Sydney Herald


Click here for full article.

I thought this was an important milestone to capture on the blog...
"The world's biggest car maker, General Motors, believes global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable.

In a stunning announcement at the opening of the Detroit motor show, Rick Wagoner, GM's chairman and chief executive, also said ethanol was an "important interim solution" to the world's demand for oil, until battery technology improved to give electric cars the same driving range as petrol-powered cars."...

"Mr Wagoner cited US Department of Energy figures which show the world is consuming roughly 1000 barrels of oil every second of the day, and yet demand for oil is likely to increase by 70 per cent over the next 20 years. Some experts believe the supply of oil peaked in 2006.

The remaining oil reserves are deeper below the Earth's surface and therefore more costly to mine and refine.

"There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now," Mr Wagoner said. "As a business necessity and an obligation to society we need to develop alternative sources of propulsion."

Good article. The article outlines Mr. Wagoner's belief, correctly in my beliefs as well, that ethanol is only an interim solution.

Sunday, January 13, 2008