Saturday, April 07, 2012

Peak Oil: If It Weren't for Carbon Hysteria, We Wouldn't Be Having This Conversation

In 1920, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the world contained only 60 billion barrels of recoverable oil. But to date we have produced more than 1,000 billion barrels and currently have more than 1,500 billion barrels in reserve. World petroleum reserves are at an all-time high. _newsok
For over 150 years, "knowledgeable insiders" have been predicting the end of oil. Over that time period, oil has endured multiple cycles of boom and bust, with high and very high oil prices alternating with low and very low oil prices. High oil prices -- if they are sustained over several years without a "price bust" -- lead to increased exploration and improved technologies for production.
...technological advances have opened up resources beyond the limits of our ancestors' imaginations. We can drill offshore in water up to 8,000 feet deep. We have enhanced recovery techniques, horizontal drilling and four-dimensional seismic imaging. Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm is turning North Dakota into Saudi Arabia by using hydraulic fracturing technology. U.S. oil production has reversed its 40-year decline. By the year 2020, it is anticipated that the U.S. will be the world's top oil producer.

...Nine years ago, I predicted that the age of petroleum has only just begun. I was right. The Peak Oil theorists, the malthusians and the environmentalists were all wrong. They've been proven wrong, over and over again, for decades. A tabulation of every failed prediction of resource exhaustion would fill a library.

Sustainability is a chimera. No energy source has been, or ever will be, sustainable. In the 11th century, Europeans anticipated the industrial revolution by transforming their society from dependence on human and animal power to water power. In the 18th century, water power was superseded by steam engines fired by burning wood. Coal replaced wood, and oil and gas have now largely supplanted coal. In the far distant future we'll probably use some type of nuclear power. But for at least the next hundred years, oil will remain our primary energy source because it's abundant, inexpensive and reliable.

...What's stopping us isn't geology. What's stopping us is ignorance and bad public policy. _New Age of Oil
But why are we even having this conversation about "peak oil" in the first place? The graphics pictured below should show anyone with intelligence that energy collapse will not be in the cards anytime soon.
Look at the tiny amount of liquid hydrocarbon that has been consumed by humans so far. Then look at the nearly infinite amount of liquid hydrocarbons and liquid substitute fuels which remain in the wings, waiting for sufficient need and ingenuity on the part of humans.

Discussion about EROEI -- energy returned on energy invested -- is just so much trash talk. When you consider the potential of high quality, abundant industrial process heat from advanced nuclear reactors, EROEI fears begin to sound like a joke. Whether it takes 10 or 20 years to develop and build gen IV high temperature gas cooled modular reactors, the die is cast, and peak oil doom is itself doomed, along with EROEI fears.

So what is this conversation truly about? Beneath all the smokescreens, it is about lefty-Luddite carbon hysteria, and the fear of of an advanced technological future for humans. If not for a trumped-up and irrational fear of carbon, a true hydrocarbon abundance suddenly opens up before us -- along with an abundance of electricity from advanced, safe, clean, nuclear reactors.

But if we listen to the lefty-Luddite green dieoff.orgiast fears coming from the highest levels of human governments and inter-governments, we face a new dark age of energy starvation. An age where unreliable intermittent-renewables -- ever prone to breakdown and failure -- replace reliable forms of power and energy.

The green world view is based upon several delusional beliefs, including carbon hysteria, energy scarcity, overpopulation, an environment doomed by global pollution. But these green lefty-Luddite fears are several decades old. Many of these same greens predicted that the great human dieoff was certain to occur in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. They predicted doom from global cooling -- from CO2 and pollution, no less.

But when a temporary cooling trend was replaced by a temporary warming trend, these greens of doom quickly changed tack and jumped aboard a global warming train -- caused by the same things, supposedly, that were to have brought about global cooling! They are nothing if not versatile.

But the underlying cause of doom is always human industry, human science, human technology, human commerce. That is what they fear and what they attack -- the fruits of human ingenuity itself.

The end result of human ingenuity is a cleaner and more sustainable -- but more abundant -- human future. That is what greens fear. They fear that we will move beyond the more primitive stages of human technology into cleaner, sustainable -- but very abundant -- forms of technology. This possibility is a distinct threat to the leftist green vision of the future, and must be opposed by greens in every way possible, using every green tool and green trick in the book.

That is what carbon hysteria is, of course. It is a tool to be used until it is of no more use, then it will be discarded for whatever else might serve. Just like "energy depletion and scarcity," carbon hysteria is a useful tool of ideology, without which the "peak oil myth" could never survive long.

The fear is not that there is not enough oil, not enough hydrocarbon fuel. The fear is that there will always be more than enough. As a tool to stoke that fear, carbon hysteria cannot be improved upon. Peak oil: without carbon hysteria, we wouldn't be having that conversation.



Blogger Whirlwind22 said...

And the fear that fracking is causing all of these earthquakes which some study links the two together.

5:53 PM  

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