Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Contrarian Take on Peak Oil Doom and Peak Everything Doom

In 1971, the Limits to Growth team forecast that the world’s supply would run out 10 years from today. And yet according to renowned oil analyst Daniel Yergin, technology advances and new discoveries have allowed oil reserves worldwide to keep growing. For every barrel of oil produced in the world from 2007 to 2009, 1.6 barrels of new reserves were added. The World Energy Council reports that global proven recoverable reserves of natural gas liquids and crude oil amounted to 1.2 trillion barrels in 2010. That’s enough to last another 38 years at current usage. Add in shale oil, and that’s an additional 4.8 trillion barrels, or a century and a half’s worth of supply at present usage rates. Tar sands, including some huge Canadian deposits, add perhaps 6 trillion barrels more.

We’re awash in more than oil. One British study from the 1930s predicted an acute global shortage of copper “within a generation.” Not so much. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates global land-based copper resources to be 3 billion tons or more—the equivalent of 185,000 years at current production. That’s almost double the estimate of resources from 11 years ago, which means the number may have further to climb. And when we do finally run out of land-based supplies, there are still the undersea sources to use up.

The long-term picture for phosphate, vital for fertilizer production, is also reassuring, despite a price spike in 2008: Estimated global phosphate reserves climbed from 11 million tons in 1995 to 65 million tons in 2010—equal to 369 years of current production. The list goes on: Current resource estimates suggest it will take 347 years to run out of helium, 890 for beryllium, centuries for chromium, more than a millennium for lithium and strontium. And for those Americans worried about the price of makeup, resources of talc in the U.S. alone are enough to provide more than 1,000 years of supplies at current rates of domestic production.

...There are still plenty of good reasons to conserve the world’s mineral resources—just as there are very good reasons to avoid another war in the Middle East. But fear that the resources will run out isn’t one of them. _BW
While Al Fin energy analysts do not consider themselves cornucopians, neither do they consider themselves doomers. While they understand that the true complement of energy and minerals inside the Earth is certain to be far higher than the most optimistic estimates, these resources will not necessarily be easy to extract -- particularly with the types of lefty-Luddite green dieoff.orgy political leadership that more and more populations are choosing to lead them these days.

If your governments are sabotaging your society's best efforts to create an abundant future, you need to stop electing that kind of government! If you can't learn to stop hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, you probably have bigger problems than "peak oil doom" or "carbon hysteria." Think about it.



Blogger Whirlwind22 said...

Here is an article claiming that natural gas reservers are overstated.

11:08 AM  

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