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Peak Oil:Time's Up

By Jeff Berg

02 November, 2007

Given EWG's findings of a 2006 oil peak and a halving of oil production by 2030, and ASPO's declaration that the facts best fit a scenario where all liquid fuels peak around 2012, severe economic discontinuities can now clearly be seen to be unavoidable.

N.B. The Guardian article by Ashley Seager on the EWG report contains a factual error. I.e. The decline rate that halves oil production by 2030 is 3% not the 7% suggested in the article. If you all remember how to apply the 'Rule of 70'. In this case 2030 -2007 = 23; 23 goes into 70 three times; therefore a 3% decline rate.

The EWG report never suggests a 7% decline rate. Mr. Seager quite simply got it wrong.

My special thanks to Alfred Bartlett for reminding me about this rule as I had forgotten it. If you have not watched his video presentation on exponential growth you are in for a treat.

I had been secretly hoping for a plateau in liquid fuel production that went out to 2015 to give us all more time to get the massive changes that need to be made underway. That hope is now clearly illusory.

This is not to say that this is a story without very significant upsides. From the point of view of environmental degradation and global warming for example very obviously very significant changes needed to be made and sustained high prices and reduced availability will do what international agreements have failed to do. I.e. Lower consumption and our dependence and hasten the timetable for change.

My hope was predicated on getting us all used to less growth and more contraction while leaving enough energy available for a "softer landing", less serious discontinuities, and enough energy for the carbon chasm bridge building project that is required of this generation.

This was always a very long shot hope I readily acknowledge as we are today less united and capable of concerted action than at any time in the post-war era. Who are "WE"
anyway? "Depends" is the only answer "We" all can agree on.

The Bush Administration has "succeeded" beyond their wildest imaginings in discrediting the UN's voice and marginalizing the voice of Internationalism. What they failed to take into account is that their machinations have done an even "better" job of turning people away from America.

It is however essential to note that one should not exclude Americans from this equation. For one group that the Bushies have not silenced are America's dissidents. As it has been ever since the days of Thoreau and Twain it remains today. I.e. The fiercest, most lucid, and devastating critics of America's actions are American citizens. I take some measure of hope from this fact as small as it may be when compared to the twin towers of Energy & Emissions that we must hurdle before we can rest.

Crude oil hits record $93, fuelling fears of a recession :

Yesterday, crude oil climbed above $93 a barrel in New York for the first time, as Mexico shut one fifth of its production and the dollar fell to a record low.


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