WetEV
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:09 am

WetEV
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goldbrick
Posts: 1253
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Location: Boulder, CO

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:17 am

My guess is that the earth as we know it will be long gone before all the 'recoverable' oil has been burned. At some point, it must just stay in the ground.

Hopefully peak usage is behind us but that's small comfort compared to what is required.

Oilpan4
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:11 am

We thought peak oil was in the 1970s, then in the 1980s, then the 1990s, then in the 2000s, then in 2013.
See a trend yet?
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frontrangeleaf
Posts: 175
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Location: Denver Area

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:43 am

I don't see us running out of oil per se, so peak oil understood to mean we stop using or run out of oil, no. Not seeing that. I do see us hitting peak oil usage though. We had better. And soon. Would be good if we already have, although that will be disruptive to lots of folks, no doubt about it.

What we need to do is change our relationship to carbon - we've interrupted the carbon cycle, pulling ancient carbon out of the ground and putting it into the air. The problem isn't carbon. The problem lies in how we use it, and where we get it from.

We need to create and scale up the technology to pull the carbon we have already put into the air, and use it as the feedstock to create everything we need for modern living. And yes, plastic will have to be developed that also biodegrades - no small feat but doable.

I'm actually encouraged. We are very good at creating global scale industrial plant. And that's what it will take. With the right technology and incentives, we can turn this thing around much faster than most appreciate. We are _not_ looking at the end of the world as we know it. We are faced with some daunting challenges that will take concerted, long-term effort. And yes, those efforts will need to be structured so as to mitigate the effects of all those folks who rely on the current status quo for their livelihoods. There's no escaping that either.

Research teams in Switzerland developed a type of artificial photosynthesis several years ago that's 20% more efficient than Mother Nature's. That's the kind of thing we will need. Splitting CO2 turns out to be tricky, but we have the basic science in hand to drive the necessary engineering.

This doesn't require unobtanium or "miracles happen here" breakthroughs. What it requires is a vision for success and the political will to see it through. A Manhattan project for the 21st century. This time not about ending a war, but rather saving civilization as we know it.
Last edited by frontrangeleaf on Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:53 am

I'm actually encouraged. We are very good at creating global scale industrial plant. And that's what it will take. With the right technology and incentives, we can turn this thing around much faster than most appreciate. We are not looking at the end of the world as we know it. We are faced with some daunting challenges that will take concerted, long-term effort. And yes, those efforts will need to be structured so as to mitigate the effects of all those folks who rely on the current status quo for their livelihoods. There's no escaping that either.
The problems are that we aren't doing this, and to do it would require infrastructure on a vast scale. It's easier to avoid putting the carbon into the air in the first place than it is to remove it in the volumes requires to reverse global warming. That isn't to say that atmospheric carbon extraction has no place in our toolkit, just that it's a tool that may not be actually there and usable until it's far too late to prevent catastrophe...
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frontrangeleaf
Posts: 175
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Location: Denver Area

Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:08 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:53 am
I'm actually encouraged. We are very good at creating global scale industrial plant. And that's what it will take. With the right technology and incentives, we can turn this thing around much faster than most appreciate. We are not looking at the end of the world as we know it. We are faced with some daunting challenges that will take concerted, long-term effort. And yes, those efforts will need to be structured so as to mitigate the effects of all those folks who rely on the current status quo for their livelihoods. There's no escaping that either.
The problems are that we aren't doing this, and to do it would require infrastructure on a vast scale. It's easier to avoid putting the carbon into the air in the first place than it is to remove it in the volumes requires to reverse global warming. That isn't to say that atmospheric carbon extraction has no place in our toolkit, just that it's a tool that may not be actually there and usable until it's far too late to prevent catastrophe...
I wouldn't disagree with you. Conservation will be part of the toolkit, meaning a general reduction in the amount of energy required to sustain a given standard of living. Certainly. But absent a large scale effort to harvest CO2 and other greenhouse gases out of the air, conservation will also fall short. Way short.
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