no, not THAT kind of hummer

3/21/06

I’m afraid I’ll have to pull a CODE WORD for today, because it is my 6am shift with The Buglet tomorrow morning, and that is now only a few hours away. Today’s topic? Yep, you guessed it: PEAK OIL THEORY!

You can find out for yourself what Peak Oil actually means (like here or here), and I’m sure you conservatives out there will trip all over yourselves to deny it’s happening, but my question is simple. What the fuck are you going to do?

If the days of American exurbia and our gluttony for oil is truly about to end, do any of you have an escape plan? Do you have a place to go where you can wait out the worst? My farm is solar-powered, has fresh water, damned fine arable land and is welcome to those who can tell really good stories (and have a decent jump shot) when the Oilpocalypse happens, but what about the rest of you? Any plans at all? I’m serious!

0 thoughts on “no, not THAT kind of hummer

  1. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Hey, man. I know that my Lexapro finally came in the mail last week, but I am still a little too fragile to be reading stuff like this first thing in the morning! To answer your question, I have no escape plan and I will probably be one of the first casualties of the Maryland Oilpocalypse! Thanks for the reminder!
    My brother is a big wig at BP Amoco. Perhaps I will direct him to this site and pick his brain for some suggestions.

    Reply
  2. lee

    I’m coming to your house! Hopefully, if I drive the speed limit, my Prius will make it to NY on one tank. I’ll put my bike in the trunk just in case.

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  3. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Hey! Lee has the right idea! Your country house is big enough to accommodate all of your loyal readers, isn’t it? I will see you then! Whew. . . problem solved. . .

    Reply
  4. Chris M

    I’ve been waiting months for this post! And yes, I’d love to see your wonderful farm!
    Why? Because I AGREE, in general, with a lot of what I read on the Peak Oil site.
    His theory that in the not so distant future supply will peak and start a continual long-term decline, while our current demand is increasing with no end in sight seems reasonable to me.
    His position that they will never find huge enough new oil fields to meet surging demand also seems reasonable to me.
    The vulnerability of Saudia Arabian supplies for reason unrelated to politics or terrorism seems reasonable to me.
    The one thing I strongly disagree with is that SUDDENLY, just after we pass over the supply peak on the curve, oil prices will skyrocket to $200 a barrel. Nonsense. If we know about this now, the oil traders already know about it. I am pretty damn sure this peak moment will be very well publicized years before the peak is met and prices will increase accordingly. He predicts it happens in roughly 20 years. Remember that Y2K thing about some obscure computer coding issue that no one would understand and how society would collapse while everyone was out drinking champagne on New Years? For a year my elderly mother was constantly telling me to get bottled water and a wad of cash.
    So, assume I am right that that Peak Oil theory will be widely publicized and either accepted or rejected by society within the next ten years. (I bet it will be sooner). If that is the case, the discussion alone will impact oil prices! If society generally concludes that the theory is correct, oil prices will steadily increase long before the Peak is met.
    The sophisticated person’s lesson here is: buy oil futures! I bet Peak Oil theory is already being factored into oil prices and is slightly increasing them.
    On the other hand, what happens when prices goes up? Demand goes down. Alternatives are found –whether it is riding a bike or using a new technology.
    I agree, Ian, that there is a lot of work to be done finding new sources of energy and we should be working hard to find them. And I think we are working pretty hard to find them. We also have implement some things that are blocked by political disputes, sometimes based on silliness. (See, China Syndrome; fake Three Mile Island hysteria)
    The other thing I only sort of agree with on the Peak Oil site is the fact that things like hybrid cars and solar-powered homes aren’t effective or efficient enough to change alter his theory. He seems to think nuclear is the best choice to delay the date of reckoning, but even that has a lot of serious problems that are well-known.
    Please understand this reality of global oil market: Current conservation efforts by nice middle-class Americans with Green sensibilities do not reduce the net consumption of oil. It just makes oil a little bit cheaper and that makes it a little easier for people with less money around the world (say in India or China) to buy more oil and burn more of it today…instead of you. It still contrubutes to green house gases, etc. Sorry for that bad news.
    Since he is completely pessimistic and offers no hope to avoid the peak oil end of society as we know it, he does like your survivalist, back-to-the-land, back-up plan. I remember when only right-wing crazies were survivalists. Plus ca change plus c’est the meme chose? We’ll see.
    I think this guy is trying to do a good service by scaring society — American society — so it gets serious about finding new sources of energy besides oil before the peak.
    This is where I end with a joke: This guy trying to scare Ian about an oil shock is like me trying to give Judy Garland singing lessons.

    Reply
  5. Lindsay

    I suggest a few less ball-hogging yarn-spinners and some more EMT’s, blacksmiths and farmers. Unless they really can spin yarn.
    Dang it, we should have gone to Warren Wilson. Or State: the slow-down Princeton Offense would help while away the hours between sunset and milking.
    Plus, the fact that your barn would need to house actual agriculture will tend to favor a post-up game rather than risking slicing your leg on spare harvester disks stacked up near the three-point line.
    Anyway, I’ll be thinking about ya from Granny Bowens’ farm in NC, where winter heat is not such an issue and you can play ball outside until November. We’ll probably opt for pigshit over solar. Mobile pulled pork/fuel generators and garbage disposal units in one. Yum.

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  6. Matt

    Oilpocalypse, global warming, overpopulation, genetically modified organisms, imperialist wars, Bush’s digital brownshirts, the Roberts’ Court, Pat Robertson’s America, Wal-Mart wages. . . Man, I’d be medicating myself, too, if I were a liberal.
    Actually, Chris M makes a good point about the first one, though it’s unlikely we’ll run out of “affordable” fossil fuels during our lifetimes. We’re still finding huge oil reserves and developing ever-cheaper ways of extracting the hard-to-get stuff, which geologists suggest is still in abundance. Still, it *is* a problem we need to deal with, just like Islamofascism and social security solvency.

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  7. J.Boogie

    the fat double-chinned fool Ian who has probably driven cross-country a dozen times in the past few years and who travels from NYC to UNC just to watch a basketball game is now telling us about saving oil and resorting to the same old scare tactics of peak oil
    Ian reminds me of the Hollywood liberals that he bends over for, Streisand and Sarandon and Springsteen…, all living in their mansions with their fleet of luxury cars telling us how to live.
    Now that fat Ian gave us the environmental fear tactics for this week, tomorrow he will resort back to his old trick of Christian bashing and maybe on Friday he’ll tell us about his collection of ipods and podcasts. What we have to find out is what is more bloated and inflated, Ian’s face or the EPA mileage numbers on his car.

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  8. Steph Mineart

    Go to grandma’s farm; same plan as yours, only in Iowa. I’ll have to print out the directions to build my own wind turbine, though; the old windmill/well pump at their farm is falling down these days.

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  9. Sean Williams

    Holy crap. I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues, about global warming and stuff, and jboogie, you just changed my mind! It took me a considerable amount of thought, but fatty fat neck isn’t gonna get anything past me again!
    Jboogie for president! Wait, is it jboogie or jboogle?
    HAHA! Ian’s neck is FAT!!! Man, I wish I had a rock or something so I could throw it at his head! Thanks, j-boogie!

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  10. jody

    We won’t run out of oil in our lifetime- market fluctuations and crises will generate other paths. When you think of Peak Production remember that this is the maximum – ever. There’s a shitload more to go after that and any conservation, efficiency improvement or alternate development starts stretching the back of the curve out for a very long time. The new CODE WORD will be “Real Proven Reserves”, it will be a very sexy term over the next several decades.
    I am taking the Land Rover to rural western NC. Several of us are going and intend to call ourselves “Wolverines”.
    Don’t buy oil futures, they change every day. Instead buy Bronco Drilling (Nasdaq: BRNC), Basic Energy (NYSE: BAS) up to $32, 25% trailing stop, no more than 4% of your total investments; Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) at less than $100. Could help ease the pain.
    Ian, I realize that your quite serious but you are more exposed than most: near ground zero half the time, drive a lot of highway miles and stay the other half in the most well documented geologically dangerous place in the northern hemisphere. I would be skeered too-

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  11. kent

    I was going to post a refutation for the conservative posts here, but I’m tired, and nothing I say is going to change anyone’s mind anyway.
    Personally, I took it to heart in 1970 when Life Magazine said there was going to be an Energy Crisis. I’m already doing things like replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, driving less, and turning down our thermostats.
    I’m not that concerned about Oilpocalypse, because at some point Bush will be gone and the Republican Congress will be retired and/or in jail, and maybe _THEN_ we can try and formulate a common-sense consensus energy policy. But for now we’ve got Bush and Cheney at the wheel of the juggernaut, pedal to the metal, taking us straight to hell.
    And all y’all conservative sorts: either wake the fuck up or shut the fuck up. I get weary reading the misinformation you’re parroting. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the Oil Economy isn’t a recipe for disaster, or that Global Warming doesn’t exist will believe anything.
    Like Will Rogers said, it isn’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s the things you know that aren’t true. Us here in the Reality-Based world would welcome you coming over to our side.

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  12. xuxE

    caution, that investment advice is wack. not to mention the fact that e&p companies are part of the problem, drilling up our natural lands in search of crude (black gold, texas tea).

    Reply
  13. Chris M

    Just got off the phone with Kofi Annan, he asked me to convey the heartfelt appreciation of billions of people in developing nations like India, China, Indonesia and Brazil — where consumption of oil is skyrocketing — for your decision to turn down your thermostat and change your light bulbs — so they can buy and burn the oil you don’t consume just a little bit cheaper.
    I didn’t own a car from ages 19 to 34 and I chose to move to a place where I take the subway to work every day and have done so for over ten years. Is that conservative? Is that liberal? I don’t know, but it’s a little more drastic that doing the same things pretty much everyone does simply to keep their electric bill down.

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  14. xuxE

    GONG!
    that was kind of cliche, tryin to shift blame to those pesky developing countries! conservation begins at home.
    world oil consumption stats:
    #1 United States 20,030,000 barrels per day
    #2 China 6,391,000 barrels per day
    #3 Japan 5,578,000 barrels per day

    Reply
  15. Father Tim

    Off, off topic, but I know there are some “Shield” watchers on this blog. I won’t ruin the finale for those who have yet to watch it, but, uh…WOW. J Boogie, can your dad beat up Ian’s dad, too?

    Reply
  16. AmyG

    I can remember the energy crisis of the 1970’s. Do you remember the nuclear holocost predictions of the 1980’s? How scary that stuff was, like The Day After? I had nightmares as a teenager, for real. There was the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s. And y2k. And the apocalyptic predictions of certain religions in advance of 2000. And years of debate about global warning. Now there’s mad cow disease and bird flu. Oh, and a little thing called terrorism. Every time you turn around there’s an expert eager to tell the world about the next thing that will kill us. I am numb, numb, numb to it all.
    Is there truth to any of the gloom and doom? probably. What can one person do? nothing. I gotta figure out what we’re going to have for supper tonight, make school lunches, return an overrdue video at the library, call a friend to reschedule a meeting, put our financial data into the computer budgeting program, make sure everybody has clean underwear, rsvp for a 5 year old’s birthday party, get a birthday present, etc. People are too busy just getting through the day, exhausted at the end, to work up enough “energy” (ha ha) to tackle global oil supply!!!
    There IS a UNC basketball game Sunday, 2:00 EST on ESPN2. Go girls!!

    Reply
  17. Matt

    “I was going to post a refutation for the conservative posts here, but I’m tired, and nothing I say is going to change anyone’s mind anyway. … And all y’all conservative sorts: either wake the fuck up or shut the fuck up.”
    Don’t stifle my dissent! (Especially if you can’t be troubled to actually make an argument.)

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  18. Chris M

    xuxE —
    This is not about blame. This is not a morality tale. It is about people doing what they want or need to do in every corner of the world to the extent they are able. It is about supply and demand and price on a graph. The oil market is a global market now — no matter what you or I do or don’t do, what you or I believe or don’t believe.
    People in developing countries have been truly poor forever, and their interest involves consuming more resources, not less. But they aren’t so poor anymore. And they are very, very numerous. They are *just starting* to buy and burn what will quickly become a tremendous amount of oil. This is a key component of Peak Oil theory.
    Thinking about these issues in a moralistic way because it is counter-productive, a distraction. Demand for oil is increasing enormously in that part of the world regardless of my, yours, or Ian’s consumer (moral?) choices.
    Accordingly, these day there are limited benefits derived from Americans *conserving* oil. We need to use the alternatives we already have and find new technologies to create new alternatives to oil so we are not SO VERY reliant on a single resource and the problems that come with consuming it. Ian is doing that with his solar home. Few people can afford that alternative, however. We have find things that regular people can afford.

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  19. Matt

    I realize that most people have moved on to the J. Boogie post by now, but for the stragglers. . . here’s some support for what I think Kent characterized as misinformation:
    “Exploration teams have found the Bohai Bay Basin of North China may contain 20.5 billion tons of offshore oil reserves, with 9 billion tons already proven, experts said. The remaining 11.5 billion tons need to be further explored. The find indicates that total oil resources in place in the basin — one of China’s major oil-producing centres — could potentially sustain the country’s energy needs for a considerably long time.”
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-12/23/content_402814.htm
    “Three years of exploration has enabled Pemex to map oilfields that the state-owned oil monopoly believes will more than double the nation’s known crude oil reserves. Luis Ramírez Corzo, Pemex’s director for exploration, told EL UNIVERSAL that on a “conservative” estimate, almost 54 billion barrels lie underneath the oilfields. That would take Mexico’s reserves to 102 billion barrels, more than the United Arab Emirates (which has reserves of 97.8 billion barrels), Kuwait (94 billion) and Iran (89.7 billion), and almost as much as Iraq (112.5 billion).”
    http://www2.eluniversal.com.mx/pls/impreso/noticia.html?id_nota=6110&tabla=miami
    “TAIPEI – As the price of oil continues to rise internationally, China’s latest resource explorations have confirmed that the Qiangtang Basin in the Tibetan Plateau contains massive reserves of oil and natural gas. It will become the area of choice for oil exploration in the marine facies basin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and will likely become the new base for China’s oil and gas industry.”
    http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/4-11-16/24381.html
    “WASHINGTON — Utah, Colorado and Wyoming sit on a massive fortune in untapped oil — maybe more oil than in the Middle East — if they could just figure out a way to harvest it. … The technology to recover oil from tar sands and oil shale is costly, and it just wasn’t justified when oil was $30 or even $40 a barrel. But with oil prices expected to remain above $50 a barrel for the foreseeable future, a lot of people in the oil industry want to revisit what could become a huge financial windfall for Utah and its neighbors to the east.”
    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600125803,00.html
    I’ve got more if you’re interested.

    Reply
  20. Matt

    “…as long as we keep on with our gluttony…”
    You do know that we *produce* much more than any other country, yes?

    Reply

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