Is Peak Oil a Faith Based Collapse Theory?

December 19th, 2006

Stories like the one below, from the BBC, reinforce the nagging fear I have that Peak Oil just isn’t going to be the kill shot that many of us think it’s going to be. Don’t get me wrong, Peak Oil seems real to me (if engineered to happen), and, in preparation, my wife and I are using hand tools to accomplish as much of the work that we do as possible on our farm. But, more and more, it’s going to be clean, green fascism, with the alternative energy buildouts taking on maco scale proportions, “sustainable” Walmarts and industrial-organic pHood. And we won’t even have to put microchips in our chickens, for now! Ahh, freedom!

Oh yes, if the band plays on, it will be a weird, organic hemp hacky sack, zero emission SUV and fair-trade espresso tinged tune. The “environmentalists” will be making free love with the diabolical, earth murdering criminals at Shell Oil – Renewables Division. The jittery savants at Google will marvel at their solar powered propeller beanies; proof of their Earth-friendly credentials. Can you feel the love? Hillary 2008, man!

Meet the clean, green fascists. Same as the old, polluting fascists.

There will be viable alternative power, as long as it’s centralized and benefits the usual suspects.

If you think this is a bunch of crap about a few barefoot hippies with some solar panels and all the dope they can smoke somewhere in Northern California, friend, think again.

How does a wind farm, capable of powering one million British households, grab ya?

Where will all the disposable diapers, plastic tampon applicators, and mostly empty insect poison canisters go, from these clean, green powered homes? Who knows? Dump it all into the sea, around the wind farm, maybe…

Collapse via Peak Oil?

Maybe. Maybe not.

This wind development will supply only 1% of total electricity used in the UK, but it demonstrates the type (and scale) of things the Megamachine can do to survive. AND it’s not even really against the wall yet. AND they’re only using decades old technology so far. This is the problem with all the Peak Oil theories about how “renewables” will never be able to make much a difference to the energy situation. I’d ask the people pushing those theories to consider the stuff in the secret government crypts and quasi covert, corporate labs—with connections to the Pentagon—that are just starting to unfurl…

Is Peak Oil just another faith-based collapse theory?

Look, there’s no shortage of energy. Even assuming no decades-old, taxpayer-funded .mil innovations, energy generation is a no brainer. Take your pick. Individuals are building their own wave power generators for Christ’s sake. That thing scales to megawatt class systems and is based on nothing more complicated than permanent magnets and copper coils. (And it’s a continuous power source, unlike wind and solar, which are intermittent sources.) While there’s plenty of energy available from ocean/tidal, solar and wind sources, what we don’t have is a way of storing the energy in any form that approaches the energy density of hydrocarbon based fuels. Technologies like that eeStor thing, however, have the potential to change the whole damn show.

Even assuming an energy storage solution, Peak Oil fundamentalists will smile (smugly) and say, “Plastics, my son. What about plastics?”

First of all, how much plastic can you keep choking the oceans with if the Hummers started running on super capacitors? A lot. I don’t know how many decades worth. Besides, if you have the energy, which is clearly available from the braindead simple approach of bobbing those magnets up and down through induction coils, for example, just about anything can be turned into oil (for plastics or anything else) with a process called thermal depolymerization.

So, is Peak Oil going to be a crisis? Only if They want it to be.

Via: BBC:

The green light has been given for two offshore wind farms in the Thames Estuary, one of which will be the world’s biggest when it is completed.

The government said the schemes would produce enough renewable electricity to power about one million households.

The larger London Array project covers 90 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate in Kent and Clacton, Essex.

The second wind farm, called the Thanet scheme, will cover 13.5 sq miles (35 sq km) off the north Kent coast.

The £1.5bn London Array scheme will have 341 turbines rising from the sea about 12 miles (20km) off the Kent and Essex coasts, as well as five offshore substations and four meteorological masts.

The consortium behind it is made up of Shell WindEnergy Ltd, E.ON UK Renewables and Core Ltd.

Posted in Energy, Kill Off | Top Of Page

19 Responses to “Is Peak Oil a Faith Based Collapse Theory?”

  1. Scott Says:

    Great post Kevin. Has anyone been following this?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....5518.shtml

    If this is truly viable it would lay peak oil to rest, at least for a while.

    Watch out for bombing/invasion of France.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Air is like hydrogen, in terms of viability for transportation. They’re batteries, not energy sources. My guess is that the eestor thing will be viable before the air car. But that’s just a guess.

    What runs the air compressor that fills the tanks? In this case, that air powered car is actually a nuclear powered car, as France gets more electricity from nuclear power (80%) than any other country in the world.

  3. George Kenney Says:

    Is the human race like a petri dish of bacteria that grows exponentially until starved to death, or like the Singularity were exponential increases of Moore’s law and innovation lead to ever-increasing rates of change making it impossible to predict the future?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....ingularity

    I vote for impossible to predict the future.

    The top 1% controls 40% of the world assets, but they can’t stop Google from starting up and a investing 100 million in nanosolar.

    http://www.nanosolar.com/history.htm

    Invent the future, Own the Future.

  4. Ann Says:

    Cryptogon, you’re forgetting the other side of the PO coin: rapid climate change. The two of them together will tip the scales, or so I believe. Climate change is here -and will only accelerate from this point on. It’s mid December and yesterday I was running around outside in shorts and a t-shirt. No, I don’t live in Australia or South America; I live in the U.S. and much prefer summer to winter, so that tells you how warm it is now!

  5. fallout Says:

    Changing World Technology, the company that solicited and received a massive US subsidy/grant/investment to build a working thermal depolymerization process facility (later called thermal conversion, once they found they couldn’t actually produce much in terms of polymers), which was going to turn all of our garbage into cheap fuel, has closed its US operation and relocated to Europe (where higher subsidies and tipping costs may enable them to at least break even. It was unable to deliver on promises, and even with subsidies could not operate without a loss.
    Their estimated costs for economic viability? Oil at just $15 a barrel. Their actual costs once they were producing commercial quantities? $80+/bbl. That is unfortunately how most of these things work out in actual practice. Like a man who is starving putting his own feces into machine that makes it consumable. And at a very high cost.
    Way too much head in the clouds, pie in the sky, and not nearly enough actual feasibility or economics.

  6. fallout Says:

    By the way, one of the very best websites for serious Peak Oil technical discussion:
    [url=http://www.theoildrum.com/]The Oil Drum[/url]
    My other favorite is [url=http://energybulletin.net/index.php]The Energy Bulletin[/url], more of a clearinghouse of very good articles than discussion board.

  7. JurisDoctorOfDoom Says:

    Kevin,

    Let’s pretend you’re in the midst of famine. Eating your shit (waste) won’t get you too far. Same thinking in regards to thermal depolymerization. Most of the crap that goes in came from oil in the first place. Second law of thermodynamics tells us your always going to get less out then you put in.

    Here is the real problem: we as humans like to reproduce. Heck we don’t just like, we freakin’ love it, the whold process as screwed up as it can be from courtship to conception to child rearing, we really enjoy it! In the context of a finite planet you’re eventually going to have more people then resources, no matter how many wind turbines and other contraptions you build. then comes the resource wars . . .

  8. JurisDoctorOfDoom Says:

    Fallout,

    Oops, should have read your post first before chiming in with my feces analogy.

  9. Cherenkov Says:

    The main problem is one of see-sawing, push-me pull-me choices. If we continue to produce enough energy to grow the population, that growth will come at the cost of increasing the amount of carbon in the air — death by global warming. If we see a crash in petroleum, and if coal, nukes, and et al alternatives fail to step in quickly enough, then it’s death by starvation and resource wars. If we keep a middling path, then global warming is slightly mitigated, population continues to grow and when the tipping point comes, it comes with even greater numbers of hapless humans tossed on the festering heap of our egotistical techno-fetish.

    We humans have a real urgent desire to keeping clapping as hard as we can in order keep the techno-fairy alive. But physics doesn’t give a shyte. The dieoff is coming and it is coming hard. No, you cannot stop it. That is the number one delusion. It may be delayed slightly, it may get foisted onto other people — i.e. we go into other oil producing countries, take their oil, then go into other populous countries and kill off their populations thus removing competitors from the equation. Bird flu up-engineered at Los Alamos or Fort Detrick anyone? The option of finding the fantasy tech solution is simply not available except through scam artists and people who have no clue about physics.

    So, while we love to believe in zero point energy fantasies and turkey gut recycling, the truth is we live within the playing field of physics and we cannot change the rules. Sorry. This energy fiesta is coming to an end no matter how much we blog and blab.

    Yeah some will survive longer than others. Ultimately, we are all going to die one way or another. So, if you believe that we will escape our entropy fate, then I have bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  10. Kevin Says:

    It’s all just primates flinging feces at each other. Midway through the last century, though, the game changed. The apes got a hold of nuclear weapons. Same ape consciousness + nuclear weapons.

    The fact that decades have passed without a wholesale extermination of the human species—in a nuclear conflagration—seems like a complete miracle to me. If the mushroom clouds started rising into the sky tomorrow, all I’d have to say is, “Ahh, humans just doing what they do best.”

  11. Dennis Says:

    Been thinking similar things myself lately though from a very different perspective. Bible prophecy talks of power centralization, a new, seemingly cashless, financial system, a corrupt marriage between religious and financial power, wars in the middle east that will wipe out 2/3 of the population overnight, of a meteorite striking the ocean, the military rise of the ‘Kings of the East’, of happenings in Israel being a thorn in the side of the world, of the earth growing weary of the burden of humanity, of a 10 ‘state’ empire and a lot more but it also seems to say that in the times right before the end of this world system we know and love (ha ha) there will still exist a fairly cohesive social structure, one sufficiently functional as to allow the continued operation of armies and mass-communication systems.

  12. Shep Says:

    I’m somewhat disappointed in the conclusions drawn in this post, Kevin. While Peak Oil might not be the ultimate “kill shot,” governments reactions to the advent of scarcity certainly will.

    Never mind all of those alternate energy sources that you named. If the ruling elite had intended for a somewhat orderly transition to such sources, they would have been worked into the system long ago. No, what the elites DO want is collapse.

    Never forget that among their top priorities is to significantly reduce global population. People aren’t going to stop screwing and having babies so the only way to accomplish the stated goal is through a massive die-off. Can you imagine a better time for this plan to be enacted?

    So, no hi-tech solar panels for the masses. Might as well not even titillate people with that possibility.

  13. Eileen Says:

    Kevin,

    Peak oil faith based? Surely as the sun shines Peak Oil will occur. Faith based? No,Peak Oil is a REALITY. But HOW Peak Oil will play out.. whether its a scene from the Mad Max movies, or something subtler and drawn out over time is anyones guess right now, I think. I am preparing for either end of this broad spectrum in my life. Food, shelter and water. Two weeks worth at least.
    Truly though, I hope for a “managed” crash. I spend lots of time driving in my Prius. And every day wonder what the hell all the people in all of these cars are going to do when they have to learn how to WALK to WHAT store for food, let alone how to procure all will need to survive.Its mind boggling. I guess that’s why I hope for a “managed” crash. I’m not better than any.
    Consider “The They.” The secret societies of the Illumnanti, Opus Dei,Masons,and others that have yet managed not to be named that control the NEWS and the MESSAGE to the masses.
    I find your commentary on alternative creative energy sources most refreshing; a breath of fresh air in this stagnant box THEY have put us into. I think on the patents and technologies that have been bought up by the THEY, eg. the electric car, a car that runs on water. THE CULT of OIL.
    The problem I think is that we don’t know who the players are. They need to be exposed. John Doe needs to be shocked out of his white, clorox bleached jockey underwear by SOMETHING, SOMEONE, I don’t know what it will be. Wasn’t Hurricane Katrina enough? Or what about in the northwest this past weekend? 1.5 million with out power. Somewhere along the line here I think the message the planet Earth keeps sending us will cause more than a few to BLINK.
    Check out Weather Wars. THEY are at work in stranger ways than we know. I recommend reading Scott’s thing on Katrina. Scroll down to his postings – its pretty amazing what he wrote on Katrina.
    http://www.weatherwars.info/index.php
    It’s going to be a wild ride from here on out. I am heartened that you left “Dodge” for a place on the planet that is predicted to be “protected” from the ravages to come. Yey, verily,there’s going to be a lot of “religion” surfacing on this planet earth anon, and whether its caused by the housing bubble, a stock market crash, or what not, its always better to have your own LAND, TOOLS, WATER, SHELTER. Things that the Banks can’t take away from thee.
    Be well – HAPPY SOLSTICE! I’ll be building a bonfire tonight EST about 10 p.m. to celebrate the return of the LIGHT on this, the SHORTEST day.
    Jesus was born a Virgo, for Christ’s sake.Not from a Virgin. HAR. Another example of mixing up the truth for the desired message.
    No wonder this world is so screwed up. Anyone with a brain knows you can’t have a birth without the ACT of man on woman. And for this I should be burned at the stake?
    I say unto you, who Killed the Electric Car?
    Kevin, I like the way you’re thinking. When I can figure out how to contribute without using Paypal I’ll contribute.
    Thank you and have a Merry Christmas.
    Will check in before the New Year.

  14. Matt Savinar Says:

    “like a complete miracle to me.”

    kevin,

    Have you read much of Jay’s theories regarding human nature?

    My theory is that since the energy (inclusive fitness) pie was growing, the reluctance to use nukes was high. But once the pie starts shrinking . . . then those chimp genes come out. Problem is the chimp genes did not evolve to understant the power of nuclear weapons

  15. fallout Says:

    It was nice to see Matt Savinar and Cherenkov again. Hi guys. Such a small world.

    JurisDoctorofDoom, you and I must think much alike.

  16. cryptogon.com » Archives » All Electric Vehicles and the Concept of Enough Says:

    […] The all electric SUV is almost here! While it’s not quite the electric Hummer I wrote about recently, what did I tell ya!?! […]

  17. Is Peak Oil a Kill Shot? « The Moral Equivalent of War Says:

    […] Is Peak Oil a Kill Shot? Kevin at Cryptogon has an interesting post this week on whether peak oil is a ‘faith-based collapse theory.’ : Stories like the one below, from the BBC, reinforce the nagging fear I have that Peak Oil just isn’t going to be the kill shot that many of us think it’s going to be. […]

  18. cryptogon.com » Archives » Energy Scarcity? Give Me a Break Says:

    […] Related: Is Peak Oil a Faith Based Collapse Theory? […]

  19. il Says:

    “Peak oil a myth, claims geoscientist”

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/ne.....311956.htm

    Dr Peter McCabe’s details:

    http://www.csiro.au/people/Peter.McCabe.html

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.