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US On Track To Become World’s Largest Oil Producer
Posted: 31 October 2012 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Dead Monky - 31 October 2012 07:08 AM
StephenLawrence - 30 October 2012 08:49 AM

That strikes me as a very long time considering the amount of the stuff we use, My gut feel is it won’t last anything like that long (not that my gut feel counts for anything).

I don’t see this as doomsaying at all, we need to move to other sources of energy because oil is running out and because of the negatives of using it.

So the challenge is to get on with making that transition and meeting our needs.

Stephen

1) To an individual 100 years is a long time.  In terms of civilizations, and getting them to radically change, it’s not.
2) There are downsides to the use on any power source.  Solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal can be unreliable, aren’t available in all locations, and aren’t exactly free of environmental impact.  And if we, through some miracle, invent usable fusion tomorrow it has problems as well.  An out of control reaction at a fusion plant would be catastrophic for the local area.  But yeah, fossil fuels, pollution, carbon, I know.

Sure, all this goes without saying but the fact is it’s not a reason to do nothing. Clearly we ought to be working on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, exploring all avenues, many of the things we need to do are known and some are probably as yet undiscovered, and beyond most of our imaginations, necessity is the mother of invention.

The first step is to recognise the need to do it.

Stephen

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Posted: 31 October 2012 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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StephenLawrence - 31 October 2012 09:05 AM

Sure, all this goes without saying but the fact is it’s not a reason to do nothing. Clearly we ought to be working on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, exploring all avenues, many of the things we need to do are known and some are probably as yet undiscovered, and beyond most of our imaginations, necessity is the mother of invention.

The first step is to recognise the need to do it.

Stephen

*sigh* Read the last paragraph of my last post.

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Posted: 31 October 2012 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I don’t think that we will run out of oil, gas, or coal.  I think that it will become more and more expensive, and that we will begin using less and less of it, before it is gone.  There will be plenty left, but it will be considered too costly to go after.  But whether part of the actual cost (which includes pollution and contribution to global warming, and using our military to protect oil resources) is ever figured in to the cost, will make a difference as to how soon we will recognize that we can produce less costly and as effective sources of energy.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Dead Monky - 24 October 2012 09:54 AM

Link

I know everyone here thinks fossil fuels are the Devil’s feces, but still, this is interesting and good news.  It could help cut dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs.  Which I find hilarious since about every six months or so you see reports of yet another green energy company folding. :lol: Anyway, the cause that I bet will get everyone the most riled is all the fracking which lets us squeeze oil out of formerly useless and unprofitable rock layers.  I love fracking.  It gets people so antsy and angry. :lol:

In many cases green energy companies fail, because overusing our atmosphere is free.

Not buying Saudi oil is a good thing, because this slows the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, but replacing Saudi oil with American oil can only be a temporary measure.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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dansmith62, the green companies fail because they can only survive with massive subsidies…...when the taxpayer gets fed up…..they fall flat on their faces.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Dead Monky - 31 October 2012 07:08 AM

And if we, through some miracle, invent usable fusion tomorrow it has problems as well.  An out of control reaction at a fusion plant would be catastrophic for the local area.  But yeah, fossil fuels, pollution, carbon, I know.

I hate to nit pick an old post but this isn’t really possible. Fusion reactions are by their nature self limited. Unless they occur in a massive body like the sun, they require the precision controlled input of large amounts of energy to continue running so its not really possible to have an Out-of-control reaction. If the complex machinery that would keep a controlled fusion reaction working were to break down in some way the whole thing would just come to a stop.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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macgyver - 23 November 2012 10:37 AM
Dead Monky - 31 October 2012 07:08 AM

And if we, through some miracle, invent usable fusion tomorrow it has problems as well.  An out of control reaction at a fusion plant would be catastrophic for the local area.  But yeah, fossil fuels, pollution, carbon, I know.

I hate to nit pick an old post but this isn’t really possible. Fusion reactions are by their nature self limited. Unless they occur in a massive body like the sun, they require the precision controlled input of large amounts of energy to continue running so its not really possible to have an Out-of-control reaction. If the complex machinery that would keep a controlled fusion reaction working were to break down in some way the whole thing would just come to a stop.

This is correct, and one of the great advances of fusion over fission reactors. In a fission reactor, all the fuel has to be contained within the building itself, and it’s all radioactive. In a fusion reactor, the materials put into the reaction are not themselves radioactive, and neither is the byproduct (helium). There is a chance of local irradiation if there were a breach in the vessel, but it would be nothing like a meltdown of masses of radioactive fuel.

Also, it is true that a lot of these alternative energy sources require government subsidy to be viable. So the government has to pay out a certain amount of money (or fail to take in a certain amount in taxes). But the alternative may require the government paying billions to clean up toxic messes, to heal people sickened by pollution, or to rebuild after catastrophic storms, or to retrofit bays and inlets with storm surge protectors, all of which would not have otherwise been necessary.

Both involve costs and benefits. It’s just that in the one case the costs are all upfront and the benefits are often hidden. In the other case the benefits are up front (to oil companies, etc.) and the costs are often hidden.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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sine dues - 23 November 2012 08:10 AM

dansmith62, the green companies fail because they can only survive with massive subsidies…...when the taxpayer gets fed up…..they fall flat on their faces.

This is not entirely true but you are correct that in the current economy with subsidized fossil fuel prices it is difficult for green energy technology to compete without also receiving subsidies.

Even if your comment were true without oil company tax incentives in place that would still not be an argument against supporting green technology companies. The technology to replace fossil fuels in significant amounts may take a century to develop. I dont think anyone would argue with the idea that it would be very foolish to wait until those technologies are critically needed to start investing in them.

The real question we need to answer is “when” not if we should invest in these things.  I am fairly certain that for the average person, the decision comes down to a very shortsighted answer ie. they would rather put off the investment so future generations pay for it instead of them.  This is what really motivates most of the resistance to investment in green technology. There may be good scientific and economic reasons to delay or accelerate the development of these technologies but those reasons aren’t really what motivates the opinions of those who resist a push for new non-fossil fuel energy sources. They are not thinking about the long term. They are simply looking at how it will affect their near term energy bill and taxes.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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mcgyver- there is a big difference between investing in non-fossil fuel technologies and using tax-payers money to create big scale solar or wind for the profit of a few and the destruction of many.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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sine dues - 23 November 2012 12:29 PM

mcgyver- there is a big difference between investing in non-fossil fuel technologies and using tax-payers money to create big scale solar or wind for the profit of a few and the destruction of many.

Huh?

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Posted: 23 November 2012 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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sine dues - 23 November 2012 12:29 PM

mcgyver- there is a big difference between investing in non-fossil fuel technologies and using tax-payers money to create big scale solar or wind for the profit of a few and the destruction of many.

And what do you call the huge subsidies the government has given to the oil industry over the past half century? Are you going to seriously tell me that’s not “the destruction of the many for the profit of the few”?

At least when we spend money to promote alternative energies we are using the public money to create a future that is less reliant on a limit fuel source who’s consumption is damaging the enclosed ecosystem we call home

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Posted: 24 November 2012 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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mcgyver- At least oil and gas live up to the promise of energy provider. Alternative energy is just that…..an alternative to energy. You can sound off all you like about solar, wind, tidal…but they all fall short….and it is not because we haven’t ‘invested’ enough….it is because they don’t work. Energy density is not there….the math is simple….the politics complex !

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Posted: 24 November 2012 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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sine dues - 24 November 2012 07:59 AM

mcgyver- At least oil and gas live up to the promise of energy provider. Alternative energy is just that…..an alternative to energy. You can sound off all you like about solar, wind, tidal…but they all fall short….and it is not because we haven’t ‘invested’ enough….it is because they don’t work. Energy density is not there….the math is simple….the politics complex !

No one can argue that dollar/joule, oil currently is a better buy if that is all you consider but that is a very simplistic view of the subject and not an accurate one. It doesnt take into account all the costs and risks ( short and long term) of fossil fuel usage. It also doesnt take into account the undeniable fact that these are limited resources.

From any practical standpoint, the earth does not manufacture new fossil fuels to replace the ones we are using. All fossil fuels are essentially stored solar energy and as you already correctly pointed out, capturing solar energy in the sort of quantities found in fossil fuels is a very difficult thing to do ( and plants are much less efficient at it than we are). The only reason we have these huge amounts of stored solar is because it has been “saved up” if you will, like money in the bank, over 100’s of millions of years. As we use it up it will not be replaced in any significant amount during the lifetime of human civilization.

So what do we do when its all gone? Are you suggesting we just party all night and let our descendants deal with the hangover? It would be like letting social security go broke before we worry about how to make it solvent. The fix is always much more painful if you wait for crisis to be upon you then it is if you plan ahead.

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Posted: 24 November 2012 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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I don’t know what we are going to do when it is all gone. I would suggest if the party only lasts one night….make it a good one…..i think that the party has a few days left in it…...every party ends…..sad but true…......humans always seem to find another party…...but this one is good and I am not winding the party down at seven o clock just because I know that mid-night will come no matter what I do…..maybe the party analogy is not so good….

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Posted: 24 November 2012 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I may be the only member of this forum who has learned nothing scientific.  I’ve been trained in earthquake disasters basicsally becaue I was born and raised on the San Andreas Fault along the California coast.  We had just come off of the training in case of bombing from the Japanese fighter planes.  They managed to hit Pearl Harbor and the Central Coast is not that much further.  It was a similar training operation. 

It was a problem when many quakes opened up sink holes under the ground and it started a problem under the newly built highways.  I guess I wanted to know if this fracking (or whatever it is called) would cause a similar problem?  Would the cost of this new system of getting fuel would cost more than our shipping in from the middle East?

Don’t make fun of my illiterate question.  I really want to know.

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