Peak Oil Presentations from February 28

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The successful peak oil presentations at Union South included two that you can view online.

Mark Daugherty gave an overview of peak oil and Brett Hulsey offered solutions.

Peak Oil: Get over it! on February 28

We are approaching "Peak Oil,” the date when there will not be enough oil left in the ground to permit a continuing increase in oil production. – Association for the Study of Peak Oil – USA

As cheap oil/energy/gas quietly fades into history, lives around the world will indeed change. –

Energy experts Mark Daugherty, Jim Mapp, Brett Hulsey, and others present the details of Peak Oil (and solutions) from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28, at Union South, Madison. (Check Today in the Union for the room.) Following the presentations, the audience members can let their imaginations run wild with their own projections (in words or pictures) of a future without cheap oil/energy/gas.

The first 50 people will receive a free energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb compliments of Better Environmental Solutions. Free tire pressure gauges, too (because under-inflated vehicle tires waste gasoline).

Automobile-dominated use of municipal space

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hans Noeldner from Oregon, Wisconsin, submitted the following:

"When we drive and park virtually everywhere we go in our community, we demand and perpetuate automobile-dominated uses of municipal space that all but force everyone else to drive and park too.

And when municipal planners approve additions and alterations to our community that ensure a parking spot for every inhabitant everywhere he goes, they all but foreclose walking, bicycling, and use of public transit for day-to-day errands and activities.

This strikes me as the toughest nut to crack. For the most part we-the-people reject the idea that driving itself - driving to the extent that now prevails in the United States - is fundamentally destructive to natural ecosystems and even more so to our manmade environments. Not only is it wildly improbable that an equal or larger worldwide fleet of cars could be manufactured, fueled, and recycled in sustainable ways, our planet simply cannot afford the further loss of biologically productive land which would be destroyed to accommodate the movement and storage of a billion or more automobiles being driven at current US levels. Indeed, given the rapid accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, it is obvious that far too much productive land has already been paved and otherwise rendered lifeless."

And here is one for people who think big SUVs are the problem:

"The difference between arriving in a Prius versus arriving in a Hummer is almost irrelevant to the layout and function of community space - the roads and parking stalls needed for one are not much smaller than those needed for the other. What really matters is whether we arrive with our own vehicle to park at all."

Hans Noeldner
133 West Lincoln Street
Oregon, WI 53575
DISCLAIMER: Hans Noeldner is a Trustee in the Village of Oregon, Wisconsin. The views herein do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Village Board.

Sweden Plans to be Free from Oil in 2020

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thanks to Bryant Moroder from Sustain Dane for calling attention to the plans of Sweden:

Minister for Sustainable Development Mona Sahlin has declared that Swedenis going to become the first country in the world to break the dependence on fossil energy. Swedenwill stop using oil by 2020 and eventually the energy supply of the country will be based on renewable energy only. The goal is to gradually rid the country of gasoline-run cars and oil-heated homes.

This is going to be achieved through tax discounts, more efficiency in energy and by large-scale investments in renewable energy and in research. Already next year there will be tax incentives for single family homeowners to switch from oil to renewable energy to heat their homes. Such financial incentives are already available to libraries, aquatic facilities and hospitals that want to switch to more efficient renewable energy.

Continue reading the full article at Post Carbon Institute.

Editorial: President's talk good; more action will be better

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Appleton Post Crescent editorialized on President Bush's energy talk during a tour of the state:

President Bush came to Wisconsin on Monday to pitch his commitment to developing alternative energy sources. And he made a good pitch, but now he needs to put his administration's policies — and our tax dollars — where his mouth is.

Bush was in Milwaukee, where he visited Johnson Controls, an auto-parts supplier that has a new hybrid battery lab. The lab makes lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars, which are smaller than the current batteries.

He also talked about "some amazing breakthroughs" on alternative energy that are around the corner. And, as part of a nationwide tour to discuss energy issues, the president is touting biofuels and cleaner electric power sources.

But President Bush would also be doing the nation a service by pushing for better fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles. And he could lobby against a tax break that goes to small businesses that buy the biggest sports-utility vehicles.

What the president has had to say on the need to develop new energy sources is good news. But he also needs to follow up his words with action that proves his commitment.

Michigan Invests $2-Billion to Become Alternative Energy Research Hub

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A story by Alejandro Bodipo-Memba in the Detroit Free Press as reported on Fuel Cell Today:

Feb. 13--The State of Michigan is racing to become the nation's first alternative energy research hub, as Americans grapple with President George W. Bush's recent statement that the United States is addicted to foreign oil.

The initiative calls for investing up to $2 billion in research, development and business incubation and could create thousands of jobs for engineers and other technically skilled Michigan residents if it's successful.

And, given the president's mandate to wean the country off foreign oil, public and private interests in Michigan are pushing aggressively to ensure that the Great Lakes State is the hub for research in alternative energy.

"We want Michigan to be the state that lays claim to this emerging sector," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who pointed out the need to focus on alternative energy research during her State of the State address in January. "To take advantage of that legacy of research and development in the auto industry is a huge opportunity for our state."

Natural gas prices suck $450 million from Wisconsin

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A story by Ben Fischer in the Wisconsin State Journal examines the volatility in natural gas prices. PSC chairman Dan Ebert discussed the impact on Wisconsin:

He pointed to estimates showing that higher natural gas prices alone have sucked an additional $450 million out of the Wisconsin economy this year. . . .

As far as public policy goes, experts agree that the days of strict government price controls are over, and the only surefire way to even out the market is to re-create the supply bubble, either by cutting demand or increasing stockpiles.

That's done either by slowing consumption through conservation, a theme Ebert hit on while promoting state legislation to increase spending on renewable energy and efficiency efforts.

An Associated Press story by Brad Foss adds an international view on natural gas prices and confirmation of "peak gas" in the U.S. and Canada:

Gradually, though, U.S. — and then Canadian — output began to taper off. Producers drilled many more wells, but still could not offset the depletion of existing wells while satisfying rising demand.

To bridge the gap, LNG imports tripled in the '90s, rising to 226 billion cubic feet per year by 2000. And they nearly tripled again by 2004, climbing to 652 billion cubic feet, or 3 percent of the country's total gas consumption.

But there is still not much of a supply cushion in the U.S. natural-gas market, which is a major reason why prices climbed steadily in recent years . . .

Robert Redford says, "Let's Move America Beyond Oil"

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund launched an energy-efficiency campaign to response to President Bush's call to end America's oil addition. An NRDC e-mails says:
Let's look beneath the fog of spin. In last week's State of the Union address, President Bush finally owned up to America's destructive addiction to oil.

But the speech was barely over before Vice President Cheney was calling for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And the President's newly proposed budget does the same.

Instead of making America truly energy-efficient -- the fastest way to meet our energy needs and lower oil prices -- the Bush Administration is still promoting corporate raids on our natural heritage.

Five years of coddling oil companies has produced higher gas prices and left us more vulnerable than ever to oil shortages -- not to mention oil spills, air pollution, despoiled public lands and catastrophic global warming.

The American people want a better way. Poll after poll shows that the vast majority now rejects the President's "drill-it-all" mentality. They're angry at the White House and Congress for putting oil company interests ahead of the public interest. And they're demanding energy policies that will reduce our destructive reliance on oil.

I know you're among that majority. That's why I'm asking you to join me today in signing the Pledge to MOVE AMERICA BEYOND OIL at the NRDC Action Fund Web site.

The NRDC Action Fund is circulating this Pledge nationwide as part of a bold new campaign to break Big Oil's stranglehold on America's energy policy. Your signed Pledge will help advance legislation that would cut America's dependence on oil by 2.5 million barrels a day within 10 years -- more than we now import every day from the Persian Gulf!

Don't let anyone tell you it's not possible. We've already lined up key support in Congress -- from both the progressive left and the conservative right -- for this visionary bill that would set America on a new course toward a clean energy future.

Best of all, we can turn this dream into reality right now -- even with George Bush in the White House. All it will take is a powerful and sustained campaign -- a campaign that harnesses America's anger at Big Oil and channels it into effective political pressure for new and smart solutions to our oil addiction problem. A campaign that puts us, the American people, in the picture of a sustainable
future. . . .

Let's face it: unless millions of Americans demand a cleaner energy future right now, the oil lobby will continue to dictate the Bush Administration's policies, and we will continue to pay the price -- at the gas pump and with a blighted environment. And this administration is not going to change its thinking nor its ways -- just continue to hide them.

Please join me in opposing Big Oil's latest land grabs and charting a saner, more sustainable energy path that future generations will be grateful for. Sign the Pledge to MOVE AMERICA BEYOND OIL today.


Robert Redford
NRDC Action Fund

. . .

The NRDC Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Mexican production may decline in few years

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Wall Street Journal reports on a possible decline in Mexican oil production:

The latest worry about petroleum comes from Mexico, where the huge state-owned oil company may be facing a steep decline in output that would further tighten global oil supply and add to global woes over high oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reports. The potential decline faced by Petroleos Mexicanos would undermine U.S. efforts to reduce dependence on Middle East oil. An internal study reviewed by the Journal shows water and gas are encroaching more quickly than expected in Cantarell -- Mexico's biggest oil field and the world's second-biggest producing field after Saudi Arabia's Ghawar -- and might cause output to drop precipitously over the next few years.

Pemex says it is confident it can make up for any decline at Cantarell by squeezing more output from other fields, but some analysts outside the company are far less sanguine, the Journal says.

A significant decline in Mexican output would put further pressure on global oil prices -- already high thanks to a refining bottleneck and surging demand, especially in China and India -- and it would also be bad news for the U.S., which relies on its southern neighbor as its No. 2 source of oil after Canada.

Natural gas line extension scheduled for Wisconsin

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A story by Thomas Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a new natural gas pipeline stretch could open in 2008:

A new natural gas pipeline linking southeastern Wisconsin and the Green Bay area will be proposed to open in 2008, stretch 106 miles and cost between $200 million and $250 million. . . .

No exact route has been announced, but the line is expected to follow a path through Jefferson, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Calumet, Outagamie and Brown counties, ending west of Green Bay.

Carter warned of energy decline in 1977

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From the diary of blogger Jerome a Paris, who offers the following quote from a 1977 speech of former President Jimmy Carter:

[T]his is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.

It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.

We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.

Jerome a Paris comments:

Of course, this was a serious President speaking (18 April 1977). He has been maligned for supposedly bringing a mood of despondency and weakness to the country, and being hopelessly naive, but that's not what I see in that speech, nor in the infamous "Crisis of confidence" speech (15 July 1979):

Intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation. The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.

I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did [two years ago] -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the [next decade], for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade --

To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel -- from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun.

La Crosse Tribune calls for efficiency in face of peak oil

Monday, February 06, 2006

La Crosse Tribune editorial writer Richard Mial offers his views on the end of cheap oil:

When my wife quit her newspaper job 22 years ago to start a writing business, I wish I had had the presence of mind to encourage her to start an oil company instead.

Instead of scraping along from mortgage payment to mortgage payment, we could be making obscene profits. Members of Congress would be trying to impose a windfall profits tax on us.


. . . we’re running out of oil — or at least we’re running out of oil that can be gotten cheaply. Since more than 67 percent of the oil consumed in the United States is used for transportation, one would think we would want to have more fuel-efficient cars.

'Oil addiction' clarified, but Bush fuel choice is top secret

Friday, February 03, 2006

Editors of the Duluth News Tribune offered the following humorous take on Bush's end of addition proclamation:

Maybe the president meant "Earl," as in "My Name is Earl," one of the hottest new sitcoms of the year.

Maybe what President Bush really said Tuesday during his State of the Union speech was "America is addicted to Earl," not oil, as newspapers across the nation reported. "Earl is imported from unstable parts of the world," the president was trying to say.

That makes sense: The TV show is filmed in Los Angeles. California is well known for its earthquakes, mudslides and other natural disasters. Doesn't get much more unstable than California.

And that also explains why backpedaling White House staffers insisted Wednesday the prez had been misunderstood. Yes, they said, he set a national goal of replacing more than 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. But what he intended to say was alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil equivalent to most of what the U.S. imports from the Middle East. The U.S. would continue to import oil from the Middle East because that's where most of the Earth's oil is located. The president only used the words "Middle East," they further explained, to dramatize the energy issue in a way "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands."

Good thing they cleared that up because for a moment W was sounding like another W, Willie Nelson, who in Duluth last August topped off his tour bus tank with biodiesel. Similarly, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is never shy about his use of E-85 ethanol fuel in his state-provided SUV.

What the Bush motorcade filled up on during the president's visit to Duluth in 2004 or to metro suburban Maplewood yesterday is classified, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge John Kirkwood told the News Tribune's editorial page. As a matter of national security, that information is "protection related," he explained. Yet while Kirkwood's response was pending, the White House e-mailed a fact sheet further clarifying the State of the Union speech. The second sentence read: "The President has set a national goal of replacing more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

So much for the spin attempts. Earl, a character whose mission in life is to make all the bad things he did right, couldn't have explained it clearer.

Bush misfires in drive to end ‘oil addiction’

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Financial Times online reports on world reaction to Bush's call to reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East oil by 75% by 2025:

George W. Bush runs the risk of alienating the world’s biggest source of oil with his plan to end America’s “oil addiction”, Opec delegates, oil ministers, energy experts and even some environmentalists said yesterday. . . .

Perhaps the most fervent reaction came from within traditionally Bush-friendly territory. Myron Ebell, director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, said: “The president’s hackneyed and dangerous energy rhetoric that we are addicted to oil is an indication that the administration is addicted to confused thinking about energy policies. [His goals] will be hindrances to creating a bright energy future for American consumers.”

Bush pushes fix for oil 'addiction'

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

CNN reports on the energy provisions in Bush's State of the State address:

"Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy," Bush told Americans, who are paying more than $2 a gallon for gasoline. "Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. . . ."

On Monday, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Nevada's Harry Reid, said the country's oil addiction has "climbed steadily over the last four years and doubled the price of heat for our homes and gas for our cars because the vice president let big oil companies write our energy policy."

Reid said Bush has "lavished billions on big oil instead of investing in American technology and know-how that make us more energy independent."

Critics said energy legislation that Bush signed last summer did little to reduce energy prices or to reduce dependence on foreign oil. The bill provided billions in tax breaks for the energy industry.