It sometimes seems that truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s out there, somewhere, way beyond our active recall.
We all know from our early years education that Petroleum Oil is a finite resource, unless we were home-schooled by Creationists.
Baking algae and other dead oceanic gunk at a particular depth under a certain kind of rock formation, following one of a small number of Global Warming life extinctions.
This is where and how Petroleum was made. There’s only a limited amount, because those conditions have only occurred a few times and in a few general regions in Earth history.
Unless you happen to believe in the abiogenic theory of how Petroleum Oil is continously being created, spontaneously, somehow, the fact of the eventual depletion of Petroleum Oil is clear and logical. But why do people choose to ignore this inevitable decline ?
You only need to look very briefly at some excellent Internet resources to understand that worldwide production of Petroleum Oil is reducing. The data is out there, and anyone can read the trendlines from the charts.
Despite this, people on the whole somehow assume that they will continue to have free access to Petroleum Fuels for their car and aeroplane travel.
There is a never-ending stream of advertising for car and air travel. It tries to create a constant demand for liquid fuel transportation. It justifies the actions of companies who desecrate local environments in their extraction and refining of complex oils. It normalises the expectation that vehicle fuels will continue to be available.
We have clearly reached a Peak in Oil, yet people still assume that the “driving story” will continue to be the same.
Maybe they think that their Governments will pressurise the Governments of OPEC to ramp up production. Maybe they think that oil from Tar Sands will remain cheap enough for them to buy even though the mining and refining of complex oils incurs higher production and environmental clean-up costs. Maybe they just don’t think.
And then there’s Global Warming.
Just as the World starts to accept that there is an imperative to preserve the habitat for Life on Earth by toning down the Carbon emissions rates, we have a natural ally in the de-growth curve of Oil.
One of the reasons the Climate Change arguments are so strongly and widely announced is that they provide a theatre in which to present and accept the truth of Peak Oil.
It is a necessity to reduce our use of Fossil Fuels to put the brakes on Global Warming. It is also a fact that our use of Fossil Fuels will reduce because of Peak Oil, but that was too hard to hear before Al Gore started his speaking tour.
Some people think that even though we will have a Contraction in the supply of Petroleum Oil, that other Fossil Fuels can fill the gap. But all these “alternatives” will give a step-change in the price of production.
More Energy is required to refine Tar Sands than Petroleum Oil. Therefore it will always be more expensive to run your car on liquidised bitumen than reformed sweet crude. How long before only a small remnant of people can afford to drive ?
Although the cost of “alternative” fuels will make up the drop in sales, the Economies as a whole cannot support higher Energy use with diminishing rates of return on liquid fuel production.
The added value of “alternative” fuels is an added financial cost, and therefore undermines Economic Growth.
Contraction in the Economies is assured with Peak Oil.
So, one half of Contraction and Convergence has been achieved without any high-level negotiations or power politics or campaigning. Contraction is on the menu and we didn’t write it.
What is Convergence ? Well, eventually, without intervention, Peak Oil will destroy not only Economic Growth, but Social Development.
If we do not have strong, regulatory, managed transition of our Energy sources to Low Carbon supplies, then pretty soon all the wealth in all the World will evaporate, throwing us all back to the Middle Ages.
Convergence is a recognition that the only viable global treaty for the control of Carbon Emissions must be based on equality. Not parity between the “wealth rights” of Energy consumers and Energy producers; but equal rights of access to Energy for every citizen on the planet.
If you pursue high technology solutions to emissions, with a high price for Carbon to pay for the high technology, then you give an unfair access to Energy to the wealthy nations, and unfair access to Energy for the wealthiest individuals within each nation.
We have to assert every person’s equal right to Energy, as access to Energy is the only way to avert the growing inequalities that will fatally destabilise the World’s trading systems.
Where I am, I can’t grow tea, so I need to continue to trade. I want to Trade Fairly, but I still want to trade, and I think others do too. Equitable sharing out of the World’s remaining Fossil Fuels isn’t “anti-trade”. An Energy Quota system is all about sharing out the non-infinite Carbon cake in order to keep the system functioning.
We have the natural fact of Contraction, both of the Economies and Hydrocarbon Energy. Under this regime, we need to ensure Convergence through a range of policies and undertakings.
The most simple and the most logical is to implement Carbon Energy Rationing, until such time as we have built all the Renewable Energy to power the World.
More resources on Contraction and Convergence :-
An interesting bunch of truth :-
Some interesting points :-
– Most of the World’s future oil supply depends on large oil fields, and most of the remaining undeveloped giant oil wells are in Iraq : could that influence your opinion about the reasons for the Iraq Incursion of 2003 ?
– Aviation Fuel “will hurt” more than other sectors from Contraction as of now because of competition with surface transport fuel needs : could that persuade you that there is no future in attempts to grow aerial transport ? The quote : “the peak of the aviation industry will be around 2012”.
– The United States has most of the World’s remaining Coal : so logically it will fight and fight to be allowed to continue to burn Coal. We can see the push for Carbon Capture and Storage technologies as part of the American attempt to protect its Economy.
– Russia has the largest remaining Natural Gas resources : and so you can understand why the United States is keen to convince Europe that Carbon Capture and Storage can work.
– Very few countries are sitting on the last major Fossil Fuel resources.
– Canada might need to build Nuclear Power reactors to create the steam needed to extract oil from the Tar Sands.
– On the basis of data from the recent past, the question is posed : “how can you have a doubling of the world Economy and at the same time reduce oil consumption” ?
– On Sub-Saharan countries “why are they poor ? They’re not using oil”
– The doubling of the world economy “is just not possible”.
– There is a very steep decline in the current large Russian Natural Gas fields, and yet investment in putting new fields into production has been reduced.
– Modelling of Petroleum Oil and Natural Gas from Uppsala University offers figures that are lower than the IPCC scenarios.
– Coal production will decline rapidly, even if there is massive new investment in discovery and extraction. The flows of coal available in 2100 will be around the same levels as today.
– If Russia and the United States both commit to not burn 50% of their coal reserves we will have solved the Climate Change problem.
– “The world’s greatest problem is that too many people must share too little energy.”