Peak Oil

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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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A Saudi Oil Minister gave an interview on NPR this morning. As you all may know, A crown prince will meet with President Bush this week at his ranch in Crawford. The president is expected to ask the Saudis to increase their production of oil.

The Saudi Oil Minister said that this was impossible. Saudi Arabia could not produce any more oil (implying that they are Peaked). He then went on to say that the Saudis understand the problems this will cause and that it will probably precipitate "Oil Wars" in every sense of the word because there is no other option for energy right now.

Economists are predicting that this summer the price of oil will rise over 70 dollars a barrel this summer. We can expect the price of a gallon of gas to rise over $3.00 a gallon. This rise will be permanent and it will only increase further. I expect that we will be seeing some fancy multiton lawn ornaments this summer with for sale signs on them...
 
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kid

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wow this is scary stuff. We need some sort of alternate energy source. I'm no scientist, so don't ask me what will replace oil, cause i don't know. I say need cause our economy thrives on energy. I think the entire U.S needs to start conserving more of that energy, we need to stop living like the spoiled brats of the world. But this is'nt going to happen not anytime soon. We are addicted to being spoiled, and many selfish people are not going to want to give that up. And we have to respect their stand, CAUSE THIS IS AMERICA. I got to go to class. Maybe i'll say more later.


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MisterMike

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upnorthkyosa said:
I expect that we will be seeing some fancy multiton lawn ornaments this summer with for sale signs on them...

Hehe..already traded my truck in last week. I'm putting $120+ a month back in my pocket now.

If the gov't really wanted to make a difference on our wallets, they'd remove all the tax that's associated with the gas price.

Prices at the pump may go up, but it's the heating oil that will crush most people come winter. Better get a wood/pellet stove.
 
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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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MisterMike said:
Hehe..already traded my truck in last week. I'm putting $120+ a month back in my pocket now.

If the gov't really wanted to make a difference on our wallets, they'd remove all the tax that's associated with the gas price.

Prices at the pump may go up, but it's the heating oil that will crush most people come winter. Better get a wood/pellet stove.

Heh. That is a good idea! Lets cut the taxes on gas and screw our transportation system! The damn thing was created by a corporatist government and removed all choices of transit from the people. Every time the taxpayer builds a road, it is a subsidy for an automobile. No wonder other forms of transit cannot survive. No wonder America is so addicted to oil!

It's weird to think that rail is probably going to be the cheapest long distance transit method in the future...

I'm glad that you sold your truck and found other means. It is thinking like that that will win out in the end. Mike and I may be pretty opposite politically, but enonomics wins out for the both of us...

upnorthkyosa
 
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Makalakumu

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Everything that I've been saying and posting in various citations is all here. If you understand anything about Peak Oil by now, you will understand the administrations actions. They know about this stuff...and I find it funny just how in the dark just about everyone else in the US is about it!

Bush pushes nuclear power

ENERGY: President says nuclear power is a long-term solution, but offers no short-term relief plan

BY RON HUTCHESON AND SETH BORENSTEIN
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

WASHINGTON -- Faced with growing public discontent over high gas prices, President Bush offered some new ideas Wednesday for meeting the nation's energy needs but said he couldn't provide any quick relief.

Speaking at a Small Business Administration conference, Bush hailed nuclear power as part of a long-term solution to the nation's energy challenge and outlined plans to encourage construction of oil refineries and facilities for storing liquefied natural gas. Experts said the proposals might help ease America's fuel pinch in the long run, but wouldn't break the nation's reliance on fossil fuels or foreign oil.

"I fully understand that many folks around this country are concerned about the high price of gasoline," Bush told a friendly audience in a Washington hotel ballroom. "We're doing everything we can to make sure our consumers are treated fairly, that there is no price gouging."

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, said he would incorporate Bush's new proposals in the energy measure now before the chamber. This bill includes a proposal to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as well as tax incentives for new energy technologies and energy production.

Bush, whose aides blame high oil and gasoline prices for his sagging poll numbers, has expressed concern about gas costs three times in the past week. On Monday, he encouraged Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to help keep prices down by expanding crude-oil production during a meeting at the president's Texas ranch.

But there isn't much he can do about prices at the pump, at least in the short term. Independent energy experts said it would be several years -- if ever -- before Americans could see any benefit from Bush's proposals.

Last year, imports accounted for nearly 58 percent of the 20.5 million barrels of oil used each day, according to the Energy Department. Only about a third of the country's oil came from imports in 1973 when the Arab oil embargo prompted long lines at gas stations.

The biggest controversy may erupt over Bush's proposal to direct federal agencies to consider letting petrochemical companies convert closed military bases into oil refineries. Critics focused on his pledge to simplify regulations governing the expansion of refineries.

Courts have blocked the administration's attempts to ease a rule that required refineries and coal power plants to add up-to-date pollution controls when expanding a plant.

Refiners say the requirement discourages plant expansion that would boost refining capacity, ease fuel shortages and lower prices. Environmentalists worry that dropping the requirement would lead to more pollution.

Industry leaders said it is not clear that companies would want to build new refineries because the business historically has not been highly profitable. While demand and profit margins are high now, companies are not convinced those margins will remain high enough to justify new refineries.

Still, industry representatives said Bush's proposal sends a positive message and helps allay concerns over finding suitable locations for refineries. "You ought to encourage the people who want to take the risk and this does that," said Bob Slaughter, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Bush's plan to increase supplies of liquefied natural gas would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, not state regulators, final approval over plans for new terminals to receive shipments of liquefied natural gas. Natural gas turns into a liquid when it's chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easier to ship.

Liquefied natural gas terminals often encounter strong opposition because of fears of explosion or terrorist attack. Although most of the more than 40 proposed liquefied natural gas terminals are clustered along the Texas Gulf Coast, others are planned for Philadelphia; Providence, R.I.; Long Island Sound, N.Y.; Pleasant Point, Maine; and Coos Bay, Ore.

The Bush plan also calls for providing a new incentive to build nuclear power plants by reducing the "uncertainty in the licensing process" and providing "federal risk insurance to mitigate the additional cost of unforeseen delays."

Industry analysts questioned whether this would be enough to spur construction. Investors have been leery of the upfront costs needed to build a nuclear plant compared with other forms of electricity production.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Associated Press contributed to this report.

A few tidbits I found interesting in this article...

Speaking at a Small Business Administration conference, Bush hailed nuclear power as part of a long-term solution to the nation's energy challenge and outlined plans to encourage construction of oil refineries and facilities for storing liquefied natural gas. Experts said the proposals might help ease America's fuel pinch in the long run, but wouldn't break the nation's reliance on fossil fuels or foreign oil.

The Bush plan for Peak Oil is drill for more oil and gas, weaken pollution regulations so we can burn more fossil fuels, stabilize regions where we can get more oil and gas, built a crapload of nuclear plants, and attempt the very expensive and very dangerous process of shipping LGN. The experts are right, none of this will break our reliance on fossil fuels. More on nuclear power in a bit...

The biggest controversy may erupt over Bush's proposal to direct federal agencies to consider letting petrochemical companies convert closed military bases into oil refineries. Critics focused on his pledge to simplify regulations governing the expansion of refineries.

This will be a big waste of money and is actually collosally stupid in the long run. In 15-20 years, oil will be so expensive that these things are probably going to be abandoned. They will make our Presidents friends and family a lot of money in the short term though...the land is free and it is accessible to many large population areas. A very attractive deal...

Also, it is interesting to note that most of these old military bases are superfund sites. Putting a refinery on these areas pretty much ensures that the land will never spring back or be useful to humans again.

The Bush plan also calls for providing a new incentive to build nuclear power plants by reducing the "uncertainty in the licensing process" and providing "federal risk insurance to mitigate the additional cost of unforeseen delays."

Industry analysts questioned whether this would be enough to spur construction. Investors have been leery of the upfront costs needed to build a nuclear plant compared with other forms of electricity production.

For one thing, fissile material is also a non-renewable resource. It will run out too. What then? Building nuclear plants will only be a short term fix for Peak Oil, but it will leaves some very long term consequences. The waste produced is highly dangerous and will outlive us by thousands of years. The amount of waste that will be produced if we try to provide for our countries energy needs with fissile energy will be absolutely staggering...

And the laughable plan of this administration is to put it in a hollowed out mountain that is criss-crossed with active faults. In fact, every few years, Yucca mountain, the entire mountain, jumps on a system of normal faults. The land around Yucca mountain is literally tearing itself apart! Reno Nevada and Salt Lake City Utah have been measured by sattalite to be moving away from each other! Some of this nuclear waste will be dangerous for millions of years! I cannot even begin to rant at how utterly stupid this is!

Our energy glut in this country is so bad that we will have to build a crapload of these things in order to keep up. This will take a long time and it will be very expensive. A nuclear power plant takes years to build. You can't rush this kind of technology. It may take 15 years before some of these plants can come online to relieve the energy shortage.

Meanwhile we have an infrastructure that depends on oil. We have a fleet of cars, trucks, ships, airplains, tractors etc that need oil. The price of oil is going to rise and rise and rise and nothing is being done to convert this over to electric...and somethings can't be converted to electric. Can you imagine an electric 747?

The Bush plan is truly a Hail Mary. They are hoping the high gas prices don't tank the economy before they can get this thing off the ground. Fat chance. Our Wal-Mart way of life depends on oil. Everything you buy somehow has the price of oil worked into it. High oil prices will raise the prices of everything in this country!

A much better solution in my opinion is to invest in building a new infrastructure now. Invest in alternative energy sources. PUSH FOR CONSERVATION!!!!! These are the only real solutions that will make a difference.

Our entire way of life depends on oil and wasting energy. This will not continue. Our leaders are making decisions about a gargantuan problem that very few people even know about. These decisions will make our leaders and their friends money hand over fist, but it will end up hurting everyone in the long run.

We are right now wasting our money and our time for the benefit of the few. Is it any wonder why some people who know about this have taken on a "glood and doom" attitude?

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upnorthkyosa said:
For one thing, fissile material is also a non-renewable resource. It will run out too. What then? Building nuclear plants will only be a short term fix for Peak Oil, but it will leaves some very long term consequences. The waste produced is highly dangerous and will outlive us by thousands of years. The amount of waste that will be produced if we try to provide for our countries energy needs with fissile energy will be absolutely staggering...

And the laughable plan of this administration is to put it in a hollowed out mountain that is criss-crossed with active faults. In fact, every few years, Yucca mountain, the entire mountain, jumps on a system of normal faults. The land around Yucca mountain is literally tearing itself apart! Reno Nevada and Salt Lake City Utah have been measured by sattalite to be moving away from each other! Some of this nuclear waste will be dangerous for millions of years! I cannot even begin to rant at how utterly stupid this is!

Our energy glut in this country is so bad that we will have to build a crapload of these things in order to keep up. This will take a long time and it will be very expensive. A nuclear power plant takes years to build. You can't rush this kind of technology. It may take 15 years before some of these plants can come online to relieve the energy shortage.
A couple of things (since this is, after all, my field….)
  1. Modest estimates put the amount of usable "fissile material" for nuclear power-currently in the ground- at being sufficient for all the world’s electrical production, at current rates of consumption, for the next 1500 years. At the dawn of the nuclear age, when the U.S. was developing the "atomic bomb," General Leslie Groves actually spearheaded a U.S. attempt to monopolize all the uranium in the world. It didn’t succeed, simply because it’s that common. It’s found in abundance on almost every continent.
The use of breeder reactors would also do a great deal to eliminate the whole "finity" problem of the nuclear fuel cycle. Under appropriate operating conditions, the neutrons given off by fission reactions can "breed" more fuel from otherwise non-fissionable isotopes. The most common breeding reaction is that of plutonium-239 from non-fissionable uranium-238. The term "fast breeder" refers to the types of configurations which can actually produce more fissionable fuel than they use, such as the LMFBR. This scenario is possible because the non-fissionable uranium-238 is 140 times more abundant than the fissionable U-235 and can be efficiently converted into Pu-239 by the neutrons from a fission chain reaction.



France has made the largest implementation of breeder reactors with its large Super Phenix reactor and an intermediate scale reactor (BN-600) on the Caspian Sea for electric power and desalinization.

In order to see how this can be done, it's first necessary to review some basic physics: Plutonium-239 produces significantly more energy than Uranium-235. And the process continues to produce the additional isotopes Plutonium-240 and 241 and 242. This raises an interesting question.

Can we take these fuel rods-currently in storage all over the country and awaiting consignment to Yucca Flats- that contain all this Plutonium, separate out the Plutonium and whatever Uranium was not used, and make more fuel rods? You bet. In fact, we actually end up with more fuel after the process than what we started with. Why is this not being done?

Plutonium is used in atomic bombs - the fact that it's pure Plutonium-239 that makes an atomic bomb work, and not the other three isotopes, apparently didn't matter, because in 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order that banned the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the United States. The rationale was that the Plutonium could possibly be stolen, and terrorists might be able to use it to make atomic bombs.

Never mind that in the real world, it is essentially impossible to separate out the Plutonium-239 from the other isotopes in sufficient purity to use it for bomb making. The British tried it, the Russians tried it, the French tried it, and we tried it, but nobody did it very well, even though we had the best scientists and all the money in the world to throw at it.

If you try to make a bomb with such a mixture of Plutonium isotopes, forget about it - it won't work, ever. We're talking about the laws of physics, Greenpeace notwithstanding. Unless you have pure Plutonium-239, your bomb will fizzle. So throwing away all that valuable nuclear fuel to prevent terrorists from making a bomb that won't work anyway is just plain dumb.

How do we get the Plutonium-239 for our atomic bombs? We built reactors fueled with Uranium-238 whose only job is to create Plutonium-239. These systems are some of the best-guarded plants in the world. Our weapons grade Plutonium is safe. And we use the stuff over and over and over, as necessary, to keep our supply of weapons grade Plutonium up to date and available.

Can we do the same thing to produce nuclear fuel? The answer is a resounding yes.

This type of reactor, called a Breeder Reactor, actually produces more fuel than it consumes. A reactor designed to use a mixed Plutonium fuel is basically the same as the Uranium reactor we have already discussed. However, the neutrons that sustain the reaction contain more energy - they are commonly known as "fast" neutrons.

In order to regulate the internal neutron flux, the primary coolant typically is one of the light metals like Sodium. Since Uranium-238 is one of the more abundant elements in the Earth's crust, Breeder Reactors make it possible to have an essentially unlimited source of fuel for nuclear reactors - which means an unlimited supply of electricity.

At its best, the Breeder Reactor system produces no nuclear waste whatever - literally everything eventually gets used. In the real world, there actually may be some residual material that could be considered waste, but its half-life - the period of time it takes for half the radioactivity to dissipate - is on the order of thirty to forty years. By contrast, the half-life for the stuff we presently consider nuclear waste is over 25,000 years!

Imagine a transformed energy landscape, where there is no nuclear waste problem, no power shortages, a safe and inexhaustible supply of inexpensive electricity. France has constructed and used Breeder Reactors like this for many years. So have the British and the Japanese-and Canada. So why not the United States?

[font=Arial, Helvetica]We invented the technology but then made a political decision back in 1977 that has accomplished nothing but to create immense piles of long-lived, highly radioactive material that we cannot use for anything, and worse - we must safely store for more than its half-life of 25,000 years.

[/font]

2) The waste problem is a real problem, but it is not technologically insurmountable. While I’m not an advocate of the Yucca Falts long term storage plan, I have been to Yucca Flats, been privy to most of the data, and none of what you’ve said about it is nearly as threatening as it sounds. Ask about ground water percolation, though. I'm also no fan of the BuSh administration, but you can hardly blame Yucca Flats and the plan to store waste there (virtually forever) on him or his administration; it's been around since he was sniffing coke(actually, the plan's inception dates back to almost 1957...)

At any rate, I’ve already posted about Accelerator Transmutation of Waste, something I’m hoping to do development work on in the near future, and that would completely solve the problem that is almost entirely of our own creation. (see above) You can read about ATW here and , in embarrassingly less detail, here.
 
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Makalakumu

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elder999 said:
A couple of things (since this is, after all, my field….)
  1. Modest estimates put the amount of usable "fissile material" for nuclear power-currently in the ground- at being sufficient for all the world’s electrical production, at current rates of consumption, for the next 1500 years. At the dawn of the nuclear age, when the U.S. was developing the "atomic bomb," General Leslie Groves actually spearheaded a U.S. attempt to monopolize all the uranium in the world. It didn’t succeed, simply because it’s that common. It’s found in abundance on almost every continent.
The use of breeder reactors would also do a great deal to eliminate the whole "finity" problem of the nuclear fuel cycle. Under appropriate operating conditions, the neutrons given off by fission reactions can "breed" more fuel from otherwise non-fissionable isotopes. The most common breeding reaction is that of plutonium-239 from non-fissionable uranium-238. The term "fast breeder" refers to the types of configurations which can actually produce more fissionable fuel than they use, such as the LMFBR. This scenario is possible because the non-fissionable uranium-238 is 140 times more abundant than the fissionable U-235 and can be efficiently converted into Pu-239 by the neutrons from a fission chain reaction.



France has made the largest implementation of breeder reactors with its large Super Phenix reactor and an intermediate scale reactor (BN-600) on the Caspian Sea for electric power and desalinization.

In order to see how this can be done, it's first necessary to review some basic physics: Plutonium-239 produces significantly more energy than Uranium-235. And the process continues to produce the additional isotopes Plutonium-240 and 241 and 242. This raises an interesting question.

Can we take these fuel rods-currently in storage all over the country and awaiting consignment to Yucca Flats- that contain all this Plutonium, separate out the Plutonium and whatever Uranium was not used, and make more fuel rods? You bet. In fact, we actually end up with more fuel after the process than what we started with. Why is this not being done?

Plutonium is used in atomic bombs - the fact that it's pure Plutonium-239 that makes an atomic bomb work, and not the other three isotopes, apparently didn't matter, because in 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order that banned the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the United States. The rationale was that the Plutonium could possibly be stolen, and terrorists might be able to use it to make atomic bombs.

Never mind that in the real world, it is essentially impossible to separate out the Plutonium-239 from the other isotopes in sufficient purity to use it for bomb making. The British tried it, the Russians tried it, the French tried it, and we tried it, but nobody did it very well, even though we had the best scientists and all the money in the world to throw at it.

If you try to make a bomb with such a mixture of Plutonium isotopes, forget about it - it won't work, ever. We're talking about the laws of physics, Greenpeace notwithstanding. Unless you have pure Plutonium-239, your bomb will fizzle. So throwing away all that valuable nuclear fuel to prevent terrorists from making a bomb that won't work anyway is just plain dumb.

How do we get the Plutonium-239 for our atomic bombs? We built reactors fueled with Uranium-238 whose only job is to create Plutonium-239. These systems are some of the best-guarded plants in the world. Our weapons grade Plutonium is safe. And we use the stuff over and over and over, as necessary, to keep our supply of weapons grade Plutonium up to date and available.

Can we do the same thing to produce nuclear fuel? The answer is a resounding yes.

This type of reactor, called a Breeder Reactor, actually produces more fuel than it consumes. A reactor designed to use a mixed Plutonium fuel is basically the same as the Uranium reactor we have already discussed. However, the neutrons that sustain the reaction contain more energy - they are commonly known as "fast" neutrons.

In order to regulate the internal neutron flux, the primary coolant typically is one of the light metals like Sodium. Since Uranium-238 is one of the more abundant elements in the Earth's crust, Breeder Reactors make it possible to have an essentially unlimited source of fuel for nuclear reactors - which means an unlimited supply of electricity.

At its best, the Breeder Reactor system produces no nuclear waste whatever - literally everything eventually gets used. In the real world, there actually may be some residual material that could be considered waste, but its half-life - the period of time it takes for half the radioactivity to dissipate - is on the order of thirty to forty years. By contrast, the half-life for the stuff we presently consider nuclear waste is over 25,000 years!

Imagine a transformed energy landscape, where there is no nuclear waste problem, no power shortages, a safe and inexhaustible supply of inexpensive electricity. France has constructed and used Breeder Reactors like this for many years. So have the British and the Japanese-and Canada. So why not the United States?

[font=Arial, Helvetica]We invented the technology but then made a political decision back in 1977 that has accomplished nothing but to create immense piles of long-lived, highly radioactive material that we cannot use for anything, and worse - we must safely store for more than its half-life of 25,000 years.

[/font]

2) The waste problem is a real problem, but it is not technologically insurmountable. While I’m not an advocate of the Yucca Falts long term storage plan, I have been to Yucca Flats, been privy to most of the data, and none of what you’ve said about it is nearly as threatening as it sounds. Ask about ground water percolation, though. I'm also no fan of the BuSh administration, but you can hardly blame Yucca Flats and the plan to store waste there (virtually forever) on him or his administration; it's been around since he was sniffing coke(actually, the plan's inception dates back to almost 1957...)

At any rate, I’ve already posted about Accelerator Transmutation of Waste, something I’m hoping to do development work on in the near future, and that would completely solve the problem that is almost entirely of our own creation. (see above) You can read about ATW here and , in embarrassingly less detail, here.

Thanks for the honest and informed estimate of nuclear power. I have no doubt that it will be used in the future. It's nice to know that current technology is making it safer then the technology we have now. However, I still have a few concerns...

1. Building these plants is really expensive.
2. I've seen estimates for natural fissible material at around 40 years given our current rate of energy consumption.
3. I still don't like the Yucca Mountain plan. I know the geology of that region and have done some field work in fault/block spreading zones.
4. I don't think that our current focus on oil will allow a smooth transition into this type of power. We are doing absolutely nothing to convert this economy over to electric based...and it will be years before this is done. If the oil prices tank the economy before we make the transition, we may not have the capital to do so.
5. And lastly, I'm not sure everything can be converted to electric. As has been mentioned before, France has been using this technology for a while, yet that country still uses its fair share of oil...

upnorthkyosa
 

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I still think that planning and changing our focus, say... Motor oil and Gasoline from a petroleum based fuel to a plant based one, like the bio-diesl engine conversions is a great first step... if we build Hybrid Electric cars that run on a Biodeisel engine as opposed to gasoline, imagine how much LESS oil we, as a single nation would use, and consequently how much longer we might be able to stretch the oil we do have... I don't have any facts and figures, but I can imagine the numbers to be, not a solution by any means, but a big step in the right direction.
 
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I've posted about all I can on this topic. The points I was trying to make are...

1. Our entire lives are sickly addicted to oil.
2. Oil prices will rise sharply and permanently in the future as we pass the global production peak.
3. This will change EVERYTHING about how we live.

It doesn't matter who you are. This change in environment will make choices for you. Yet, there are a couple of ways that one can proceed.

1. "Supply siders" would have you think that phantasmagoric "market forces" will find the best route through this quagmire of change. My view is that these "culturally informed choices" will make decisions, but not good ones. Look at where "Market Forces/Culturally Informed Choices" have led us now? We have the most wasteful society on the planet that is literally teetering on an energy cliff. This, in my opinion, is the hard way. To let things slide until and continue until we hurtle off that cliff hoping that these "market forces" will suddenly change people's minds about "how they have always lived" shows a misunderstanding of human psychology. It just isn't that simple. Following this path will lead to an energy crash that will not allow us to make the best changes in our society for everyone. Sure, changes will occur after the crash, but they will be informal, unplanned, and haphazard.

2. Here is the easier way. We can create a true energy plan that weans this country off of oil and shifts our infrastructure to one that uses a different source of energy. Further, we can start this now while we have the energy and capital to do it cheaply and do it right in an orderly fashion.

NOW I think all of the cards are on the table regarding oil. None of this is easy to talk about. I don't see any easy solutions, though...

upnorthkyosa
 

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The article seems more "Doomsday, the sky is falling" than real.
I've read as much on both sides of this issue, some tend to try scare tactics.
It is something to be concerned about though, something that needs our attention so that we never get to THAT point. But I don't think we are quite there.

Your Brother
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Brother John said:
The article seems more "Doomsday, the sky is falling" than real.
I've read as much on both sides of this issue, some tend to try scare tactics.
It is something to be concerned about though, something that needs our attention so that we never get to THAT point. But I don't think we are quite there.

Your Brother
John
I agree, it doesn't have to be that bad, if we make good decisions...but it could be if we make the wrong decisions.
 

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