Gas and Nuclear

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aleister perdurabo
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Gas and Nuclear

Chris,
I have really enjoyed your presentation and have turned many people on to your Crash Course. It is nothing short of magisterial. However, I must take exception to some of your analysis in the energy chapter.
You are correct that surplus energy is declining and that costs of liquid fuel will take a larger proportion of our incomes. But I don’t believe this will be an exponential rise. When oil is priced over $50 a barrel, it can be produced synthetically using the Fischer – Tropsch process. Essentially coal is chemically united with water to release the hydrogen in water and wed it to the carbon in coal. This produces an eminently usable liquid fuel. This process was used by Nazi Germany and Japan to produce fuel during WW2, when fossil fuel was embargoed. South Africa also used the process when they were embargoed in the Apartheid era. They actually continue to produce diesel to this day.
This process requires a large investment, but if oil remains priced over $100 for long it can be economically achieved.
The four energy hogs (US, China, Russia, and India) all have massive amounts of coal. The US alone has 2 trillion tons of coal and uses about a billion tons a year. Even if we increase our consumption tenfold it will last for centuries. There are some Environmental consequences with CO2 increase, but they can be sequestered at costs that are not astronomical.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer-Tropsch_process
I agree that ethanol and hydrogen are probably a dead end, but your remarks on uranium seem off the point. We can run the ultrasafe Pebble Bed nuclear reactors for safe power and a smaller amount of Fast Breeder reactors to produce Plutonium for the fuel to use in them. France is doing this now. We treat Plutonium as nuclear waste for political reasons rather than scientific reasons. A Breeder reactor can double the amount of Plutonium fuel in less than ten years. Nuclear might be a tough sell to the US public, but the risks are quite manageable. When faced with a choice between a rapid fall in living standards or the small risks of Nuclear, I think the nuclear option can be sold. Also Nuclear is Green as far as Carbon output.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor
I also recommend that you take a look at the recently released book “Physics for Future Presidents”. It is written by Richard Muller, PhD, a Physicist at UCAL Berkeley and a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. It is a very readable and accessible explanation of energy in its many forms. I would hope at least one of our dumbbell candidates would also take a look.
Please keep up your truly exceptional work. Thanks for your efforts, I look forward to your next chapter.
Regards,
Aleister Purdurabo

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Being new to the site, I searched for over 30 minutes for this thread only to find no discussion on the topic.

I build natural gas fired power plants for a living. Though not an expert on R&D and pilot projects, I am familiar with and hear the discussions about them. I see no logical reason we should ever run out of energy. I personally believe that before I die, we will have economically viable single home nuclear generators available that will run for years. In fact the largest obstacle to their implementation will be the federal government trying to figure out how to tax their usage. Taxing ALL future usage at the point of sale will make them wholly unaffordable.

Crash Course makes the mistake (IMO) of citing historical political decisions based on nuclear opposition as a basis for predicting future political decisions regardless of public demand. When houses go dark, factories close their doors, and the public is relegated to walking or biking, I GUARANTEE the president's pen will smoke at the speed with which he/she removes one regulation after another in his/her effort to get more energy online.

Chris has good points and I think it wise to practice many of his ideas solely on the basis of common sense. But how does the life-altering scenario play out if the predicted energy crisis doesn't pan out thereby negating the "life-altering" aspect of his solutions? Will you not have needlessly made yourself poorer?

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

mikelbonin -

Interesting post.  But what happens when your beliefs do not turn out to be the facts?

Crash Course cited historical decisions because they were factual and a reasonable starting point to frame future challenges to implementing widespread use of nuclear power.  And by the time we are all walking and biking to work or the markets, you could give the President a liquid helium cooled pen and it would be fruitless.  We need to be working on sustainable and renewable energy solutions yesterday.  Not when there is political capital to be had. 

I have 20 years experience in the operations and maintenance of nuclear power plants and the logistics support and level of training required to make such operations feasible and safe are beyond the abilitiy of untrained personnel.  This is not like pulling out the users manual for the new mocrowave.  It takes years of training to get an operator just to safely operate at a functional level of proficiency.  We don't even need to discuss the safeguarding of fissile material.

Quote:

Will you not have needlessly made yourself poorer?

The short answer is no.

If you had been at the Lowesville seminar you would have a crystal clear understanding that the "life altering" changes Chris and Becca and many others of us have made in our lives have instead of making us poorer, have made us far richer.  Regardless of whether the collapses outlined in the 3E scenarios play out or not.

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Quote:  Will you not have needlessly made yourself poorer?

Define "poorer".

One of my views is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. 

Instead of trying to get us back on the fast track to consumption and "wealth accumulation" whatever that means in an unstable monetary system, I would propose that this is a great time to observe a few cultural signposts and ask ourselves if we have created the society we desire.

We might simply catalog these things:

  • How many children are obese?
  • How many children are on psychoactive drug modification?
  • What proportion of the population is in prison?
  • What level of violence do our people endure compared to other societies?
  • How do we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly?

And so on. 

For my part I am raising utterly happy and healthy kids and have downsized my life from a material perspective enormously and upgraded my quality of life commensurately. 

Also, by not spending money on a lot of things it turns out you can actually make yourself wealthier in the classical sense too.

I consider it a win-win that serves me no matter which future arrives.

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

I'm 100% with Chris here.....  Poorer?  Are you KIDDING???  I've never been wealthier since I gave up my car......  bottomless black holes the lot of them.  I'm now so rich, I stopped working.  Well not for the economy anyhow.....  I work for MEEEE.

Even if you offered me oneof those "economically viable single home nuclear generators" for free...  I wouldn't have one!  It would probably encourage me to do something really stupid like buy a plasma screen TV.  Oh wait....  I'd have to go to work to get one!  Fuggedaboudit.

Re the Fischer – Tropsch process:  have you stopped to think WHY Hitler and the Japanese lost the war?

At the time of WWII, the USA was the world's largest oil producer by a long shot.  None of the super giant oil fields in the Middle East had been discovered even.....  And why do you think Hitler invaded Nth Africa and Russia?  It certainly wasn't for the deserts and freezing winters, now was it, and the same applies to why the Japanese invaded Malaysia and Indonesia, riddled with mosquito infested jungles.  No my friend, they needed OIL.

So why did we win WWII?  The West had America and its oil on our side.  Oil won the war.  You can keep your Fischer – Tropsch process, its ERoEI is way too poor to keep modern society going, a society far more reliant on energy that that of the 1940's.

Mike

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Limits to growth - the Standard Run and Double Resource predictions
by Dave Kimble at www.peakoil.org.au

From :

Limits to Growth
A report for the Club of Rome's project on the predicament of mankind
by D.H. Meadows, D.L. Meadows, J. Randers and W.W. Behrens III (1972)
page 124

Limits to Growth - the Standard Run

Note that scenarios in the book all have the timeframe of 1900 - 2100.
The authors do not claim that their predictions are accurate, but say they are indicative only.

In the Standard Run :
Food per capita peaks in 2008.
Industrial Output per capita peaks in 2010.
Pollution peaks in 2031.
Population peaks in 2050.

So to say the book "got it all wrong" is to jump the gun somewhat,
as the first prediction isn't due for another 2 years yet,
and won't clearly have happened until another 5 years after that at least.

Note also the point of inflection in the Resources curve.
This is the steepest point on the curve, and corresponds with the time of maximum resource extraction.
Although this refers to a fictitious thing called "all resources",
if it was oil, it would put Peak Oil at 2010
which is as good an estimate as any, looking at it from 2006.
ASPO have said the peak of light, sweet crude was in 2005,
and the peak of all liquids will be in 2010.

The assumptions made in priming the model with numbers include the size of various resource categories.
With the benefit of hindsight it can be seen that some of these figures have turned out to be too low. But anticipating this, the model was run with all resource allocations doubled :

Limits to Growth - Double Resources

In the Double Resources run :
Food per capita peaks in 2015.
Industrial Output per capita peaks in 2028.
Population peaks in 2041, and pollution increases without limit.
The peak of resource extraction rate occurs in 2030,
so doubling resources has only delayed the inevitable by 20 years.

My interpretation of this is that this is the runaway Greenhouse scenario.
( For more on Greenhouse, see www.peakoil.org.au/greenhouse.htm )

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

One other thing....  IF freely/easily available energy was available as you believe, this would allow population to continue growing, and growing EXPONENTIALLY.  Freely/easily available energy also allows Freely/easily available consumption, which would also allow for exponential growth of the extraction of all other resources.  The end result MUST be we run out of 'stuff' even faster....

Then, we have EVEN MORE people to deal with who don't have 'stuff' to keep them going, not least FOOD....  because ultimately it's FOOD that is the most important source of energy to humans!

"Humanity's greatest shortcoming is its inability to understand the exponential function"  Pr Albert Bartlett.

Mike

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

AS,

Quote:
When oil is priced over $50 a barrel, it can be produced synthetically using the Fischer – Tropsch process. Essentially coal is chemically united with water to release the hydrogen in water and wed it to the carbon in coal

What fuel is used in the process? How long until it runs low, or becomes cost ineffective?
Even creating synthetic fuels requires oil. The machinery to build and produce plants capable of powering homes costs oil.

The solutions rendered by such plants only provides for home and industrial electricty and do not help solve the transportation crisis that will appear to fill the oil void. Without mass transit, shipping and so on, the economic impacts will be profound.

A further point I'd like to make is that the infrastructure that we're talking about creating has to be financed; ever larger levels of debt. With the monetary malfunctions that we're dealing with right now, it's entirely possible that those solutions exist, but will "wither on the vine"  because of the fiscal mess we've created. We're already staggering under the debt load, and we haven't even touched alternative energies.

Not to downplay your points, because they are valid, and I do hope they come to pass. If nothing else, it'd help maintain standards of living and other critically important functions like hospitals.

Just some thoughts.

Aaron

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Damnthematrix wrote:

I'm 100% with Chris here.....  Poorer?  Are you KIDDING???  I've never been wealthier since I gave up my car......

I stand corrected. I should have acknowledged that wealth has many definitions. My definition of wealth includes riding our quads to otherwise inaccessible areas so we can hike, camp, swim, and gather wood for the evening fire. Enjoying the wonderful riches of this great land and life can be enhanced by technology. It is a shame some use their riches to sit on their fat a$$es. I use mine to experience more. Yes, I believe aspects of my life would be richer were it not for my car but on balance, my life would be poorer.

Damnthematrix wrote:

Limits to Growth
A report for the Club of Rome's project on the predicament of mankind
by D.H. Meadows, D.L. Meadows, J. Randers and W.W. Behrens III (1972)
page 124

I neither read nor wish to debate Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book, The Population Bomb. I don't plan to read the report you cite written in 1972. The book has been completely discredited mainly due to the absolute inability to predict human, environmental, and/or technological reaction to particular stimuli. Population growth has followed a strong linear pattern, not exponential. My guess is the report has probably enjoyed much the same fate. See computer generated global warming models for an example of our utter failure to properly account for the unimaginable variables of such dynamic systems as the earth or human behavior.

Dogs_In A Pile wrote:

I have 20 years experience in the operations and maintenance of nuclear power plants and the logistics support and level of training required to make such operations feasible and safe are beyond the abilitiy of untrained personnel.  This is not like pulling out the users manual for the new mocrowave.  It takes years of training to get an operator just to safely operate at a functional level of proficiency.  We don't even need to discuss the safeguarding of fissile material.

Not looking to discuss nuclear power and the reasons it won't work. I am merely stating a belief that technology will, within 40 years, give us safe, maintenance free power on a personal level as an assumptive basis from which to extrapolate the consequences of the changes advocated by Chris.

It appears the answer to my question "...how does the life-altering scenario play out if the predicted energy crisis doesn't pan out..." is "Altering your lifestyle in this manner will make you healthier, happier, and more self-sufficient." I have no problem with that as long as it doesn't get written into law.

Keep up the good advocacy work.

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

First, thank you all for this great website. Very interesting.

I've recently read a book called "The myth of the oil crisis" by Robin M. Mills.  It might be biased since he is an oil professional . 

I wanted to see the arguments of the opposite viewpoint. He has plausible and interesting arguments. He explains how to  overcome the challenges of depletion. He talks about: major oil nations, reserves of oil and other sources of energy, peak oil, substitution possibilities, supply and demand.

I highly recommend this book. He doesn't say that there will not be a peak oil in the near future but he thinks that we might be better prepared and that we have many options available.

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Not looking to discuss nuclear power and the reasons it won't work. I am merely stating a belief that technology will, within 40 years, give us safe, maintenance free power on a personal level as an assumptive basis from which to extrapolate the consequences of the changes advocated by Chris.

Yes, that is exactly correct, you are stating a belief and I am glad you framed it as such.  I place the belief in technology as among the toughest to dislodge with facts and reason because for many it is the strongest belief they hold in their lives.  For some it is based on a lifetime of observation ("Technology always advances to save the day!") and for others it is a form of denial ("I refuse to believe in a more difficult future, technology will save the day!").

However, to get others to share your belief in technology, you could use facts and logical arguments to bolster your case.  Many times I have gone at the problem of trying to find some combination of alternative or new technologies that could replace our current fossil fuel base load and many times I have been rebuffed by simple math.

Of course, this discussion has taken place many times on this site to I will merely lift some copy from an old thread to illustrate the gap that exists between a belief in technology and its practical application.

Breeder reactors?

I am still patiently awaiting word on how those will actually be deployed.  And I don't mean in a thought-piece in Scientific American. 

I mean the real world where concerns over fissile material are real and where lag times, resources, and capital concerns are factored into build-out scenarios.

To my knowledge there have been two actual breeder reactors built - SuperPhoenix in France and a test plant in Japan.  Both are now more or less decommissioned due to numerous accidents and a failure to demonstrate the sort of unlimited power that they were hoped to deliver.

My goal for this site is to have good, solid, fact-driven debates that conform to reality and make liberal use of numbers and knowns.

So in the case of breeder reactors I think we've heard quite enough about how great they are and are ready for the next level of that discussion.  

Please take the time to add up a few numbers (like Switters has done for nuclear). 

  • How many will be needed? 
  • How much do they cost? 
  • How will the security issues be handled? 
  • Where will the fissile material come from?   Who will control it?
  • What's the build-out schedule (how many need to be built per year)?
  • Who will do the building?  How many skilled workers do they have?
  • Assuming we are now moving to an electric society, what sorts of changes to our transportation and electric infrastructure will be needed?  How much will this cost?  How long will it take to get there?

In my case when I run these questions through my rough understanding of how the world works I come up with answers like "$$$ trillions" and "decades".

Which means I see an energy dip in our future and then I wonder how an economy based on perpetual growth gets through that period with enough gas in the tank to build out all these super-duper, massively capital intensive projects.

Everything comes to TIME, SCALE and COST with a shortage of skills sets and sometimes rare materials lurking within the SCALE attribute for most game-changing technologies.

 
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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Evidently I must apologize for not using the words "stating a belief". I believe the words I originally used were "I personally believe...". This did not appear to be a thread to discuss the viability of one form of energy or another. I have found many threads on that subject and am in the process of reading them. Should I engage in one of them, I will certainly supply facts and logical background to bolster my case. I also have no doubt whatsoever that I will learn a great deal from the discussions.

I merely stated my belief as an assumption. I am not arguing that your belief is wrong. My purpose was to discuss the implications of such radical change in one's life in case your belief is wrong. So let me try to restart.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and was just wondering. What if you're wrong? What then?

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Hi Mike and welcome,

I have a curiosity question for you pertaining to your little quote at the bottom.

'Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and was just wondering. What if you're wrong? What then?''

Is this question ment to play 'devils advocate?' Not that there isn't specifics within that could be debated (Inflation/deflation, or this forum as examples), but to flat out ask "what if your wrong?" all the while having what, at least to me, seem to be pretty blatant facts that point to 'the next 20 years being completely different than the last.' Tie that into all the recent events and we seem to hitting the nitrous button in the race to disaster (what ever one believe's it to be).

Like I said, I am simply curious.

Welcome again,

Mike (there are a bunch of us 'mike's' here...)

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Hi Mike. Welcome to the site.

mikelbonin wrote:

Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and was just wondering. What if you're wrong? What then?

Then I will look a tad foolish but will be well rested as I sleep very well at night having made the preparations I have made. It all boils down to personal beliefs, and it is different for everyone.

I hope you find what you seek here.

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Amen ready, I would rather look a tad foolish, than the latter. Besides, I'd be a 'fool' that would have to do very little shopping for many items for a long time lol. Talk about saving time, and money.....

I will say that all the changes I have made in my life due to this site and everything I have read and studied have been very positive. I am still working on these changes, and it is awesome...everything from a garden, to solar panels, to PM's. I wouldn't change it for the world...

Mike

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

mikelbonin wrote:

Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and was just wondering. What if you're wrong? What then?

 

First I have to ask "wrong about what?"  The way you've phrased the question leaves me wondering what your intent here is.  If you mean "everything" then there's not much to say here because it means you are not really prepared to engage in the topics contained herein.  If this is the case, then you have some inner work to do before you'll be ready for this site and what it has to offer.

To play along though, if your question was "what if you're wrong about the impact of declining oil on our way of life?" then here's my answer.

If I am wrong, and peak oil has no impact on either the US standard of living or ability to expand its economy into perpetuity, then I will find myself with stronger community connections, a richer and deeper pool of friends, in possession of new skills, an energy efficient house, with fewer material possessions than my neighbors but more money saved up, and about $4,000 worth of various purchases that I have made in anticipation of a future that never came.  These I will donate with glee to the needy when the time comes.

Now how about you?  What happens if you're wrong but have made no preparations?  What sort of a list of possible outcomes can you envision for that scenario?

This is, in essence, a re-run of the 2x2 grid I laid out in Chapter 20.  It's a good method for figuring out the relative risk and impacts of various decisions.

 

 
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Re: Gas and Nuclear

mikelbonin wrote:

Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and was just wondering. What if you're wrong? What then?

Welcome again.

Before I "pile" on I need to ask a couple of questions:

1.  Where do you sit with regards to the material presented in Crash Course? 

2.  Based on what you were exposed to in Crash Course, what do you think is going to be the minimum that is going to happen?

Now to your signature question - I can afford to be wrong.  At the very least I am ready for the next hurricane or ice storm that knocks power out for a few weeks.

I have already been on both sides of the issues.  It would appear that you aren't there yet - keep at it - there are lots of people in here who are ready and willing to answer your questions.

So I think the real question that needs to be asked is "What if mikelbonin is wrong?"

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

I just wanted to add one thing to what has been discussed above.  Chris mentioned "Everything comes to TIME, SCALE and COST with a shortage of skills sets and sometimes rare materials lurking within the SCALE attribute for most game-changing technologies."  I saw this article today that discusses the same ideas as the ones contained in this statement - http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/05/13/mackay.energy/index.html

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

"I don't plan to read the report you cite written in 1972. The book has been completely discredited mainly due to the absolute inability to predict human, environmental, and/or technological reaction to particular stimuli"

Oh really?  Did you look at those old graphs?  From where I sit, they look.....  BANG ON!  Yes the Report has been DENIGRATED many many times, but never has it been DISCREDITED, which is NOT the same thing.

"Population growth has followed a strong linear pattern, not exponential."  Mike, have you even LOOKED at the Crash Course?  Exponential growth is caused by something, in this case population, growing a certain percentage every year.  And every year, population grows by another 1% or so.  So by definition, population growth IS exponential, whether you believe otherwise or not.....

Humanity's greatest shortcoming is its inability to understand the exponential function.  Pr Albert Bartlett.

So far, your result for the CC is an F!

Mike

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Not having read this book, nor even heard of it before, I went searching for what people who have read it think of it, and that alone was insightful!  Comments like:

The author of this book and his followers on this website have constructed a "straw man" out of the peak oil argument. In so doing, they have misrepresented the entire debate by essentially equating "peak oil" with "running out of oil." Peak oil refers to the point in time when the world reaches the maximum rate of oil production. This can happen even when a large amount of oil (both conventional and non-conventional) still remains in the ground.

For example, the peak of U.S. oil production occurred in the 1970s even though there were still large oil fields in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere in the U.S. that had not been produced or discovered. Likewise, world oil production can peak even though there is still a large amount of oil (and tar sands, oil shales, coal, natural gas, biofuels, etc) remaining. The danger is we may not be able to produce these remaining resources as rapidly or economically as conventional crude oil, in which case peak oil would occur. This, in turn, could lead to an end of economic growth as we have known it, as economic growth has always gone hand in hand with ever increasing energy consumption. I hope that does not happen. However, this book provides no comfort because it only deals with a distorted and simplistic version of the peak oil debate and fails to confront real issues.

AND:

This is a well-written, concise and persuasive book that gives peak-oil alarmists a run for their money. As a recovering peak oil alarmist myself, I found it immensely comforting to read Mills' well-developed argument against the peak oil theory, and although I'm not completely convinced he's right, I come away with a good deal more faith that even if oil supplies peak in coming years, our civilization can survive.

AND:

The importance of this book shows that the world is not in fact running out of reserves. The oil industry can and does find more reserves every year than are produced.

Which is patently and factually totally untrue.....  Does Mills actually say this? 

I still think that when people do not want to believe the truth, they will clutch at anything that keeps the current paradigm going.  The fact that Mills is an Oil Professional is really irrelevant, because most of the Peakers are themselves Oil Professionals, and credentials such as M King Hubbert's, Ken Deffeyes' and Colin Campbell's are a little hard to beat.

For me, data does not lie.  So I'll believe the data.  The Party's Over......

Mike

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Re: Gas and Nuclear

Coal supply may be vastly overestimated


 

Worldwide coal production could plateau as early as 2025, according to one new estimate (Source: Mick Tsikas/Reuters)

Related Stories

The world's coal supply suggests reserves may be vastly overestimated and we could be facing an unprecedented global energy crisis, according to a US expert.

On the flip side, a dwindling supply of coal could also throw the brakes on global warming, some argue.

Common knowledge about coal is that major producing nations like China, the United States and Australia, have enough to last hundreds of years, far beyond the reach of oil, which may already be in its twilight years.

But worldwide coal production could plateau as early as 2025, according to one new estimate, and a growing group of scientists are concerned that fossil fuel supplies may begin dwindling by mid-century.

Last year, David Rutledge of the California Institute of Technology analysed the coal production patterns of five regions around the world - eastern Pennsylvania, France, Germany's Ruhr Valley, the United Kingdom and Japan - each of which was producing at less than a tenth of its peak levels.

He found that each of the depleted regions followed a rough bell curve of production; initial production was followed by a steep ramp-up, a plateau near peak levels, and then a consistent decline.

When he applied the same formula to coal data from around the world, the results were startling.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's maximum estimate for extractable coal is about 3000 billion tonnes. Rutledge's calculations suggest just 600 billion tonnes.

The problem with the IPCC estimate is that it lumps coal reserves, which are easy to mine, with coal resources, which may be impossible to mine.

Time for rethink

Rutledge's study also shows that, historically, national governments in the five regions have overestimated their reserves by a factor of four on average.

"These appraisals are large-scale issues," he says. "But they're done by governments. What's the incentive for governments not to give a number that is too high?"

James Murray of the University of Washington agrees.

In a talk being presented later this month at the American Geophysical Union Joint Assembly, he plans to call for a re-evaluation of IPCC emissions scenarios, all 40 of which overstate humanity's ability to emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, according to Rutledge's numbers.

The committee's projections predict CO2 levels in the atmosphere to approach 500 parts per million by 2050, if emissions continue on their current trend.

But Rutledge's work suggest that even if humans burn all the coal and oil we can get our hands on, we won't be able to push CO2 past 450 ppm. Oil sands and other unconventional fossil fuels probably won't add much to that total.

Murray and Rutledge diverge on the question of climate effects, though.

Using IPCC models, Rutlgedge argues that global temperatures won't get higher than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, at the lower end of what scientists think might spark 'dangerous' climate change.

"We're still going to have global warming, and it's a serious threat," says Murray. "I have no doubt the IPCC dramatically underestimates climate sensitivity."

Regardless of climate impacts, the concern over looming energy scarcity may be more acute than ever.

"I think we'll see peak coal somewhere between 2025 and 2035," says Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute in California. "This has huge economic implications. Without growth in our energy supplies, it's very difficult to see how we're going to grow the economy."

mikelbonin's picture
mikelbonin
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 11 2009
Posts: 4
Re: Gas and Nuclear

cmartenson wrote:

This is, in essence, a re-run of the 2x2 grid I laid out in Chapter 20.  It's a good method for figuring out the relative risk and impacts of various decisions.

This is probably the best advice at this point. I am shaking my head in disbelief at Ch 17 (remember, I have not studied the subject in depth-I'm at the beginning of that journey). The answer at this juncture is to complete the DVD and begin to look at all aspects of the picture in relation to itself. Thanks, Chris.

Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

1.  Where do you sit with regards to the material presented in Crash Course?

See above. I've decided to watch the whole thing to get your complete picture then decide what questions to ask.

Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

2.  Based on what you were exposed to in Crash Course, what do you think is going to be the minimum that is going to happen?

A friend handed me the DVD and asked for feedback. My focus for the last 20 years has been political. I am aware of the tremendous damage an overbearing government can do. Current policy will lead to a dramatic lessening of my purchasing power. But I have never even heard that our economic system is, by its very nature, doomed. I am currently studying that, also. I have experience in the power industry and see things that don't jibe with what I have always "known".

The minimum that will happen? Since I have never put any deep thought to the matter, I think my abstract answer would be this. I essentially believe most of what you believe except I've thought (assumed?) it would happen over many generations instead of the calamitous 20 years presented by the Crash Course. So I now study what you have to say. So far, I think government interference, confiscation, and oppression present a vastly greater threat than a lack of future energy. I'll see where the evidence leads me and report back.

that1guy wrote:

Is this question ment to play 'devils advocate?'

Not at all. A catastrophic reduction of world wide energy sources runs counter to all I have learned and experienced over the last 20 years. Asking for the ramifications of the lifestyle you're advocating seemed like the first and only logical question that could possibly be asked. Do not attack me for this. I am simultaneously studying other threads because I also ask of myself the same question.

Damnthematrix wrote:

So far, your result for the CC is an F!

I don't fail tests! I'll let you know if/when I decide to even take your test.

that1guy's picture
that1guy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 11 2009
Posts: 333
Re: Gas and Nuclear

Well, its good to hear that your doing the research to come up with the way you feel about it. My questions were not ment to attack, I was sincerely curious at the basis for the question, thats all.

I look forward to conversing with you on all areas of this in the future  

Mike

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2491
Re: Gas and Nuclear

mikelbonin wrote:

This is probably the best advice at this point. I am shaking my head in disbelief at Ch 17 (remember, I have not studied the subject in depth-I'm at the beginning of that journey). The answer at this juncture is to complete the DVD and begin to look at all aspects of the picture in relation to itself. Thanks, Chris.

Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

1.  Where do you sit with regards to the material presented in Crash Course?

See above. I've decided to watch the whole thing to get your complete picture then decide what questions to ask.

Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

2.  Based on what you were exposed to in Crash Course, what do you think is going to be the minimum that is going to happen?

A friend handed me the DVD and asked for feedback. My focus for the last 20 years has been political. I am aware of the tremendous damage an overbearing government can do. Current policy will lead to a dramatic lessening of my purchasing power. But I have never even heard that our economic system is, by its very nature, doomed. I am currently studying that, also. I have experience in the power industry and see things that don't jibe with what I have always "known".

The minimum that will happen? Since I have never put any deep thought to the matter, I think my abstract answer would be this. I essentially believe most of what you believe except I've thought (assumed?) it would happen over many generations instead of the calamitous 20 years presented by the Crash Course. So I now study what you have to say. So far, I think government interference, confiscation, and oppression present a vastly greater threat than a lack of future energy. I'll see where the evidence leads me and report back.

mikel -

By all means, stay plugged into the thread and let us know how things are going.  My "Holy Sh*t!" moment came after I finished Chapter 17.  I am getting ready for things to start degenerating in the next 2-4 years and have built my plan based on that assumption.

I look forward to continuing our exchanges.

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Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
A Glut of Bum Data

A Glut of Bum Data

by Matthew Simmons

For the last several months, I have been baffled at the widespread impression that the United States has suddenly created a serious natural gas glut thanks to the miracle of abundant shale gas plays cropping up all over the place. I now realize I had probably underestimated the remarkable growth we have seen in Barnett Shale gas and the emergence of Haynesville gas and the other shale plays. At first glance, these plays are very impressive. However, they require an exponential increase in drilling and fracing as each individual well has a high decline rate once it begins production.

But I still questioned whether the growth I read about for the past few months – as much as 8 to 9 percent – could really be right, given how high the decline rates have become for almost the entire U.S. gas production base. Moreover, real-time decline-rate data is notoriously hard to capture, even for many important producers.

When the major gas players all reported their 2008 U.S. natural gas production, I finally began smelling what seemed to be a stinking rat: the fact that the top 10 superstar domestic natural gas producers grew their total gas by only 8 percent more than the major gas oil company gas producers declined. Thus, to justify the wild claims by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that natural gas supply had grown so high, all the small, privately owned independents would have to have grown their gas production twice as high as the top 10 superstars. That is a claim I had a hard time swallowing.

In early April, the EIA came out with a clumsy announcement that its key gas supply report – the so-called EIA-914 production data, which samples a wide number of real gas producers of the real wet gas they actually produce each month – had some technical glitches and was being adjusted. The organization then released a detailed report of the methodology it adopted in 2005 to try to get a better handle on real supply. You have to read this report carefully to appreciate its bizarre nature. Fortunately for the EIA, relatively few people actually read the data.

Now I see that according to the latest EIA-914 report through January 2009, total growth of wet gas, quite different from dry gas, grew by 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) between January 2008 and January 2009. However, the only regions that significantly grew their gas produced over the past 12 months were Texas – an obvious candidate, given the strong production growth of the Barnett Shale, which accounted for most of the U.S. net gas production growth – and the “other states” (excluding such players as Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming) outside the Federal Offshore. These “other states,” according to the EIA model, grew their total gas produced by 1.37 bcf/d, 70 percent of what Texas did (see Figure 1).

We are in the early stages of crushing the natural gas industry because prices have collapsed. They collapsed because we obviously had a massive supply glut. Now supply will soon plummet as the rigs drilling for gas are off 50 percent.

What a tragedy we are facing because we had bum data! This might be far more painful than the International Energy Agency’s famed “missing barrel” mistake of 1997-1999, when a new “missing barrels” category was created to account for an imbalance in supply estimates and reality.

I have been pleading for ages for our oil and gas system either to ignore EIA data or to genuinely reform the data-collection system. Might this be the sad endgame of what was never done?

This is a very sad story in my opinion.

If the American Dream involves reducing our dependence on foreign oil, I suggest that a year or two from now, our natural gas supply might collapse to the tune of 20 to 30 percent. Call it an American Nightmare. I hope for the sake of all of us that my analysis is wrong.

Matthew R. Simmons is the chairman and CEO of Simmons & Co. International and the author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.

jpitre's picture
jpitre
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 3 2009
Posts: 366
Re: Gas and Nuclear

Hi Everyone

T Boone Pickens seems to have a completely different idea about gas. He sent out the following week or so ago:

"Due to recent advances in technology, we now have the ability to recover
natural gas from the enormous deposits in Texas, Louisiana and Appalachia
in the lower 48 states.  A recent CERA study showed there are enough
proven reserves in the Continental United States to supply our needs for
the foreseeable future.  As the Wall Street Journal recently put it, "the
U.S. is now swimming in natural gas."

He wants to see us switch our heavy transporation (long haul trucking etc) over to natural gas and supply our electricity needs from renewables based on wind and solar

Anybody have an idea as to where he is coming from and whether he is right?

Jim

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2343
Re: Gas and Nuclear

I have an idea about both... but they're beliefs - not facts, and quite frankly, I have enough distrust that I consider all these bold platitudes "guilty until proven innocent".

That is to say, I don't believe him, and he'd better show up with more than words quick if he wants to make a difference.

The language used mirrors that used by oilmen and afficianados: "We're awash", "...enough for the foreseeable future", while these things sound nice - they're not specific. For example, do they take into account the growing population?
The increased demand as infrastructure deteriorates? How about the rest of the world? Is their demand for oil going to drop off too, or will this ultimately lead to more proxy, interventionist wars to secure allied oil fields?

This isn't an answer - it's a complex path with a lot of potential pitfalls and growing pains involved.
I don't disagree, but the sad truth is we're a society built far too high with far too weak of a foundation realizing far too late that gravity applies to all equally.

Cheers,

Aaron

jpitre's picture
jpitre
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 3 2009
Posts: 366
Re: Gas and Nuclear

Good one Aaron !

I agree - we need to go back and work on the foundation.

By the way, I just found this thread which sheds some light

http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/35584#comment-35584

Jim

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RayTomes
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 20 2009
Posts: 67
Re: Gas and Nuclear

Damnthematrix wrote:

Limits to growth - the Standard Run and Double Resource predictions
by Dave Kimble at www.peakoil.org.au
...

Thanks for posting that. Somewhere I have that book buried away. It is good to see how accurate it is really considering the problems involved.

Anyone who holds that humans can go on increasing in number and use of energy with no consequences and that technology will save us, has absolutely no grasp of physics and mathematics. The bad news is that unfortunately the vast majority of humans fall into that category. The good news is that if solutions are properly worked out and pushed into action, they will follow like sheep.

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