[colug-432] Peak Oil

Travis Sidelinger travissidelinger at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 15:14:39 EST 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM, Joshua Kramer <josh at globalherald.net> wrote:
> Continuing the discussion from the list.
> "That last figure I've seen is that the cost to convert algae to diesel
> is about 50$ / gallon.  That's pretty far from the current $3.25/gal.
> You'll need massive amounts of water and fertilizer.  Solar and Wind
> are already here and in mass production.  We just won't be able to
> zoom zoom our SUV's around in the future."
> The *last* time I researched this back in 2008 the price/gallon for algae
> biodiesel was estimated to be around $5.  After reading what you wrote I did
> a quick Google search and found studies that pegged it more like
> $18-$40/gallon.  I'm guessing that folks have done much more research in the
> past few years to more accurately peg the number.

Can you share some of those links?  Also, what is the net energy equation?

> But keep in mind that wind/solar and biodiesel are two totally and
> completely different animals.  We should not focus on one at the exclusion
> of the others.
> "Yes, I'm panicking too.  I could have as little as a year to get solar
> cells installed and learn to garden."
> If the crap hits the fan as badly as you've surmised in previous posts on
> this thread, solar cells and gardening will be the *least* of your worries.
>  What do you plan to do about the gangs of roving thieves?

Yes I know.  People have been known to do dispirit things for
survival.  Some people may think this is too far fetch or that we are
too civilized for things to come to that.  I hope they are right, but
I suggest planning for a range of possible outcomes.  Bullets are
currently a cheap investment.

> If it really gets that bad - I'm guessing we'll enter some kind of dystopian
> future that is a mix of the new technology we can support without petrol,
> and the 1800's.  Personally I'd have no issue with going back to the 1800's.
>  The problem is that the population level that we can support using 1800's
> technology is far less than the population we can support using 2010
> technology.  Those who are not prepared in *all* areas will have a bleak and
> uncertain future.  I do not intend to be in this bleak and uncertain group.

Maybe they can eat the leather in their SUV's

> Looks like I have to start hoarding ammo again... :)  And learn some skills
> that are applicable using technology from any era... like fabrication,
> mechanical design, maybe blacksmithing or gunsmithing... and gardening...
> and animal husbandry...

Except for most people there are just too many things that you need to
know and be good at.  Communities are key.

> The people who get really deep in this have it all planned out.  How they'll
> eat or grow food, how they'll defend themselves, the best location to live
> (in order to ensure a good water and food supply, and reduce the chances of
> roving thieves), what kinds of people to associate with (it's recommended to
> join a church and, if you aren't religious, pretend you are), those kinds of
> things.  There are sociological and psychological problems you have to
> navigate in addition to the technical problems with this kind of occurrence.
>  The link I noted at Life After The Oil Crash has a lot of resources for
> this...

Yes, it will take strong communities if we are to survival.

People need to consider all the possibilities and plan accordantly:

Here are some possibilities I've come up with:

  * Oil is unlimited and we keep growing exponentially -> Current
facts are not on this side.  This is simply a fantasy.

  * Oil is limited, but with technology we will be able to keep our
status quo for another 20 years -> Problem is that the technology
already needs to be in massive production today.  We needed to start
this 15yrs ago.

  * Oil production remains flat until 2015 as prices rise because of
India and China, but people act quickly to switch to renewable energy
solutions -> Making this switch will not be easy.  Experts have
calculated that we will need 2000 times the number of solar cells.
Lets get building....

  * Oil production remains flat until 2015 and then starts a 3%
decline, prices rise, but economic output (GDP) is held down, people
slowly switch to renewables, but GDP reduces significantly until it
equalizes with renewable energy production and remaining oil/gas
production at a much lower level -> hopefully I can hang onto my job
why this all happens.  There are many different tipping points that
could cause our system(s) to simply fall into chaos while this

  * Oil production remains flat or in decline causing prices to rise
and then causing another (or consecutive) recessions, our level of
nation debt then causes the dollar to fault, but the government acts
quickly to secure food production and quell civil unrest  -> Scary,
but quite possible.

  * Oil production remains flat or decline causing prices to rise and
then causing another or consecutive recessions, our level of nation
debt then causes the dollar to fault leading to complete chaos (better
known as Mad Max).   -> Very scary and quite possible too.

  * It is also possible that different areas within the US will have
completely different outcomes, thus any combination of the about

I think the most probably outcome (with current information) is that
we will continue at current levels for at least another year or two as
oil prices slowly rise.  Eventually oil prices will cause a second
recession.  US debt and credit markets will be in really bad shape by
then and we could see the dollar collapse.  I'm hoping government will
step in and secure food production.  Though I'd expect mileage will
very with different areas of the nation.  Some will be in complete
chaos, yet others will have formed strong communities.    Keep in mind
that our current food systems supports 300+ mil people (plus exports
too), thus reductions in those systems may result in a reduction to
population before things can equalize again.  I'd expect the major
cites will be the worst off as they are furthest from food production
and contain the highest population densities.

Hopefully I'm wrong, but people just seem to be in complete denial,
which can only make this even worse.

It's amazing how there was a lot of talk about this two years, but
when oil prices dropped off during the peak of the recession people
just went back to their normal habits.


> --
> JK

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