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Peak Oil Self-Teach The Environmental Change-Makers Los Angeles, CA, September 2008 www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

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Peak Oil Self-Teach

The Environmental Change-Makers

Los Angeles, CA, September 2008

www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

slide2

Notes to user:The Environmental Change-Makers developed this “Peak Oil Self-Teach” for a “Life After Oil” mini-conference held in Los Angeles in September 2008. More information about our “Life After Oil” series (including agendas, handout packets, and other items) is available for your use at http://envirochangemakers.org/TTLA.htm

The Peak Oil Self-Teach concept came from Rob Hopkins’ The Transition Handbook (Green Books, 2008), page 26.

We assembled these slides, and printed them (2 sides of a page on recycled paper, of course!). Although some slides are in color because of the original source material, we printed them in black and white and they looked just fine.

Each participant received only one section (i.e. 2 to 4 slides) out of the total. With close to 50 participants, that meant we had about 7 sets of these things circulating in the room.

At the signal, each participant had to seek someone who had a DIFFERENT set than he held himself. The pair would then teach each other (or help each other figure out) the information on the set of slides.

Four minutes later, another signal, and all participants scurried to find new partners, with yet another DIFFERENT set than they’d discussed before. Again, they shared information back and forth.

This was repeated for six time increments, at which point all participants should have seen all the slides.

As Rob Hopkins points out, this is a great icebreaker. We used it within the first hour-and-a-half of our full-day session. Everyone got a lot more comfortable with each other, because they’d interacted. There was much laughter, and people declared it was lots of fun.

The Environmental Change-Makers

www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

slide3

Section #1:

Definition

slide4

WHAT IS PEAK OIL?

“Peak oil is the term used to describe the situation when the amount of oil that can be extracted from the earth in a given year begins to decline, because geological limitations are reached. Extracting oil becomes more and more difficult, so that costs escalate and the amount of oil produced begins to decline.”

--The Oil Drum, Peak Oil Overview, June 2007, www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

WHAT IS PEAK OIL?

“The peak in oil production does not signify ‘running out of oil,’ but it does mean the end of cheap oil, as we switch from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market.”

--Energy Bulletin, Peak Oil Primer, www.energybulletin.net/primer

“Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half”

--Energy Bulletin, Peak Oil Primer, www.energybulletin.net/primer

Section 1

slide6

Section #2:

Production / Supply

slide7

The US Oil Story

Section 2

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide8

US Peak in 1970

  • US had been world’s largest producer
  • Peak came as a surprise to most
    • Had been predicted by Hubbert in 1956
  • Precipitated a rush to find oil elsewhere
    • Ramp up Saudi and Mexico production
    • New production in Alaska and North Sea

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide9

World Oil: Discoveries follow same pattern as US production

Section 2

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide10

RATE OF USE:

“Fifty years ago, the world was consuming 4 billion barrels of oil per year and the average discovery was around 30 billion. Today we consume 30 billion barrels per year and the discovery rate is approaching 4 billion barrels of crude per year.”

--Asia newspaper, 4 May 2005, quoted by Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, p. 21

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TECHNOLOGY

“Every technological advance of the last 150 years has been powered by a unique, extremely energy-dense, but finite—and, as it turns out, planet-killing—source of fuel.”

--Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, “Editor’s Note,” Mother Jones, May/June 2008

IMPACTS:

“A few of the things in our homes made from oil:

“Aspirins, sticky tape, trainer shoes, lycra socks, glue, paints, varnish, foam mattresses, carpets, nylon, polyester, CDs, DVDs, plastic bottles, contact lenses, hair gel, brushes, toothbrushes, rubber globes, washing-up bowls, electric sockets, plugs, shoe polish, furniture wax, computers, printers, candles, bags, coats, bubble wrap, bicycle pumps, fruit juice containers, rawlplugs, credit cards, loft insulation, PVC windows, shopping bags, lipstick … and that’s just some of the things made directly from oil, not those that needed fossil fuels and the energy they consume in their manufacture (which is pretty much everything)”

--Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, p. 19

IMPACTS:

“Oil is so important that the peak will have vast implications across the realms of war and geopolitics, medicine, culture, transport and trade, economic stability and food production.”

--Energy Bulletin, Peak Oil Primer, www.energybulletin.net/primer

FOOD

“For every one joule of food consumed in the United States, around 10 joules of fossil fuel energy have been used to produce it.”

--Energy Bulletin, Peak Oil Primer, www.energybulletin.net/primer

Section 3

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“NORMAL”

We regard these things as “normal” because we--and our parents and grandparents, and perhaps even our great-grandparents--grew up during the brief age of oil, the age of abundant, cheap, available fossil fuels.

Our sense of “normal” has got to change. It’s about to change – drastically.

EXPECTATIONS

“The most important thing to bear in mind is that our present society will not continue for much longer. Ideas of finding a job at 18, marrying, acquiring a house and a family, then retiring at 60 or 70, belong to history and the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can consider what needs to be done.”

--Paul Thompson (author of Wolf at the Door website), quoted in Albert Bates, The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook

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Section #4:

Bottom of the Barrel

slide15

Mother Jones, May / June 2008

TECHNO-FIXES

“What is the point, exactly, of finding techno-fixes that will let us continue to live in a burning house?”

--Albert Bates, The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook (New Society, 2006)

Section 4

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COAL

"Coal reserves are highly uncertain, but the reserves are surely enough to take atmospheric CO2 amount far into the region that we assess as being "dangerous."

“Thus we only consider scenarios in which coal use is phased out as rapidly as possible ..."

--James Hansen et al, "Target Atmospheric CO2; Where should Humanity Aim?" Columbia University, April 2008

www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf

SEQUESTERED COAL

“Companies say they will employ carbon sequestration or carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which the CO2 emissions are stored, usually deep underground, rather than released into the atmosphere. …

“CCS could increase a plant’s energy requirements by anywhere from 10 to 40%, and the overall cost of generating energy from 25 to 125%. In addition to being difficult and expensive, CCS is potentially dangerous. In 1986, an eruption of CO2 from a naturally occurring pocket under a Cameroon lake bed instantly suffocated nearly 1,800 people. …

“No power plant is yet operating with a full CCS system.

--James Ridgeway, “Scrubbing King Coal,” Mother Jones, May / June 2008

slide17

EROEI or “Energy Returned on Energy Invested”

“In the early days of oil, much of the oil extracted came from highly pressurized wells, so little effort was required to get the oil out. At that time, the typical EROEI was about 100. As those wells became depleted, more and more effort was required to get the oil out. A typical EROEI for oil is now about 15, considering additional costs like repressurization of wells and drilling in underwater locations. …

EROEI is in the low single digits for oil sands, and is barely above 2 for ethanol from corn.”

--Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2007, The Oil Drum

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

Section 4

slide18

Myth #3: A small downturn can easily be made up with energy efficiency

  • The quickest impacts are financial
    • Recession or depression
    • Serious recession in 1973 - 75
  • Use of biofuels raises food prices
    • Further increases recession risk
  • Don’t need peak for recession
    • Only need supply/demand shortfall
    • Likely what we are experiencing now

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide19

Myth #2: Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will save us

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide20

Myth #4: Canadian oil sands will save us

  • Hard to see this with current technology
    • Technology known since 1920s
    • Production slow and expensive
  • Natural gas is in limited supply
    • Alternatives require more capital
  • Most optimistic forecasts equal 5% of current world oil by 2030
    • Even this exceeds available natural gas

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide21

Section #5:

Alternative Fuels

slide22

Now the US is a major importer of oil and tiny user of renewables

Section 5

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide23

Reading the slide:

  • About two thirds of oil is imported
  • Biofuels make up about 1.0% of energy production - a little less of use
  • Wind comprises 0.4% of energy production
  • Solar comprises 0.1% of energy production

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide24

Myth #5: Biofuels will save us

  • Corn-based ethanol has many problems
    • Raises food prices, not scalable, CO2 issues, depletes water supply
  • Cellulosic ethanol theoretically better
    • Still does not scale to more than 20% of need
    • Competes with biomass for electric, home heat
  • Biofuel from algae might work
    • Not perfected yet

Section 5

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide25

A U.N. expert on Friday called the growing practice of converting food crops into biofuel "a crime against humanity,'' saying it is creating food shortages and price jumps that cause millions of poor people to go hungry.

--AP News, October 2007, quoting UN independent expert Jean Ziegler

The idea that we can simply replace this fossil legacy -- and the extraordinary power densities it gives us -- with ambient energy is the stuff of science fiction.

There is simply no substitute for cutting back.

--George Monbiot, “The Most Destructive Crop On Earth Is No Solution to the Energy Crisis,” The Guardian, December 2005

slide26

Section #6:

The Economy

slide27

And Prices are Spiking

Section 6

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview – June 2008

www.theoildrum.com/tag/overview

slide28

“GROWTH”

“Our industrial societies and our financial systems were built on the assumption of continual growth – growth based on ever more readily available cheap fossil fuels.”

--Energy Bulletin, “Peak oil primer” www.energybulletin.net/primer

THE ECONOMY

“The issue is not so much ‘running out’ as it is not having enough to keep our economy running.”

--Matt Savinar, www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net

“GROWTH”

The long period of economic growth in the past 60 years has lulled analysts of many types into believing that the favorable patterns associated with economic growth will last forever. It is pretty clear that these favorable patterns are in fact temporary. Peak oil, or the squeeze preceding peak oil, is likely to result in a rapid change in the financial situation that may have more impact than the decline in oil production itself.

—Gail Tverberg, “Economic Impact of Peak Oil,” The Oil Drum, http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2983

THE ECONOMY

Looming environmental limits require economic contraction.

—Richard Heinberg, “Resilient Communities: A Guide for Disaster Management,” MuseLetter #192, April 2008. http://globalpublicmedia.com/museletter_192_resilient_communities

slide29

Growth Paradigm in Economics

Standard Model of

the Economy

Economy

Interpretation: the economy is all, and ecosystems are just another element within the overall economy.

Ecosystem

Resource

extraction

Waste

products

Section 6

Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy

www.steadystate.org

slide30

Growth Paradigm in Economics

Standard Model of

the Economy

Reality-Based Ecological

Economics Model

Reality: Everything on earth, including “the economy,” is within the earth’s ecosystems.

Ecosystem

Economy

Economy

Ecosystem

Resource

extraction

Resource

extraction

Unrealistic!

Waste

products

Waste

products

Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy

www.steadystate.org

slide31

Section #7:

Biocapacity

slide32

OVERSHOOT

Expressed in terms of "number of planets," the biocapacity of the Earth is always 1 (represented by the horizontal blue line). This graph shows how humanity has moved from using, in net terms, about half the planet's biocapacity in 1961 to over 1.25 times the biocapacity of the Earth in 2003.

The global ecological deficit of 0.25 Earths is equal to the globe's ecological overshoot.

--Global Footprint Network, http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?content=global_footprint

Section 7

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?content=global_footprint

slide33

BIOCAPACITY

No one wants to undertake basic change unless we have to, especially if doing so means restrictions on reproduction and individual consumption. But … business as usual is not an option, even if there is a solution to the energy problem in isolation. The oil-depletion crisis is merely the current mask for the timeless ecological dilemma.

—Richard Heinberg, PowerDown

FAIR SHARES

The environmental organization WWF periodically analyzes the amount of earth’s resources—energy, raw materials, water, food—that industrialized nations consume. They compare this figure to our per-capita share of the resources available. It’s all measured in acres: how many acres of planet it takes to produce those resources. This concept is known as our ecological footprint.

When we divide the biologically productive acres available on the planet, our per-capita fair share amounts to about 4.5 acres. North Americans currently consume resources equivalent to 24.7 acres of planetary surface—nearly five times our fair share.

In other words, if everyone on the planet lived the lifestyle we do, we’d need about five planets to provide the resources for it all.

--Joanne Poyourow and Peter Rood, Environmental Change-Making. Statistics source: William Rees, “Footprints to Sustainability,” UBC Reports, Vol. 52, No. 4, April 6, 2006, www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/ubcreports/2006/06apr06/footprints.html 4.5 and 24.7 were calculated from U.S.A. data at Global Footprint Network, “National Footprints,” www.ecologicalfootprint.org/result.php?cnt=USA Metric hecatres were converted to U.S. measures based on: 1.8 hecatres=4.45 acres, 10 hecatres=24.7 acres