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Peak fossil fuels by 2017

by apeiron
Tags: 2017, fossil, fuels, peak
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apeiron
#19
Jul21-10, 07:52 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
More like 100 years for oil (out to 2110) if we believe Mohr's case 3. Mohr has similar numbers for natural gas case 3. And in any worst case scenario, fossil fuels do not entirely collapse in seven years.
Is this a rational summary of his findings?

Again, making the energy/economy link, we are really saying that unless we can find some other energy source, world GDP will peak in 2017 and smoothly decline for ever after. And this transition point looms in seven years on middle-ground assumptions.

The actual range of his worst and best case scenarios for peak fossil fuels is suprisingly narrow - 2012 to 2029.

Fossil fuel productions for CASE 1, CASE 2 and CASE 3 is projected to peak between 2012 and 2029 at 433 581 EJ/y.
mheslep
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Jul22-10, 03:07 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
Is this a rational summary of his findings?
I'm only attempting above to cite Mohr not make deductions (so far). As far as I can tell those are roughly the empirical numbers for case 3 out to the point of depletion/ collapse in production, not a peak (Mohr's figure attached below) I thought near depletion was what you had in mind when you said:
Quote Quote by apeiron
And how many reactors could we build, or turbines erect, in seven years?
by which I assumed you meant at least a large fraction, if not most, of the existing secondary power plants had to be replaced. Such a case would not come about from a mild transition to post peak production, but only from a collapse in production.

Quote Quote by apeiron
...Again, making the energy/economy link, we are really saying that unless we can find some other energy source, world GDP will peak in 2017 and smoothly decline for ever after. And this transition point looms in seven years on middle-ground assumptions.
We? At least in the US, energy consumption per capita peaked back in the late seventies yet GDP has managed to increase substantially (per the World Bank):
http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=...ion+per+capita
It may be that energy production and GDP is more closely correlated in developing countries like China, which strikes me as intuitive, but I doubt the correlation holds very tightly in developed countries (i.e. how many yachts can one water ski behind?).

Quote Quote by Mohr
Fossil fuel productions for CASE 1, CASE 2 and CASE 3 is projected to peak between 2012 and 2029 at 433 – 581 EJ/y.
Yes. Note that per Mohr 2100 production is still ~450 EJ/y in case 3.

Given one EJ/yr is produced by ~32 GW(e) plants/reactors running at 100% capacity factor, the 131 EJ/yr energy deficit by 2100 would covered by building 45 GW(e) 100% capacity factor non-fossil replacement units (nuclear/solar/wind/geothermal/efficiency improvements/etc.) per year, worldwide, for ninety years. For comparison, China alone has been adding new electric capacity at a rate of ~62 GW(e) per year (fossil and other)
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/China/im...c_by_type2.gif
apeiron
#21
Jul22-10, 06:04 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
I'm only attempting above to cite Mohr not make deductions (so far). As far as I can tell those are roughly the empirical numbers for case 3 out to the point of depletion/ collapse in production, not a peak (Mohr's figure attached below) I thought near depletion was what you had in mind when you said:
Case 2 is Mohr's best guess choice, case 3 is the optimistic outlier. So long as you are clear about the difference. And again, what is striking is that all three cases are quite narrowly grouped.

On the meaning of a peak, of course I understand that we are roughly saying half gone, so half still left. But we are also saying all the cheap, high EROEI, is gone, now we are left with the expensive low EROEI. Which has obvious direct consequences for economics and politics.

I realise no-one really wants to believe the situation can be as dire as these kinds of studies suggest. So it would cheer me up if you actually had convincing arguments about why there is no reason to worry.

I had a chance to chat with one of your undersecretaries for energy earlier this year. She was quite optimistic about how the US would cope. She cited the figures for how much wind is just waiting to be harnessed in the mid-west. She said Obama's 20 year goals to shift to alternatives would be achieved in 10, because the need was so urgent. It was all very "can do". Yet I still went away feeling I had heard nothing of substance. There was no sense of concrete detail that would actually make any of this happen.

Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
We? At least in the US, energy consumption per capita peaked back in the late seventies yet GDP has managed to increase substantially (per the World Bank):
http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=...ion+per+capita
It may be that energy production and GDP is more closely correlated in developing countries like China, which strikes me as intuitive, but I doubt the correlation holds very tightly in developed countries (i.e. how many yachts can one water ski behind?).
In fact I was reading a study the other week that argued real average wealth in the US has stagnated since the 1970s. And the curves matched oil consumption. I'll try to find it again.

Generally, the correlation is good in the research I've read. And it makes sense that energy is the basis of wealth. A more efficient economy would extract more work from the same amount of energy of course. But this is well understood from basic ecology. And ecological economists are the ones to be listening to these days.

On China, energy consumption has soared in line with GDP as the China miracle has recently been driven by infrastructure - construction.

Unfortunately, all the signs are that what they have been mostly building is a property bubble - whole cities of empty apartment blocks funded by crazy finance.

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogsp...s-housing.html

The miracle may shortly prove to be a mirage. Although people are saying the saving grace for China is that it still holds so many US dollars and keeping the dollar artificially high will have proved a good insurance policy.

A crazy age, don't you agree?
mheslep
#22
Jul22-10, 07:07 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
[...]I realise no-one really wants to believe the situation can be as dire as these kinds of studies suggest.
I'm interested in discussing a model such as Mohr's based on the actual results he obtains and crunching more numbers to see where that might take us (as I did above). However, I don't see the utility in pursuing arbitrary characterizations about what is or is not 'dire' without some kind of verifiable context. By contrast, and for instance, above I attempted to place Mohr's fossil fuel energy deficit as of 2100 in context by showing the feasibility of replacing it. After all, this is a science & engineering forum and I hope to pursue those lines.

I don't see utility in grouping critiques in with some kind of conjured group who are imagined as refusing to 'believe' in the latest Malthusian predictions, or about hand waiving away energy policy proposals without examination as containing nothing of value. Also, the continued reliance on blogs as a point-maker, while sometimes interesting when identified as such, is not useful to build a discussion on firm ground, as one can quickly find blog 'evidence' from no less than tenured professors showing how on 911 it was actually US officials that directed aircraft into the WTC.

Quote Quote by apeiron
In fact I was reading a study the other week that argued real average wealth in the US has stagnated since the 1970s. And the curves matched oil consumption. I'll try to find it again.
I imagine that can only refer to some income inequality discussion, a digression I'd not like to pursue here, as there's no question gross US economic output has seen substantial growth since the 1970s. The data, in real terms, is readily available: US GDP has more than tripled since 1970.

apeiron
#23
Jul22-10, 07:17 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
I'm interested in discussing a model such as Mohr's based on the actual results he obtains and crunching more numbers to see where that might take us (as I did above).
Which still does not explain why your analysis is focused on case 3 rather than case 2, except as a personal prejudice.

You have not provided a reason why his best guess middle path is in fact less likely than his most optimistic one.

But yes, it would certainly be interesting to follow up his study with an estimate of the actual gap for his various scenarios, and thus the number of nuclear reactors, wind turbines, or whatever would be needed to fill it.
Office_Shredder
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Jul22-10, 07:18 PM
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Tripled since 1970... inflation has done far more than that

http://nowandfutures.com/inflation_long_term.html
mheslep
#25
Jul22-10, 07:50 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
Which still does not explain why your analysis is focused on case 3 rather than case 2, except as a personal prejudice.

You have not provided a reason why his best guess middle path is in fact less likely than his most optimistic one.
Correct I haven't; I picked one. Mohr provided three cases from a model, a non-peer reviewed model (so far); I'm inclined to pick #3 for the moment.

But yes, it would certainly be interesting to follow up his study with an estimate of the actual gap for his various scenarios, and thus the number of nuclear reactors, wind turbines, or whatever would be needed to fill it.
Well I tried to give it a go above. One EJ/yr requires 32 GW, at 100% capacity factor for electric generation. That translates roughly to (worldwide) any of the following (all electrical cases):
o 31 AP1100 nuclear reactors running at the US average 93% capacity factor (or 15 of the common two reactor plants)
o 32 of the one year increases in Texas wind capacity seen in 2007-2008 (2.76 GW peak) at 37% capacity factor ( or 32 * 1850 1.5 MW wind turbines)
o A 3.5% increase in US electrical generation or usage efficiency, or both. (assuming a 900GW(e) average US electrical load)

Again, all of those provide one EJ/year, with Mohr predicting a ~131 EJ/yr deficit by 2100. So the rate of deficit is about 1.5 EJ/year.
apeiron
#26
Jul22-10, 08:04 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
I imagine that can only refer to some income inequality discussion, a digression I'd not like to pursue here, as there's no question gross US economic output has seen substantial growth since the 1970s. The data, in real terms, is readily available: US GDP has more than tripled since 1970.
This wasn't the study I was looking at, but it is a meta analysis of the energy/GDP correlation of 88 countries.

We use panel data for 88 countries to test for cointegration between per capita real GDP
and per capita energy consumption. We find that these two variables are cointegrated.
Thus, we conduct tests for short-run, long run and strong Granger causality between the
growth rates of per capita GDP and energy consumption. We find evidence for two-way
short-run, long-run and strong causality between the two variables. These results
contradict the results of a number of other studies using panel data.

http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/18446...aper_18446.pdf
And here is some data on US stagnation for the ordinary Joe.

EPI data tracking income and wage patterns show that the majority of income growth has for decades gone to a startlingly small number of top earners, while other workers have suffered a persistent stagnation or even decline in real earnings.
This pattern is best illustrated in the following chart, which shows that 34.6% of all income growth over the past three decades has gone to the top one-tenth of 1% of all earners. By contrast, the bottom 90% of all earners has collectively seen only 15.9% of all income growth over the same period.
http://www.epi.org/analysis_and_opin...When:21:21:59Z
CRGreathouse
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Jul22-10, 08:48 PM
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By contrast, the bottom 90% of all earners has collectively seen only 15.9% of all income growth over the same period.
Wow, that sounds pretty good.
apeiron
#28
Jul22-10, 09:05 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Correct I haven't; I picked one. Mohr provided three cases from a model, a non-peer reviewed model (so far); I'm inclined to pick #3 for the moment.
OK, cherry-picking the outlier, we still have a story where fossil fuel energy falls off the cliff circa 2020, plummeting ~100 EJ/yr. So it is not a gentle linear decline rate out to 2100 but an energy plunge from 2020 to 2050 (co-inciding with peak population of course).

And then things level out a bit for the next 50 years - based on the one huge compensating factor of shale oil.

So your optimism rests on the US being willing to dig up its backyard when the time comes? Is this what you are saying?
apeiron
#29
Jul23-10, 04:10 AM
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Quote Quote by CRGreathouse View Post
Wow, that sounds pretty good.
It's truly impressive.

You get a thousand people in the room and show them this really big luscious cake and cut it into six peices. You pick out one person in the room and say hey, you look really deserving. Here, have two slices all to yourself. Enjoy! Then you take a third slice and say well this is going to have to be shared by the next 900 of you. Way to go! Outstanding.
Jack21222
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Jul23-10, 08:29 AM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
(co-inciding with peak population of course).
This is a very important point which isn't being made enough. We very well may be looking at 9 billion people on the planet by 2050 according to a UN Prediction. Plus, world per capita GDP will continue to rise as it always has, and more GDP generally means more energy.

While production levels off and starts to decline, even in the most optimistic scenarios, energy usage will continue to go up.
CRGreathouse
#31
Jul23-10, 08:59 AM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
You get a thousand people in the room and show them this really big luscious cake and cut it into six peices. You pick out one person in the room and say hey, you look really deserving. Here, have two slices all to yourself. Enjoy! Then you take a third slice and say well this is going to have to be shared by the next 900 of you. Way to go! Outstanding.
Does that bother you? I figure my deserts are limited to a fair share of the 6000 BC cake, which is vastly smaller. That my percent share is small means little to me, given the size of the cake.
Office_Shredder
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Jul23-10, 12:20 PM
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Quote Quote by CRGreathouse View Post
Does that bother you? I figure my deserts are limited to a fair share of the 6000 BC cake, which is vastly smaller. That my percent share is small means little to me, given the size of the cake.
People work hard to make their country and their society better. People go to war and fight and die trying to preserve their country. If you ask a soldier from WWII if he fought so that everyone in America could have a standard of living comparable to 6000BC, and a select few could be super wealthy and own the country, he would say no. If you ask Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin if they did what they did to found this country so that a select few could hoard all the wealth in this country, of course they would say no.

To say that your baseline is living in a cave and hunting animals for dinner is to ignore the fact that hundreds of years of work has been done by people to raise and maintain society as a whole to a better standard of living. If someone then found a way to destroy that and send everyone except for themselves back to the stone age, it should bother you immensely.
russ_watters
#33
Jul23-10, 01:32 PM
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Quote Quote by Office_Shredder View Post
Tripled since 1970... inflation has done far more than that

http://nowandfutures.com/inflation_long_term.html
That's tripled after inflation. It says so right on the side bar of the graph that all the numbers are adjusted for parity with the 2005 dollar value.
russ_watters
#34
Jul23-10, 01:42 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
And here is some data on US stagnation for the ordinary Joe.

[separate post]
You get a thousand people in the room and show them this really big luscious cake and cut it into six peices. You pick out one person in the room and say hey, you look really deserving. Here, have two slices all to yourself. Enjoy! Then you take a third slice and say well this is going to have to be shared by the next 900 of you. Way to go! Outstanding.
Then later, you go back to them with a much bigger cake and give them a much bigger piece than they had before. Since their stomach hasn't grown with the growing cake, they find themselves well satiated by their bigger piece of cake.

I don't believe that when the rubber meets the road, people's view of their economic situation is based primarily on envy. While that view has a lot of traction on internet forums and maybe even in front of a bar and other places where people like to complain/vent, if your boss called you into his office and gave you a 15.9% raise, your first thought will not be "gee, I wonder what the other guys got", but will rather be "gee, I wonder what I can buy with this".

A person's actual living conditions are based on what they themselves earn, not what someone else earns. If Bill Gates's net worth suddenly doubles over the next year due to a recovery by the stock market, my ability to afford my mortgage will not disappear.
russ_watters
#35
Jul23-10, 01:51 PM
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Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
I realise no-one really wants to believe the situation can be as dire as these kinds of studies suggest. So it would cheer me up if you actually had convincing arguments about why there is no reason to worry.
Though I haven't read the full study yet, it appears to me that except for a small handful of one-liner snippets of editorializing, it is almost entirely a numerical projection of supply. Words like "dire" and "worry" don't seem to fit unless there are predictions made about what happens to the US/world economy as a result of these supply models. The study doesn't discuss them, so any discussion of them stemming from the study is essentially just idle speculation.

Will the economy collapse? Will we adapt by building nuclear plants and buy electric cars? The study contains no discussion of those issues whatsoever.
TubbaBlubba
#36
Jul23-10, 01:56 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
A person's actual living conditions are based on what they themselves earn, not what someone else earns. If Bill Gates's net worth suddenly doubles over the next year due to a recovery by the stock market, my ability to afford my mortgage will not disappear.
Besides, the worth of money is relative. I doubt Bill Gates uses his money to buy a million gallons of milk.


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