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The Invisible oiliness of everything

The Invisible oiliness of everything

Preface.  Even a simple object like a pencil requires dozens of actions to make and dozens of objects that took energy to make.  This is why it is unlikely wind, solar, or any other contraption that make electricity, have a positive return of energy, or energy returned on energy invested.  If you look at all of the energy of the steps to create a wind turbine or solar panel, they don’t produce as much energy as it took to make them, and certainly not enough extra energy to replace themselves.  Besides, electricity is only about 15% of overall energy use, with fossils providing the rest transportation, manufacturing, heating, and the half a million products made from fossils as feedstock as well as energy source.

***

Just as fish swim in water, we swim in oil.  You can’t understand the predicament we’re in until you can see the oil that saturates every single aspect of our life.

What follows is a life cycle of a simple object, the pencil. I’ve cut back and reworded Leonard Read’s 1958 essay I Pencil, My Family Tree to show the fossil fuel energy inputs (OBJECTS made using energy, like the pencil, are in BOLD CAPITALS, ACTIONS are  BOLD ITALICIZED).

pencils“My family tree begins with … a Cedar tree from Oregon. Now contemplate the antecedents — all the people, numberless skills, and fabrication:

All the SAWS. TRUCKS, ROPE and OTHER GEAR to HARVEST and CART cedar logs to the RAILROAD siding. The MINING of ore, MAKING of STEEL, and its REFINEMENT into SAWSAXES, and MOTORS.

The growing of HEMP, LUBRICATED with OILDIRT REMOVEDCOMBEDCOMPRESSEDSPUN into yard, and BRAIDED into ROPE.

BUILDING of LOGGING CAMPS (BEDS, MESS HALLS). SHOP for, DELIVER, and COOK FOOD to feed the working men. Not to mention the untold thousands of persons who had a hand in every cup of COFFEE the loggers drank!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Greenwash

Greenwash

An operation of fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil near Chicago, USA [Richard Hurd, Flickr CC BY 2.0]

The harm caused by the climate crisis has become undeniable – and terrifying. The floods, storms and raging fires, and the death and displacement they bring, have contributed to a global upwelling of concern and demands on governments to take action. But this has led to new behaviour by the fossil fuels lobby that will undermine efforts to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown if not rigorously challenged.When people experience the frightening reality of a warming world, they are resistant to Big Oil’s previous tactics of denying that climate change is happening or pretending its impacts will be negligible. But rather than shift their huge investment power to renewable energy and take the financial hit from admitting that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves are unburnable, companies such as Shell and BP have adopted a different approach: greenwashing. In efforts to continue with business-as-usual operations and keep on drilling and mining, fossil fuel companies are ramping up their use of public relations to paint a green veneer over their destructive practices. They try to portray themselves as caring, responsible corporate citizens, while continuing to mine, drill, burn and spill.

Ramped-up rhetoric

If someone is making money from oil, coal or gas but tries to persuade us that they are on our side on the climate crisis, and they’ve got a way to tackle it without stopping burning fossil fuels – that is greenwash. From fossil fuels industry get-togethers to oil company reports, the industry is ramping up its rhetoric about being part of the solution. ‘International Petroleum Week’ earlier this year portrayed itself as ‘Delivering a low-carbon future’, while the ‘Oil and Money’ conference in 2019 claimed to offer ‘Strategies for the energy transition’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change dominates news coverage at expense of other equally important existential issues

Climate Change dominates news coverage at expense of other equally important existential issues

Preface. I’ve noticed that in the half dozen science magazines and several newspapers I get practically the only environmental stories are about climate change. Yet there are 8 other ecological boundaries (Rockström 2009) we must not cross (shown in bold with an asterisk below) and dozens of other existential threats as well.

Global peak oil production may have already happened in October of 2018 (Will covid-19 delay peak oil? Table 1). It is likely the decline rate will be 6%, increasing exponentially by +0.015% a year (see post “Giant oil field decline rates and peak oil”). So, after 16 years remaining oil production will be just 10% of what it was at the peak.

If peak oil happened in 2018, then CO2 ppm levels may be under 400 by 2100 as existing and much lower emissions of CO2 are absorbed by oceans and land. The IPCC never even modeled peak oil in their dozens of scenarios because they assumed we’d be exponentially increasing our use of fossils until 2400. They never asked geologists what the oil, coal, and natural gas reserves were, assumed we’d use methane hydrates, and many other wrong assumptions.

Meanwhile, all the ignored ecological disasters will become far more obvious. They’re papered over with fossils today. Out of fresh water? Just drill another 1,000 feet down. Eutrophied water? Build a $500 million dollar water treatment plant. Fisheries collapsed? Go to the ends of the earth to capture the remaining schools of fish.

The real threat is declining fossil production, yet climate change gets nearly all the coverage. And I’ve left out quite a few other threats, such as “nuclear war” with 17,900 results since 2016 in scholar.google.com.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Georgia Recount – Still a Fraud & Agenda 2030

This is why there should be a computer program that people go online to vote and we eliminate this outrageous fraud because these people have no idea what they are doing to the country because the “agenda” was never told to the people. We call this democracy where people can run for election and promise one thing to get their vote with the full intention of doing something completely opposite.

Stalin was exactly correct and this election in 2020 will be direct proof that you cannot trust the people counting the votes. This is absurd and it will only lead to a civil war with blood in the streets all because the real agenda is to impose communism. Trudeau of Canada though they defeated Trump and came out and told the people of Canada that Agenda 2030 is being implemented from the World Economic Forum.

Listen carefully to what Trudeau is saying. “This Pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset … to reimagine economic systems to address extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”

 

I warned back in April 2020 that this agenda was deliberately orchestrated. These people try to discourage people from listening to me by constantly misrepresenting my case and even what happened while protecting the bankers as they stole $400 million from our company. I know far too many people and many insiders release material to us because they know that the big powers all tend to read this blog. Our computer began to pick up the shifting capital flows in preparation for this scam in August 2019. It became clear that the agenda was set in motion by December 2019. Even Bill Gates began liquidating stocks for the big crash. They shifted the capital flows to the Big Tech stocks by shutting down the economy and forcing people to buy online. All of this was pre-planned.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today’s Contemplation: The Coming Collapse VIII

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Chitchen Itza, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Once again, a comment I posted in response to an article on The Tyee.

Where to begin? I realise this article is primarily about a federal political party and its future but there are two underlying issues that are discussed that need far more exploration and understanding if we are going to be projecting where a particular party or even government will be down the road (let alone the entire world).

If we are going to be discussing energy and Peak Oil then there is SO much more to bring into the conversation. Yes, politics plays a role (as it always does) but the topic is vastly wider than sociopolitics. It encompasses virtually everything in our complex, globalised industrial world. Everything. From the way we create potable water, to how we feed ourselves, to how we build and heat our homes (I’ve purposely focused on the three items we NEED to live…everything else is icing but just as dependent on energy, especially fossil fuels).

First things first. There is NO substitute for fossil fuels. At least not one that can sustain our current world the way it is configured. No, alternatives to fossil fuels cannot do it. They are not ‘clean’ as the mining, refinement, and manufacturing processes for them are environmentally damaging. They have a low energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) and provide little ‘bang for the buck’. They cannot fuel many important industrial processes such as steel and concrete production. They depend very much on continued exploitation of fossil fuel, both upstream and downstream. They are NOT a panacea.

We are stuck with fossil fuels, until and unless we are ready and willing to give up probably 90% or more of what we consider ‘modernity’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A life on our planet – review

A life on our planet – review

I watched David Attenborough’s film A life on our planet the other evening. The first, and largest, part of the movie was very well made. Perhaps not much new, but very well presented and with excellent footage and narrative. Some images are very strong, even brutal, such as a lonely orangutan sitting on a tree trunk in a devastated landscape. I think most viewers got the message: this has to change! And let me underline that this is a film worth watching.

Because the film is so compelling and Attenborough such a sympathetic person, viewers may accept all of its statements and arguments. This would, however, be a mistake in my opinion.

I totally agree with Attenborough that human population needs to stabilize. And it is true that, as far as we know today, birth rates falls when countries get richer (or vice versa). The problem is that lower population growth in one country is associated with increasing total resource use rather than the opposite. At least in the short term and with current consumption patterns, there is no relief for nature from lower population growth.What I missed in the first part was a lack of analysis of the underlying drivers causing the threatening sixth mass extinction. This is also reflected in shortcomings of the much shorter and optimistic second part of the film. The processes and technologies he claims will save the wilderness and human civilization are renewable energy, intensive farming methods, diet transformation, rewilding and reduced population growth.

His claim that renewable energy will make energy everywhere more affordable (than now) is wishful thinking with no evidence in reality.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 A simple way to understand what’s happening … and what to do

The world seems to be coming apart at the seams. It’s critical to understand why, so that we can avoid the worst and find the best responses so as to move toward the environmentally and socially healthy future we want. It turns out that there’s a relatively simple frame for gaining such understanding.

This straightforward explanation proposes that the main force driving societal change is available energy—an assertion that’s backed by a substantial amount of scientific research. Those with the patience and curiosity to investigate further can find other contributing factors to societal evolution—technology, investment, laws regarding property rights, histories of injustice, and more, many of which entail complex systemic interactions that take time to tease apart and comprehend mentally. These are important. But not as important as energy.

Energy is necessary in order for any organism to do anything whatsoever. For humans, food is energy that powers labor. But, in addition, people long ago learned how to harness energy from fire, water, and wind. Using firewood, paddlewheels, and sails, we built agrarian societies with irrigation systems, cities, cathedrals, mills, and seagoing ships, and created some pretty great art, music, and literature along the way. People also used energy from various sources to engage in wars and conquests, and to enslave millions of others in order to steal the fruits of their forced labor. In addition, humans deforested enormous regions to harvest firewood, and ruined millions of acres of soil with unsustainable farming methods.

When humans started using fossil fuels, a couple of centuries ago, they gained access to millions of years’ worth of solar energy that nature had gathered, stored, and transformed into energy sources that were far superior, at least over the short term, to firewood. It was a game-changing moment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Has oil peaked?

Last month, the world’s 4th largest oil company—BP—predicted that the world will never again consume as much petroleum as it did last year. So, have we finally hit peak oil? And if so, what does that mean for our economy and our world?

There was fierce controversy in the first decade of this century over claims by petroleum geologists and energy commentators that peak oil was imminent (I was a figure in that debate, writing several books on the topic). Most of those early claims were based on analysis of oil depletion and consequent supply constraints. BP, however, is talking about a peak in oil demand—which, according to its forecast, could fall by more than 10 percent this decade and as much as 50 percent over the next 20 years if the world takes strong action to limit climate change.

Source: PeakOilBarrel.com; production in thousands of barrels per day.

Numbers from the US Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Review tell us that world oil production (not counting biofuels and natural gas liquids) actually hit its zenith, so far at least, in November 2018, nearly reaching 84.5 million barrels per day. After that, production rates stalled, then plummeted in response to collapsing demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The current production level stands at about 76 mb/d.

Many early peak oil analysts predicted that the maximum rate of oil production would be achieved in the 2005-to-2010 timeframe, after which supplies would decline minimally at first, then more rapidly, causing prices to skyrocket and the economy to crash.

Those forecasters were partly right and partly wrong. Conventional oil production did plateau starting in 2005, and oil prices soared in 2007, helping trigger the Great Recession.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Natural gas

Natural gas

In the eastern Mediterranean it smells of powder. Fighter jets from various countries fly over the Levantine Basin and frigates are on a collision course. These are not exercises. It is a crisis reminiscent of the conflict between Ankara and Athens in the 1970s or even the beginning of the First World War. This time it is not just about the ambitions of Greece or Turkey, small islands or a dead prince, but about the struggle for energy. In the Levantine Basin, ever larger deposits of natural gas are being discovered and there are many who would like a piece of the cake.

Back in 2010, the American company Noble Energy and its Israeli exploration partner Derrick Drilling discovered the largest gas field only 130 km from Haifa. A year later, French Total confirmed another deposit with a volume of 127 billion m3. The researchers suspect a total of 3.5 trillion cubic metres of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of crude oil deep in the rock beneath the seabed. How much is that actually? Certainly enough to fill the coffers of the states bordering the Mediterranean and make a solid contribution to Western Europe’s energy supply. By way of comparison, the total natural gas consumption in the European Union in 2019 was around 470 billion cubic metres. No wonder, then, that the areas between Cyprus, Turkey, the Greek islands, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Libya became the scene of a conflict that could well turn into a war. It would not be a local war because the conflict and possible gains also involve other actors whose interests could be disrupted by the gas from the eastern Mediterranean, even though their geopolitical interests appear to lie elsewhere.


The natural gas alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean or who with whom against whom?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

THE INSANITY CONTINUES: Massive Diesel Engines Used To Balance Australia’s Renewable Energy Fiasco

THE INSANITY CONTINUES: Massive Diesel Engines Used To Balance Australia’s Renewable Energy Fiasco

Thus, if we have stupid solutions then we must use stupid bandaids.  Again, the insanity continues.

The credit for the information in this brief article goes to StopTheseThings.com, which focuses on the problems associated with wind and solar power generation.  The article, Ships Ahoy! Giant Diesel-Fuelled Ship Engines ‘Solution’ For Australia’s Renewable Energy Crisis, provided me a few good laughs and the desire to share it on the SRSroccoReport.com.

Here is a picture of the Wartsila 50DF Diesel Ship Engine:

Notice the two workers next to the engine?  That should give you an idea of the size of this beast.  According to the article linked above, AGL Energy Limited has installed 12 of these engines at the Barker Inlet Power Station in Torres Island, Australia.  The total output from these dozen ship engines is rated at 210 MW (MegaWatts).

Here’s another picture of Wartsila’s 50DF Diesel Ship Engine at the factory plant.

These Wartsila engines can run on diesel, natural gas, and bunker oil.  Can you imagine how much fuel a dozen of these engines consume to balance the power lost from wind and solar generation??  If you read the article linked above, which I highly recommend, wind power generated in Southern Australia can see drops of 3,000 MWs!!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If Trudeau Suddenly Looks Green, Here’s Why

If Trudeau Suddenly Looks Green, Here’s Why

Fossil fuels flagging, the economy demands reinvention. Expect a bold gamble of a throne speech.

Justin Trudeau’s imminent green gamble, casting the dice with long odds against rolling lucky eleven, is a risky move.

On Sept. 23, Trudeau will put his government, and his legacy, on the line with a throne speech. It faces a confidence vote. If the Liberals should lose that vote, the government would fall.

Then Canadians would be plunged into their first national campaign held during a pandemic, left to scratch their heads over myriad questions.

Who would the citizenry blame for sending them to the polls with COVID-19 still very much on the prowl?

How would newly minted CPC leader Erin O’Toole, a Harper retread, have a chance of winning? It doesn’t help that the convention that crowned him on national television looked like it was run by Curly, Larry, and Moe. Then there was that disingenuous victory handshake with Peter MacKay, the leadership rival O’Toole asked the RCMP to investigate as a thief. Worst of all, O’Toole is the invisible man of politics. Most voters wouldn’t recognize the new CPC leader if he were standing beside them at the bus-stop wearing an Erin O’Toole t-shirt.

Despite denials from party stalwarts, the NDP don’t have enough chips to even sit at the high-stakes poker table of a national election. How could Jagmeet Singh be competitive if the party can’t afford to lease a plane for their national leader, as was the case in 2019?

In that election, the NDP plunged from 44 seats in 2015 to a mere 24 in 2019, making them the fourth party in parliament behind the Liberals, Conservatives, and Bloc Québécois.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coal Curse – A Review

The Coal Curse – A Review

Governments are abrogating their first responsibility, which is to safeguard the people and their future well-being.

The first part of historian Judith Brett’s Quarterly Essay, The Coal Curse – Resources, Climate and Australia’s Future, is a masterly dissection of Australian economic history since WW2.

Credit – Unsplash

It brings into sharp focus the divide between the protectionist – primary producer and manufacturing – forces of the immediate post-war period and the gradual shift to a neoliberal globalist model which favoured the mining sector.  The transition was marked by the Hawke/Keating 1983 decision to float the dollar, and Paul Keating’s “Banana Republic” outburst three years later as commodity prices and the exchange rate fell, illustrating the dangers of an overly rigid economic system being left too late to reinvent itself in a rapidly globalising world.

Luckily, economic expansion in Asia in the 1970s, 80s and 90s provided relief as demand for primary products soared – agriculture as before, but increasingly minerals and fossil fuels, notably coal and most recently gas.

The essay documents how the mining industry – minerals and fossil fuels – came together in the 1970s to convince a sceptical polity and community of its value to the nation. Initially through: “—the Australian New Right, a loose network of conservative men – and a few women – in high places, who combined a zeal for free-market economics with opposition to the progressive causes of the 1970s, including land rights and environmentalism.” – working through think tanks such as the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies.

The network honed their teeth in opposing indigenous land rights and native title, and gradually accrued political influence as the economic importance of mining exports increased. Then, when the need to address climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels became obvious in the 1990s, the network swung into action to oppose anything which would constrain growth in fossil fuel use – namely reducing carbon emissions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

I’m Sian, and I’m a fossil fuel addict: on paradox, disavowal and (im)possibility in changing climate change

I’m Sian, and I’m a fossil fuel addict: on paradox, disavowal and (im)possibility in changing climate change

Once upon a time in the wild west

Sometimes life brings experiences that give pause for thought.

In recent years I have returned to west Namibia to work with elders of families I’ve known for over almost 30 years – a legacy of a childhood split between Britain and southern Africa. We have been documenting histories of land connections prior to a series of clearances of people from large areas of the west Namibian landscape, that occurred some decades ago.1 Often now perceived as an untouched and pristine wilderness, our work instead draws into focus a landscape intimately known, named and remembered by people who once lived there. Oral histories recorded as we find and revisit places my companions knew as home, have increasingly struck a chord as a record of lives lived more-or-less untouched by fossil fuels.

In the contemporary terms defined by modernity, industrialisation and capital, theirs was an economically impoverished existence. But this is not how they define and describe their experience.

Beyond the nostalgia that people tend to have for times past, their prior existence is valued in some of the following ways:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Kenney Had to Kill to Embrace Coal

What Kenney Had to Kill to Embrace Coal

Alberta’s 1976 Coal Policy protected vital drinking water supplies for much of the province. That’s gone now.

kenney-main-coal.jpg
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. His government, after being heavily lobbied by coal interests, opted to open a huge swath of sensitive Rocky Mountains land to open pit mining, rendering longstanding protections ‘obsolete.’ Photo by Jason Franson, the Canadian Press.

Under the cover of a pandemic, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quietly wiped away a near half-century of safeguards against open pit coal mining in most of the province’s Rocky Mountains and foothills.

The result could be the stripping away of mountain tops across more than a million and half hectares of terrain — about half the size of Vancouver Island.

Gone, as of last May, is the province’s 1976 Coal Policy, which protected the headwaters of rivers that secure drinking water for Canadians across the prairies.

The Coal Policy was established by the Progressive Conservative government then led by Peter Lougheed, based on nearly six years of active public consultations. It was quietly axed this spring without input by First Nations or the wider public.

In fact, Kenney’s government only talked to one group, the Coal Association of Canada. (See this related story published today on The Tyee.)The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

That lobbying group is directed by Robin Campbell, a former Tory provincial environmental minister.

Now a handful of largely Australian-owned corporations intent on serving metallurgical coal markets in India and China are poised to begin transforming Alberta’s eastern slopes into an industrial mining zone.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What a milk carton can tell us

What a milk carton can tell us

On the package of organic milk from Coop (Sweden) I can read the plastic cap is made out of oil. For some reason they can’t use biodegradeable plastic made from renewable sources. Instead they “support the production of the same quantity of renewable plastic somewhere else”. In addition they claim that they through this can reduce the use of fossil raw materials. This is supposed to make me feel good.  

In this way, the package of milk illuminates two common phenomena in how modern businesses handle, or not, environmental challenges. The first is the notion of “compensation”, i.e. that we can compensate an ill by doing something good somewhere else. The prime example is of course climate compensation or carbon offset, which it often is called. But there are other examples such as habitat banking whereby you pay someone to provide ecosystems or species which you have destroyed. And now plastic compensation. There are many things to say about the notion that you can compensate for destruction. It leads to financialization and privatization of nature (read this excellent article by Sian Sullivan) and it often means that poor peoples’ environment will be used to compensate rich peoples lifestyle (e.g.. when you compensate your flight with tree planting in developing countries).

Instead, let me instead probe the other message of the milk package: That you can “save” or “reduce use” of fossil fuels using renewable plastics. In the case of my organic milk this is greenwashing in its purest shape. Before Coop introduced the plastic cap, the package had no cap, but the carton could easily be opened and closed. By introducing a cap of made out of oil Coop clearly increases the use of fossil fuels.  But they look at the situation differently.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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