By Chris Nelder
Posting in Cancer
Has collapse jumped the shark? Is peak oil dead? Is the zombie apocalypse just a weird popular fantasy, or is there more to it? Energy analyst Chris Nelder goes in search of answers.
"Has collapse jumped the shark?"
That was the question I shot to Justin Ritchie on Sunday night after seeing The Simpsons' brilliant take on the collapse meme, in which Homer joins a small group of "preppers," stocks a doomsday bunker, and bugs out when the grid goes down, then has a crisis of conscience and steals a load of supplies to bring back to the huddled masses in town -- who, it turns out, survived a few days without power just fine and were going about their business as usual.
Ritchie and his fellow grad student friend Seth Moser-Katz produce the outstanding Extraenvironmentalist podcast, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the themes of peak oil, the end game of debt, environmental degradation, and the prospect of Collapse with a capital "C." With verve, high production values, and liberal doses of humor, the pair explore these subjects with top thinkers around the world in provocative ways. "Doom without the gloom," they call it. (In a super-wonky appearance, I discussed oil and gas and energy transition with them in Episode 47.)
Two of their recent episodes spoke to some of the questions I have been wrestling with lately.
In "Market Monsters," they discussed popular culture's vogue fascination with monsters and the zombie apocalypse. I nodded in agreement as the guests mused on how these archetypes reflect a growing, unconscious social unease about the hollowing-out of our financial system; the helpless, trapped feelings of cubicle workers; the slow crumbling of our social safety nets and infrastructure; and the generalized, just-under-the-surface fear that seems to be creeping into the hearts of regular folks everywhere, who nonetheless go on pretending in public that everything is fine.
In "Culture of Dying," author Stephen Jenkinson discusses what he has learned from decades of trying to help people come to grips with death -- their own, that of their loved ones, and of our culture more generally. Despite its obvious inevitability for each and every one of us -- life is, after all, a fatal condition -- Jenkinson explains how our Western cultures abhor death and lack the vocabulary and traditions to embrace it, learn from it, and use it as a vital teaching experience. Instead of caring for them at home as we used to until their final breaths, we now hide our aging elders away in "rest homes" and assisted-care facilities, lest the spectacle of bodily mortification harsh our mellows. We wave the pain of death away with euphemisms like "passing on" and "losing" someone, unable to say the word die, while constantly lionizing youth and youthfulness in every television show, commercial, and popular song. Getting a face, breast, and butt lift isn't the pathetic reach for immortality that it once was; now, it's virtually mandatory if you're a woman over 40 working in Hollywood. It's not socially acceptable to be sad anymore; we all feel compelled to put on a happy, optimistic face before we head out the door.
Yet, the myriad challenges bearing down on humanity now are terrifying. We very well should be sad about the disappearance of species, the death of coral reefs, the crashing global fish populations. We have every right to the sinking feeling that attends the destruction of ever-more-frequent and intense natural disasters, and we ought to fear the floods, hurricanes and wildfires that surely loom in our future. We damn well ought to be worried about what sort of world our children and grandchildren are going to inherit, and whether there will be any fuel left at all by the time a child born today reaches the age of 87 in the year 2100. It's not fun and it's certainly not cool to think or talk about these things, but they are real and serious questions and ignoring them doesn't make them go away. In fact, it makes them worse.
Jenkinson believes that we must learn to grieve and accept the experience of sadness in our lives, not only as a component of wisdom and mental health, but as a tool for facing the slow death of the culture that arose in the age of "Happy Motoring." The 20th Century vintage American Dream of getting a good education, holding a good job for 40 years, buying a nice house in the suburbs with a three-car garage, and retiring on a comfortable pension is dead, but we don't know how to mourn it. We can't let ourselves experience the sadness of giving up on that idea. And if we do, we dare not let anyone else see our tears.
A close reading of the data conjures a remorseless vision of collapse, or what I have called The Great Contraction. It's clear that global debt levels are unsustainable and will eventually collapse, despite Infinite QE and all the other attempts to put off the day of reckoning. It's obvious that no one has any idea where the primary energy will come from to power the world in 2050, let alone 2100. The environment is still being degraded at an alarming rate, climate change is knocking more loudly on our door every day, and we're nowhere near halting those trends, let alone healing the damage. We are in deep, deep shit, and on some level, everybody knows it.
Freud would have loved this moment in human history. Since we are unable to admit these dark fears and are unwilling to take the corrective actions they demand of us, we have these strange outbursts. Not just the zombie apocalypse visions of The Walking Dead and its ilk, but the panicked irrationality of the preppers so aptly lampooned by The Simpsons. Merely stocking up on guns and ammo is actually a counter-productive response: It won't produce a single tomato or a kilowatt-hour of energy. It wouldn't even safeguard your family for more than a few days or weeks, even in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse. But it will -- as we found out on that dark, dark day just before Christmas -- result every so often in classroom full of dead kids. Reportedly, Adam Lanza's mother was a prepper. That's why she had all those guns and taught her son to shoot.
Intention deficit disorder
We march closer to collapse every year, yet our responses to it are becoming more and more detached from reality.
Instead of putting the pedal to the metal on energy transition, we're telling ourselves unrealistic stories of incipient energy independence.
Instead of concentrating on how we can burn less fossil fuel to cut carbon emissions, we're pinning our hopes on crazy geoengineering schemes and carbon capture technologies which don't exist commercially and which will probably never work economically.
Instead of trying to halt our crashing ocean populations and restore our soils, we're peddling fantasies of artificial vertical farms, floating cities, and massive aquaculture systems, without having the slightest clue where the energy to run them might come from.
Instead of reining in our out-of-control banks and their derivative weapons of mass destruction, and making those who gambled with the entire economy do the perp-walk, we're handing them trillions of freshly-printed dollars at an effective interest rate of zero.
Instead of using its cash to finance rooftop solar across the country, Google is writing a blank check to Ray Kurzweil to pursue his nutty Singularity vision.
And instead of doing the real work of prepping -- like figuring out how to produce our own food and renewable energy, decarbonizing our economies, using and consuming less, and knitting together functionally useful communities -- we're sitting alone in our living rooms, watching apocalypse porn like Doomsday Preppers, or laughing at the whole phenomena along with The Simpsons.
Perhaps collapse really has jumped the shark.
The reality we're constructing is about as real as the faked-up reality shows we love to watch. While the real world around us groans and crumbles, a single media organization is sending 90 people to cover the latest in gadgets no one really needs at the CES show in Las Vegas this week.
The sad parade
Meanwhile, the pundits of peak oil, collapse, climate change, and all the rest of our knot of looming catastrophes seem to have fallen into a kind of lassitude. Not because their terrifying visions are any less real or fearsome than they were a few years ago, but because they haven't fully come to pass just yet. After five or ten years of waiting for the punchline, they've grown tired, their clenched jaws and steeled spines aching to relax. Like someone who's been through several years of chemotherapy and radiation in a futile attempt to kill off a terminal cancer, they're beginning to wish for the End to just hurry up and come, already.
Over the decade that I have been a student of these subjects, I've gotten to know many of these people personally. They could hardly be more different than the way that they have been caricatured in the media, and by those with vested interests in the status quo who want to put the peak oil and collapse stories down. Far from being wild-eyed conspiracists, or misanthropes who just hate society and want to see it fail, or hoaxers, or crazed environmentalists, or any of the other nasty labels slung at them, I have found them generally to be quiet, studious, scientifically-minded people who, for whatever reason, latched on to a study of data and eventually realized the terrible implications of it. They don't want society to collapse any more than the next person; indeed, most of them have suffered enormously to prevent it and get their messages out against a tide of well-funded propaganda, to an audience of poor students who mostly don't want to hear it. Theirs is a Sisyphean endeavor. They have all sacrificed friends, marriages, jobs, and family relations in their quests for the truth.
Crucially, they have also come to terms with their grief. It seems that most of us who have walked this path took about seven years to get through the five stages of grief Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, before finally arriving at Acceptance. Now they look on collapse with a cool resignation, and perhaps a bit of impatience, which should not be confused with eagerness (although it often is).
Our culture at large, however, is still in the beginning stages of the process. One need look no further than the last election (or the comments sections of my columns) to see Denial and Anger on full display.
The cleantech and climate activist communities are slightly ahead of the public, and generally taste of Bargaining, with a few notes of Depression.
It will be a few more years yet before the public catches up, because they are poor students who don't pay attention in class. They will only get the joke when the punchline is finally delivered and the room erupts in groans, and they look up from their Angry Birds game to ask somebody what just happened.
Whatever. It's a tough room. I knew that from the first time I appeared on television to talk about peak oil and had one of Wall Street's beige-blandish analysts call me a "peak freak," and blather on about the 12 trillion barrels of oil in the ground that will never be recovered, while I was trying to explain why only a little more than one trillion barrels of it will be recovered.
As I explained in my end-of-year post, I think we'll be kept in suspense for at least another year, and probably two or slightly more, before we see the terminal decline of global oil supply beginning to happen. It will be another year or two after that before the public and politicians catch on, as fuel prices reach truly painful levels. And it will be some years after that before the global economy responds with the denouement of the debt crisis.
By 2020, I'm reasonably confident that the world will recognize that it's on a downslope, that the climate is truly spinning out of control, and that the ghost of economic growth cannot be resurrected from the grave by Ben Bernanke or any other spiritist. But unlike some of my fellow witnesses to the collapse, I don't think it will be sudden or short, although I do think it will be punctuated by a few sharp drops. The "collapse" could take a century to play out, which is why I prefer the term "contraction."
When the slow collapse does come, no one will thank the worrywarts who warned them about it.
Until then, we'll be treated to headlines like "Oil production highest since 1994" every month in the U.S. until the tight oil boom peaks and fades around 2016-2018. For those who can still see collapse through that fog, the next few years are going to feel even more like living in an alternate universe than the last three years have. We'll have to suffer through the mad ravings of people like Alex Jones, the propaganda of the political-industrial complex, and the complicity of the media. But just as night follows day, we'll finally witness the sad spectacle of the public slowly comprehending its reality, and then experiencing its grief. . . and we'll recognize that the Occupy and Tea Party movements were mere preludes.
Eventually though, the 200-year-long joke of humanity's use of fossil fuels will be fully told. Maybe we're being spoilsports by blurting out the punchline before its time. Maybe it's better to party hearty for now and let everybody else enjoy the telling. Sure, the toll and the grief could be lessened if we had a little foresight and took action earlier, but maybe that's not the objective here. Maybe it makes a better story, and a wiser species in the end, if we enter the jaws of collapse blind and ungirded, decorated in silks and gold, full of hubris, shaking our fists as we declare our triumph to the heavens.
Photo: "what i love in autumn" (Eddi van W./Flickr)
Jan 8, 2013
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The Fracturalists miss what matters, sadly, so do the Peak Oilers. Using fossil fuels does not provide an end product or a 'good' in return for the fuel. Except for taxi drivers and delivery men, driving a car does not pay for the car nor does it pay for the fuel. Driving the car does not pay for the road or other bits of infrastructure, the military needed to steal the fuel or the finance establishment needed to 'massage' the costs. Everything must be funded with loans which now total hundreds of trillions of dollars. The only way users can meet the (credit) costs is if the fuel is very cheap. When the fuel becomes pricey -- because of diminished supply -- the fuel cost must be added to the cost of expensive credit. The outcome is economies falling underwater and entire countries becoming bankrupt. YOU can point to frakking and 'technology' and I will point toward teetering France, Italy, Spain, Japan ... China, USA, the world's auto industry, the world's finance sector ... all poised at the edge of the abyss or ... over the edge. This is the point when the cost of gaining new fuel cannot be met by the creditworthiness of the fuel consumer, this is 'net energy negative' and the world is very close to that point, two years away or less. This isn't a theory, it is what the crude oil price in world markets say. The markets say the world is becoming poorer and must borrow less ... meanwhile, the cost of new fuel relentlessly increases. Fracking and deepwater drilling are a lot of things ... mainly expensive. It does not matter how much reserves a country has if nobody can afford them. Right now there is rationing by access to credit, when this process is unworkable there will be physical rationing. There will be permanent shortages and the usual gas lines and panic. Permanent: when fuel is unavailable because the customers cannot afford it, there will be diminished fuel available as people become poorer, over time. Sorry to rain on yr parades but the only solution is to get rid of the car(s).
Mr. Nelder talks about being called a âpeak freakâ and points to a video posted in May, 2008. In it (about 2:30 in), he says expects peak oil to be reached in about 2 years -- or 2010. Now in his current post he's saying "I think weâll be kept in suspense for at least another year". If Mr. Nelder misses by a few years, I don't suppose anybody can fault him. But it's the same song I've heard all my life. Back in the '60s it was how we would run out of food and other resources and face global collapse by 2000. Then 2000 arrived and the global standard of living was at an all-time high. That didn't work out, so now it's peak oil that will seal our doom. Except even back in the '60s people were also talking about running out of oil by 2000 and that didn't happen either. Yes, the world is a finite place. If you sound doomsday long enough one day you'll be right. But I've lived over 50 years on this planet and doomsday keeps being delayed. It's delayed not because of the alarmists but because of the people who work on the problem a little bit everyday. They find better ways to produce more food, manufacture using less materials and energy, and yes, even better ways to find and drill for oil and gas.
Chris, I applaud you on capturing perfectly the way I feel. As a physicist I worked for years on instruments to measure climate change, and when I realized the seriousness of the problem I began a personal quest to find "the most cost-effective solutions." Like many other engineers, I soon calculated that energy conservation in buildings and power plant design, re-designing of our cities (and cultural expectations of what a city should be like) to be transit-efficient, wind energy+energy storage systems (= electric cars), and nuclear fission were among the most cost-effective near-term solutions available. I began to transition toward a career in nuclear energy in anticipation of the "nuclear renaissance" that was obviously coming soon.... except it did not come. Neither did the transit-efficient cities, or the energy storage systems, and the energy conservation buildings, power plants, and wind turbines are arriving far too slowly to make any significant change in our terrible trajectory. For two decades now I have watched with stunned amazement as "the band plays on," marching as it were across the deck of the Titanic to cheer the crowds of passengers wondering about that "loud thumping sound" they imagined they might have heard... You described me well in your paragraph, "...I have found them generally to be quiet, studious, scientifically-minded people who, for whatever reason, latched on to a study of data and eventually realized the terrible implications of it. They donât want society to collapse any more than the next person; indeed, most of them have suffered enormously to prevent it and get their messages out against a tide of well-funded propaganda, to an audience of poor students who mostly donât want to hear it. They have all sacrificed friends, marriages, jobs, and family relations in their quests for the truth. ...they have also come to terms with their grief... Now they look on collapse with a cool resignation, and perhaps a bit of impatience..." I am still working on a "safer" (better) Fourth Generation nuclear reactor design which will, I hope, be used in Asia (Indian and China) in place of many of the coal and natural-gas power plants that would otherwise be built there. I am usually not paid for this work--I do it as a hobby (with a team of other philanthropic hobbyist physicists from around North America) because there is no "market" for saving the world 40 years from now. I am still looking for the way in which my particular talents as a physicist could best help the world in this tragic situation. Unfortunately, seeing the path we have taken in the past 20 years, I cannot imagine how my efforts could possibly help at this pace. If I and a thousand scientists like me swim against the current of the other 7 billion with all our strength, we cannot steer this ship away from its now evident destiny: climate change leading to a "significant reduction in earth's human carrying capacity." That is a fairly cool, resigned, and impatient way of describing a wave of global genocide that will dwarf anything in the 20th century by about two orders of magnitude. My only consolation is that I won't live long enough to see it. I feel very sorry for my children however, and I struggle with myself, to avoid recommending to my children that they "avoid the mistake of having another generation of children who will have to live through what is coming."
Thanks Chris. I liked YOUR observations ALOT. You have a talent at seeing the big picture and articulating the same (without stats, graphs and hard data). You do that type reporting even better but it's very nice to see this side of your talent as well. DRIVE ON SOLDIER! DRIVE ON! I'll need to contact Kuntsler now and tell him he has a competitor kindred spirit that understood "the Long Emergency" and reframed it in the Long Contraction. Do you recall Helicopter Ben's doublespeak telling us he was taking us in for a "soft Landing". Along with the theme of the article, I recently got to watch Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" on NETFLIX for the first time. I still can't get the time exposure satellite images of the melting glaciers out of my head. Ironically over at Energy & Capital diaspora, our buddy K.K. is telling us that Al's company is moving dollars out of green energy. I think part of our societal zombification is majorly attributable to TMI (too much information) and TMW (too much work). We don't know what to believe in a gray semi-factual world. I chose to take the "RED PILL" abnd Iwe've been to the bottom of the rabbit hole. Now the science no longer seems like magic.
My question is: If we had no media and/or knowledge of these issues, how would their realities affects us? Would we be just as stressed? Would we worry? Does or worrying do any good anyway? Arenât we acting on inaction or distractions from the most critical issues? Canât we just ârebootâ our economic system and debt like so many civilizations have in the past? Should we just maintain, or should we start rebuilding now as if the âfall of Romeâ has already happened? If we ignore the global and economic issues, and do our best for the earth and each other, will it all work out anyway? After all: Didnât we basically vote for âsex and drugsâ in the last election, rather than for real solutions to the debt and energy? Will who marries who and where we can get a joint really matter when the fall comes? IF the fall comes? When there is a critical threat to the body, or even to a computer, all non-critical systems shut down in favor of the most necessary. Why arenât we doing this as a nation as well? When I get in a car wreck, I donât really think about sex and drugs. When I rehab my spinal injury I donât really think about abortion and other social issues. I focus on walking again, etc. We canât all just sit in a tent and protest those who have more insignificant things than we do. After all, our â99%â is still in the â1%â world-wide!
Apocalypse coming soon (or) the New and Improved Dark Ages. It will get worse and it will get better. Just as Humanity has fallen from past Civilizations ours will alternately fall and then rise. I now own a Prius and a Prius and a Ford F150 PU. I rarely drive the gas hog, but it does things the Prii don't. The household uses about $60/month in electricity, $40/month for natural gas. The garbage can is almost empty every week, the recycling can is used a little. We are thrifty consumers by average USA standards. When I was running a business there was always some high priority that needed my attention. I found that it usually came down to time or money, sometimes both. I would either waste money or time to solve the problem, before the next high priority came along. We as a country are trying to solve the immediate problem because it is right in front of us instead of looking a little further ahead to see the big picture. It has always been this way and won't change. What some of us are seeing in the future is very scarry and what is worse is that we can't seem to get others to even acknowledge its coming. So we tend to yell louder thinking this will get thier attention. Then we realize that they are only shoving thier earplugs in deeper and turning up the volume so they can't hear us. Some very promising research is being done in many fields at the same time. Some very effective propaganda is being very well funded to make sure that we maintian the status quo. Reality will eventually catch up to society and the most advanced and far thinking of us will at least understand it is coming and have some idea about what to do. The others will be living in the New and Improved Dark Ages.
Yes there is lots of energy in unconventional sources, like shale and oil sands, but extracting it ruins lots of fresh water, which we are also running out of. The GAO found: "energy and water planning are generally 'stove-piped,' with decisions about one resource made without considering impacts to the other resource." http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-880.
"Merely stocking up on guns and ammo... it will ... result every so often in classroom full of dead kids." The author is an anti-self defense spinner. The author, and anyone else, is free to disarm themselves, if they think it will prevent themselves from committing crimes. Its a free country. I'll keep my guns and ammo thanks. In case a psychologically defective person like that killer comes to attack me, I can use those modern tools to defend myself. It's because I'm responsible for my own safety and I am not a victim. Schools should have better security against such persons. Pencils don't make spelling mistakes, cars don't drive drunk, and guns don't kill. It is "People" that do things. A way to identify crazy people has to be found.
Chris speaks to my condition exactly. Franny Armstrong said it first; if you give yeast carbon energy (ie sugar) what does it do? It gobbles up the energy as fast as it can, reproduces out of control and dies in its own waste products. And there's nothing we are doing that is any different. Except that we are supposed to be clever enough to realise it. And with yeast, at least you get beer and bread in the end..
Chris, old buddy, you've gone and done it this time. The denialist fossil fools have driven in their monster SUV's straight to Bonkersville. All they can sputter is drilling enough holes to burn this planet down, after turning it into a wasteland. All it took was Kunstleresqe resignation. Bravo! They may not appreciate your research and real numbers but I do. I'm having trouble finding a number and wonder whether you might have access to it without too much trouble. Is there any average number that can be put to the overall output of a natural gas frack well, i.e., how much gas will come out of the average NG fracked well by the time it's too miniscule to deal with, counting dry holes and all? Do I remember correctly that output falls precipitously over the first year to 10% of original output and continues to fall slowly in subsequent years for the 5-10 year life of the well? Looking for a cumulative average per drilled and fracked well, today, realizing that over time that average output will fall because of the first and easiest fruits principle? I understand that it's liable to be real tentative with questionable accuracy. Thanks if you can help!
As we look back in history at the great civilizations that came before, we notice one thing. They are all dead. In virtually all cases, there were doom-sayers who saw it coming. But no one listened to them. Where are they now, the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Mayans? The ruins of their great civilizations remain after each and every one of them fell. But some small smidgen of the people remained. Humans survived, even if the civilizations did not. Given this terrible trend in human history, why do so many people think that our modern civilization will somehow escape the cyclical fate of our ancestors?
A lot of the problems that Chris Nelder wrote can be attributed to human over population. The seas are overfished because of the increase of people, the fossil fuels are burned at increasing rates to support the world of humans. There have been population studies using rats put into a finite space but with enough food for all. It does not take long for the population of rats to increase to see the effects of the stress caused by crowding, even though there is enough food and water for all. At a point near peak population the rats start acting differently and more aggressively. Food and water is cheap but a nest is dear and hard to keep. The researchers saw rats do things that rats don't do in the wild, things like murder and violence against each other. Then at the peak of population the rats suddenly die off until it is back to a more normal population. Humans are a social group and can tolerate some crowding, but in the past there was always unsettled land that people can migrate to escape the crowds. We are running out of unsettled land that can support the crops and animals needed to survive. We are seeing increasing and irrational actions by a growing group of violent men and women. With this view, Malthus was an optimist. Mankind has been extremely clever at finding solutions that help add to the human population without forcing groups to feast and famine conditions.
What a horrible, horrible time to be a peak-energy doomer. It must pain you, deeply, to look at the Henry Hub price every morning. Today it's around 3.10 per MMBTU. Normalizing against median household income, this is the cheapest natural gas has been in the history of America. And let's not forget, a BTU of natural gas is the most useful BTU of fossil fuel known to man, incredibly clean to burn and hyper-efficient at performing useful work. A modern natural gas power plant approaches twice the efficiency of an aging coal plant, when comparing BTU's in to kilowatt hours out. The coming decade, and the associated explosion of shale energy in America will make these Nelder postings more quaint and humorous. I expect, by 2020, people will read such things and laugh ... "can you believe supposedly smart people actually worried where the energy was going to come from". If it makes you feel better Chris, I doubt any news show will have you on anytime soon. Your peak oil background now has you on the wrong side of history. Keep your tin-foil hat on tight Chris. The shale gale is going to blow long and hard.
This is probably the best article I`ve read anywhere in over a year. What an amazing and refreshing perspective! It is absolutely the best thing I`ve read this year and sets an extremely high bar for every op/ed piece I`ll read in 2013. Good luck topping this.
There are solutions, he has a gloom and doom outlook. Technological solution stories on smartplanet should give people hope.
Powerful language. May be you are perfectly correct. Human beings have a strange power to adapt. May be he will be able to overcome the difficulties. In the mean time, let those who want to enjoy, let them do it in their own way. I am a third world Scientist. Gopinathan Krishnan
Chris "Malthus" Nelder. What a hoot. One supposes this is inevitably what happens when a software engineer with a chip on his shoulder decides to become an "energy expert." For the entire history of the petroleum industry to date, we've been drilling for the left overs - the hydrocarbons that are actually expelled from the source rocks, and then trapped by chance in sparse, isolated rock formations that happen to be favorably configured to trap hydrocarbons. As one might imagine, despite the large volumes we've produced historically from these "conventional" reservoirs, these volumes represent only a *TINY* fraction of the hydrocarbons actually present in the source rocks themselves. We know have the first generation of drilling and fracturing technology in the U.S. capable of targeting the source rocks directly. The potential reserves in these source rocks *DWARF* all the hydrocarbons produced by the industry to date. There is nothing unique about America's petroleum producing geologic basins; the source rocks in these basins are similar to those found in every petroleum producing basin throughout the world. As the new drilling and fracking technology inexorably disseminates to the rest of the world, shale gas and liquids production will become the norm. The entire world will be swimming in a glut of oil and gas. Bottom line: We won't hit peak oil in our lifetime, or our children's lifetime. Ain't technology grand?
"I know the answer to everything, and all of you people won't listen, and all that you do is to oppose me at every turn with your comments. Sheesh!!!!, people, wake up and let me tell you how things are, and how they should be, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE." Meanwhile, he'll tell us that fossil fuels are bad, which is a continuing agenda item for him. And he'll mock the "preppers", and the doom and gloom crowd, while disregarding the real reasons why people are prepping and why there is gloom, and why we ARE doomed. He'll also attack the monsters as he sees them, while disregarding the real monsters who caused the country and the world to get to the desperate situations we're all in. He'll talk about the "out of control banks" and their derivative weapons, while disregarding the government that pushed them to go out of control. He'll talk about disappearing species, while disregarding the well-known fact that, species have been disappearing from our planet from the very beginning, and they've been disappearing before humans came on board or before fossil fuels were even used. Chris sees the world though a singular agenda, while disregarding that, perhaps the opinions and opposition from others should be considered, and perhaps there is worthy information to be gained from the opposition. While Chris talks a good game, the bottom line with him is, "it's my way, or the highway".
Thanks for sharing your experience, madboy. I hear you and share your internal struggle. It's a burden to understand the data and to be unable to get others, especially decision makers, to comprehend it. But whaddyagonnado, except carry on applying your talents and knowledge the best you can? If you ever get traction in getting your reactor built, please drop me a line about it.
Most amusing comments from a kindred spirit. JK knows me but go ahead. I wish K.K. well. It is refreshing to write about something other than data once in a while. I might make it a top o' the year tradition. Drive on...
not really. How about this, when all the golf courses turn brown from a lack of water, I'll start worrying about water shortages. Otherwise, it looks like so much more fearmongering. Not saying there isn't an issue there to address. I support desalination, as is common in Australia. But if you think fracking will stop for a lack of water, you just haven't looked at the numbers.
do that! That would be placing the blame where it belongs, and so, we must place the blame on guns, to be fair to the unstable people. Without the guns, people wouldn't get any kind of ideas about going out to kill people, or to commit robberies, or to get revenge on someone. Guns are the problem. They cause people to become psychologically unstable. ;) Before guns were invented, people didn't commit murders, or commit robberies. Look it up. It has to be in a liberal encyclopedia somewhere.
A better analogy is that mankind is like the cane toads in Australia. The cane toad was transplanted to address a problem with pests and became a greater pest. The problem with the cane toad in australia is that it has no predators to keep the cane toad populations in balance. Man does not have a predator to keep population balances stable; disease, war and poverty are the only checks to the imbalance.
I like that ...yeast. We've all heard the virus analogy from "The Matrix" fame. Some people will fight to get back into the Matrix... Get Back! He's gonna POP!
at the "competing" data regarding the production of fossil-fuels and of natural gas, chances are that, you'd notice that, what you and Chris "believe", is the part that makes you and Chris the real "bonkersville". A "denier" is a denier, not because he wants to just be rebellious, but because he is a proponent of real research and real science, which is not part of an agenda. You have not learned what real science is, and real science is not what the "global warming" alarmists practice. Keeping the planet clean and safe? Who wouldn't want that? But, who wants to bastardize real science just to achieve his/her political goals?
Hi Ron, One could calculate the average production of all shale gas wells in the US, I suppose, and somebody probably has, but it wouldn't be very useful. Production varies widely from play to play, and even within the plays. I.e., the "sweet spots" in a given play will be much more productive than the ones on the edges. If you look back through my archive of shale gas stories you'll find some data and production charts on the various plays. And yes, all shale gas wells have steep decline profiles for the first year. Most of them show a quasi-hyperbolic profile.
civilizations. What England used to be, started disappearing long before the U.S. revolutionary war. And the U.S. started its downward slide towards insignificance when the people started deciding that, big government was preferable to self-governance, self-reliance, and their freedoms. It's only a matter of time before the U.S. becomes a third-world country, and we're way on the way towards that finality.
in order to help the planet, But, don't stop there. I would suggest to all that feel that the globe is overpopulated, that they too have a duty to help the planet by, not breeding and/or dying early. Studies have been conducted that showed that, the world is easily capable of sustaining a population of 20 billion or more, with food and and whatever else is needed. But, a self-sustaining world population is not what the liberal/socialist agenda is about; it's about control of that population, by whatever means necessary. Part of the agenda includes scaring people into doing things to get that agenda implemented. Some people, like Chris, may pretend that, it is he and his co-alarmists who care about the world's condition, but it's mostly a fake concern. That fake concern is used to try to advance the alarmists' agenda.
and you need to read more, otherwise, you will continue to be led down the path of the ill-informed.
If you're right and fracking technology will lead us to a shining future with giant SUVs for all... then we're screwed even worse from an ecological perspective. if oil remains relatively cheap we'll keep burning the stuff and that will lead to even more problems with our climate and oceans. If you're right I think it would actually be the worst case scenario - the only thing that's curbed oil use in the past has been price increases. If oil remains relatively plentiful we will not curb our use of the stuff and we'll damage our ecosystem irreversibly.
You said: "He'll talk about disappearing species, while disregarding the well-known fact that, species have been disappearing from our planet from the very beginning, and they've been disappearing before humans came on board or before fossil fuels were even used." Yes, this has happened since the beginning of time, it is the survival of the fittest. But, that is not what Chris is talking about. He is commenting on the speed that species are disappearing now. Never before have we been losing this many species.
"perhaps the opinions and opposition from others should be considered, and perhaps there is worthy information to be gained from the opposition" Pidgeonholing and apparently assuming that everyone must address every possible issue at all times is not really effective argumentation. But the part I quoted makes good sense for all of us.
Ok, how about if before you are allowed to buy a gun or ammunition you are subject to a day or more of psychological testing to determine if you are sane enough to responsibly possess a firearm? Add to that jail time if your gun is used by someone else to commit a crime.
You have yet to demonstrate that you know what real science and research is. Most of the things that climate scientist have expected to happen are happening, often faster than they expected.
". If you look back through my archive of shale gas stories " what you'll actually find is a lot of doom and gloom predictions that are now proving spectacularly false. Aubrey Mclendon is the next Bernie Madoff, if only we wait long enough his fraud will be exposed, that kind of stuff.
Thanks Chris, I think I can extrapolate from numbers found here: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/take/the-murky-future-of-us-shale-gas/157
It is possible that the earth can support 20 bilion people, but it is not that probable. Using your own words, people will always disagree. On a talk back that usually is a polite agreement to disagree; but you make it personal and impolite. Let me assure you that my death will come as will yours. We actually are closer to agreement on things but the main difference between us is that I do not need to be right and actually would prefer to be wrong about what I wrote. In a world with over 7 billion humans, there are so many small wars, threats of aggression and misery. To triple that and think that there will be no aggression of one group against others is magical thinking. To talk about possible negative changes is not alarmist, it is considering patterns and conditions as a warning to either prevent or prepare for those events. Besides, your strident comments have not disproved anything other than you have respect for others. do not bother to respond, I will not check this discussion again.
Chris actually thinks there is only one negative commenter that follows him everywhere and uses different aliases. It's all part of his wonderfully florid imagination. Actually, there are many people who gritted their teeth when clowns like this were taken seriously in '08, and now get their kicks by kicking Chris while he's down. Should be good sport for the next 2 decades are so. Welcome to the "Kick Chris" club adorne. You can follow his (sadly infrequent) media appearances by watching his http://www.getreallist.com/ blog, which nicely tracks his every move.
fuel crowd has been regurgitating for many decades. Repeating a lie often enough won't ever turn it into fact. The global warming agenda is based on very faulty and fraudulent science. When an agenda becomes a major factor in science,then it's no science at all.
Right, I think Chris is talking about the disappearance of entire ecosystems. For example, if the pH of the oceans falls enough (and we are seeing it falling now) then coral reefs will be killed off entirely. That would be a catastrophic loss of an entire ecosystem. It doesn't take much of a drop in pH in the oceans (due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere) to do something like that... it would also lead to the loss of most shellfish as they would not be able to form shells. It's interesting the folks who say "We've always been losing species, what's the big deal?" seem to not think about the catastrophic scenarios we are now facing - the unfolding events have much more akin with a massive meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs only this time it could ultimately be us.
species, can be proven, since neither you nor Chris were around for billions of years to be able to make any kind of determination about the rate of species disappearances. Chris is just guessing, and making his "determinations" based on his agenda.
and opinion and opposing views should always be taken into consideration. Otherwise, it would just be an environment where the ones with the loudest voices get to rule. The environmental lobby is a very loud one, and they won't rest until they have their way, even when they might be in the minority.
The point is simply this -> there is a huge amount of natural gas waiting for $4. -> $4 IS cheap energy ergo .... in the USA we have an abundance of cheap energy. Obvious, no? This is what Nelder is mourning. The presence of cheap energy.
Gas production in the US has flattened simply because we're producing more than we can use. In fact, natural gas storage for this time of year is at near record levels for the past 12 years ( http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html ). As a result, the price is near the cost of production (around $3.50) and producers have shifted from producing shale gas to producing shale oil. What you are "extrapolating" as the beginning of the end is actually evidence of overabundance.
We won't hesitate in giving you the boot for personal attacks. Disagree with him as much as you want, but don't be a dick.
Dinosaurs disappeared without the help of humans. Twice!!! Many other species also disappeared from the planet, via "climate change", but not because of the human use of fossil-fuels. What happens in nature, is mostly driven by natural forces. In fact, the Tsunami in the far east in 2004, caused large masses of the earth's crust to be shifted into different positions, which would disturb a lot of the species below and above water, and which also caused some change in the weather pattern, however small that was. The earth is undergoing constant change, and little by little, and for long periods of time, the weather patterns will have changed completely from what they are today, and all of that will have occurred naturally, and without the help of humans. Unless, of course, the environmental wackos want to attribute tectonic plate migration to SUVs and the "deniers". The stupidity of the environmentalists never fails to amaze.