chrnb writes: Americans have long been fascinated by disaster scenarios, from the population explosion to the cold war to global warming. These days the doomers, as Mrs. Wilkerson jokingly calls herself and likeminded others, have a new focus: peak oil. They argue that oil supplies peaked as early as 2008 and will decline rapidly, taking the economy with them.
Located somewhere between the environmental movement and the bunkered survivalists, the peak oil crowd is small but growing, reaching from health food stores to Congress, where a Democrat and a Republican formed a Congressional Peak Oil Caucus.
And they have been resourceful, sharing the concerns of other âÅ"collapsitarians,âï½ including global debt and climate change ââ both caused by overuse of diminishing oil supplies, they maintain.
chrnb writes: "The group, meeting in Denver this week, wants immediate steps to avert economic ruin. The world is running out of oil faster than society suspects, and last year's $4.11 gasoline spike was just a bitter hint of the future, according to a "peak oil" theory whose key proponents will gather in Denver this week.
Though peak-oil theorists prompt scorn from many in the petroleum industry, they've attracted an audience in some political and financial circles with their warnings to avert disaster by conserving, diversifying and exploring at an urgent pace.
"Up until now, technology has delivered dazzling results to America and the world economy, in delivering oil from all around the world despite increasingly challenging environments," said Dave Bowden, executive director of the Denver-based Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA, or ASPO. "The harsh reality is, despite the best efforts of amazing technology, they're not finding as many of these big fields anymore.""
chrnb writes: "SAN DIEGO (Reuters) — Filling your vehicle's tank with fuel made from algae is still as much as a decade away, as the emerging industry faces a series of hurdles to find an economical way to make the biofuel commercially. Estimates on a timeline for a commercial product, and profits, vary from two to 10 years or more."
chrnb writes: By looking at the chemistry of fossilized foraminifera — tiny sea creatures no bigger than a grain of sand — a team led by Aradhna Tripati, of University of the California, Los Angeles, has detected a significant CO2 bump during both warming episodes. If they're right, it could be pretty bad news, even for those who already worry about rising CO2. It's generally agreed that during the earlier warm period, known as the Miocene Climatic Optimum, which occurred 15 million years ago, the global temperature was high enough to make sea levels between 80 ft. and 130 ft. higher than they are today. According to the new study, CO2 levels in the atmosphere at that time hovered at from 390 to 430 parts per million (p.p.m.). Today's CO2 level: 387 p.p.m. and rising.
chrnb writes: "There is a "significant risk" that global oil production could begin to decline in the next decade, researchers said today. A report by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) said worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could "peak" and go into terminal decline before 2020 – but that the government was not facing up to the risk.
Falls in production will lead to higher and more volatile prices, and could encourage investment in even more polluting fossil fuels, such as tar sands, which "need to stay in the ground" to avoid dangerous climate change as a result of carbon emissions, the researchers said.
The new report said there was too much geological, political and economic uncertainty to predict an exact date for peak oil, which would not lead to a sudden decline but a "bumpy plateau" with a downward trend in extraction.
But Steve Sorrell, chief author of the report, said while those who forecasted an imminent decline had underestimated oil reserves, more positive forecasts suggesting oil production will not peak before 2030 were "at best optimistic and at worst implausible"."
chrnb writes: "Last year, Samso (pronounced SOME-suh) completed a 10-year experiment to see whether it could become energy self-sufficient. The islanders, with generous amounts of aid from mainland Denmark, busily set themselves about erecting wind turbines, installing nonpolluting straw-burning furnaces to heat their sturdy brick houses and placing panels here and there to create electricity from the island’s sparse sunshine. By their own accounts, the islanders have met the goal. For energy experts, the crucial measurement is called energy density, or the amount of energy produced per unit of area, and it should be at least 2 watts for every square meter, or 11 square feet. “We just met it,” said Soren Hermansen, the director of the local Energy Academy, a former farmer who is a consultant to the islanders."