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Peak Oil SelfTeach


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Title: Peak Oil SelfTeach

Peak Oil Self-Teach
The Environmental Change-Makers Los Angeles, CA,
September 2008
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// 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
theyd 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 theyd interacted. There was much
laughter, and people declared it was lots of fun.
The Environmental Change-Makers www.EnviroChangeMa
Section 1 Definition
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,
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,
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,
Section 1
Section 2 Production / Supply
The US Oil Story
Section 2
Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
US Peak in 1970
  • US had been worlds 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
World Oil Discoveries follow same pattern as US
Section 2
Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
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
Section 3 Impacts
TECHNOLOGY Every technological advance of the
last 150 years has been powered by a unique,
extremely energy-dense, but finiteand, as it
turns out, planet-killingsource of
fuel. --Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery,
Editors 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 thats 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,
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,
Section 3
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. Its about to change
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
Section 4 Bottom of the Barrel
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
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
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 plants 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
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
Section 4
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
  • Dont need peak for recession
  • Only need supply/demand shortfall
  • Likely what we are experiencing now

Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
Myth 2 Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge will save us
Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
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
Section 5 Alternative Fuels
Now the US is a major importer of oil and tiny
user of renewables
Section 5
Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
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
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
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
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
Section 6 The Economy
And Prices are Spiking
Section 6
Gail Tverberg, Peak Oil Overview June
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
THE ECONOMY The issue is not so much running
out as it is not having enough to keep our
economy running. --Matt Savinar,
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,
THE ECONOMY Looming environmental limits require
economic contraction. Richard Heinberg,
Resilient Communities A Guide for Disaster
Management, MuseLetter 192, April 2008.
Growth Paradigm in Economics
Interpretation the economy is all, and
ecosystems are just another element within the
overall economy.
Section 6
Center for the Advancement of a Steady State
Growth Paradigm in Economics
Reality Everything on earth, including the
economy, is within the earths ecosystems.
Center for the Advancement of a Steady State
Section 7 Biocapacity
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,
Section 7
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 earths
resourcesenergy, raw materials, water, foodthat
industrialized nations consume. They compare
this figure to our per-capita share of the
resources available. Its 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 surfacenearly five times our fair
share. In other words, if everyone on the
planet lived the lifestyle we do, wed 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,
/ubcreports/2006/06apr06/footprints.html 4.5
and 24.7 were calculated from U.S.A. data at
Global Footprint Network, National Footprints,
Metric hecatres were converted to U.S. measures
based on 1.8 hecatres4.45 acres, 10
hecatres24.7 acres
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