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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

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Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

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The fall of petroleum civilization 
will take place primarily in the U.S. as it is most dependent on limited resources.  
Helpful in understanding trends is an honest assessment of alternative energy, in terms of potential for a given population size and number of decades usage.  
Additionally, U.S. foreign policy can be glimpsed more and more clearly in its drive to maintain its oil-fueled, corporate-based empire.

Why have prices of crude oil gone up? 
Denis Frith, May 20, 2004, revisited March 3, 2005

The upward trend in the price of oil is doubtless due to the weighted combination of a number of factors in the minds of those making the decisions to purchase this critical source of energy for industrial society.

These factors probably include:

 uncertainty about the ability of OPEC to continue to increase their export capability, despite their rhetoric

 concern about the level of Iraqi supply over the next few years

 concern about political stability in the Middle East, particularly Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia

 worry about the exports to US from Venezuela and Nigeria

 reduction in the estimates for Caspian Sea area compounded by technical problems

 the impact of the North Sea decline on global supply

 speculation of money players on the soundness of the view of economists that the market will ensure the current trend is just a blip by encouraging exploration and reducing demand. There is no real sign of decreasing demand in the US while it is increasing rapidly amongst the Asian giants.

 worry about the plans of the Russians: do they intend to get a bit of their own back by cutting the supply of oil, so hitting the US economy, whilst helping the long-term Russian economy by keeping more of their oil for their use

 worry about Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian increases in demand and the measures they are employing to ensure they can compete with the US in getting their share of the remainder. They are doing business with countries such as Venezuela and Sudan.

 reading the signs from the major oil companies that are covertly covering the difficulties in discovering sufficient new resources to cover the decline in existing fields

 noting that many oil exploration and service companies are contracting due to the growing technical difficulties and the loss of experienced staff

 interpreting the hype about how advances in technology are enabling oil to be extracted from deep water, oil sands and other difficult sources as spelling out that most of the easy oil has been used

 recognition that there are countries that are seriously looking at alternatives to oil, particularly China, Japan and in Europe because they appreciate that peak oil has almost certainly arrived

 recognition that some countries, particularly US, Canada, Australia are dangerously addicted to the use of oil for transportation and food production yet have insufficient activity in place for a timely transition to some unproven alternatives, mainly because their leaders will not face up to biophysical reality

 awareness of how long it took the community to wake up to the dangers of smoking, despite numerous warnings, because of the obfuscation of the tobacco companies and the negligence of the politicians. Big oil seems to have learnt a lot from the tactics employed by the tobacco companies.

 awareness of the problems of rapidly increasing demand (with very likely decreasing supply) due to increasing population as well as the consumption of the emerging Asian economies

 awareness of the global reaction (so-called terrorism) to countries getting more than their fair share of an irreplaceable resource, especially as this resource has often been obtained from the owners by very dubious political and business means

 recognition of the geophysical fact that the supply of oil is limited and that about half of it has been used up in a very short period of time and the rate of usage is increasing at a tremendous ecological as well as economic cost – this cannot continue

I expect that there is an increasing number of informed people responsible for major decisions who are aware of some of these factors and are acting accordingly. The momentum is clearly building up, covertly, and despite protestations about business as usual by the prejudiced.

It seems very likely that the volatility in oil prices is partly due to the increased speculation in oil futures but that does not hide the upward trend from the discerning.
However, I very much doubt whether some of the factors (particularly the last) are given their due weight, yet.

There could well be an explosive growth in oil price at any time due to some trigger event amongst the above.

Denis Frith, Melbourne 42S 148E Australia
Frith is a researcher and commentator participating in energyresources listserve.


Dear Culture Change,

Re.: Why have prices of crude oil gone up? 

I applaud Denis Frith for sharing his insights of reasons he believes oil prices are rising.  Let's distill the barrel: 

Oil prices are higher because
** the world's oil production has very likely peaked; ** (in the) U.S. gasoline production facilities are essentially fixed; and 
** China and India are competing with other nations, buying more. Increasing demand from increasing populations and living standards against fixed or decreasing supply means higher prices.

Note that nearly all increases in U.S. energy consumption is due to massive legal and illegal-immigration.  Higher prices and consumption (supply) limits also suggests political instability.  The world's oil situation will progressively worsen. However, "over time" implies some opportunity to deal with it. 

In Canada and the U.S., oil is the crisis du jour issue whereas natural gas is the genuine calamity issue (Mexico is beyond hope).  Our favorite energy source, North American NG is rapidly running out! 

Today, TODAY, even average weather means electricity brownouts and the occasional blackout.  Today, the consequences of merely an average summer followed by a cold winter would be difficult to imagine.  In two or maybe three years, regardless of weather, Canadian and U.S. blackouts will become common and widespread. 

Dell Erickson 
May 24, 2004


Articles on this website:

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

Peak oil: A turning point for humankind by Colin J. Campbell

The oil crash and you by Bruce Thomson

Additional information resources
For perspective on the Iraq War by those intimately familiar with colonialization:
www.rupe-india.org  The war was a military solution to a financial problem for the U.S.
The second annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas in Paris in May was quite a success.  Read the summary at their website: www.peakoil.net


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