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Old 02-12-12, 12:06 PM   #21
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I formerly belonged to a local group that was originally interested in studying the effects of Peak Oil and find ways to work cooperatively to improve a future where oil (the life blood of modern society) would be in short supply.
I never understood this whole oil=life thing. To me it sounds more like an ad from BP than anything else.

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Old 02-12-12, 02:51 PM   #22
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I never understood this whole oil=life thing. To me it sounds more like an ad from BP than anything else.
It would be in your interest to research transportation and what is the ultimate source of the fuel used in transportation for:
  • Air Transport
  • Rail Transport
  • Road Transport
  • Sea Transport

It would be very useful for you, in future conversations, to know for yourself, what fuels are used and to what extent is transportation important to the many aspects of the way of life that we experience.

This will make you completely free of the encumbrance of BP advertisements.

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Old 02-12-12, 09:16 PM   #23
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It isn't just transportation. Don't forget that without oil we will lose plastics, a majority of our large crop fertilizers. The impact on food will be one of the biggest issues. Of course that rolls back to transportation again, all of the goods, foods, and products we use aren't built or produced in the city we live in and for most of us, local production would take some time to get started, it wouldn't happen quick enough. If tomorrow we had a deep oil crises the economy would tank.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:00 PM   #24
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For a variety of reasons we'll NEVER run out of oil. We'll run out of cheap oil and that will cause problems but there will always be oil available and it'll go towards the most economically productive uses. Leisure travel will subside, so too personal commuting, agriculture will be reformed, and so on. The period of transition and reform will be long, not immediate, so this particular Prepper Crisis seems overblown to me.
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Old 02-16-12, 07:07 PM   #25
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By definition, oil (and coal and gas and uranium) are finite; because the earth itself is finite. So, of course there will some left somewhere by the time it gets too expensive to find it -- but that is effectively running out.
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Old 02-16-12, 07:30 PM   #26
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To mirror your point - sunlight is a finite quantity. Eventually our sun will die and then there'll be no more sunlight. I'm not really seeing the reason to invoke this line of reasoning because it doesn't scale well to human civilization timeframes. Secondly, where there is a need there is usually a way - if we really, really, truly want more coal and oil, damn the cost, we'll never run out, ever - the hydrocarbons embedded in the Near Earth Asteroids could keep us going for millions of years. Far fetched sure, but it illustrates the point that resources are available to use if cost considerations are immaterial.

A less far-fetched alternative are the coal fields off of Norway's coast:
They calculated that there are 3000 billion tons of coal off the Norwegian coast. Most of the reserves are located at Haltenbanken. This compares to today's proven and recoverable world reserves of 900 billion tons of coal.
That's just ONE localized coal field which is presently uneconomic to mine and that ONE field has 3x+ the coal of ALL of the world's economically viable recoverable coal.

As I said, we'll never run out of coal and oil because at some point their scarcity will push up the cost and they won't be worth the effort of getting out of the ground in that their energy content could be replicated through other fuels/processes. If no viable alternatives develop then our attention will turn to reserves which are presently economically nonviable and our energy costs will increase as a result.
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Old 02-16-12, 08:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
By definition, oil (and coal and gas and uranium) are finite; because the earth itself is finite. So, of course there will some left somewhere by the time it gets too expensive to find it -- but that is effectively running out.


LFTR in 5 Minutes - THORIUM REMIX 2011 - YouTube

I understand that if we used Thorium reactors, we would be okay for a few
thousand +years.. There seems to be a very large amount of Thorium available.
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Old 02-16-12, 09:41 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
It would be in your interest to research transportation and what is the ultimate source of the fuel used in transportation for:
  • Air Transport
  • Rail Transport
  • Road Transport
  • Sea Transport

It would be very useful for you, in future conversations, to know for yourself, what fuels are used and to what extent is transportation important to the many aspects of the way of life that we experience.

This will make you completely free of the encumbrance of BP advertisements.

-AC_Hacker
Ultimate as in fundamental, or final, or something else? We use oil because it was or is the cheapest in up front costs and has a lot of mature infrastructure, but I don't think that means it's ultimate in any sense. We have used, do use, and will use in greater amounts other energy sources for transport as oil becomes more expensive due to supply/demand as well as accurate pricing of externalized costs.

What I don't understand is how people seem to use sufficient and necessary interchangeably. Oil is sufficient for different forms of transportation, but not necessary for them, just like it is for a bunch of other things.

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It isn't just transportation. Don't forget that without oil we will lose plastics, a majority of our large crop fertilizers. The impact on food will be one of the biggest issues. Of course that rolls back to transportation again, all of the goods, foods, and products we use aren't built or produced in the city we live in and for most of us, local production would take some time to get started, it wouldn't happen quick enough. If tomorrow we had a deep oil crises the economy would tank.
Oil is mostly used in large crop pesticides and plastics, natural gas is where we get most of our fertilizer. Oil prices have some impact on food prices, but as a whole it's a lot less than other things like plastics. IIRC oil is only like a third of all agricultural energy inputs, and most of that is used to run farm machinery and transport food. Big, but not that big, and it's not impossible by any means to minimize or eliminate oil in ag. Similarly, plastics require about 5% of world oil production, which is large, but not impossible to replace.
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Old 02-17-12, 05:57 AM   #29
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When the sun explodes, the earth is all done. This is in about a BILLION years. For all intents and purposes, this is unlimited during the time the earth has life on it.

Underwater coal? Yeah, right. Coal is horribly dirty, and spews mercury, and carbon fuels are what is causing the rapid changes in the climate. And it is limited to a specific quantity -- what do we do after it runs out? What kind a world are we leaving for all future life? No thanks.

Why limit ourselves to a few thousand years? Thorium is not yet a reality, it costs an unknown amount and it has many unknown risks.

Renewable energy has none of these challenges. The energy itself is free. The energy itself has no pollution. It is all over the place. No one controls it. No country can dominate another country's energy supply.

We have to fit into the cycle of life. We *are* a part of it, and we cannot pretend to be separate. We cannot have "waste". We cannot poison the earth -- and when we throw something away -- it is still here.
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Old 02-17-12, 04:50 PM   #30
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Underwater coal? Yeah, right.
Underwater oil? Yeah, right. Look, your threshold on credulity is not some universal benchmark on what is possible.

Quote:
Coal is horribly dirty, and spews mercury, and carbon fuels are what is causing the rapid changes in the climate.
Look around you, most people don't care because they'd rather have coal energy and 1.) a job and 2.) cheaper electricity to power their ipods, cell phones, plasma tvs, etc than do without all the gadgets and lower their electrical usage. China is building a huge number of new coal plants even though they know full well that unfiltered coal emissions are polluting. Why are they doing this? They've made the informed trade-off between environmental concerns and economic well-being.

Quote:
And it is limited to a specific quantity -- what do we do after it runs out? What kind a world are we leaving for all future life? No thanks.
This is simply pleading to irrational emotion. I could point to many aspects of your life and nitpick about what YOU'RE doing which will leave the world in worse shape. That effort would come up with loads more examples if I started applying my own idiosyncratic standards to your life. For instance, here's an example of how I can twist your particulars into a no win scenario by applying idiosyncratic rules, as you're doing above. Do you have one child? You're leaving the world in worse shape by only having one child for you and your wife are going to be drawing pensions that have to be paid by extracting money from the working careers of society's children and by only having one child your pensions can't be paid by his earnings thus making the world worse off for everyone else. Do you have more than 2 children? Now you're contributing to overpopulation thus increasing the marginal deprivation of future citizens.

If you want to live in an energy deprived present-day, then there is nothing stopping you. Why are you participating on this forum for your participation requires a.) electricity to power your computer and the internet infrastructure and b.) it requires a pollution emitting, and energy consuming, industrial infrastructure to produce all of the components of the computer, so your participation in cyberspace is making the world worse off for future generations.

Clearly you're not living your life in a manner which meets MY standards of making the world better for future generations, so you really have no business preaching to everyone else that they should live their lives by YOUR standards so as to make the world better for future generations.

Quote:
Renewable energy has none of these challenges.
Have you look at the embodied energy and the EROEI of a silicon solar cell or a steel windmill blade? The point is that the same considerations apply to renewable energy technologies just like they apply to fuel-sourced energy technologies. The differences are in the margins and those differences come with significant trade-offs. Renewable energy is not some religious holy water which cures all that ails us.

Quote:
The energy itself is free.
Look out on your street. Perhaps you have a gravel lined water ditch nearby. Go and grow some carrots in that free gravel ditch. Now compare the effort of trying to grow FREE carrots in a 10 foot deep field of baseball sized boulders to the effort of buying the carrots in a supermarket. Which is a more efficient use of your time and resources? The "free" carrots or the purchased carrots? The same principle applies to all this "free energy." All that free energy hitting Flin Flon, Manitoba, up near Hudson's Bay, doesn't do much good for the residents there because it's too irregular and too infrequent, to be put to much use. All that free energy that is hitting Phoenix, Arizona does a resident no good if they don't have the capital resources to buy solar collectors and the real estate to situate the collectors upon. In both cases, but for different reasons, these folks are better off paying for energy than collecting it for "FREE."

The fact that sunlight or wind is "Free" is not the principal driving criteria in the energy use calculations people, corporations, governments and society have to make.

Quote:
We have to fit into the cycle of life. We *are* a part of it, and we cannot pretend to be separate. We cannot have "waste". We cannot poison the earth -- and when we throw something away -- it is still here.
This whole position is a religious position. It starts with the axiom that humans MUST exist as part of nature. Because you treat it as an axiom you don't question it. How to explain the astronauts who live on the ISS? How to explain sailors who live in submarines for months at a time? These environments are apart from the natural world.

There is an alternative to your religious viewpoint and that is that man controls and manages nature through the power of intelligence. That too is an axiomatic position.

My point here is that you spouting off religious viewpoints doesn't make your case strong it just highlights to us that you hold religious viewpoints that are immune from reason and alternative ways of seeing things. Further, the thing about religious viewpoints like yours is that there are always alternative religious viewpoints, opinions that are immune from challenge because they're held on the basis of faith rather than reason, so your own particular faith-based religious viewpoint is not something that is universally acknowledged.

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