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1 The End Of Suburbia  Oil Depletion and Collapse of the American Dream (an educational DVD) Explanatory Remarks by Marcel Schoppers The opinions expressed.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The End Of Suburbia  Oil Depletion and Collapse of the American Dream (an educational DVD) Explanatory Remarks by Marcel Schoppers The opinions expressed."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The End Of Suburbia  Oil Depletion and Collapse of the American Dream (an educational DVD) Explanatory Remarks by Marcel Schoppers The opinions expressed herein have absolutely nothing to do with my employment or my employer(s) November 2004

2 2 History – “The Sky Is Falling!” In 1956, by hand-fitting and hand-integrating the “logistics curve” to match discovery data, Shell geologist Dr Marion King Hubbert predicted that US domestic oil production would peak in the early 1970s and then begin an irreversible decline. Hubbert's prediction was the subject of water- cooler confabs in every oil company office in the US and  because US production was growing exponentially at the time  it was laughed off. Hubbert was fired. 15 years later (1971), US oil production peaked and began an irreversible decline. The phenomenon is now called “Hubbert's Peak”.

3 3 History – New Supplies Also in 1971 Richard Nixon “closed the gold window” = broke the US promise that foreign countries could swap their dollar holdings for gold at $35/ounce. Suddenly the US dollar was no longer an IOU “as good as gold”, it was called an “IOU nothing”. The 1973 “Arab Oil Embargo” tripled the price of oil, but there was not much of a shortage. Greedy Arabs? No. The price of gold had tripled earlier, i.e. the Arabs were merely getting back to the agreed exchange rate of oil for gold  refusing to be short- changed by the rapidly devaluing US dollar. Since then the US couldn’t supply its own oil demand anymore. “The Sky Is Falling!” The US intensified its search for oil, and there was serious effort at conservation (smaller cars). In 1979 there was a real “Oil Shock” (the Iranian Revolution) and another in 1980 (the Iran-Iraq War). Oil went to $40/barrel ($80/barrel in today’s dollars). In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected. “It’s Morning in America!” We’ll just import oil and have record-breaking budget deficits too! As new oil fields discovered in the 1970s came online, prices fell to $10/barrel by Concerns about limited supply were dead. By 2004, 50% of vehicles sold were “light” trucks and SUVs.

4 4

5 5 History – The Sky Is Falling Obviously, there’s much less oil left in the ground today, than there was in the 1970s. And we’re pumping the oil out faster than ever. Therefore, the sky is not only falling, it is much closer, and falling faster than ever. There is an energy crisis in our future. It will be global, and this time there won’t be any “spare oil” to import. Near his death in 1989, Hubbert predicted that worldwide oil production would reach a peak around Several scientists including Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, F.L. ‘Buz’ Ivanhoe, Walter Youngquist, and Jean LaHerrère, have refined the methods and prediction of the global Hubbert's Peak, to around the middle of this decade (2006).

6 6 The Nature Of The Problem Exploration is expensive, the big oil fields get found first, the easy oil is produced first. Production ramps up, then the remaining oil is harder to find, harder to pump out, and harder to refine... This is not like emptying a gas tank, where you can keep driving as though nothing is wrong until the last drop is sucked down. It’s more like sucking juice out of oranges. Some are juicier than others. After a while you have to suck harder on every orange, and yet you’ll get less out and become thirsty... We also understand quite well how individual oil fields peter out, as we’ve already seen lots of petering-out in the US, Russia, and Europe. Declining oil production = less to go round, even though more and more mouths want some. There will be shortages in our life-time. This time the shortages will not end. We will have to tell our children “You’ll never get to live like we did, we took your share.” “...[W]hen the energy cost of recovering a barrel of oil becomes greater than the energy content of the oil, production will cease no matter what the monetary price may be.” Dr Hubbert quoted by [Ivanhoe 1982].

7 7 discoveries production Oil discoveries form a “bell curve” over time. The curve is biased to the left because larger oil fields are easier to find. Since 1982 the world has been consuming more oil than it has been discovering.

8 8 The global rate of oil production must peak out and then start to decline.

9 9 Oil discovery and production are understood in gory detail. Sizes of oil fields are measured very carefully and with a lot of technology. But oil reserves are usually exaggerated : OPEC countries can sell more oil if they have more, and oil companies’ shares are worth more. So, we hear about more oil than there is. Estimates are updated periodically as the truth comes out. On the other hand, there are oil fields we haven’t discovered yet. We can estimate those from knowing that discovery and production both follow the “logistic curve” over time (it looks like a “bell curve”). We also know the expected number of oil fields of a given size. Other things exhibit the same kind of curve (rocks, cities, stars, galaxies). This is not a pure fractal (e.g.  1/size) because that would imply a)non-zero probability of an oil field larger than the entire planet, and b)infinite numbers of oil fields of sub-atomic size.

10 10 Production lags discovery by about 25 years. This casts more light on what was actually discovered, and how much can be practically extracted. (That 25 years is also a curse: when a shortage occurs, it’s 25 years too late to start looking for more oil.) We are now far enough along, on both the discovery and production curves, to have good estimates of the world’s total “ultimately recoverable resource” – subject to the on-going exaggerations from OPEC countries, of course. The concensus is an URR of 2 trillion barrels. About half of that has been pumped up, so a fall-off in production is imminent. discoveries production

11 11 peak 1971 peak 1989 peak 1998 future totals are a highly informed estimate; national allocations are approximate peak 2005?

12 12 compound demand growth 2006: production peak = maximum barrels/year 2008: demand exceeds supply 2004: equal slopes for the last time = price per barrel swings wildly

13 13 If “the American way of life is not negotiable” then by 2040 we will be consuming the entire world’s oil production, with not a drop left for anyone else, not even the producers (Arabs, Chinese, and Russians, by then) That’s not going to happen unless we’re willing to start a World War US oil consumption

14 14 Now is it clear why crude oil prices have been going up?

15 15 Well no, not entirely. So far it could be nothing more than money-supply driven inflation, or devaluing-dollar driven inflation, with tight oil supplies yet to begin. 25% drop in value of US$ in 3 years => prices of imported materials should rise, and so they have…

16 16 The End Of Suburbia  Oil Depletion and Collapse of the American Dream Concluding Remarks Warning: This Gets Scary but it must be faced or it will end up worse : we are close to making a mistake that no-one will ever be able to recover from

17 17 Consequences – Transportation There is nothing we know of now that carries so much energy per unit volume or per unit weight, as oil (except explosives). Oil is irreplaceable in large forms of transportation (small forms may get by on electricity / fuel cells) : oaircraft (air freight, air mail, air travel). omilitary vehicles (be the last man with an oil supply, or risk invasion of your country). otrucking (e.g. of groceries). ocontainer shipping (most imports, exports). Cost of all transported items will go up. And up. Good news: what we need will eventually be produced more cheaply in the US, globalization goes into reverse, we get our manufacturing jobs back. Eventually, no more World Wars, no global warming.

18 18 Consequences – Electricity Natural gas discovery and production are not far behind, in the US and Canada. Gas discoveries peaked in the 1970s, production is expected to peak early this decade (now). (Global production is expected to last longer, but transporting gas is harder than transporting oil.) That being the case, the US electric utilities’ decision to build hundreds of natural-gas-fired electricity- generation plants in 2001–2002 was a collective stupidity. But we have huge coal reserves, largely untouched since we switched over to oil and gas. Coal can be used to generate electricity. Coal cannot be used to drive cars. Natural gas can. When oil gets scarce, the remaining natural gas will be used for transportation, and the electric utilities will have to convert their gas plants to use coal. What a waste.

19 19 Consequences – Electricity 19% of US electricity is generated from oil and natural gas. When they become harder to get, there may be shortages of electricity in proportion. 19% is 5 hours per day/night. It might be somewhat worse than that if some people switch to electric heating (due to oil & gas being scarce). We can expect rationing via higher costs, or via black-outs that are (ideally) planned overnight. We need not expect anything as dire as permanent loss of electric power. But it will be inconvenient, e.g. metropolitan piped water supplies rely on electric pumps; computers don’t like getting their plugs pulled; refrigerators/freezers being off for 5 hours/day might spoil food; digital clock/radios and sprinkler systems get deprogrammed daily; etc.

20 20 Consequences – Geo-politics OPEC will soon have more oil reserves than the rest of the world put together. Can’t let OPEC rule the world, now can we? OPEC dominance

21 21 Consequences – Geo-politics Russia has re-nationalized Yukos, its largest oil producer. 6 of the largest US oil companies announced all at once that their reserves are down 25  50%. “Oops.” The US has a permanent base in Kazakhstan (on the Caspian Sea reserves). The US has dispatched 7 Carrier Battle Groups (the largest fleet since the 2nd World War) to the South China Sea (another large oil reserve, claimed by China) “for exercises”. In Saudi Arabia there is a saying: My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel. So they know it too. Imagine you are a random Saudi. After 50 years of seeing that the US wants a few Saudi princes to get your country’s oil wealth, you hear rumors that the Ghawar field is running out (it’s bringing up 25% water now) and your share is gone. What might you do? Hmmm, Bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. If Saudi Arabia de-stabilized, what would the US do about it? Invade Iraq, of course! It’s next-door. Lots of good excuses. Has world-class oil reserves of its own. No exit plan, because we’re not leaving until oil is flowing out. [“Don’t harm the oil wells!”  Bush] What’s going on makes a lot of sense if you merely ignore the official reasons. Iran knows their own oil is depleting, and nuclear power is the cheapest option. The US is telling them they’re not allowed (and we have them cornered between Afghanistan and Iraq). Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

22 22 Consequences – Domestic Politics You think Bush & Cheney knew all this when they invaded Iraq? Are they “oil men”? a.George W. Bush, son of Texas Oil b.Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton, world's largest oil-services company c.Condaleeza Rice, Board of Directors of Chevron for 9 years, had an oil tanker named in her honor until she became National Security Advisor d.Don Evans, Secretary of Commerce, former CEO of oil company Tom Brown, Inc and member of the board of Sharp Drilling, an oil industry contractor e.Andrew Card, Bush's Chief of Staff - Former VP of Governmental Affairs for General Motors Sure they knew. Matt Simmons says he told them in Cheney’s Energy Task Force. Bush and Cheney have built themselves highly energy-efficient “compounds”. They can take care of themselves, why can’t you? Do you feel like the nation is being looted by “corporate royalty” from the Bush Administration down? Maybe many of them know, they just weren’t going to tell us until they’d “got theirs and got out”. Is this class warfare?

23 23 Consequences – Food Supply Oil & gas are also essential to our food supply : oPesticides are made from oil. Only a few organic farmers know how to grow things without pesticides. When pesticides become scarce, do we have to go back to competing for our food against boll weevils & their ilk? oNitrogen fertilizers are made from natural gas (the Claude-Haber ammonia synthesis process). Our intensive agriculture is unsustainable, soil itself has been seriously depleted, soil is now little more than a sponge to drop fertilizers on, it must be restored, and while we’re doing that... ? oTractors and harvesters run on oil. oTrucking runs on oil mile salads and fresh fish will become very expensive, then unaffordable. oRefrigeration (best reason to have a solar panel). Oil & gas are also essential sources of organic chemicals : plastics, polystyrene, polyurethane, PVC (circuit boards, hoses, pipes, all sorts of containers), lubricants, bitumen, nylon, cosmetics, hairspray, deodorants, detergents.

24 24 Consequences – Industry, Government Impacts energy-intensive processes: all forms of mining, right down to metals for cans, and limestone for concrete. Impacts all forms of machinery, e.g. construction. Effects most severe in the most industrialized countries. All technology is about exploiting energy (more efficiently). Money is only a paper claim on energy (biological or mechanical), money will be devalued dramatically, just keeping your purchasing power will be very difficult. As industry declines for lack of hydrocarbons or energy, we get recession after recession, for about 30 years = The Greater Depression. As the tax base shrinks, Government must shrink too. The end of the “welfare state”? Space exploration may be an unaffordable luxury. What about academic research in general? What about police forces? Or perhaps we get much higher taxes?

25 % of 1972 Consequences – Energy Per Person But this is not a cliff. Our experience of it will depend entirely on how fast the global economy has to shrink. As a first approximation, we may compare future oil production per person with past levels. Richard Duncan did that (his “Olduvai Theory”) and concluded that by 2030 we have to fall back to 1930 consumption levels. That’s with world population assumptions not clear, and seems too drastic to me. The future must lie somewhere between a) less energy per person with a constant or growing population, or b) constant energy per person if population shrinks as fast as oil production (but shrinking population is not nice unless it’s voluntary). For example: Like Duncan, pick Per previous slides, oil production then will be back at 1972 levels. In 1972, world population was 4.0 billion. In 2030 (at recent rates) it’ll be 9.5 billion, so 2030 oil consumption per person must be 4.0/9.5 = 42% of what it was in That takes us back to 1948, i.e looks like That’s not quite as dire as Duncan said, but you can see that his curve is not very wrong. Alternatively, to maintain current living standards everywhere, by 2030 world population should shrink back to 1972 levels = 4 billion, and keep shrinking from then on, e.g. one child per family, world-wide.

26 26 What Can We Do About It ? There Are No Easy Answers

27 27 What Can We Do – A New Source Of Energy? Propane  is a distillate from crude oil. But at least there’s less demand for it, and 80% of US demand is still coming from US sources. Cars can be converted to run on propane, a bit gutlessly, but much better than compressed or liquified natural gas. A conversion costs about $2,500. Tar sands, very heavy crude etc  can’t produce it fast enough to go round. Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids synthesis  ditto. Solar panels  cost as much as the electricity you’ll get out (at current prices). $10,000 for a system with enough panels and batteries to keep a refrigerator going all day and night (with cloudless summer days)! Could back up interrupted electricity, but very expensive for that. Require more energy to make than they deliver in their expected life, so they can’t be a permanent solution (with current technology). Nuclear, solar, wind  see next slide. Geothermal, wave power  not enough to go round. Fuel cells  but where’s the hydrogen mine? Grain alcohol, bio-diesel  can’t make enough to go round. Back to coal and steam power?  for electricity and trains, not cars nor planes. Cold fusion, please?

28 28 What Can We Do – The Nuclear Option? At present, 104 nuclear power plants provide 20% of US electricity. Oil and gas together provide 19%, so completely replacing oil- and gas- derived electricity would require 99 new nuclear power plants of the usual size. However, we consume far more energy in non-electric form, e.g. cars. Of the total 28.8 quadrillion watt-hours consumed per year, the 68% coming from oil and gas works out to 2.1 trillion watts. This could be produced by 1000 new nuclear power plants (ignoring transmission and conversion losses) new nuclear plants in a regular grid across the US implies one plant every 70 miles. Of course they would gravitate toward the large cities. It takes about 10 years and $4 billion to build a 2-gigawatt nuclear power plant (bid at $2 per watt, with a volume discount). The 1000 new plants required would cost a total of $4 trillion over 10 years or $1,500 per year for each American man, woman, and child. This equals the cost of one (1) Department of Defense, or 7 Departments of Education, or 7 Departments of Health, or 25 NASAs. This shows the gargantuan size of the build-out required. Solar power fares worse, e.g. at 12 watts/ft 2 and $5/watt the solar panels would fill 24,000 square miles and cost $40 trillion (they have to produce and store enough power in 6 hours to last the other 18 hours).

29 29 If we do manage to replace all oil- and gas-derived energy with another energy source, we still have not replaced oil and gas as raw materials. Uses already mentioned were: pesticides, nitrogen fertilizers, plastics, nylon, polystyrene, polyurethane, PVC (circuit boards, hoses, pipes, all sorts of containers), lubricants, bitumen, cosmetics, hairspray, deodorant. About 30% of crude oil today is used as a feedstock. If the other 70% (used for energy) were stopped immediately, world-wide, the remaining 1 trillion barrels would last only 35 years, with current consumption and growth rates. But that’s an impossible scenario, because (a) we can’t instantly stop using oil for energy, and (b) we can’t get the remaining oil out of the ground that fast, and (c) it’s unreasonable to ask China and India to stop growing toward our own living standards. Instead, oil production will decline 2  3% per year, and oil shortages will start very soon, for energy and feedstocks alike. Suppose everyone world-wide adopts a 25-year plan to build nuclear power plants to replace all oil-for-energy. That will not matter until the first plants turn on, 10 years from now, so oil shortages will still begin very soon. A 25- year build-out is not fast enough to replace the missing oil production. And after 25 years, the oil production rate will have fallen below the level needed for feedstocks alone. So, once the shortages start, they will be unrelenting. What Can We Do – About Chemicals?

30 30 What Can We Do – About Chemicals? This chart shows what happens if we only start building nuclear power plants after the oil shortages begin (at time = 0), even assuming – very optimistically – that China is the only country that will grow, at only 4% per year (with 0% everywhere else): Barring a miracle, there will never again be enough oil to go round. The only way to prevent oil shortages from impacting feedstocks is for us to consume less oil for energy (since we consume more than anyone else).

31 31 The Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids synthesis process can convert coal-bed methane into longer hydrocarbon molecules. This is an old technology, pre World War II. It was abandoned when oil became abundant. The number of synthesis plants currently in operation world-wide can be counted on one hand. This too would be a massive expansion effort. It’s too little, too late to avoid shortages. The technique will only last as long as coal-beds do, but it would buy us some time to look for other solutions. What Can We Do – About Chemicals?

32 32 Oil Is The First Wave Of An Even Bigger Problem

33 33 Even if we do manage to dodge the oil-and-gas depletion bullet, then comes a coal-depletion bullet, and a bullet for depletion of fertile land (well under way), and more bullets for depletion of silver, platinum, nickel, crystals, marble, limestone, etc etc. For all the precious metals  silver, gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium etc  the “mother lodes” are long gone. Nowadays we are searching and digging for 5 ounces of metal per ton of dirt ! It hardly deserves to be called “ore” anymore. An Even Bigger Problem

34 34 When we’re done pouting about having to conserve, the bigger challenge will be to recycle everything. Of everything we use, much cannot be recycled because we’ve spread it around so thinly. If we can’t recycle such tiny quantities now, we certainly won’t do it when energy supplies becomes limited and very expensive. For example, the miniscule quantities of precious metals in computers may never be recoverable. Imagine a future in which we have a limited quantity of some metal, and we work hard to recycle. Suppose we lose just 10% of this metal each year (today it’s much worse). Then, every year, we must produce 10% fewer goods, for lack of the metal. After 30 years of this, there’s only enough metal left to make 1/20 th the number of devices we started with. “Who gets the new TV this year?” In other words, from the moment we can’t dig up more metal, our challenge will be to recycle all of it, and I mean all of it; or we will reverse the entire Industrial Revolution within one generation. The clock starts ticking for all minerals at once, when we “can’t dig up more” because there’s insufficient energy for the digging. That becomes a real threat as soon as oil shortages begin. An Even Bigger Problem

35 35 Sir Fred Hoyle’s conclusion [1964]: “With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only.” An Even Bigger Problem

36 36 We Are Here An Even Bigger Problem

37 37 I now regard the entire 20 th Century technology explosion as a colossal (unsustainable) energy bubble. Yet the technology had to exist to let us figure out when oil would deplete, with enough lead-time to do something about it. And the resource exploitation had to happen too because, among tribes or nations, it has always been a case of “eat or get eaten”. But now the end is in sight. If we as a race do not have enough self- restraint to use the remaining raw materials wisely, we will descend into a Dark Age, from which we may not emerge for millions of years, until the Earth creates new oil and gas fields (if ever). The more energy we consume, the less is left in the ground for our own children and for the entire future of the human race. From now on we must choose between our own pleasure and our children’s basic needs. Our self-indulgence is criminal negligence. It is time for us all to grow up. An Even Bigger Problem

38 38 The two possibilities I fear most are 1. Relentless shortages of food What will you eat when fertilizers, pesticides and grocery trucking all become insufficient? Suppose you have a backyard garden and find your neighbor in it, eating your veggies because s/he’s hungry. Are you going to say no? Call the police? If your neighbor keeps doing it, shoot them? If not, you must become your neighbor’s keeper. Self-sustenance must become a community effort. Do you have any skills your neighbors will need, enough to pay you with their precious food? 2. National leaders urging war rather than conservation. War literally “kills demand” on both sides at once. And reduces unemployment. And justifies money-printing (inflation). And causes people to sacrifice willingly. For someone eager to exercise too much power, it’ll be too good to pass up. (Do not elect fear- and war-mongers, not now.) But For Now, Back to Oil Production Declining

39 39 Unfortunately, we who have the energy & wealth to solve this problem, are so well off that the gravity of the situation is literally inconceivable to most of us. “Cassandra!” “Chicken Little!” “People have been crying ‘wolf’ for ages.” “You must be clinically depressed.” All it takes, for this to end badly, is that good people do nothing. To The Optimists Among Us

40 40 I’ve already calculated for you that no matter what the alternative energy source is, we cannot afford to make enough of it to solve the massive transportation problem. The chemicals problem is only half as big (30% of oil supply, vs 70% of oil used for energy), but solving that will incur costs in addition to the transportation problem. Those costs will come on top of rising energy prices, plus rising food prices, with chronic savings- and Social-Security shortfalls. In short, we are not going to buy our way out of this one. If you’re still firmly convinced that “someone [else] will figure it out” and make it cheap quickly (as if all technologies should fly along like PCs) I say that you’re counting on a miracle.   To The Optimists Among Us

41 41 Yes, the US Geological Survey does say there are 3 (not 2) trillion barrels of “ultimately recoverable resource”. But out of a dozen careful estimates, why are they the only ones in left field? Here’s why: “There will be no social instability. Therefore there is no unemployment, no Federal deficit problem, no dollar- devaluation, no price-inflation, no oil peak, and no consequences. And your Social Security dollars are safe too. Just don’t ask us what a dollar will buy you by the time you get it.” Yes, other optimists have said that if we only used technologies that already exist, e.g. hybrid vehicles and bio-diesel, we could halve our oil consumption and thus be energy-self-sufficient in 25 years. For example: This is the right direction  conservation and substitution. But really, what are they smoking? A halving is not nearly good enough. Here’s the math: By 2025, world-wide oil production will be 60% of today's production (using a 2.5% decline per year). But the quantity of oil-for-feedstocks is 30% of today's production, and if that goes up a mere 3% per year (the rate predicted by the US Gov’t for the GDP), then by 2025 it will be 54% of today's production. So by 2025 we will have (all in % of today's production): 60% total  54% for feedstocks = 6% left for all energy That 6% is one twelfth of the oil being used for energy today (70%). See background numbers at To The Optimists Among Us

42 42 “Necessity is the mother of invention!” As if natural disasters don’t happen?? Why haven’t we stopped those already? Name me one real necessity that was global, dire, and urgent, that was solved with an invention that was mass- produced or mass-distributed inside 10 years? I’ll give you one: Armaments for World War II. Others? Any others? Each “necessity” is new and different. Having faith in “invention” is like expecting Luke Skywalker to score his hole-in-one against the Death Star, and do it to 100 completely different Death Stars, and never miss! I don’t consider that a safe bet to stake your family’s future on. To The Optimists Among Us Fine, go ahead, hope for the best, but know how unlikely it is. If most people do nothing, this will end very badly. Only an urgent focus will help.

43 43 Summary The electricity shortage is likely to be merely annoying. More serious problems will arise from shortages of transport and of oil-and-gas as chemicals. We cannot afford to replace oil in either role. We’ll have to drive less and consume less. (Because we have accumulated equipment that can produce energy and everything else faster than ever before, goods are cheaper now than they have been in the entire history of humanity [adjusted for inflation]. That can be expected to go into reverse: less energy, slower production and transport of everything, and much more expensive goods, including energy, food, and clothing.) The most severe threat is that energy costs and/or shortages could slow down mining of raw materials, or maybe (as with oil) we just can’t find any more worth mining. From then on, civilization is hanging off a rope labelled 100% recycling, or else!

44 44 Summary A vastly enlarged electricity supply would enable the “hydrogen economy”. It might be achieved with oNuclear power plants constructed for less than $2 per watt. oSolar panels for less than 50c per watt (currently $5 per watt). oHydrogen fusion plants (currently not even possible). oWe’re already too late to avoid shortages, but late is better than never. We also can’t afford such a build-out, yet we must start it. Everyone cutting back our energy consumption will buy us some time. Conserve willingly now, or conserve painfully later. Conversion of coal-bed methane to gasoline, using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, will buy us some time (and mitigate a chemicals shortage). A revival of cottage industry, backyard gardening etc (it takes a few years to learn, including crop rotation and pest control) may take the edge off food shortages.

45 45 Things To Do, To Buy Time Cut Energy Use Street lights – on all night when almost nobody needs them and car headlights and flashlights would do Shopping centers – far too much neon, air conditioning, and musac Transportation – two big cars per family, vs bicycles, scooters and public transportation Huge houses – 3 times the size of a few decades ago, heated/cooled throughout, vs comfort only when & where you need it Fridge/freezer – why more than one, they’re power hogs Electric clocks and timers – what’s wrong with wind-ups? Clothes dryers – only in America! Sunshine is free and better for the clothes Importing – costs fuel and exports jobs Cut Materials Use Plus Manufacturing Energy Everything “disposable” isn’t. Repair, don’t replace. Plastic packaging, plastic bags at grocery stores – bring your own Big cars – again – take lots of materials and energy to build Fashion – encourages people to throw away good clothes, bags Cosmetics, perfume – literally vaporize your money, and oil

46 46 Things To Do, To Cope Invest in high dividend-paying oil and gas “royalty trusts”. Replace old cars with a hybrid. Not have two cars. Consider scooters, and converting to run on propane when gasoline queues get very inconvenient. Reduce energy costs. Home insulation. Spot-heating. With a diatomaceous-earth pool filter, can turn down pool motor. Adjusting fridges /off. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs. “Green plugs”. Solar panels? Start a high-value high-protein backyard garden. Collect gardening/farming know-how on paper. Stock up on propane, and camping equipment for long-lasting emergencies. Stock up long-lasting, essential, valuable, tradable goods. Military MREs have a shelf-life above 5 years. Move down or rent out a room. Travel while we can. Keep photos on paper. Discuss with neighbors.

47 47 For Further Study Web search on “Peak Oil” “Hubbert’s Peak” and a few names of authors: King Hubbert, Colin Campbell, Jean LaHerrère, Kenneth Deffeyes, L.F. “Buz” Ivanhoe, Walter Youngquist, Richard Duncan, Richard Heinberg, Matt Simmons, Michael Klare, Julian Darley (book) Elizabeth Odum & Howard Odum, A Prosperous Way Down.


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