Smc Newsletter January 07


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Smc Newsletter January 07

  1. 1. Volume 2, Number 1, – January 2007 People you should con- Peak Oil? Hasn’t It Been Debunked? tact about peak oil: There have certainly been a lot of attempts to debunk it. And why •Senator Barbara Boxer would anyone want to mislead us tact/email/policy.cfm about oil depletion? It’s only a $1.8 •Senator Dianne Feinstein trillion-per-year business, with big profit margins. Lee Raymond retired stein/email.html from Exxon Mobil with something •Congressman Sam Farr like $400 million in compensation— 1221 Longworth House Of- do you suppose anyone could be fice Building persuaded to tell an itsy-bitsy fib or Washington, DC 20515 two for that amount of money? But (202) 225-2861 enough of sarcasm and ad FAX (202) 225-6791 hominems—facts is what we want. •Governor Arnold Schw… So, what do the peak oil deniers claim? Vast stores of undiscovered •President George Bush oil, vast stores of unconventional oil, abiotic oil bubbling up from the bow- els of the Earth, technological mar- Now you can contribute a vels to extract more and more of the cent to SMC every time you oil already discovered—all ready do a web search—just go to and waiting to provide more oil just, enter when we need it. Of course, during “Sustainable Monterey Coun- almost all of the history of oil they ty” in answer to the “Who do supply capacity was found before it you GoodSearch for” ques- was needed, and one might wonder tion, and search . why—with sustained high prices— there’s no longer any spare produc- Thanks to all those who have contributed help and funds to tion capacity. So let’s take a quick SMC look at the cornucopians’ arguments. Oil exploration has been conduct- ed around the world, with steadily in- creasing sophistication, since the 1850’s. After many decades of phe- UPCOMING EVENTS Jan. 11: SMC Discussion Group: (re?) In- Group: Economy, 6:45-9pm, Mty Youth Cen- ter, 777 Pearl St. troduction to Peak Oil Thurs., February 17: SPG “Spring Cleaning, Keep it 6:45-8:30pm, Mry Youth Center, 777 Clean” event, Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, PG Pearl St. Natural History Museum January 24, Wednesday: Richard Hein- berg speech at “Ecofarm Conference”, Asilomar February 1, Thursday: SMC Discussion Mission: To ensure an orderly transition through the fossil fuel decline by co- operatively developing a sustainable economy for Monterey County.
  2. 2. SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY Is the US Different from the World? IT’S POSSIBLE TO APPROXIMATELY PREDICT WHEN AN OIL PROVINCE WILL REACH ITS PEAK AND DECLINE M King Hubbert predicted in 1956 that oil production in the lower 48 US states would peak in the late 60’s or early 70’s: Not just the lower 48 peaked in 1970—the whole US peaked— and never again reached that lev- el of output. The addition of the Oil production & price history for the contiguous 48 states North Slope of Alaska was only a bump on the downslope. Rising prices seem to have stimulated a little blip in production about 5 years after the historic maximum price spike. New technology was developed and deployed as out- put slid. Offshore drilling didn’t make up for the decline. Now the US, once the greatest producer and exporter of oil in the world, with the best resources and tech- nology and capital sources at its disposal, can’t reverse its declin- ing oil production and imports more than 60% of the oil it uses. Who will do better? Oil production history for Alaska The modern version of Hubbert’s method uses a curve-fitting technique to estimate the total oil that will ever be produced in a province, based on historical oil extraction there. The peak of production is expected when about half of that amount has been extracted—and after that comes a permanent decline. The US has been in decline for 36 years, and Alaska has been in decline for nearly 20 years. Who else is experiencing declining oil production? Oman, Venezuela, Indonesia, UK, Norway, China, possibly Saudi Arabia, and many, many others are also in decline. Hubbert’s method fits most of those places very well. Where does the updated Hubbert linearization place the estimate for the peak of world oil extraction—December 2005, according to Kenneth Deffeyes. Where is that abiotic refill when you need it?
  3. 3. SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY YOU CAN’T EXTRACT OR USE WHAT YOU HAVEN’T FOUND The graph on the right shows the world’s rate of oil discovery as the height of the dark grey bars. It repre- sents a reasonable extrapolation for discovery in the future by the lighter gray area to the right. The black curve represents the rate of oil production (and consumption). It’s clear that dis- covery has been in an inexorable, though bumpy, decline since about 1964—that’s 43 years ago. We’ve been using more than we’re finding since about 1980. Hubbert’s peak should happen when the area under the black is half that of the gray. All of the mainstream ideas for dealing with scarce energy seem to concentrate on continuing to make more of it available, while the greatest potential lies in using less. Further Reading The Oil Drum Association for the Study of Peak Oil--USA Energy Bulletin Oil Addiction: The World in Peril, Pierre Chomat Beyond Oil, Kenneth Deffeyes The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler The Oil Depletion Protocol, Richard Heinberg
  4. 4. Director’s Note CONTACT Happiest of New Years to you all! I hope this note finds you warm and INFORMATION dry! What a blustery beginning to the year. The Holidays have passed and 2007…. here we come! Should I share with you my resolution? Does MARK FOLSOM: it come true if I tell; like a wish upon a star, which is only possible if Phone: 831 648 1543 sealed in secrecy? Well, I will share, because I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats. I’ve completely abandoned ever going on a E-Mail: folsomman@red- diet again. Yes, it’s true and in fact… the idea of limiting my calorie con- sumption is abhorrent to me. I will, of course, continue to make wise and healthy eating choices and include plenty of exercise. But I will not spend another penny or brain space fussing over weight reduction programs for Steering Committee Members the sake of vanity. Deborah Lindsay, Director deb@sus- If you’ve met me, you might think, like I have many times in the 40 years of previously attempted dieting, that I could benefit from a few pounds lost. But the more important thought to consider besides fitting Ruth Smith, 831-620-1303 into a certain size of clothing or culturally imposed image of “the perfect” Committee Chair and Budget Chair weight for Deb, is that maybe a little stored fat would be a good thing right Virginia Chomat, about now. Aren’t our bodies designed to hold on to “extra” when the har- Secretary and Co-treasurer vest is plentiful so we can ride the wave of scarcity when the cupboards Pierre Chomat, are bare? Isn’t that why we’re attracted to “fat” in the first place, so we Resident Expert can store it, and save it for leaner times? Mark Folsom, I don’t always let people know how concerned I am about the future of Newsletter Editor, our food supply. I make my speeches palatable to a wide arrange of Peak Oil and Global Climate Change supporters, and try not to appear fa- George Wilson, 831-372-0659 natical. But I must say to you all that I have serious apprehensions about Committee Evaluation Coordinator the coming few years. It is time to get serious about the work ahead. My Denyse Frischmuth, brain, your brains, all of our collective attention needs to be on mobiliza- 831-643-0707 tion to prepare for the fossil fuel decline and climate change disruptions. Volunteer Coordinator and Urban Envi- The weight will come off when our grocery stores no longer shelve ronmental Accords Coordinator enough food. A heroic cooperative effort is needed now. Please join me in Robert Frischmuth, making this happen. My real New Years resolution/wish is that we all Co-Treasurer weather the coming storm together safely. See our line up of meetings Program Heads: scheduled for 2007 at, and you can Annette Chaplin, always email me at 831-372-8725 Plant that garden, we’ll need it. Sustainable Pacific Grove Deborah Linda Parker, phone # 831-656-0664 Colin Campbell’s 2004 prediction for world oil production: Big Sur Powerdown Newsletter Design by Adrienne Allen We’re on the Web! See us at: groups/monterey