Murray Grimwood thinks the current political leaders will be turned on when voters realise what he realises - growth now means economic failure sooner

Murray Grimwood thinks the current political leaders will be turned on when voters realise what he realises - growth now means economic failure sooner
When will people revolt against growth ?

By Murray Grimwood*

John Key will go down in history, probably as a footnote to Helen Clark.

Cunliffe probably won’t.

Clark was the first PM to use the word ‘sustainability’. We heard no more – presumably because the polling wasn’t good.

That left wanna-win politicians the sole option of advocating ‘growth’, or fudging it with words like ‘vibrant’.

Norman may rate a mention as the one who first put ‘green’ and ‘growth’ into the same, seriously-delivered sentence.

Let’s put two plain facts on the table.

Fact 1:  you can either be sustainable, or you can be unsustainable. There is no third option.

Fact 2: Growth, if it is based on use of a finite planet (housing, dairying, resource extraction, pollution, degradation) is unsustainable.

If something – growth in this case – is unsustainable, there are only two valid questions: When will it cease? And: What then?

The problem in a democracy, is that everyone (except those on the very bottom rung of the ladder) wants to hold on to their present status or to go ‘up’, nobody wants to go ‘down’.

If they’re measuring status in terms of material ownership, they’ll all vote for ‘growth’ in physical activities, meaning a vote for unsustainability.

This instinct appears to be so strong that even the knowledge that the next generation – their direct offspring – will be existentially-jeopardised, isn’t enough to change their behaviour.

That’s a sad epitaph for what considers itself the smartest species on the planet, but back to politics.

Politicians will either be aware of the above facts, or they won’t, or they’ll pretend they aren’t. Meaning they will respectively avoid the truth, honestly purvey a lie, or pretend to honestly purvey a lie.

Key represents those on the top rungs of the ladder. They will either be seriously deluded – thinking growth can go forever – or they will know it can’t, and be hoping to be part of a surviving community through ‘wealth’.

The latter approach is known as ‘inverted quarantine’ – where you attempt to immunise yourself from a pending problem – but when the problem is global (nuclear fallout, climate-change, biological imbalance) it doesn’t work. It has a further potential problem, when the rabble every now and then gets angsty enough to storm a barricade or two. Self-centredness knows no age-barrier, so Nationals support-base won’t necessarily age due to message-irrelevance.

Cunliffe represents – as he has unwittingly admitted – a piece of history.

For a brief period of planetary time, one species got a huge bang out of long-stored solar energy, otherwise known as fossil fuels. That brief period has lasted 200 years so far, and even the optimists don’t think it’ll last another 100. For the first – and maybe only – time, we could stop using slave and animal labour (solar energy via food, in other words) and use something with a lot more grunt. For the first – and maybe only – time, the ex-slaves and ex-peasants had time to get organised, using their status as producers and consumers to lobby for a piece of the action.

First unions, then political groupings, then representative power. Then it all got undercut. The machines they’d built started to do their own work. Offshore slaves were found, who could do things ‘cheaper’ than the blue-collar worker.

The traditional support-base for Labour dwindled, and inevitably got older. For a while, upper-middle-class altruism - some of it a generation-on hangover from those worker origins – kept it going; the difference between Kirk and Clark reflects this clearly.

Both social groupings, Whig and Tory, evolved in an era when there were no appraised physical limits, and in the general belief that we had some greater overseer on our side. It should have been obvious to our migrating ancestors that this wouldn’t continue. They, after all, went to the other side of a finite planet, looking for resources and opportunity.

Inevitably, some folk started to catch on.

Carson, Hubbert, and a groundswell of warning-sounders, pointed out that the progression was unsustainable. Some just defended single spaces, single species, fought single issues.

Others – lesser in number – looked at the whole picture. Between them, at their various degrees of understanding, they became the Green upwelling.

We first saw it start here with the Values Party, whose 1976 manifesto still stands scrutiny.

Then came the Greens. Inevitably, they exhibit cross-over into other philosophies. There are, for instance, Green-thinking business-types – who don’t see that their profit-taking is an intrinsic part of the (unsustainable) growth problem. There are socially-altruistic Green-thinking types, who don’t see that ‘child poverty’ is another name for ‘not enough resources per head’, and that rather than campaigning for a ‘living wage’ they’d be better campaigning for condom-dispensers in every mall, and for incremental tax disincentives for every succeeding sibling.

Norman, then, has the bigger problem in getting votes from a ‘growth-mantra-chanting’ mass of voters, aided and abetted by a similarly-inflicted media (Morning Report take careful note; you have no need-to-please-advertisers excuse, time you ‘genned-up and asked the hard questions).

Norman does this, cleverly enough, by promoting ‘green growth’. It is true in a sense – given that we need to change our infrastructure and our lifestyles to sustainable from unsustainable, there will indeed be a massive need to ‘grow’ our uptake of green technology. Indeed, even going flat-out on a war-footing basis starting now, we are too late.

But his problem is that if he told the truth; that we are in overshoot as a species; that growth will cease (and measured by an increasing number of real indicators, has) and that a large number of personal expectations will be, um, unrequited – he’d be out on his ear.

That said, he has the inside running on the future.

Key – and to a lesser extent Cunliffe – should be very worried.

They will both be proven to have been offering the unofferable.

We have two possible paths from here on – initiating a smooth change to a sustainable level of activity, or accelerating headlong into resource-depleted oblivion.

If we choose the latter, politics as we know it won’t survive anyway (nor will ‘wealth’ as we know it). If we choose the former – the only rational choice, but don’t hold your breath – then our leadership will have to be seriously ‘greener’ than Norman sounds now, a paradigm-shift so profound that the difference between Left and Right, Whig and Tory, must dwindle into insignificance.

The groundswell is coming from the bottom up – political change never comes from the incumbents, you never change a system you think you’re ‘winning’ in – in the form of Transition Towns, food-forums, sustainability clusters, farmers markets, permaculture, organics, Generation Zero. They are reinforcing - and inevitably changing - the incumbent, aging, Forest-and-Bird wave of ‘greenies’.

And if I could choose to be in any of their shoes? Well, it’s a no-brainer. If we continue with our death-wish, all bets are off and I wouldn’t be a tall poppy anywhere.

But is we demonstrate the social maturity to get ourselves onto a sustainable footing, Norman has the inside running.

He is currently about 7/8ths of the way across the real political spectrum, with everyone else jammed into the 1/8th. ‘Left’ and Right’ are obsolete reference points at that stage - sustainable versus unsustainable is the spread – and he’s got 7/8ths of the spread entirely to himself. It’s a shoe-in.

I’d be him.

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Murray Grimwood says he is "a Columnist, and a Generalist specialising in energy efficiencies". He comments on this website as Powerdownkiwi. You can find out more about him here ».

He publishes his views here » 

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Good article.  Just to be clear how much is my house value going up this year and what is the interest rate doing?

Exactly. Completly ignoring this issue is most common reaction. Then there's attacking the messenger (Mr Griwood once drove a car therefore everything he says is nonsense), we'll be saved by the God of science/technology, how can I profit from this and just plain old not caring (my descendents will fix it - or burn).

Faith in 'technology' and 'progress' has supplanted previous religious beliefs in modern society. It is the unwavering 'religion / faith' of our time. Questioning the belief in 'progress / technology' is one sure way to upset 'believers'.

Unfortunately the universe owes humanity nothing and the laws of physics ultimately have the last laugh. The fact that the majority of people can't even comtemplate that things could become 'worse'  in the future makes the current trajectory all the more scary. 
 

The Titanic (the unsinkable ship) was seen as the pinancle of scientific achievement.

Science and technology were masters of nature, which is why the company had put so few lifeboats on ship.

and now it's just an annoying song....

The Tintanic, not actaully claimed tobe unsinkable, was not a record breaking ship in anything size, and was not seen as the pinnacle of achievement.
like almost every other big vessel of the day, maratime companies had taken advantage of outdated safety regs and put in too few lifeboats.
There are a lot of myths floating around about the Titanic

It was claimed so in general press, and was advertised as pinnacle of achievement.
Something was need to fight the growing market promise of zepplin transport.

... because the Germans had led zeppelin research & innovation , it was to be their stairway to heaven ...
 
But it was the bergs that were their undoing , an icey one for the Titanic , and a Hinden one for the zeppelin ...

Although I am in agreement that the scientific narrative has merely replaced its predecessor narrative - religious dogma - and indeed neither has lead us any closer to some 'universal truth'.  But doesn't your subsequent comment about 'the laws of physics" imply that these laws are some kind of 'universal truth' or final arbiter?

Well said. Sadly I doubt voters on mass will ever chose anything but their own short term interests so that's all polititians care about. I would vote for the Greens if they went more green, less social policy.
 
 

+1. Used to vote the Greens until I realised they were actually Watermelons - a solid red centre disguised in a thin 'green' casing. Environmental sustainability isn't a left / right issue.  The Greens would probably be far more popular if their focus was actually sustainability rather than far-left social engineering and redistribution policies. We need a more centrist environmental party in order for sustainable policies to ever gain traction.

Growth is such a inexact word. Do trees grow, do forests grow? Are they unsustainable? Will growth always lead to overshoot and collaspe?
 
If you remove growth from Murrays/PDK article and just talk about consumption of non-renewable resources then the article is less of a problem for Key, Cunliffe and Norman (and what happened to Turei?).

Good questions Brendon.  Yes trees and forests grow.  Fact is they and all of nature grows in a closed system. To grow nature only takes what it needs and what it needs is provided by the community around it with the entire community providing each others needs.  There is no waste, no surplus, no desire to have more than is needed, no desire to have more than the person next to him, no desire for status, power and control.  In nature there is no ego.

Growth is an exact word.
 
All trees stop growing, at some point.
 
All forests max-out in biomass terms.
 
Yes, or every species of every kind would be of infinite number. Slow hitting of the limit may well reduce the overshottedness, however.
 
No. We are consuming non-renewable rsources at unpecedented rates NOW.
 
I don't regard Turei as a Green politician. I regard her more as an egalitarian socialist, who perhaps 'cares for the environment' also (I stand to withdraw and apologise, if convinced by her). Lotta F&B Labour-types in that sub-set too. That's not good enough, any more; it fails the 'sustainability' test.

PDK I think politicians one day will talk about growth in forest terms. Talking about the 'young trees' growing to there potential while quietly acknowledging the total 'biomass' has reached its limits.
 
But whether we have reached that limit now you certainly haven't proven....
 
I think humans are making incremental steps towards sustainability. Population is on the classic S curve to sustainability through choice not resource constraints (take note Scarfie). Oil consumption in the rich developed countries has followed the same curve. Again by choice because if needed they could easily out bid poor countries.
 
New renewable energy sources are available now that weren't say twenty years ago. How many commercial wind farms did NZ have back then. How many houses had PV panels. How many now. How many hybrid cars existed back then and so on.
 
I think you go over the top with you fossil fuel energy theory of history/the future. When I have asked engineers about how to replace fossil fuel energy they were quite unconcerned. They were quite easily able to give a well thought out plan on how to replace fossil fuel energy.
 
The urgency of your whole argument rests on peak oil. Sure other resources will peak at some point. But when....  and will it be before we have made enough incremental steps towards sustainability.

Technically speaking Brendon, no they don't grow.  they compete.

You will, if you care to take a look that while a forest does keep growing it also keeps dying which creates a natural balance, we seem to be trying to dodge the second bit

The key is to tip it over at peak growth then rinse and repeat. Check out the Brazilans efforts in this field. Phenomenal gains in yield per ha in last decade. Who needs solar panels when you can convert a forest to oil.

Oh god don't remind us of the devastation that is happening there

Murray wants us to throw away democracy, unions, the vote and return to peasantville because he believes in the following. He wonders why I accuse him of being arrogant, ideological and ultimately as selfish as the far right.
 
"For a brief period of planetary time, one species got a huge bang out of long-stored solar energy, otherwise known as fossil fuels. That brief period has lasted 200 years so far, and even the optimists don’t think it’ll last another 100. For the first – and maybe only – time, we could stop using slave and animal labour (solar energy via food, in other words) and use something with a lot more grunt. For the first – and maybe only – time, the ex-slaves and ex-peasants had time to get organised, using their status as producers and consumers to lobby for a piece of the action."
 
But it is all nonsense. There is nothing unique about fossils fuels, they can easily be replaced as the following physics explains.
 
NZ vehicle km travelled (VKT) is 37Bkm in 2012. This is for cars and light commercial vehicles (LCV).
 
http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/tmif/transport-volume/tv002/
 
Electric cars do about 15kWh per 100km. So that’s 4650GWh per annum if all those vehicles were electric. That’s about the same energy as the aluminium smelter uses.
Those cars would best be charged by wind farms, as when the wind is not blowing the existing hydro storage can be used. This is because the short term variability in wind is very small compared to the seasonal variation in hydro, for which we already have storage.
 
If each car cost $30K, then the cost of wind turbines to charge it would be about $2000. I used the 37B VKT /3.1M (cars and LCV - http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/tmif/transport-volume/tv004/) = 9000km per annum. This is 1350kWh per annum on average. A wind turbine has 0.35% capacity factor so to get 1350kWh of wind energy in a year you need 1350 kWh/8760 hours in a year / 0.35 = 0.440kW of wind capacity. Wind capacity costs about $2700/kW. So the investment is $2700*0.440=$1200. And I doubled it almost to pay off the landowners (it can’t be that much paid to landowners or wind generation would be too expensive already).
 
So to build wind farms fast enough to supply electric cars you need to spend money on new generation at a rate one fifteenth the rate of the people buying the cars in the first place. Is that affordable to the industry? If the entire fleet was replaced in 10 years, you’d need about 500GWh of investment per year in wind generation. Total demand is about 40000GWh so that’s 500/40000=1.24% pa. Which is less than the historical electricity demand growth rate. (Fleet age is 13years in 2012 http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/The-NZ-Vehicle-Fleet-2012-final.pdf pg 9)
 
Is there enough wind? Prior to the recent flattening of demand there was about 9000GWh of new wind generation consented or undergoing consent. There is about 90000GWh of potential wind generation taking the good sites only. All of it on already modified farmland, far from dwellings and near existing transmission. The grid can handle the capacity as its largely already been built for peak, and the entire fleet can be charged without increasing peak demand loading. So that’s the NZ electric car situation in terms of supplying the electricity.
 
Other issues – is there enough material to make the batteries for the world fleet, can they be made cheap enough fast enough, can you smelt the steel to make the wind turbines without emitting too much CO2?? Can you drive far enough in an electric car that it would be a true transport system?? What about agricultural machinery??? Shipping??? Air travel????
 
 
 
 

And the economics of solar power is economic at the margin in many places. So the inverted quaratine argument re fossil fuels is rubbish too.
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10755598/Global-solar-dominance-in-sight-as-science-trumps-fossil-fuels.html
 
 
 

Brendon describes a well crafted solution.  Could it be that some of out commentators don't want a solution. 

KH the more negative and dire your warnings are the better the publicity. If you are reasonable and balanced in your opinions then not so many people listen to you......

Yay, let's all drive around in electric cars.  To where?  To all the CO2 emitting manufacturing plants producing stuff from non renewables?  Can we replace all non renewable energy systems prior to building the electric transport system?  Or should we ensure all homes are self sufficient in energy production first?  What timeframe can we stop emitting CO2 and how do we sequester/reduce existing levels? 
What do we replace all the other fossil fuel based products with or do we?
I think you know the answers to your questions but it's too scary to admit. 

We are going through an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable. In the next 20 to 50 years NZ can and will replace its fossil fuel engines (CO2 emitters) with renewable ones. The most difficult part is transport due to the energy density problem. But that is being solved so it will happen.
 
I am all for an end of growth. I think we should do it naturally by putting in place measures to stop population growth and control natural resources such as fisheries. We have already gone a long way in these measures.
 
But Murray is never satisfied with this sort of practical incremental achievements. He wants us to immediately power down like he does. He spreads a message using dubious statistics -200 slaves, immediate collaspe due to the peaking of oil etc. He then spreads a message of that is why we cannot rebuild Christchurch and provide the infrastructure for affordable homes etc. This causes real harm to real people.
 
Murray knows his 'facts' is more ideology rather than proven but chooses to ignore dissenting views. That is why he is arrogant and selfish.
 
He ignores lessons from the natural world. Forests recolonise damaged areas, forests allow the next generation to grow.

There is no evidence of an energy transition from fossil to renewables - if that was the case we would target all NZ's oil exploration to that purpose.  Replacement of fossil fuel engines only will not be enough, you haven't suggested how all other fossil fuel based products will be replaced.  Incremental achievements may have been enough if we started 50 years ago.
 
Maybe you just want to deny the "facts".  Was the concept of a spherical earth more ideology than proven?  Were Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and others arrogant and selfish (possibly, but it didn't mean they were wrong)?
 
Population by and of itself is not the problem.  The level of consumption by the current population is the elephant in the room.

This is why you should read this: "The Energy Trap"

"In brief, the idea is that once we enter a decline phase in fossil fuel availability—first in petroleum—our growth-based economic system will struggle to cope with a contraction of its very lifeblood. Fuel prices will skyrocket, some individuals and exporting nations will react by hoarding, and energy scarcity will quickly become the new norm. The invisible hand of the market will slap us silly demanding a new energy infrastructure based on non-fossil solutions. But here’s the rub. The construction of that shiny new infrastructure requires not just money, but…energy. And that’s the very commodity in short supply. Will we really be willing to sacrifice additional energy in the short term—effectively steepening the decline—for a long-term energy plan? It’s a trap!"
 

That post is written by a Physics Professor who I'm sure knows a lot more about physics than you or I. Your reply serves to illustrate the problem - you are only thinking in 'money' rather real physical metrics such as 'energy'. 

I will try and spell it out for you clearly:

If we postpone building renewables now (while we have surplus energy available) we risk getting caught in 'the energy trap': Renewable infrastructure requires ENERGY to build. If we face a situation of ENERGY decline, building this infrastructure at this time point will be difficult to do as we will need to sacrifice more of our already declining energy supplies to build this renewable infrastructure. This will effectively steepen the ENERGY decline we face and would be a hugely unpalatable decision which will likely see us deferring building more renewable infrastructure.

Please note: Energy is a real physical quantity while money is a man-made 'imaginary' construct. What I'm talking about here is not related to money, it relates to energy. Please read the article actually does a great job at explaining it to people who aren't scientifically trained.

So what if he is a physics professor?
It's his job to understand and study how the physical world actually works.
 
Energy just changes its form to become energy in another form

Believe it or not but I do have a reasonable grasp on the laws of thermodynamics. You should really read about entropy and thermodynamic equilibrium.
 
The only thing that is limited is to discover the technology to use the energy and that is abundantly and unlimited availability.
 
Sigh... Of course, I should have known you'd believe in a 'techno-fix'. Everything will always be solved by 'someone else' and 'technology'. Back to the 'beliefs' at the top of the page you go.

Human history is all about techno fixes

Yes, but this doesn't mean all problems have a techno-fix solution. Especially when the problems this time is the very substance (energy) which enables modern technology.
 
China used to be so very dependent on coal but clearly not any longer, Coal mines are closing down everywhere

China still imports huge amounts of coal, how do you think they've powered their own version of the industrial revolution!? (graph)

 
The technology is reaching a trigger point when there would be mass transition to renewables.
We will be forced to transition at some point by necessity and price. Renewable infrastructure is dependent on fossil fuels to produce. That is why we need to build this infrastructure while we are still 'energy rich'.

"China imported 267 million tonnes of coal for the whole of 2013, up 14 percent on the year, with many buyers seeking out cheaper overseas supplies."

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/10/china-coal-idUKL3N0N20GO20140410

China will likely be switching to Natural gas in the near future. Are you somehow implying that renewables are going to be powering China sometime soon?

Human history is all about techno fixes

Yes, but this doesn't mean all problems have a techno-fix solution. Failure to accept this possibility is a cognitive bias. This is even more important when the problem this time is the availability of the very substance (energy) which enables modern technology.
 
China used to be so very dependent on coal but clearly not any longer, Coal mines are closing down everywhere

China still imports huge amounts of coal, how do you think they've powered their own version of the industrial revolution!? (graph)

 
The technology is reaching a trigger point when there would be mass transition to renewables.
We will be forced to transition at some point by necessity and price. Renewable infrastructure is dependent on fossil fuels to produce. That is why we need to build this infrastructure while we are still 'energy rich'.

Populatiion is the problem unless you want refugee style living standards

If you want to live a relatively comfortable life and perhaps wish to see the rest of humanity doing the same, then you betcha population is a HUGE problem.

You should really read the 'Hirsch Report' by the US Department of energy, or try reading the German military report on Peak Oil.

Here's part of the Hirsch Report summary from wiki:

Mitigation efforts will require substantial time.

  • Waiting until production peaks would leave the world with a liquid fuel deficit for 20 years.
  • Initiating a crash program 10 years before peaking leaves a liquid fuels shortfall of a decade.
  • Initiating a crash program 20 years before peaking could avoid a world liquid fuels shortfall.
     

Murrays point; we don't have 20 years to prepare. We are at or very near peak oil now (Peak in conventional oil was 2005). The only thing standing between us and global peak is the US tight oil (which looks like it will peak later this decade). If we sit on our hands we are going to be in for a world of pain. This is why Murray (and others who have looked into these matters) express a sense of urgency that folk like yourself don't understand.
 

Why should it have to be sky high? Increased oil price is a causal factor for sending economies into recession. This is leading to demand destruction. Look at vehicle kilometers travelled in NZ . Notice how it is in decline, we are driving less. When was the peak: ~2005 (the time conventional oil production peaked and prices started to rise).

It is interesting that oil prices are still well above the historial inflation adjusted value. The only other time they have been anywhere near this high was during the 1970's energy crisis. Why is that given we have an ongoing 'shale boom' and the global economy in the toilet?

We past the point peak of conventional crude in 2005, shortfalls are being made up by more costly and lower energy returning unconventional fuels. Eventually we are going to reach the peak of conventional + unconventional production. Once we enter the down-slope of production things could get very interesting. US shale is currently helping us tread water, without the increase in tight oil we would be at peak oil now (graph - take away North America from that graph and note the flat production despite the record increase in oil price).

As it currently stands, each time any real 'economic growth' appears the price of oil begins to climb. Eventually this passes the threshold that economies can afford and recession / demand destruction occurs. You'd think that after 6 years of ongoing GFC with 'recovery around the corner each year' and record money printing etc.. that people might start to wonder why this recession is different to previous recessions. Well, welcome to the limits to growth folks!

Oh wait! I forgot man's ingenuity makes this impossible, LOL.

 

Go back and read what I said:

  • We are using less oil on a per capita basis due to the increased price destroying demand (look again at the graph of km's travelled, this is 'demand destruction' in action). Demand is being kept in balance by price as per the "basic economic theory of supply and demand".
     
  • The current oil price is at a level far higher than the historical norm despite a global recession and a 'shale boom'. Why? Hint: Supply and demand again. (Supply cannot provide enough cheap oil so price has been driven upwards due to scarcity)
     
  • Too much increase in oil price destroys demand through its recessionary effect on the ecomony, thereby driving the price back downwards when it becomes too high for the economy to tolerate.
     
  • The younger generation are driving less because: the price of running a car is expensive, their economic prospects are poor due to widespread unemployment / low-paying jobs, and current social media / internet availability is more appealing.

Yep, I'm sure it's all a conincidence and had nothing to do with the large price increases in oil at all.

that's because she has all the benefits of a chaufer without the annoyance of responsibility of car, licence or social responsibility.   My ex-wife and ex-partner were teh same to quote "Why would I need a licence I've never needed one before".     One now drives professionally....

Do you even read my posts? (I gave you inflation adjusted price).
 
http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/historical_oil_prices_...

So what you're saying is we should ensure nothing and done and position banking and investment infrastructure for the 20 yr payout?

We are on the other side of peak oil now, if not we would not be having to resort to fracking

If the whole world suddenly switched over the electriv vehicles the minerals for the batteries would probably last about 5 years. What are you going to do then? Condiser also that those minerals require fossil fuels to get them out, but then I have tried unsuccessfully to explain to you the problem of energy density before. Perhaps you are best to leave the thinking to those that can actually do it.

density is certainly the issue....

Al Bartlet does an good knockdown of that sort of thinking where an alternative energy source is produced but growth is continuing at the same rate.
He uses the example of bacteria in a bottle :
Bacteria grow by division so that 1 bacterium becomes 2, the 2 divide to give 4, the 4 divide to give 8, etc. Consider a hypothetical strain of bacteria for which this division time is 1 minute. The number of bacteria thus grows exponentially with a doubling time of 1 minute. One bacterium is put in a bottle at 11:00 a.m. and it is observed that the bottle is full of bacteria at 12:00 noon. Here is a simple example of exponential growth in a finite environment. This is mathematically identical to the case of the exponentially growing consumption of our finite resources of fossil fuels. Keep this in mind as you ponder three questions about the bacteria:
(1) When was the bottle half-full? Answer: 11:59 a.m.!
(2) If you were an average bacterium in the bottle, at what time would you first realize that you were running out of space?
Answer: There is no unique answer to this question, so let's ask, "At 11:55 a.m., when the bottle is only 3% filled (1 / 32) and is 97% open space (just yearning for development) would you perceive that there was a problem?" Some years ago someone wrote a letter to a Boulder newspaper to say that there was no problem with population growth in Boulder Valley. The reason given was that there was 15 times as much open space as had already been developed. When one thinks of the bacteria in the bottle one sees that the time in Boulder Valley was 4 min before noon! See Table II.
Suppose that at 11:58 a.m. some farsighted bacteria realize that they are running out of space and consequently, with a great expenditure of effort and funds, they launch a search for new bottles. They look offshore on the outer continental shelf and in the Arctic, and at 11:59 a.m. they discover three new empty bottles. Great sighs of relief come from all the worried bacteria, because this magnificent discovery is three times the number of bottles that had hitherto been known. The discovery quadruples the total space resource known to the bacteria. Surely this will solve the problem so that the bacteria can be self-sufficient in space. The bacterial "Project Independence" must now have achieved its goal.
(3) How long can the bacterial growth continue if the total space resources are quadrupled?
Answer: Two more doubling times (minutes)!

I knew it - attack Mr Murray first "Murray wants us to throw away democracy, unions, the vote and return to peasantville because he believes in the following. He wonders why I accuse him of being arrogant, ideological and ultimately as selfish as the far right." which is not what he said.
 
Then describe status quo switch, not growth which was what the article was about (who wants a 15kw electric car - a 150000kW one is way cooler).
 
Where's the religious bit about how science tech god will save us?
 
 
 

"There is nothing unique about fossils fuels, they can easily be replaced as the following physics explain"
 
I object, fossil fuels are very unique - they are highly concentrated forms of solar energy. We tapped into hundreds of millions of years worth of accumulated photosynthetic energy. This is a 'one time' inheritance in terms of human time-scale. Fossil fuels also have the unique characteristics of being very energy dense, abundant and largely portable. Why do you think they make up the bulk of our transport system?!
If you want some gratitude you should put 1 litre in your car and drive until you run out of gas (~12.5km). Next you should try to push your car home again. I'm sure ~12.5km of pushing your 1.5 ton vehicle will help you appreciate just how much energy is in only 1L of petrol and how much 'work' the fossil fuels do for us considering the world is burning almost 11,917,500,000 litres each day (yes, thats 12 billion litres everyday).

Your 'EV utopia' completely ignores:
1) The embedded energy of creating and manufacturing the fleet.
2) The fossil fuels required to mine and transport the metals.
3) The fact that most countries generate their electricity from largely fossil fuels.
4) The fact that construction and maintenance of our infrastructure and roading is dependent on fossil fuels. 
5) EVs require a functioning complex industrial society - which itself is dependent on a high energy surplus (which we are inthe process of slowly losing).

The list goes on... I hate to break it to you but there isn't a simple fix, thats the reality.

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/

Brendon, no fossil fuels cannot be easily replaced, there is nothing as energy dense, yet extremely cheap and in the past plentiful.
Oil for quite a fw decades was in the $20 a barrel category so our economy grew and we re-produced because our energy limit was no longer the annual fall from teh sun on the planets surface. Oil is now $110 and our economy is a zombie....shambling along...kept upright by ever larger injections of debt that isnt underwritten.
To start with each car isnt $30k its $65k and last hlaf as long at a $20k car.  Also cars are but a part of our fossil dependant economy.
This if its your theis, isnt, its a prayer.
Lets say air travel/transport? if its essential to our present level, its going no where on batteries now is it.
Ships?
Petro-chemical industry?
Comes back to EROEI everytime.
Which it seem you are unable or unwilling to fathom.
regards
 

http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/historical_oil_prices_...
 
I gave you inflation adjusted oil prices in the post above but you failed to read the graph. Here's a table of adjusted price just for you. Note that the price has gone up significantly as stated (after inflation).

Well written Murray.  Unfortunately, the masses, will not realise it until they are forced to.  The ignorant sheeple will continue to follow the ignorant shepherds and when it all falls down around them will blame that shepherd rather than their own blind ignorance.

Thats quite a woolie argument Meh.

Very true.  I think I commented a while back, BE et al should be wary of lamp posts, and I'll add before the retared right in here comment, its not because I wish it.  Seems the Greek Parliment were consious of that in the not to distant past, making sure thet their escape route was viable.
regards

There are five new treasury working papers out.
This is part of the Redell Hypothesis (a big family/small family argument?)
"In the late 19th century and early 20th century, immigration to New Zealand could be seen
as reflecting a favourable shock to the tradable sector. Opening up new lands to
production, falling transport costs, refrigerated shipping combined to lift the population
capacity of New Zealand while still offering high wages and high rates of return.
 
By the middle of the 20th century, New Zealand was settled and producing, and
technological change in the key export sectors was no longer as rapid (relative to other
producers). The factor price equalisation justification for strong population growth had
dissipated, yet population growth remained high. Across the OECD, there is some
evidence that rapid population growth in post-war advanced countries was associated with
143
an apparent cost to per capita growth rates.
 
Indeed, in the period between the end of the Second World War and the late 1970s, the
New Zealand debate about immigration was primarily about its macroeconomic impact.
Economists such as Belshaw (1952), Gould (1982), Holmes (1966), Hawke (1985, 1981)
and others warned that immigration shocks in a supply-constrained economy with low unemployment would generate excess demand, inflationary pressure and a deterioration
144
in the balance of payments.
 
In 1974, New Zealand tightened eligibility for entry, and began focusing more on the skills
of migrants instead of favouring particular source countries. Soon after, in response to
declining economic prospects in New Zealand, large numbers of New Zealand citizens
began to leave. A marked liberalisation of arrivals policy began with the passing of the
Immigration Act in 1987 and continued with the introduction of the points-based system 1991.
As Figure 4 shows, a pattern of large departures of New Zealand citizens
compensated for by large inflows of non-New Zealand citizens has continued, albeit with
cyclical fluctuations, for many years. Reddell’s hypothesis is that substantial inflows of non-New Zealand citizens (comprising around 80% of average population growth over the past two decades) have resulted in
pressure on infrastructure (housing, local government services, schools and hospitals)
146
and capital in the workplace. The real investment needs of a rising population have
outstripped the available (quite modest) rate of national savings. The reason for focusing
on non-citizen arrivals is that these reflect a policy choice: in the absence of these inflows,
147
New Zealand would still have experienced a rise in population from natural increase."

and I bet they're all using tried and true analysis as churned out by academia.

If you want to find a solution for a maze, you don't start with analysing it's materials.

Don't go confusing the issues with logical thinking Murray.
 
Interesting that in the past week that has been an article doing the rounds about how the US Navy has pioneered a way to capture CO2 from sea water and turn that into jet fuel. You should see the discussion about this on a gasification forum I belong to, the claims are a complete farce as they are not actually generating energy, the EROI is negative on that process. They need a nuclear reactor (from the warships) to power the process.

Was wondering about that. I couldn't see anyway for it to produce a positive return.

It in no way produces a positive return, but what it does let you do is convert the unused energy output of the nuclear reactor to fuel (so has the characteristics of being useful in a lot of places a nuclear reactor isn't). 

Fact #1:  You can (must) be cyclic.

There are simple answers to those that seem to think we will invent our way of the energy crisis.
1.  The rate of growth of population continues to decline, that is your leading indicator
2.  Increasing complexity in design takes greater resources than a simple design. You needs a surplus for that.
3.  In light of 2 the "innovate our way out of an energy shortage" position some take is fundamentally flawed, it can't and won't happen.
 

exponential growth vs diminshing return.

yes we can invent...but the quesiton is for how long, then what.

This is from Evolutionary Psycholgy:
(1)    Humans  value their personal interests more than others’ interests.
(2)    We value the present over the future.
(3)    Humans are obsessed by status.
(4)    We copy unconsciously the behaviors of people around us.
Humans instinctively copy and mimic the behavior of others and it starts when we are still in our nappies (see another blog Natural Born Followers). Imitation is an underappreciated contributor to environmental problems. Home residents say that the behavior of their neighbors has very little effect on their own conservation behaviors, but it is actually one of the strongest predictors of energy and water use.4
(5)    Humans disregard novel environmental threats.

Only partly true jh.  They are all choices and with development of consciousness and self knowledge/awareness can be altered.

A lot of evolutionary psychology can border on "just so" stories with no true predictive power. It can also be pointed out that humans and apes both share a concern for moral behavior and fairness.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk
while a good TED talk, I think the monkeys being paid unfairly experiment shown in it says so much about the human condition.

yay more evidence I'm not human.
Saturday Happy dance!

... need another looney , who's expert at banging cow bowels to your music ... or should that be bells ?
 
Nah , bowels is good ... yippppeeeee ki yay , pardner ...

The sun is shining today - allowing free photosynthesis to my vege garden.
The sun is finite also - but no point in worrying about macro-events out of our control.
The wind is blowing today  - providing free power/speed to the yacht. When will the wind stop operating?!
My employees are busy today  -  providing mental & physical energy for the business for free (as money of course is an artificial construct). Humans reproduce everyday - & provide ongoing sources of labour.  When will humankind run out?
Ultimately, all we need for our physical life is shelter, food & warmth. The rest are artificial constructs -  but they are quite handy though. Hands-up all the NZ voters who wish to head for a PolPot / Nazi inspired forced peasant rural village lifestyle for all the badly behaved human Beings.
Anyone digging a nuclear-sheltered cave today in the backyard?  Bunkering down for the Global economic collapse?.  For the Day the Petrol pumps dry up?!
Peasant-style economies and communal living often are miserable places  -  why head there voluntarily?
 
 

Yawn, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think.

Breathtaking argument there Peak

I think we both know nobody is going to be changing there opinions  based on a clever reply .   Both sides of the argument genuinely believe they are dealing with retards on the other side of the argument.  I find it humorous how far apart the two sides are. 

.... water ? ... seriously chef , a little white wine in your Cheval a' la Mode , not water !

but if you can get him to drink enough you'll get him to take the p...

I think you may have attempting to paraphrase Dorothy Parker who said, "You can lead a horiticulture (whore to culture) but you can't make her think" best you can hope for with a horse is that he is thirsty

Peasant-style economies and communal living often are miserable places  -  why head there voluntarily?
 

Because we are going to be heading to a much worse place if we don't do anything about these issues before they come to a head. Do you think war or famine would be a happier state to live in?

Ultimately, all we need for our physical life is shelter, food & warmth

The irony of your post is that the last two things of your three human 'essentials' is energy.  This is exactly the point of what Murray is talking about  - this is going to be the commodity in short supply in the future. There's none so blind...

You misrepresent what PDK is saying, but then it is obvious you (and your voters) are [ insult deleted. Ed]
 
A controlled pullback is what he advocates to avoid the dictator scenario you advocate.
 
Quite wrong in your facts there also MB. Humans are not reproducing at the same rate they once were. That one fact undermines your whole post. We are not talking about a theoretical future, it is already happening to us.

What a convincing argument Scarfie.  I now realise the end of humanity is near.

No convincing required KH, just the ability to read a graph. I learnt that at primary school, which I guess shows where your reasoning ability lies.

Your superior insults and primary school graph reading skills reveal your wisdom.   Hail.

You really are quite intent is showing your significant deficiencies in a number of areas aren't you? Although your use of fallacy is prolific, but clearly not intelligently and intentional applied.
 
If it weren't for people like you the graph(raw numbers) wouldn't look like they do.
 
Good on you, keep at it.

There is no intolerance like the new Religion of Sustainability, Global Warming, Earth Hugging & Peak Energy etc ...
Try going to any academic conference, Govt department, university campus  -  they have hijacked All New Ideas ....and no alternative viewpoint can be tolerated  - 
Welcome 1984 and New Left PolitikSpeak
 

Likewise, there is no stupidity quite like that of a poorly educated fool ^

Awesome Pluto.  I am now joining your crusade.

You are 100 % correct , MB , woe betide any of us who dare to disbelieve the religion of Malthusianism ...
 
... we are " deniers " apparently ...
 
Pariahs , social outcasts , because we love life here on our sweet little planet , girt by atmosphere ... and we reckon that humanity has a long and lustrous future ...
 
... better to enjoy the sunshine , the garden , and the comfort of boon companions , than to bunker down to a mean diet of roughage , to power down , and hide away in the dark and dank grim wood ...

Gummy - you are clearly a man who has "done all right". You are clearly very content with the status quo. 
 
I am the same. But my hobby is energy-substitution. My hobby stems from a lifetime interest in physics - not any of this other anti-energy-saving nonsense that you refer to.
 
In closing I beg you to close your eyes and envisage ten more generations of Gummy's. If you make no changes soon - where is Gummy Bear Hero 13th going to get the fuel to produce and distribute his food?
 
Please dont suggest that he should revert to horse power!

I closed my eyes , and envisaged the future , as you suggested ... and thought hard about our energy supplies into the far far beyond ... and even father than that ..
 
... and all I saw was the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders doing their routines ...
 
Is that the answer to the future's energy needs , lotsa hotties in skimpy outfits going aerial and doing splits  ... or am I just a pervey wee varmit ?

None better to ask than Gummy Bear Hero 2nd.

Gummy.  You are definitely PWV.  

The strange thing is , usually the more effort you put into something , the easier it gets ...
 
... but if you close your eyes and focus on a cheerleader's squad , the more you think upon it , the harder it gets ...

........"my hobby is energy substitution......."
Please explain.   What that means to me is lying on the couch, watching motor racing, with can of beer in hand.  Mind you.  It is Saturday afternoon.

Actually Mortgage Belt, the religious movement was closely mimicked by the economics genre. There was the faith in something not real, but which was temporarily un-disprovable. There were high priests, there was the association with power and control.
 
Economics actually hijacked society. Listen to any day, say on National Radio. "An economist says" is the most-commonly repeated phrase. Growth goes unchallenged. GDP goes unchallenged. Actually, they've had a free run, backed by the biggest funding available (banks for one) and with almost no challenging.
 
Oddly enough, it's the physical realities which are the 'growth forever' chanters undoing. Don't blame the mesengers. I understand your fear, but that won't change what happens. What we can change, is the manner of our transition to sustainability. I suggest that a controlled descent is better than full-on-blindly-into-the-brick-wall. There's less pieces to pick up that way.
 
This morning there was a thought-provoking piece on Nat Radio (I debated alongside her once - she's the better speaker, although that doesn't show up so well in this instance). She also assumes 'profit' and 'investment'. That just goes to point out the weakness of specialisation in academia - she as an engineer accepts the teachings of the economics-priests. Or does she? Maybe she knows, but knows that if your kind don't get told there's a 'profit' in it, you won't do it; but it has to be done so better you are fooled?
 
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2592403/susan-krumdieck

Murray - thanks for making some good points - and getting the Interest.co.nz comments up to decent levels - like we rarely see these days.
 
Some commenters cannot see past their own car. I am more concerned about the tractor and truck that will create and deliver the food to my great great great grandchildren.
 
Without some sort of mainstream media shift - there will be mass misery ahead for my grandchildren.
 
Sock it to them Murray

If you've got enough "economics" in your account, then "realities" are someone elses problem. 

...so far....

I think you are under the mistaken belief that ignorance and stupidity on the side of the deniers and yourself should carry the same weight as knowledge, math and science on the other.
Like the plonkers who sued NIWA over AGW, they got kicked out of court btw) if you cant put up any substantial and counter-argument beyond "I dont believe in peak oil" well frankly no wonder you get laughed out of the room.
1984, actually its the deniers who are doing the mis-speak and propaganda...because they have nothing else.
regards

I don't know if plonkers was quite the right word, they had no case and by have a trust with no assets to get damages out of, they have successfully got NIWA to waste a bunch of money on legal precedings that they could have been spending on actual science. So they have proven very successful in using the law.
 
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9600968/Failed-doubters-trust-leaves-taxpayers-at-loss

Well I think the judge threw it out pretty quick, so much for a legal challenge to AGW.
regards

Gosh KH was on these forums not so long back talking about how we should all be polite to each other (genuflection). Yet here is his spamming the place with his inane and pointless comments.

You caught me Scarfie.  But I was complimenting you.  Did you see it as scarcastic?

Tsk tsk ! .... naughty boy , you really must be more polite to the silly sods who believe that grim Murray PDK is correct ....

My energy substitution hobby generates very low energy bills. And every month further gains are made. On what basis does my positive hobby allow you to refer to  me as a "silly sod"?
 
Your quaint choice of phrase and general attitude leads me to ask you the following question. We're your parents part of the defence force of Singapore in WW2?
 
if the answer is "yes" -  everything is explained

thank you Gummy. (aka PWV)
But I must say that Mr Grimwood (aka PDK) is doing OK tonight with his argument.  Quite a reasonable posting.  And while he might yet crack, and come up out with some sour abusive comment.  So far he has not shot himself in the foot with that.
However the disciples have soiled the patch for him.
 

Here is one for Brendon in particular, but anyone who would like to see perhaps verification of the end of growth.
 
http://www.ted.com/talks/geoffrey_west_the_surprising_math_of_cities_and...
 
How about exponential innovation? Spend some mental energy, if you have it, pondering that one.

Good-ish thread.
 
Some quibbles and contributions.
 
Being as how that turkeys don't vote for thanksgiving, there's no political solution to any of this.   The scapegoating tendency may include the pollies, the 1%, anyone with glasses, anyone who cannot say 'shibboleth' correctly.  All are actual historical examples...
 
 The all-too-human tendency to maximise own comforts first leads to tragedies of various commons, but is balanced by the fact that 'commons' keep being found:  such as the Interwebs.
 
NZ is particularly well placed to engineer a graceful wind-back:  plenty of coal and lignite for immediate transport substitution, lotsa minerals including iron, copper, gold and uranium, lotsa renewable energy as long as we can keep the maintenance up.  Glass half full.
 
I don't see much discussion of the other side of 'sustainability' - the all-important corollary of 'OK-at what level of comfort?'.    For me, locavores, with electric cars, sounds about right.
 
Big transitions typically generate big internal or external migrations.....consider the '49'ers, the Dust-bowl, the endless European wars...so the common taters who think that food, shelter, transport is all there needs to be, better consider the fourth Horseman:  Security.....

John Key probably listens to the IEA rather than Murray. Namely "Our analysis suggests there are ample physical oil and liquid fuel resources for the foreseeable future."
Also add in gas to oil substitution. China is huge on this. The 2013 Citi report Global Oil Demand Growth – The End Is Nigh predicts gas to oil substitution could be as high as 13 m b/day by 2025 - equivelent to a 22% increase in 2010 natural gas output. The EIA has natural gas production soaring out to 2040 so there is plenty of gas around in the event oil supplies become tight which seems unlikely given the innovation in US shale oil production spreading to other parts of the world.
To quote NoHotAir "Natural gas is up to 30% lower in carbon emissions, at least in shipping, trucking, transportation and machinery use. Throw in a complete lack of particulate pollution and the consequences are as clear as the air. We can have economic growth,  secure energy supplies, lower costs and be kind to the environment.  What’s to hate about that?".
Nothing to hate about it - unless you are a watermelon or a pontificating chicken little.
 

It swings both ways Profile. IEA reassured the world through the 2000's that the oil price would remain at $35 per barrel until 2030. They also told us we'd be producing almost 100 million barrels per day by 2015 - we produced 74 million last year.

It will be interesting to see if their latest estimations actually play out.

 

 

74 is still the highest production ever and coincides with expanding gas production. Not too sure where you get the 100 figure from. The annual growth does swing around a bit but not out to 100. EIA had world proven oil reserves of 640 billion in 1980 and now they are 1.6 trillion - the US oil reserves are now back where they were in 1976. Not time to get in the bunker just yet.

New Zealand - the leader in "peak oil". Interest.co.nz the ground zero? Everyone else moved on in 2006...
http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=peak%20oil

.... I think that poor old Muzza is feeling left out because the rest of us have our little Union Jacks and are welcoming the lovely young royal family to our beautiful country ... usefully occupied with ensuring their enjoyment of all that we have to offer ...
 
And then there's old PDK , stuck down in gloomy old Dunedin , all alone , sucking on sour grapes , and reading by the flickering of a 15 watt light powered by sustainable goats' methane emissions ...
 
... are we suprised he's feeling grim deep in the woods ...

Gummy
at 3.27 AM - this is the best that you can contribute?
 
Murray - do not respond - this is age ten school playground stuff. 
 
Gummy -  where is your wit? I would recommend a good night of deep sleep. 

The deckchair suffling on the stern is going well for you it seems.
Going to be interesting indeed.
regards

2006 was the peak, probably, now while Libertarians such as yourself may have "moved on"  with denial and indeed the desperate are not looking, that doesnt change the facts.
regards
 

The facts being: "Our analysis suggests there are ample physical oil and liquid fuel resources for the foreseeable future."
Who is in denial? Please tell me how the IEA have got it all wrong.

Please tell me how the IEA have got it all wrong.

Now or in the past? Because they have certainly made some doozys in the past!  ** Cough ** $30 / barrel oil price until 2030 ** cough **

PDK, "Norman, then, has the bigger problem in getting votes from a ‘growth-mantra-chanting’ mass of voters, aided and abetted by a similarly-inflicted media"
Within the Green party documentation/correspondance its clear that they are driving for votes at almost any cost and that includes compromising their long term position of "when the sh** hits the fan"  Now whether thats an attempt to get enough influence to start to minimalise that impact I dont know, certainly Labour are yesterday's men just like National.  Really we are out of time, if the Greens and Labour dont win this election and take action, we get another 3 years of nothing, I cant see how any mitigation is possible in 2017.  The peak oil plateau is nearing its end 1~4 years. The fall off it could be really bad in terms of fuel shortages, 10~15% drop in a year is probable and we are not even discusing peak oil let alone the size of the impact.
regards

Bring on gas oil conversion. Oil actually kills people - unlike global warming. All that focus on harmless CO2 while oil combustion particulates knock off 7 million a year.

"Fine particulate matter is associated with a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illness, such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Worldwide, it is estimated to cause about 16% of lung cancer deaths, 11% of COPD deaths, and more than 20% of ischaemic heart disease and stroke. Particulate matter pollution is an environmental health problem that affects people worldwide, but low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience this burden."

Foresters to the rescue!

http://www.greenfuelnordic.fi/en/page/2

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/11/29/593396/0/en/Fortum-s-bi...

11,000 km/ha/year. Nice.

http://www.chemrec.se/The_world's_first_BioDME_plant_being_built_by_Chemrec.aspx

They dont mention EROEI....probably not past 3 to 1, and maybe even not past 2 to 1 no where near 8 to 1 we need.
Rescue? nope.  
regards

Not too sure where you got you 3 or 2 from or were you just commenting for the sake of it? Wood has got a EROEI of 30 odd – right up there with coal evidently. Just think of a tree as a solar panel that grows its own battery. If you want a better EROEI then just grow your trees to age eight rather than age seven – the economics will start going downhill but I guess that doesn’t matter to the sustainability warriors. If you look at the Metso site they are utilising wood waste so all the heavy lifting is done with the sawlog/plylog and the residue is delivered essentially free of charge. It pays to integrate these things. They are also utilising the waste heat from an existing power plant so I would say the EROEI would be looking pretty good though they are probably more interested in the economics of it.  100% renewable, CO2 neutral, low emissions. Again, like gas oil substitution what is not to like? Unless you are a watermelon or like scaring people with tales of doom.

You obviously dont understand EROEI.
When converting into biofuel, say biodeisel the EROEI is around 1 to 1 for just about all conversion processes. 
So lets say the latest tech manages 2 to 1, its still a long way to go to get to 8 to 1 which is about the minimum our present economy needs.
Sure there is waste processes that can claim an improvement, the problem is that doesnt scale. ie no one needs that much primary product to give that much "waste" to give enough biofule for "free".
"you would say", yeah right....come back with an actual calculation for this plant, of indeed any over 8 to 1, Id be interested.
regards
 
 

Come on, where do you get 1:1 from? The FT process? Things have moved on since 1925. Maybe you are thinking of corn:ethanol? Crappy, high moisture, NZ radiata residue to biodiesel is 5.4:1 and to ethanol is 5.6:1 and 7.6 for a dedicated willow plantation. Have a look at the Scion website.
All these things are on a case by case basis as there are a lot of variables. In the tropics the numbers are much better. Ultimately there are plenty alternatives out there if the oil price stays at $100 - forests essentially have another revenue stream that they didn't have at low oil prices. Though paper mills and village CHP plants were importing forest residues when oil was less than $30 and green energy wasn't trendy.  Given you are into the global warming catastrophe thing the fastest way to suck up a bit of CO2 and increase soil carbon is to plant forests. A fact generally ignored by the tax and control brigade. 
You also seem to miss the point in the links above that this wood waste is delivered to the site for free piggybacking on the core wood use such as lumber or plywood etc. The energy to convert to bio oil comes from wood itself ie solar energy so no fossil fuel need to be used and as a bonus emissions are much lower. This bio oil can be put directly into a heating plant or run a genset so there is no need to upgrade to biodiesel. It also lowers the transport cost so bio oil can be transported from locations where there is no energy demand cheaper than bulky biomass.
The scale is there also, if Sweden converted their black liquor to DME they could replace half their annual diesel consumption. There is no reason why you can't build a 20 storey building out of wood or the whole carbon industry thing so there is plenty of potential residues available.
EROEI is not everything. Nigerian oil has great EROEI but it has not done much for Nigeria has it. Fuel taxes and rule of law are a bigger factor in people lives than the base energy cost.
 

P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }
When Tiwai point closes, will we be able to use the energy to make Jet fuel?
 
There is vested interests the world over in oil and when that includes the tax take of all governments who knows what to believe, cant have you charging the car off the solar panels in the back yard, how do they tax you then? "If anyone can draw on the power, where do we put the meter?" -JP Morgan
 
I might be wrong, but is seems to me that it has only been 10 years or so since it was decided that it might be a good idea to develop a battery for an electric car.
 
I have not seen or heard anything that the airline industry are worried about oil running out. How can the airline industry survive peak oil?
 
What about Methane Ice, there was meant to be vast amounts of it?
 
If China has an economic meltdown, wont the price of oil drop through the floor?

make jet fuel from electricity? not effectively...or rather we need a feed stock of some sort that then the electrical energy can convert to Jet A1.  Trouble is the conversion, or EROEI is terrible...if its even economically doable.  Then there is the CO2 released in this process, a second ugly.
Air NZ trialed biofuel, but that went quiet, the econmics dont stack up.  How many airlines or indeed any fossil energy business / sector is saying much? except Richard Branson maybe.  It cant survive it on the scale it is, so at best we'll have the old clipper class where only the rich fly.
Sure the price of oil will drop, but how do you fancy a second Great Depression? riots?  How long did oil drop for in 2008? Sure it dropped to $35, then climbed pretty smartish to $85 and now $100 even though we are in stagnation. 
 
regards

ARB - good questions.
 
Tiwai indeed takes enough of our renewably-generated energy, for us to do a lot with when it departs. Hugh Watt's unintended legacy, not quite the one he was so proud of.
 
Vested interests are in trouble when the growth-based fiscal system is in trouble. Like everyone else, they' got so specialised, that they allowed their 'wealth' to be tracked by someone else in digital forms. Required a good deal of trust, which tends to be in short supply in their circles, and in times of crisis.
 
Batteries are limited by the voltaic separation of chemical combo's. Simple as that. There's 2 volts between lead and sulphuric acid, 1.6 volts between nickel and cadmium. That spread limits your cell potential, then the other part is the heat-loss from the charging effort (samre waay your bike-pump gets hot pumping up a tyre). They are plateauing, not accelerating, in battery-tech terms.
 
Yes, folk with intelligence in the airline industry are worried, but remember that specialisation thing - more rely on the oil specialists (like Profile up-thread - would you trust that?) The best reaction has been Branson:
 
http://bteam.org/
http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/launching-low-carbon-fuel-with-virgin-atlantic
 
If methane starts being emitted in feed-back form, it's game-over for the human species. Colatterally, it's the biggest extinction-event driven by one species. Good luck with that!
 
It has long been predicted that there would be a jagged saw-tooth on the way down. At some point, of course, recording ceases    :)
 
http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=21036&sid=7ae7a164d0a274fe2acc6b5e0d31e6d9
 
If the price drops through the floor, NZ's dairy income is in the basement. Is that an advantage?

They say you cant be green if you're in the red!
 

That is correct, in the extreme anyway.  Same applies to blue btw.
ie both the left and right are locked into the mantra of growth which once past peak oil is finished with...
Both are therefore yesterday's men.
regards

First part, yes, eg Air NZ, a dead dodo.  Second part blindly assumes that we still have BAU, we dont.  The kicker is EROEI, biofuels cant do it, ergo the future is going to be a lot different.
 
regards
 

Good one Murray. I look forward to mainstream media challenging our growth mantra politicians and commentators.

Be careful what-cha wish for...
 
I'd suggest a careful reading of the box set of Game of Thrones, for a comprehensive primer as to the characteristics of the world youse types are all itchin' ter get the rest of us into.....

It's not what we wish for.  Nobody wants society to collapse, in fact by having a controlled powerdown this is what we are trying to minimise.  
 
 

Two problems with the article.
First one is the one is a common belief that human activity is unsustainable while "mother nature" is sustainable. This is simply not true. Trees and other photosythesisizing organisms are sucking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing some of it undergound. Over time they are unsustainably reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. If left unchecked this unsustainable process would result in destruction of life on Earth, well before the Sun runs out of fuel (another unsustainable process) or the universe ends in a big crunch or whatever. The belief that "nature" is sustainable and humans are doing something wrong by exploiting the natural resources is a myth. Plants are doing it too. Once you realize that nothing is sustainable, you need to start thinking how you can survive for a bit longer in a way that is relatively pleasant. Surviving for the sake of survivial is not worth pursuing I reckon, better call it quits if things become really grim.
Second problem is equating the human history with the age of fossil fuels. This is a common mistake made by anglo-saxons. Last couple of hundred years is the time when they dominated the planet, and it is easy to belive that this is the human history. Actually, human civilization is around 12,000 years old. There has been steady progress over this time. Civilizations have thrived and disappread while using different technologies and fuel sources. This will no doubt continue well after the reliance on fossil fuel and anglo-saxon dominance have become history.
So cheer up, stop worrying so much about the end of the world. In a way greenies are becoming the new Christians, shouting "the end is nigh!". The end will come eventually, there is nothing you can do about it. If you want to postpone it, look to science and technology, not politicians to save the day. NASA deflecting an asteroid, scientists cracking nuclear fusion, efficient solar energy generation or new ways to increase agricultural yields (think GM, better ferts). These kind of things will save our bacon, not politicians or wannabe policy influencers.
 

1. the article doesn't say that - there is a big difference between changes that occur over 100's of millions of years and those that occur over a few hundred.
 
2.The article specifically says 200 years. Nowhere does it say what you say it says.

First a straw man argument.  Human activity is un-sustainable.
As a simple counter, CO2 has dropped from where it was over hundreds of millions of years as the carbon is permanently trapped in coal.  Trees otherwise do not trap it permanently, they only trap it until they die and decay so a cycle.  lets say the CO2 was taken out since there is less CO@ less heat is trapped and teh average temperature drops, so at some point trees stop growing and taking CO2 out and we have a balance.
Second straw man....no we are not equating human history to the age of fossils fuels.
In fact reading your entire piece its absolute rubbish. In a few wierd paragrpahs you attempt to throw away all the science, math etc...um no.  You may not understand it, or want to and wish to believe in, well Im not sure, la la land fantasy it seems.
 
regards
 
 
 

steven,
plants do capture some percantage of carbon permanently after they die. This is stored at the bottom of the oceans or underground. The process is one-way and irreversible. If left unchecked CO2 level would drop to a level where complex life would be very difficult. When you think about it, humans are reversing the climate change done by plants over eons. Plants are not sustainable. They are using resources available on the planet (water, sunlight, carbon) in a way that is irreversably changing the climate until they self-destruct. This is the facts, I don't think anyone can seriously dispute this.
You could argue that this is a moot point as we are changing the climate at an even faster rate. I disagree. You cannot build policy/ideology on lies and guilt. This is what the church was doing and it failed. This is why there is so much opposition to "green" ideas even from scientifically minded and rational people (not evolution doubting red necks).
Humans have achieved amazing things. We should be celebrating this and teaching kids to be proud of our achievements which were mostly positive.
We are not doing anything unnatural or evil by burning fossil fuels. After all, all this carbon was in the atmospehere orginally, we have as much right to put it back there as the plants have the right to take it out.
Yes, we are probably doing it too fast. We may cause some damage. But this is normal. Nature does it all the time, just read up on the mass extinction events. Only thing that is unnatural is status quo.
We need new technologies to move us forward. Same as inventing agriculture or the steam engine moved us forward. We don't need policies that try to preserve the status quo by stopping progress and reverting us to subsistance farming in order to achieve some non-existent "sustainability". Instead of composting and growing tomatoes in their backyard, kids should be learing about quantum physics. We need new solutions, not some weird behaviours to deal with the guilt feelings we are being force fed by the green movement.

PDK, you are doing a good job but you are tackling the method of destruction rather than the cause of the destruction.
 
Interest rates are the cause of the destruction
Fractional Reserve Banking is a method, used by banks to maximise profits from interest bearing creadit creation
Growth is the method used to raise the cash to pay the interest
 
The destruction of the planet is the outcome
 
Now consider the following
In 1960 NZ GDP was 5.486 billion USD
In 2010 NZ GDP was 139.8 billion USD
 
This info came from the internet. If it is incorrect it makes no difference because the reasoning remains the same
 
In 1960 the per capita GDP was $2,312 USD
In 2010 the per capita GDP was $31,999 USD
 
Are people who earn $31999 USD well off? NO
So we are no better off financialy. But we have had all this growth. How come we are not more wealthy?
 
Here is your answer.
 
GDP is the value of all the Goods and Services sold over a 12 month period
In order to buy more Goods and Services, and increase GDP, the people need more money.
In 1960 they had, on average, $2,312 USD and by 2010 they had, on average, $31,999 USD
But where did this extra money come from?
Banks, including Central Banks, dont just give away money so that we can spend more and increase GDP.
The increased money gets ito the system via the banks as loans bearing interest.
So all that increased money for us to spend and increase GDP is debt. That is ALL of our money supply is debt.
Also, as our money supply is all debt it has to pay interest on that debt. In order to pay that interest we have to have growth.
Look, say our money supply is $100 billion and it is all debt. Then it has to pay interest on that debt. Say the average interest rate is 6% then the money supply has to find an extra $6 billion to pay that interest. The only way the money supply can increase each year without causing hyper inflation is through growth.
 
Stopping growth and keeping interest rates would cause all loans to default and ALL banks to fail
 
Footnote: Just because you spend more money in 2010 than in 1960 does not mean you are better off. It could just mean things are more expensive, as we know they are.
 

couldn't agree more!
 
The one begat the other, of course.
 
You needed a growth-based fiscal system to match your growing trade in resources. That's probably why the desert-folk don't have interest; when your sum total wealth is a couple of prayer-mats, a goat or two, and a teapot, it's hard to do the pay-back thing.
 
For the record, I can't se the internation fractional-reserve system continuing - which is why Lagarde is making the noises she is. They're frightened. It's their whole world, and they don't have a planB.

If net interest of 5-7% is bad, then tax rate of 20-40% (inc GST, but excluding excise and levies) must be good for the economy.

Afterall, as mentioned here on Interest.co.nz a boozer and wastrel who puts themselves in the poor house and must be supported by others is an economic asset to the community, because they spend into the community.... it must follow that we should tax such activities to encourage them to occur.    After all, is it not said that increased taxation encourages financial activity, thus by heavy taxation we will increase spending revenues.

Not to worry, folks.  Take off them 'End is Nigh' sandwich boards.
 
Embrace the LFTR....after all, if it's OK for the Sun to run a controlled nuclear reaction to make our solar panels hum and heat our hotties, what's wrong wiv Us a'doin' the same?

Um.........................proximity?

Thorium is one of these permanently 25 year off technologies.
That said, the Chinese government recently told its science sector "You have 10 years. We will fund you well in that time. You will make it work" So it will be interesting to see how a "war footing" works for actually making progress.
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1452011/chinese-scientists-urged-...

I hope they get there, sad that Nixon threw it out, unbelievably corrupt and inept.
regards