DOT needs to hear about peak oil

Friday, January 02, 2009

From the Wisconsin Department of Public Transportation:

WisDOT has scheduled a series of public meetings in numerous locations throughout the state. All meetings will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Residents are invited to attend to learn about Connections 2030, ask questions, and submit comments.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Alliant Energy Center, Mendota Room
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, WI
People concerned about "business as usual" from the Department might want to attend to explain the consequences of peak oil and the need to begin preparing for the day when petroleum will be neither as cheap nor as plentiful.


Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. said...

Yes, highway transportation is the Achilles's Heal of Peak Oil.

The top story of the year is that global crude oil production peaked in 2008.

The media, governments, world leaders, and public should focus on this issue.

Global crude oil production had been rising briskly until 2004, then plateaued for four years. Because oil producers were extracting at maximum effort to profit from high oil prices, this plateau is a clear indication of Peak Oil.

Then in July and August of 2008 while oil prices were still very high, global crude oil production fell nearly one million barrels per day, clear evidence of Peak Oil (See Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of "Oil Watch Monthly," December 2008, page 1)

Peak Oil is now.

Credit for accurate Peak Oil predictions (within a few years) goes to the following (projected year for peak given in parentheses):

* Association for the Study of Peak Oil (2007)

* Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of “Oil Watch Monthly” (2008)

* Tony Eriksen, Oil stock analyst and Samuel Foucher, oil analyst (2008)

* Matthew Simmons, Energy investment banker, (2007)

* T. Boone Pickens, Oil and gas investor (2007)

* U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2005)

* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton professor and retired shell geologist (2005)

* Sam Sam Bakhtiari, Retired Iranian National Oil Company geologist (2005)

* Chris Skrebowski, Editor of “Petroleum Review” (2010)

* Sadad Al Husseini, former head of production and exploration, Saudi Aramco (2008)

* Energy Watch Group in Germany (2006)

Oil production will now begin to decline terminally.

Within a year or two, it is likely that oil prices will skyrocket as supply falls below demand. OPEC cuts could exacerbate the gap between supply and demand and drive prices even higher.

Independent studies indicate that global crude oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time, demand will increase. Oil supplies will be even tighter for the U.S. As oil producing nations consume more and more oil domestically they will export less and less. Because demand is high in China, India, the Middle East, and other oil producing nations, once global oil production begins to decline, demand will always be higher than supply. And since the U.S. represents one fourth of global oil demand, whatever oil we conserve will be consumed elsewhere. Thus, conservation in the U.S. will not slow oil depletion rates significantly.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. There is no plan nor capital for a so-called electric economy. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The independent scientists of the Energy Watch Group conclude in a 2007 report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."

With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated building systems.

It is time to focus on Peak Oil preparation and surviving Peak Oil.

Ed Blume said...

From Susan De Vos, Madison Area Bus Advocates:

The DOT report is confusing and I am far from having read the whole thing but I already have a couple questions that someone may be able to answer:

1. Chart in the Executive Summary The Chart seems to indicate that the primary role of mass transit is to provide mobility and transit choice whereas the primary role of road expansion is to foster economic development. Am I reading this correctly? Because there seem to be a host of reasons for maintaining and enhancing transit, among them being economic development,climate change, not paving over prime agricultural land, public health (that does not seem to be there), enhancing transportation efficiency and maintaining our quality of life. I don't understand. I also have a hard time seeing that road expansion fosters economic development or doing anything beneficial re. climate change; I see it "digging the hole deeper."

2. Highway Projects listed in the Introduction? Again, I have to wonder about what I am seeing. The introductory chapter does a nice job of introducing the rest of the report *except* that in one of the insets there is a list of highway projects without a list of any other type of project. It also notes that those highways are *not* most of the roads in Wisconsin. Again, I am out of my league trying to understand that. Is it distinguishing between local roads maintained by counties and municipalities and roads strictly under State jurisdiction? Shouldn't WisDOT's first concern be with maintaining ALL existing roads and bridges rather than adding more?

More generally, it seems as if they're asking for comments because they are required to, not because they want to or intend to use any of them. Back a few years ago, they asked people to sign up for communications via email. I signed up but never heard a peep until this draft came out. And the telephone number on the web is not only automated but says that the draft is pretty much the done deal. Like the City's Comprehensive Plan, there really is no expectation that anything will change. So what is the purpose of the meetings around the state other than filling some legal requirement?