Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Leaders and Reflectors

I think I am safe in saying this. All of the candidates who are running in this media circus event called "an election" all have positions on how to win or end the war in Iraq. But none of them have a position on how to stop the next one. At least McCain assures us that there will be some.

If you don't think that our wars in the mideast are about oil, then read no further. But if you do, see what the so called Dean of Oil Analysts has to say about a energy future that the winner of this carnival will surely have to face in his or her first term in office. It's a four parter, here is a piece of part one:

‘Dean of Oil Analysts’ Maxwell:Oil Shortages Start in 2010;
Peak Oil Hits 2012-2015
Energy Tech Stocks.com
Posted: February 4, 2008

Nearly 40 years on Wall Street, plus 12 years before that working for a major oil company, equals a lifetime of experience for Charles T. Maxwell, senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co., known as the “dean of energy analysts.” clip

Here is what he sees in his so called "Nightmare on Main Street".

We live in a world where there is only about 1.2% more oil available each year, not enough to keep up with 1.5% annual demand growth. Between now and 2010, this supply shortfall will be made up through a drawdown in inventories, helped out by a slowdown in demand in 2008 and 2009 due to a recession or near-recession in the U.S.

But in 2010, Maxwell said, the shortfall will become greater than can be made up by what’s still in inventory, and thus will begin a long period of global oil scarcity that will get worse starting in 2012 or 2013, which is when Maxwell foresees a “peak” in conventional oil production. It gets even worse in 2015, which is when he expects a peak in the production of all liquids, a category that includes condensates, tar sands oil and biodiesel. clip

As the nightmare worsens, Maxwell sees cities in many countries where people depend on kerosene having to do without this life-sustaining fuel. If this prediction of Maxwell’s turns out to be correct, one can easily imagine a sharp rise in the number of environmental immigrants flooding into the more developed countries in Europe and Asia. This could lead to excruciating social unrest that produces outbreaks of violence, as some experts have already predicted.

And this is from part two:

"As America enters a world of ever-increasing oil scarcity, there is going to be a “horrific” rise in the price Americans pay for gasoline. clip

Think $3 a gallon is high? Get ready for $12 to $15 a gallon within a few years. clip

Maxwell said it will take $12 to $15 a gallon to get Americans to let go of what he called the “precious freedom of mobility.” As much as Maxwell laments the loss, he sees no other way for the U.S. to impose enough conservation to deal with the growing imbalance between oil demand and supply that he sees developing around 2010 and getting worse in 2012 or 2013, as the world hits a “peak” in conventional oil production.

Because he expects Americans to hang on for dear life to their freedom of mobility, Maxwell says there will have to be a “stomping exercise” to “get them to let go.” Basically, Maxwell said, Americans’ freedom of mobility will have to be stomped on by allowing the supply-constrained price of oil to steadily rise starting in 2010, reaching $180 a barrel in 2015 and $300 a barrel in 2020." more

Sure, the Democrats are talking about renewables and efficiency.

But, as of this date, there is no plan, no grand plan to avert the growing perfect storm of climate change and resource depletion.

Earlier in the week, I was musing with my partner about how in order to truly solve a problem, you need to get out in front of it. You know, a stitch in time saves nine approach.

However, if you are a politician, you can't do that. Getting in front of an issue is a recipe for failure and a very lonely election night.

Is that an inherent flaw in democracy itself?

I doubt it.

Besides, it is a stretch to call what we have today "a democracy".

It is much more of a corporatocracy.

Our Leaders are little more than reflectors.

And our lights are on low beam.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

All good ponts, and more than a bit scary. Compounding the problem is the recent shift in explorattion vs. production. Historically, the oil majors have strived to maintain production through continuous exploration, a type of equilibrium if you will. Now the focus seems to be to take as much out of the ground as possible and not maintain this balance. As long as oil prices stay high, and they certainly will, the Exxon's of the world can till make record profits with declining reserves. Not a good thing, relying on greedy people to make socially responsible decisions. Come to think of it, can't rely on the politicians either, even though it is their job!

3:43 PM  

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