Friday, April 07, 2006

How to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency

A report by Professor Daniel M Kammen and the U.C. Berkeley Renewable and Apporpriate Energy Laboratory claims that the U.S. could reduce oil imports by more than 30% by 2025.

The report urges increased fuel economy standards, the use of biofuels, a push to develope plug in hybrid vehicles, and a general expansion of the use of hybrids.

The transportation sector accounts for over 70% of U.S. oil use so this is the obvious area that we must concentrate on.

The plan is hopeful, but I think that a comprehensive energy efficiency program would have to include a move away from the car-centered suburb toward the development of more walkable neigborhoods with mixed use areas that would provide many of the residents' needs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What Are Two Texas Billionaires, Richard Rainwater & T. Boone Pickens, Saying About Peak Oil & Why Aren’t You Listening?

An open letter to Texas newspapers about peak oil

I certainly don’t speak for either Richard Rainwater or Boone Pickens, but my impression of these two gentlemen--along with Matt Simmons and Jim Kunstler--is that they are American patriots, in the truest sense of the word, who are trying to warn their fellow Americans about the dangers posed by Peak Oil.

In the Fortune interview, Mr. Rainwater was quoted as follows, “I believe in Hubbert’s Peak. I came out of Texas. I watched oil fields reach peak and go over, and I’ve watched how people would do all they could, put whatever amount of money into the field, and they couldn’t do anything about it.”

The current American way of life consists of driving $50,000 SUV’s on 50 mile roundtrips to and from $500,000 mortgages. It's days are limited.

From fossil fuel and nuclear sources, the world currently uses the energy equivalent of a billion barrels of oil (Gb) every five days. The mighty East Texas Oil Field, the foundation of so many Dallas fortunes, the largest oil field in the Lower 48, and the field that was largely responsible for providing the oil to power the Allies victory over the Axis powers in World War II, made about 5.5 Gb. The field is currently producing 1.2 million barrels of water per day, with a 1% oil cut. It took about 75 years to pretty much fully deplete the East Texas Field. In terms of oil equivalent, the Barnett Shale Gas Play in North Texas should ultimately produce, over several decades, on the order of 4-5 Gbe.

I realize that US media companies are facing severe economic pressures, and I realize that you are heavily dependent on advertising revenues from the housing/auto industries and from related companies. However, in my opinion we have hit the iceberg. The US media can lash themselves to the sinking ship, by failing to face reality, or you can face the reality of finite energy resources and start heading for the lifeboats.

In my opinion, the US media have two choices regarding the Peak Oil issue. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, you can now have either your honor or the status quo. If you do nothing regarding Peak Oil, you will soon have neither the status quo nor your honor.