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German Military Braces For Peak Oil

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the malthus-was-right dept.

Earth 764

myrdos2 writes "A study by a German military think tank leaked to the Internet warns of the potential for a dire global economic crisis in as little as 15 years as a result of a peak and an irreversible decline in world oil supplies. The study states that there is 'some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later. ... In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.' The report closely matches one from the US military earlier this year, which stated that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact."

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forsty pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542612)

maybe?

German Military Braces? (-1, Offtopic)

zonker (1158) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542616)

I was just reading that headline and for a moment thought it was about dental fixtures.

Re:German Military Braces? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542674)

I thought their trousers were falling down.

Re:German Military Braces? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542900)

I was just reading that headline and for a moment thought it was about dental fixtures.

Did you have a point?

Is this a Godwin-invoking comment? (5, Funny)

unitron (5733) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542618)

Well, the German military does have some past experience in having to manage without petroleum. : - )

Transition Movement (1, Informative)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542624)

The Transition Movement [transitionnetwork.org] is a bottom-up approach for communities to prepare for peak oil. You can find a group near you here [transitionnetwork.org] .

Re:Transition Movement (4, Insightful)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542656)

That seems more cultish then actually helping. It promotes ideas that SEEM good, but are rather counter intuitive. Working holidays? Why not just stay home, where you don't burn fuel traveling? Or better yet, start a hydroponics garden. House swapping? Sounds like a great way to have your stuff stolen / Identity snatched. There is little proof that "organic" is truely organic. Especially since most enviromental factors are out of the farmers hands. Pesticides, metals toxicity , etc. Your basically paying extra for the same amount of pollutants. And it's not encouraging sane practices. Allowing large areas of land to be fed to grazing animals does nothing to encourage top soil retention. Nothing your site presents sounds sustainable long term. Especially when oil powers the farmers house, the house that your swapping with and the machinery the farm uses. That isn't transition, its commune propaganda.

Peak Oil is a myth (1, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543054)

When I took geology in college (~1987) they were predicting that oil was going to run out by early 2000. I guess fifteen years in the future is farther ahead than they expect most people will remember.

Peak oil is a myth and there is very strong evidence of abiotic oil. See http://www.viewzone.com/abioticoilx.html [viewzone.com] for example.

Old news, buy oil stocks. (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542630)

People have been planning for this since the 70's. If you think gas is expensive now, wait ten years.
Profits are going to be amazing as shortage will mean name your price economics.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542688)

People have been planning for this since the 70's. If you think gas is expensive now, wait ten years.

I remember back in the 70s that oil was going to run out by the 90s. Now in 2010, oil is going to run out by the 2030s. In 2030 I guess oil will be going to run out by the 2050s.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (4, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542770)

I remember back in the 70s that oil was going to run out by the 90s. Now in 2010, oil is going to run out by the 2030s. In 2030 I guess oil will be going to run out by the 2050s.

I don't think that oil will run out by 2030s either, but it will be a lot more expensive.
There are oil basins that were considered unprofitable years ago but now, after the low-hanging fruits are gone, are being exploited.
Right now there are known hard-to-exploit reserves just waiting for a higher oil price in order to make economic sense.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542902)

Nobody (except maybe the usual few paranoids, and perhaps the usual tabloid corporate mass media that loves them) said in the 1970s that oil would run out by the 1990s. What was said, by Kingman, who said in the 1950s that American oil would peak in the early 1970s and was right, was that global oil would peak in the 1990s. Peak does not mean end - it means the opposite, the maximum production. But Kingman's research showed in both cases that the peak would be followed immediately by a dropoff as steep and as short as was the ramp-up leading to the peak. However, demand continues to increase, so the shortfall grows even more rapidly, and immediately after the peak (once any relatively small surplus is consumed).

What Kingman's research did not have was the self-reflexive consequences of his research on the supply and demand curves. When America's oil peaked in the early 1970s, the resulting oil crunch not only changed the supply and demand curves that Kingman couldn't account for because the crunch and response data had never existed before. It also changed the appreciation of Kingman's research, and of his prediction that the global peak was coming. So that the world prepared in many ways for the next predicted peak, the global one. By the time the 1990s came, the effects were around: some peaking in large Saudi fields helped create the shortage pricing that we've never left since then. And the peak was delayed. But not for very long. Mainly what happened was that estimates of reserves were exaggerated (lies), in large amounts.

So we are indeed in the global peak oil period now, and in some ways have been since the 1990s.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542904)

Gulf oil may run out. Which is good. No more money to sponsor Taleban and Hezbollah.

Other oil? Not so sure. Russians have always been operating a policy of "use 1, save 1". They have a considerable state reserve, so does USA in Alaska. Then there are all the fields that are in the Arctic or other places that are beyond current tech. Then there are all the fields that are not economically viable because of current land prices and environmental regs. Britain has petrol so does Germany, Netherlands, etc. However nobody wants to see an oil well in their backyard. Then there are all the places around the world with high density oil which are too difficult for current drilling processes. I own land on top of one of these fields in Eastern Europe and frankly I am eagerly waiting for oil to "run out". There is also a lot of high density leftovers which were never pumped out from fields that have been declared exhausted in Texas, Caucasus, etc. And so on.

Oil is not running out any time soon. It will just become more and more expensive. 200$ a barrel and 4-5$ per litre (not per gallon) at the pump are coming this way within the next 10 years and there is little we can do about that.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542994)

Way to be avoidant.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (5, Insightful)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542996)

Its so simple. 'You' were wrong in 1970 - "haha" - therefore any prediction of oil running out, including the fact that oil is running out right now and has ran out any many places already, will be automatically dismissed and ridiculed by us no matter what. No analysis, no fact checking, onward christian straw men...

Peak Oil is not the same thing as running out of oil.

What these systems analysts working for the military industrial complex are saying is that the rate of production of oil can no longer keep up with our increasing demand for it. And increased demand does not automatically create new oil into the market forever - the same way that the hunger of the economists locked up in my cellar do not create sandwiched for them. At some point the 'laws' of economics meet the laws of physics - one of them wins and its called resource depletion.

Resource depletion is just that: depletion. Initially you discover a resource, you bring it to production at a certain rate. That rate is not arbitrary. The more 'contact area' you have with the resource, the greater the rate can be. Eventually however the resource depletes to a 'level' where your contact area can no longer increase but begins to decrease. From this point on your rate of production will decrease no matter what until the resource is exhausted or the rate of production no longer justifies continuing. The rate of discovery did peak at 1970. Finally now its the turn of production.

This is exactly what you are taught if you're into petroleum engineer. The rigs out there aren't simply sinking their pipes into liquid gold and sucking free money to the surface. Every stake is carefully evaluated, every well is a huge risk to take. Will it produce, at what rate and for how long? And there is no technological fixes left. We have already thrown the kitchen sink into the play for decades: from 3D-seismic modeling, from fracturing to horizontal drilling. All used extensively in all the largest oil fields of the world - most of which are now in decline. The reason is that many of these 'production enhancing technologies' are just 'super straws': they artificially increase your initial rate of production - but they don't increase the amount of oil down there - you are just sucking it dry faster. There is no engineering around Peak Oil.

The many years I have been following theoildrum [theoildrum.com] and I have come to learn a great deal about the capability of people to deny and dismiss the reality around them. With the global warming it was way too easy for them - the science was difficult even for the experts. With Peak Oil it was always only misunderstanding or pure ignorance that worked - because a lot of the facts were out there plain to see with no complex math involved. In fact there was no debate amongst the 'experts' either. Any rig hand you talked to seemed to know exactly what you were talking about and some of the big oil companies like Shell, PB for example are now publicly talking about Peak Oil as well as some governments and the military are starting to publicly use the Peak Oil term.

What is left then for the denilists? Hide in slashdot world? At least have the courtesy of informing yourself [wikipedia.org] and coming up with more then the lame same cliches. There is the mandatory criticism section [wikipedia.org] down there although its been struggling recently. Good luck.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (1, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542822)

Were you aware that all of the worlds' oceans were covered in methane clathrates, and that these carbon based fuels could feed our need for carbon fuels for the next thousand years?

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (2, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542908)

Yeah, but when they mess something up with extraction, it will make the recent Deepwater Horizon incident a nice memory. Methane clathrates are quite unstable, and when things go wrong you get a big-scale fuel-air explosion.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542924)

Are you aware that Jupiter is mostly hydrogen and traces of methane? It's about as easy to get at. Now do you see the problem facing the human race soon? No? Well go back to sleep. Go buy a TV in your SUV and drive to a McDonald's on your way back to the 'burbs.

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33543012)

Are you aware that the last time all the methane clathrates where burned, the temperatures rocketed and oxygen levels plumeted and resulted in a mass extinction?
I think we should leave these clathrates alone

Re:Old news, buy oil stocks. (0, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542922)

We've not discovered half the oil there is by far. There's still the arctic and antarctic reserves to discover. There's more oil off of Roosevelt Island than we've burned so far. Even if we tapped those, the global oil supply is a fraction of the methane clathrates that sit on every ocean floor. We'll be in Carbon fuel surplus for a hundred years or more. We should conserve it, but let's not panic. Our kids may find even more, or moot the question.

Erste Gepotsung! (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542642)

a German military think tank

Ein Denkenpanzer?

Re:Erste Gepotsung! (5, Funny)

Hooya (518216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542766)

Nice Gestapost!

Re:Erste Gepotsung! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542812)

Panzer means the other kind of tank, nummnuts.

Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (1)

De_Boswachter (905895) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542646)

We've been doing fine after all those.

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (4, Funny)

De_Boswachter (905895) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542650)

Peak solar, that might be a problem.

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542698)

Peak solar? Wouldn't that involve something like a Dyson Sphere? And once we get a good Dyson Sphere going, can't we transport our Sphere around the universe collecting more and more stars?

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542786)

Wouldn't make more sense just building a new one around the next star, using material available in the local system?

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542836)

can't we transport our Sphere around the universe collecting more and more stars?

Well, possibly, if we were all Italian plumbers from the Bronx....

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (2, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542796)

Peak coal hasn't happened yet.

And states without fossil fuel alternatives usually collapsed after reaching peak wood.

Re:Peak wood, peak peat, peak coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542816)

Just wait for the peak peak, then it'll cool off...

Prophecy (1, Interesting)

flatulus (260854) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542648)

A year or two ago I posted to some thread where I remarked that "global warming" was a self-limiting concern, because of declining oil production. I was blasted as being a selfish, ignorant &)*(&%&$$.

SO.... This is what I was talking about. The day will come (before you're ready) when you will look back wistfully at the time when you COULD afford to damage the environment :-)

Many will die, many more will suffer, when the resource depletion culls the winners from the losers. Survival will reign over "equality"...

Yes, I make dark and unsavory predictions. We have enjoyed a stunningly rich and happy 50-60 year run. Soon we will return to what the *rest* of human history has been like.

Re:Prophecy (2, Insightful)

Konster (252488) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542678)

Global warming won't be a self limiting concern until we run out of things to burn.

Re:Prophecy (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542702)

A year or two ago I posted to some thread where I remarked that "global warming" was a self-limiting concern, because of declining oil production. I was blasted as being a selfish, ignorant &)*(&%&$$.

The funny part is that many of the 'peak oil' doomers I know are also 'global warming' doomers and don't see any inconsistency in these positions; we're all about to die because oil is about to run out, but we're also all about to die because the ice caps are melting due to burning oil.

Re:Prophecy (5, Informative)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542754)

It's not about to run out. It's about to--wait for it--PEAK. Production has been increasing since its discovery and soon it will begin to decrease--but 'decrease' (or even 'decrease fast enough to be big trouble) does not equate 'decrease quickly enough to solve global warming', especially considering the time lag.

Re:Prophecy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33543024)

You don't understand how this works do you? The oil market and the global economy requires a certain elasticity in the supply of oil. That is the role that Saudi Arabia has always played because they had huge reserves and could supply these surges of oil. Notice they aren't nearly as willing to do that anymore. Peak oil means an end to the ability to respond to demand and that plus even a little less supply will be catastrophic. Markets as well as whole industries assume this. Once they can't have it? Watch out. This is why the german and US military are warning of this change so you can also assume much more warfare as countries fight for resources.
Oh and those of you talking about oil shale and other sources of oil waiting for the right price? Well we are already tapping a lot of those but a higher price, dramatically higher, will also wreak havoc. We are screwed as a result of years of the oil, auto and other industries doing everything possible to prevent R&D to other energy sources that might interfere with their profits.

Re:Prophecy (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543060)

Oil only contributes a small (I think in the order of 10-20%) of greenhouse emissions. If oil ran out today, there would not be a huge impact on carbon emissions.

Re:Prophecy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542758)

What is the inconsistency of believing the earth has just enough oil to doom the sky's and us?

Re:Prophecy (5, Insightful)

rorrison (74822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542896)

The climate is already changing because of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere. We could stop burning fossil carbon today and global warming would still be a problem.

And what, you don't believe in peak oil? You think the earth is like a Tardis, bigger inside than out, with infinite reserves of oil? There will have to come a time when production starts to decline.

I just don't get how deniers can ignore simple logic. Oil companies will always find new reserves. We can keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere without it ever affecting anything. Yeah, right. Just because things are bigger than your tiny mind can comprehend doesn't mean they're infinite. If something isn't going to happen in your lifetime, that doesn't mean it's never going to happen.

Do you have children?

Re:Prophecy (1)

pyschopimp (1893656) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542866)

We have enjoyed a stunningly rich and happy 50-60 year run.

by "we" you mean the G8?

Re:Prophecy (3, Insightful)

imroy (755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542892)

I remarked that "global warming" was a self-limiting concern, because of declining oil production

So you think that as soon as we run out of fossil fuels, all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will magically disappear?

Oil Company Stock (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542658)

I've got a lot of my savings in oil stocks just because of things like this. I honestly can't see any scenario in which oil prices fall over the long term.

Re:Oil Company Stock (1)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542718)

I've got a lot of my savings in oil stocks just because of things like this.

Oil prices != Oil stocks, particularly if governments nationalise oil for strategic purposes.

Re:Oil Company Stock (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542780)

Massive deflation?

Massive oil spill, oil company going bankrupt?

Cap and trade?

Replacement of oil with greener alternatives?

Government-imposed price caps and rationing of oil?

Re:Oil Company Stock (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542782)

The safe thing about real estate investment is that they're not making any more land. Prices for houses always go up - Until the market for real-estate collapses and prices go down.

Look, there's no safe investment. Investment implies risk. The idea of investment is that you give up your money (your excess production) in return for future growth. If you do it right your money works for you (grows) while you work to earn more money, and eventually you can retire in a state where your money works and you don't have to any more. If you do it wrong you put your money in the hands of handlers who dissipate all growth with their fees, and expect you to eat the losses (401K). I'm specifically referencing Vanguard [google.com] here because they're the ones that hose up my own 401K. I'm not too tore up about that because I expected this outcome and I'm not contributing.

If you're offered an opportunity to invest on the condition that you abrogate your opportunity to manage your investment on a day-to-day basis and/or to limit your choices to a basket of offered issues, then you're being sold a money sink. The program to strip you of your assets is built in to the plan. They might as well be asking you to contribute to their charity. You'll see no growth from it.

If you hope to retire someday manage your own investments. Take responsibility for your asset growth. Diversify, but do it your way. Investment advisors are motivated to churn you. They don't have your best interests in mind. Fund advisors are selling you under in other ways.

Re:Oil Company Stock (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542962)

What if electric-car tech becomes economically viable (and it's headed on that path) and we don't need oil for driving anymore? That's going to put a dent in your savings. If you can't think of any scenario where demand for 'anything' goes down, you better think harder, because there always is such a scenario, for any investment.

Tar sands (1, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542708)

Bah, humbug. There are vast amounts of tar sands in Canada and Saudi Arabia and probably in a few other places...

It is a problem for Germany though, since they refuse to build new nuclear power stations. For everybody else, it is not a problem aqnd I suppose France will be the next major exporter of energy - from their nuclear stations.

Re:Tar sands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542798)

Peak oil doesn't claim that we are going to completely run out of oil, it claims that as we use up all of the easily available oil, prices will go up as we have to move on to more and more inconvenient sources.

Tar Sands are an example of this. It takes more energy getting the oil out of them then the energy from the oil itself.

Re:Tar sands (0, Flamebait)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542820)

Ah, you have half a clue. Vast amounts of tar sands indeed. Vast amounts of oil all over the place, actually. Brazil, Cuba, Prudhoe Bay, and so on and on and on. If the public would know just how vast, they would revolt and not be prepared to pay the current excessive energy prices. That is why this Peak-oil nonsense is being sold to you time-and-again in bullshit articles such as the one above.

Reality check: land-based oil close to the surface carries a production cost of only a couple of dollars. Of that kind of oil, there are still vast supplies. In Iraq for example. That is why that country has been kept in a perpetual state of being messed up for a century now. It is even why it was created into being by drawing the borders as they were drawn by the western powers that be, with 1/3 Kurdish, 1/3 Shia, and 1/3 Sunni territory to ensure continual political instability. Guess what happened after the Iraqi's even so got their act together and elected a democratic government...

It is basic economics: the price point is determined by supply and demand. Artificial scarcity is a much better way to up the price up than trying to work on the demand side. This scam is being pulled not just with oil, but also with diamonds , land, foodstuffs, water, and so on. Think of it like hidden taxes levied by the criminals that rule you.

Re:Tar sands (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542930)

That is why that country has been kept in a perpetual state of being messed up for a century now. It is even why it was created into being by drawing the borders as they were drawn by the western powers that be, with 1/3 Kurdish, 1/3 Shia, and 1/3 Sunni territory to ensure continual political instability.

Don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. When Iraq's borders were being drawn, its oil reserves were not a concern (1920s-1930s). They were pretty much unknown, compared to what we know today.

Re:Tar sands (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543002)

Don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. When Iraq's borders were being drawn, its oil reserves were not a concern (1920s-1930s). They were pretty much unknown, compared to what we know today.

It's high time we redraw them to ensure continued instability.

All we had to to is take out Saddam...let them redraw the lines themselves. They're too busy durka-durka-ing and blowing shit up to notice the profiteering we're doing there.

Re:Tar sands (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543004)

You assume that the knowledge that was public at the time matches what was known by the oil cartel which came into being rather earlier back in the times of Standard Oil. What the public thinks it knows about anything important is mostly lucrative and convenient lies foisted on them. For example, the public does not even know what oil is. Let me give you a hint: it is also being pumped up from extremely deep wells.

Re:Tar sands (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543048)

To know how much oil you really have, you need at the least seismic sounding, seismographs with analog tape recorders, and some form of DSP, even if on punched cards.

The DSP side of it was demonstrated to be doable at the earliest in the mid-40s, Feynman-style [caltech.edu] . I doubt that Standard Oil et al. had scientists and equipment of that caliber at that time.

Re:Tar sands (1, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542966)

It is basic economics: the price point is determined by supply and demand.

No its not. Oil lives entirely outside of basic supply and demand economics. I'll also pretend oil isn't a future; which is basically a way of saying we'll make up a price for tomorrow based on some absolute bullshit reason. That's not to say market forces are without any effect. After all, oil does ultimately feed into a supply/demand economy. Just the same, OPEC [wikipedia.org] controls pricing entirely at their whim. In theory its based on supply and demand which is in turn driven by oil reserves and forecasts. In reality, OPEC fails miserably at controlling any of this.

Furthermore, if you've heard someone talk about the gas shortages of the 70's, its because OPEC decided to quadruple prices overnight as political retaliation. Such changes had absolutely nothing to do with actual oil shortages.

Oil and diamonds lives entirely outside of supply/demand economics. Artificial scarcity, monopolies, price fixing, collusion, market manipulation, futures speculation, and cartel controls are entirely different from fundamental, supply/demand economics.

Re:Tar sands (0, Troll)

decoy256 (1335427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542978)

Let's also keep in mind that the only reason oil is approaching "peak" is that we aren't continuing to drill. "Peak" oil has nothing to do with the amount of oil available, just how fast we're able/willing to access that oil.

Now, if the government allowed drilling in certain verboten areas, we'd be further away from "peak". But do we really care about "peak"? So what? What we really need in order to bring gasoline prices down is more refineries (which have been getting closed all over).

Re:Tar sands (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543068)

Vast indeed. The only problem being they (tar sand oils) require more energy to extract than the recovered oil provides. Which still makes them useful, and may become economically viable when oil prices are comparatively higher than other energy forms.

But we're learning from our past mistakes... (2, Funny)

jafo (11982) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542712)

I'm sure the hybrid tanks and APCs probably won't run into the stuck accelerator thing.

Probably.

Sean

Re:But we're learning from our past mistakes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542746)

Only if the drivers are not Americans over 60.

Re:But we're learning from our past mistakes... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542818)

Actually, german cars (Audi [audi.com] ) have already been investigated on sudden unintended acceleration charges in the 1980s.

Turns out it was driver error. Just as with the recent investigation of Toyota.

But you're right. There is still a chance that sudden unintended acceleration will occur because of bugs in the product. Although it probably won't. Probably.

don't worry (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542728)

They'll discover vast new reserves under Poland.

Re:don't worry (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542772)

Or Canada.

Oh, wait...

Re:don't worry (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542810)

Uh.. Poland is full of coal, not oil.

Re:don't worry (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542942)

There's some natural gas, too. As for oil: who knows what's a couple miles down. I don't know there's much in the way of exploration going on there. I've seen some seismic sounders (humongous machines) in a forest once, but that was in an area rich in natural gas. Rich as in natural gas seeping out in places, leading to closing up a small sand quarry, etc.

So if anybody thought that BP was in trouble... (2, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542732)

Seriously this is exactly what I said during the oil spill. People were shouting from the hills there should be a ban on deep sea drilling. Well when our reserves runs low the result will be drill baby drill.

There is no such thing as "peak" oil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542736)

Its not "peak". The correct word is "cheap".

There are incredibly massive amounts of oil resources in the form of crappy more expensive to refine oil, oil shale and coal that can be turned into oil when the price is right. Its not that the world will run out in the forseeable future or not be able to ramp up production to meet demand -- its only that the price will continue to rise. Unfortunatly it won't rise fast enough and economies of scale may tend to minimize cost increases associated with extraction of oil from harder to get areas. This in turn will slow real market based efforts to consume less of the crap because thats the only way shit like finding different fuels for cars and trucks get done...When there is a crisis and market demand is going ape then and only then will people really care.

Authors are out of their senses (2, Insightful)

SergeyKurdakov (802336) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542740)

The paper which can be got in German here has almost no signs of ability to think. Consider - there is DME http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyl_ether [wikipedia.org] , which can be produced from coal/biomass, then read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fuel [wikipedia.org] , then figure out , as Gregory Clark did http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/12/life-after-peak.html [typepad.com] that up to the price of 500 dollars per barrel of oil will decline the economy for only 11 percents and at such prices - DME other synfuels will spring to wide use, so it is not possible that we live in era of 500 per barrel fuel for very long time. And then - not even 11% drop will be achieved - so if 5% drop in this recession did not kill all us, how then the comparable shock will make any worse?

Re:Authors are out of their senses (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542898)

That, and I think Germany is actually doing pretty well in making renewable fuel an attractive option. For example, IIRC, biodiesel [wikipedia.org] is excise-exempt and available at various pumps throughout Germany. Many German cars will run on it, and more can be made to run on it by replacing a few parts.

Also, with German gasoline prices as they are, they are actually not that far away from pure electric vehicles achieving price parity with gasoline-powered vehicles. Since the extra cost of electric vehicles is in the batteries, and you need less battery capacity if you have your own generator on board, plug-in biodiesel-electric hybrids are actually a very attractive proposition in Germany. Alas, I don't think there actually are any. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Volt [wikipedia.org] , BYD F6DM [wikipedia.org] , and Renault Fluence Z.E. [wikipedia.org] are starting to look very attractive. And, of course, Tesla's upcoming Model S [teslamotors.com] . This actually goes for other European countries as well, at least The Netherlands and Denmark.

Re:Authors are out of their senses (1)

SergeyKurdakov (802336) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542964)

You may use google translate translate.google.com and translate part which is titled Die Erschließung weiterer und alternativer Energie-Ressourcen schafft neue sicherheitspolitische Herausforderungen as you may notice - the authors really have some info of alternatives ( but not too much - much less that in wikipedia article :) ). But still - they do not even attempt to put this in context. they do not consider that 500 usd/barrel oil will not stop economy so any thoughts that coal liquefication will signigicantly change price of coal ( which can be mined in much more quantities, for example in Russia ) and this change will make great trouble are less than founded. so this report is just a piece of garbadge

Thorium Reactors people! (5, Informative)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542756)

Check out this google tech talk on Thorium reactors; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHs2Ugxo7-8 [youtube.com]
Some Wikipedia Articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-salt_reactor_experiment [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-salt_reactor [wikipedia.org]

Thousands of years of safe carbon-emission free energy. Working reactors were developed and operated successfully in the 60s. Small scale reactors are currently running in India with plans for larger scale reactors. Nobody put any research effort into it back in the 60s because you can't make nuclear bomb material with it and the government wanted to go with only one design. Anyway, check out the video, it explains all the nitty gritty technical details.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542830)

Fingers crossed. Best short-term answer to energy problems I know of. Hope the economics work out.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (0)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542860)

"A Mr. Fission in every pot" ... or something like that.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542954)

Where's the DIY howto? If possible, powered by an Arduino or two, all parts made on a reprap.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542974)

So, those are electricity generators, right? We're talking about oil here, so gasoline for cars, right? Unless we all switch over to electric cars (which admittedly could happen, and would be great), those cool reactors aren't going to make much of a difference to the topic on hand, as far as I can tell.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543076)

Well, cheap and/or environmentally friendly electricity makes a difference in two ways:

First of all, it will make it more attractive to switch to cars that weren't built to run on fossil fuels. As the cost (both in money over distance and in environmental damage over distance) of electric cars becomes more favorable, more people will switch.

Secondly, it is possible to produce fuel that works in gasoline, flex-fuel, and, undoubtedly, Diesel engines without using natural oil - but this isn't necessarily cost-effective or energy-effective. However, if natural oil becomes more expensive and environmentally damaging, or electricity becomes cheaper and more environmentally friendly (or any combination thereof), these options become more compelling.

Re:Thorium Reactors people! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543028)

For those who want the short version: the way I see it, the main advantage of the thorium cycle over the uranium cycle is that it produces MUCH less long-lived transuranics, which are the main problem for radioactive waste storage, which is the main problem with nuclear energy today.

Perhaps someone can provide some actual numbers on how long radioactive waste from the uranium cycle and from the thorium cycle will have to be securely stored. Despite having done quite a lot of reading, I haven't been able to find firm numbers, but I believe it is on the order of hundreds of years for the thorium cycle, versus thousands of years for the uranium cycle.

Then there are a few other benefits, such as thorium being more abundant than uranium and the thorium cycle being based on natural thorium where the uranium cycle is based on a less frequently occurring isotope.

Several existing reactors (particularly pressurized heavy water reactors [wikipedia.org] like the CANDU [wikipedia.org] family and Indian reactors) have been shown to work with thorium, and reactors like the molten salt reactor [wikipedia.org] and India's advanced heavy water reactor [wikipedia.org] are being specifically designed to use thorium.

What I find amusing ... (1, Interesting)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542768)

Is that I get a warm fuzzy feeling deep inside when I consider that the collapse of civilization as we know it could happen within my life time.

I think we are over due for another shake up.

Re:What I find amusing ... (3, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542906)

Britain came close to collapsing in the early 19th century. They had deforested the whole place and were heating their houses with coal that they had to get out of deep dark mines. They had a problem in that the mines would flood and they had no way to drain them. Their civilization could have easily collapsed at that point. However, they then invented this thing called the steam engine, and the rest is history.

Re:What I find amusing ... (3, Interesting)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543010)

Its funny you should mention the steam engine. It made the Industrial Revolution possible, destroying civilization as it was known in the 19th century. Which as you pointed out WAS collapsing.

That is Exactly the kind of shake up I think the world needs, a change in the paradigm of life. A Mr.Fusion, Zero Point Modules, 80+% PV cells, any and all, or nothing, would cause a new Revolution, as our current civilization collapses and something new takes it's place.

I still get warm fuzzies either way, paradigm shift or extinction (yes, unlikely, highly), doesn't really matter to me. I'll probably be dead in less than 40 years anyway.

If you haven't already seen them, "Connections" [wikipedia.org] and The Day The Universe Changed [wikipedia.org] are well worth watching. IMNSHO.

_

keyword: "COULD" (1)

Kristopeit, Michael (1892492) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542784)

there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.

there could NOT be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.

anyone want to quote me?

not so dire (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542788)

If you really think about it, we have the technology to reduce the US oil consumption to a mere fraction of what we use now which really reduces any lead time needed. If oil jumps to triple what it is now, I would give it a rough estimate of about 1-2 years before the problem starts getting better instead of worse. Once it costs more to use a traditional vehicle than an electric or hybrid, that's what people are going to buy without even giving it a second thought. At the other end of it, companies that make ones will up production like 100x and because of the volume, reduce the price. They don't need a 4 year lead time to invent a car from scratch when the Volt, Fusion, Prius, and those Tesla things already exist. They'd be selling patents and manufacturing stuff immediately and the problem would get better VERY shortly. That 15-30 year estimate is ridiculous. I bet it would take 10 years tops to replace every single power plant and vehicle in the entire US even if it wasn't urgent.

Countries already are planning to cold turkey (1, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542800)

As I know, lot of Western Europe countries already laying out plans of going cold turkey of petroleum (first for warm distribution). In fact, Europe is more ready than US, where Obama and similar thinkers are struggling to get message out - even after bay nightmare.

It can get nasty, but we still have time to fix it.

Re:Countries already are planning to cold turkey (2, Informative)

Elfich47 (703900) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542828)

Unfortunately the Hirsch report (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_report) has been out for 5 years and people still ignore it.

Peak Oil (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542808)

In the 70's peak oil was avoided (partially) by fuel injection systems replacing comparatively inefficient carburettors. We're now heading down the hybrid path... surely that will have a major impact on consumption and forestall any peak oil crisis.

Oil From Coal (3, Interesting)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542840)

At what point will it become cheaper to just turn our massive coal deposits into usable petroleum?

People will profit from this (0, Flamebait)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542852)

Ha, I bet Al Gore is salivating at this news. Owning much of the "green" industry he is sure to profit from this news, and any other armageddon scenario's that may crop up.

Re:People will profit from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542888)

Which part's of the "green" industry does he actually own? Or are you simply rehashing some tired argument along the line's of "it's all about the money"?
When the effect's of peak oil really start to kick in, Al Gore's paycheck is going to be the least of your worry's.

It's In the Air (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542874)

The Baby Boomers put all the oil into the air as CO2.

We should put solar panels on the moon, laser the power down into the Earth's atmosphere, and crack that CO2 back into liquid hydrocarbons for making plastic, releasing its oxygen for the double whammy.

Re:It's In the Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542960)

Because the "O" in "CO2" must stand for "Oil", Brilliant!

Re:It's In the Air (2, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542988)

It wasn't "the Baby Boomers"...we inherited a hydrocarbon-dependent world, and there were powerful forces at work to ensure that we remained dependent. Big Oil and the Republicans, for instance, who blocked all conservation and alternative energy measures that were attempted after the the birth of OPEC sent energy shocks hammering our economy...instead, we were handed voodoo economics by Reagan and others like him, who were hardly "Baby Boomers".

We did, however, invent the Green Movement, the demand for alternative energy, alternative lifestyles, etc., etc., etc. You should go read the back issues of The Mother Earth News [motherearthnews.com] ...the attempt to save this planet from the greed of a few has been a way of life for many "Boomers" for a very long time.

By the way: I hope you didn't ask your "Baby Boomer" parents for a car when you turned 16...

Re:It's In the Air (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543038)

The Baby Boomers voted in Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes, and Clinton too who didn't undo the Reagan/Bush setbacks. They bought and burned more of that oil than anyone else.

The Boomers who invented the Green movement were the tiny minority of Boomers, who the majority of Boomers mocked and beat up from high school to the country club.

I asked my Baby Boomer parents for their old station wagon, and have driven only used cars getting above the median MPG ever since. Though I've also driven motorcycles and mostly have mass transited, though even more than that I've telecommuted. My Baby Boomer parents have driven the biggest cars and trucks with the lowest MPG available, just like the vast majority of Baby Boomers. Like the rest of the Boomers' children and grandchildren (etc), I've learned from their mistakes as I clean up their mess and learn to survive the aftermath.

But nothing amazes me about you Baby Boomers more than your deathless commitment to sticking together, regardless of how your own generation screws you.

most worrying thing? (-1, Troll)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542876)

most worrying thing?

the motto for the german army is 'third time lucky'.

Go Nuclear (5, Insightful)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542878)

Some people here are confusing 'global warming' and the 'green movement' with peak oil. You can argue all you want about whether global warming is really true or not, but Oil is limited, and we're running out fast. That is reality, face it.

The real enemies are those who scream bloody murder whenever the N-word is brought up. Mankind needs energy, and in the near future, our best and cleanest bet is nuclear power.

Re:Go Nuclear (5, Funny)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542916)

The real enemies are those who scream bloody murder whenever the N-word is brought up.

Naggers?

Re:Go Nuclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542928)

The real enemies are those who scream bloody murder whenever the N-word is brought up.

Sure but what do black people have to do with this?

Re:Go Nuclear (1, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33542976)

The estimates are that the cheaply available fissile material will be gone in about 70 years at the current rates of production.

And, if memory servers, we've already burned through most of the fuel from decommissioned nukes.

Oil is likely to last longer.

What's your plan for the long term?

Re:Go Nuclear (1)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543046)

Nope, oil is not likely to last longer. It's not just current consumption that matters, but the exponential growth of oil consumption. A few posts above this one, there's a good discussion about Thorium reactors. When I speak of nuclear, I refer to not just Uranium, but also Thorium. And if we crack fusion based power generation, we'll have an unlimited supply of energy. And that fusion breakthrough will come through only if more attention is given to nuclear power sources, thereby encouraging more research and more funding into this field. If we keep giving into people who protest against any form of nuclear energy due to some weird perception of 'safety issues' , we really can't make any progress.

Re: Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33542936)

There are warnings from every direction. Foreign governments, international scientific organizations, US universities. They are all in consensus.

We can sit here in our armchair computer desks and cry foul when Fox News denies these things but how do we fight back and raise awareness? Buying a Prius and bragging to our neighbors just isn't going to cut it.

Authoritative! (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#33543006)

I didn't believe in peak oil, but now the world's most authoritative source of geologic and economic analysis -- that's right, the German military -- has made it's fateful prediction. What was once only another Internet doomsday scenario has become almost a foregone conclusion.

The naysayers will claim that this story represents confirmation bias. But they don't know of the unmatched geologic expertise of the German military.

Peak oil is a lie http://tinyurl.com/peakoilisalie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33543042)

http://tinyurl.com/peakoilisalie

Oil is not a fossil fuel.

Oil is the result of abiotic geological processes and is basically unlimited in supply.

  http://www.gasresources.net/DisposalBioClaims.htm

Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum.
J. F. Kenney Joint Institute of The Physics of the Earth
Russian Academy of Sciences
Gas Resources Corporation
11811 North Freeway
Houston, TX 77060

http://www.gasresources.net/Kenney-NPR.mp3

Audio interview with J.F. Kenney
describing the physical, chemical and mechanical facts
that do not allow oil to be produced from biological material.

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