[ExI] Whatever happened to peak oil by 2020?

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Tue May 7 18:04:22 UTC 2013

On Tue, 7 May 2013, John Clark wrote:

> On Mon, May 6, 2013  Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:
> > > As of peak oil, it seems we are going to hit the wall one way or
> > another, if nothing in our ways changes.
> Obviously the amount of oil on this planet is not infinite so sooner or
> later we will run out, but the question is whether it is a existential
> danger that requires drastic action right now or we'll all be dead or

Perhaps this is some new kind of millenarianism. Or maybe there is 
existential risk. Problem is, I don't think we can be absolutely sure of 
numbers we've got. We are living in artificial domain, made of education, 
advertisement and possibly some disinformation. Which is why it is good to 
have alternative feed, like resource prices (those can be skewed, too).

> living in a Mad Max style post apocalyptic hellscape by 2020. And besides,
> 10 years ago environmentalists were saying that if we don't stop our evil
> energy profligate ways within 5 years then we're doomed; well we didn't
> stop so I guess we're as doomed as doomed can be and so now the logical
> thing for environmentalists to do is let us enjoy the short time we have
> left before judgement day and just shut the hell up.

Ouch. I must confess. Back when I was young(er) and naive(r), I was kind 
of greenist. Never an active supporter of the movement, but still, close 
to it. But I am no longer, I have gradually moved out. It's not that I 
would like to cover everything with asphalt and pour sulphur acid into 
every river. I don't like mindless destruction of environment, which can 
be seen here and there (and is mostly driven by lust for the money, 
probably). And I am far from judging Greens as a whole (whenever I 
remember to not judge a group by some of its members). I am sure there are 
reasonable but not very loud folks - a reason is neither loud nor does it 
sell well, AFAIK. But some members of this group are plain, encyclopedic 
example of idiots. I have recently learned there is idea of reviving 
megafauna - wow, how cool it will be to have your children eaten on their 
way from school by sabretooth tiger.

But I am also a huge fan of free will. If some guys want to live in the 
woods or knee deep in the mud, if this is what makes their lives 
meaningful, be my guest. I, however, require a computer, an internet, an 
electric power, a car - and those are things that enable me to live a good 
life, without feeling like useless piece of crap. So I would have become 
very unhappy if some woohoos tried to take my good life from me. Likewise, 
if someone wants velociraptor or cave bear revived, be my guest as long as 
you keep them in _your_ backyard (whatever enters mine is my game). And if 
this cave bear eats children, better make sure they are yours, not mine. 
Also, I have heard that up to hundred years ago, if one went into the 
woods it wasn't all that obvious he would go out of there. So maybe I know 
better than some other people that environment and humans do not mix all 
that well, because environment has real teeth and nails and humans are 
mere meat in this equation.

Madmaxian scenarios are pure magick to me - nobody tends for the roads, 
nobody repairs the cars, there is nowhere to buy lubricants for engines, 
and years after years those guys are driving through half desert 
landscapes (dust! it enters everywhere, but not in this film). I want a 
car that can do this stuff and burn nitro whenever I turn a knob. Because 
I don't think they were bought in a shop. Or built from used parts.

> > > So, Mr Clark (if I am right) postulated there was increase in
> > production, hence there was no peak.
> It seems to me that is a very valid postulate and not just for oil. If
> something, anything, keeps going up after point X is reached then point X
> is not a peak.

I will remain open to suggestions, both pro and cons. I think I am still 
lacking enough information to make any kind of judgement. But it seems 
something about oil have changed during previous decade. And I am not sure 
what. Did I say my numbers are untrustworthy? Yeah, I did.

> >  > it is obvious (to me at least) that any reasonable alternative (nukes,
> > solar) is not going to do the job alone.
> You can never be certain how a new idea will turn out but it is not obvious
> to me that Thorium reactors couldn't get the job done.

It would have been easier to agree with you if we had certain number of 
working Th-reactors. AFAIK, we don't. We (humans) had some, few, maybe two 
or five, all of them decomissioned before 198x - I have read a little 
about this, but don't remember exact numbers.

I understand it will take at least a decade to revive Th-based energy 
production. And it will take some more time to build new or retrofit 
existing reactors for using Th. It may be technically possible to do all 
this in five years, but what is doable is not always being done. Whenever 
there is human factor, I would rather assume stupidity will play major 
role, with reason being called for help when some important ass starts 
frying on open fire.

Answering the question if such Th-reactor would actually work well enough 
is beyond me. I am no nuke engineer.

We may have about two decades. Three to five, maybe, sounds plausible. Or 
maybe we have a thousand decades. But maybe we shouldn't wait this long. 
Anyway, if the shit hits the fan, I expect survival to be random process. 
I guess majority of readers will be old and tired by the time. In case you 
survive, expect to be old, tired and surrounded by folks who are not 
interested in whatever you would like to tell them (unless you have 
something they want and they are unwilling to beat it out of you, which 
is, again, random). So survival may be not so pinky option, after all. 
Your world, dreams and future dead, simply told. I have read some about 
people with similar experiences and there is nothing exciting in surviving 
one's world, dreams or future (and because of this, there will never be a 
film about such thing, so the concept will not enter a public mind, 
instead, everybody will imagine himself as M-Max or L-Skywalker).

The best scenario would be to make the shit not hit the fan.

> > > Unless some new tech emerges
> But it IS obvious to me that new technology will be absolutely useless if
> environmentalists get their way because they never met a energy source they
> didn't hate. Wind farms are ugly, disrupt wind patterns are noisy and kill

You know, I wrote it above. Some of those guys must be reasonable. A 
hysteric mob is not a big problem if it can be fended off for the first 
few minutes/hours/weeks. Fanatics are problem, however. But, if they don't 
understand my explanation of free will concept, certainly there is a way 
to teach them.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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