Monday, January 31, 2011
Jack Kisslinger, Hans Noeldner, and David Knuti attended the 2010 ASPO Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Oct. 7-9, 2010.
The 2010 Annual Meeting of the
Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO)
Washington D.C., October 7-9, 2010
David E. Knuti
Madison Peak Oil Group
2010 Conference Proceedings, Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO), at aspo-usa.com. Speaker Videos and Conference Notes from presentations to the 2010 ASPO Convention at Washington, D.C., October 7-9, 2010.
The Impending World Energy Mess: What it is and what it means to you. By Robert Hirsch, Roger Bezdek, and Robert Wendling. Forward by James Schlesinger. 2010. Apogee Prime/Griffen Media. 251 pp, $30.00.
ASPO — An Association with a Mission
Last fall Hans Noeldner, Jack Kisslinger and I traveled via Amtrak to Washington, DC to attend the 2010 conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA (ASPO), October 9-11. We attended as members of RENEW Wisconsin and our Madison Peak Oil Group. About 60 elite authorities presented their current findings about the dynamics of world energy flows with particular concern for the risk that supplies will soon hit limits that could have profound effects on our lives in the coming decade. These are important to share broadly. (For details go to the presentation notes from the conference at ASPO-USA.com)
The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) is a volunteer organization dedicated to independently study the future availability of energy resources (primarily oil) and pursue "energy action for a healthy economy and clean environment." A group of American senior petroleum geologists, energy economists and financiers organized it in 1992, and there are now affiliated ASPOs across Europe and Australia, and an informal network of local Peak Oil Groups.
ASPO's founders feared that industry and government authorities were dangerously exaggerating the future flow of oil resources. They took heed of insights of Shell petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert about the pattern of production from a finite natural resource base. He asserted that it does not follow a continuously rising or smooth path to exhaustion, but instead, follows a bell-shaped curve, rising exponentially to a peak about half way through the total resource, and then falling inexorably from the production peak. To the astonishment of the U.S. oil industry, Hubbert identified the peak of U.S. oil production in 1970. ASPO is dedicated to identifying the factors which will determine the world oil production peak (which many fear is now uncomfortably close to zero to ten years away), its consequences, and what to do to prepare for them. This analysis decisively turns the debate from the ultimate size the resource available and various potential technological innovations, to the factors which determine the actual pace at which resources can be supplied to the market to for our oil dependent economy. As one conference speaker exclaimed, "It about the rate, stupid!"
The mood at the 2010 conference was highly charged, because ASPO people feel a sense of triumph in their command of the issues and an obligation to share their important insights. They are also are deeply frustrated by their inability to communicate with the political leadership and a public which purposely ignores the situation and might even figuratively "shoot the messengers" if pressed too openly. As keynote speaker, former Secretary of Energy and Defense James Schlesinger proclaimed, "The peak oil debate can be considered over, but we should not gloat because political acceptance is unlikely in the foreseeable future."
The ASPO leadership showed its determination to expand exposure for its viewpoint, first by bringing the conference to Washington and scheduling associated Congressional and press briefings. ASPO also announced that it was projecting itself into the national debate by moving its headquarters from Denver to Washington and raising funds to hire a full staff. (Recently it hired an Executive Director, Jan Mueller, who is an experienced participant in the energy policy debate and is determined to "mainstream" the peak oil message.) In a rousing speech to the group, Ralph Nader called for ASPO to get moving from analysis into action and pursue his new approach of "finding a sympathetic billionaire" to fuel the cause.