Oil will run dry before substitutes roll out: study

Nov 09, 2010
Oil

At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations.

The forecast was published online Monday (Nov. 8) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace.

"Our results suggest it will take a long time before renewable replacement fuels can be self-sustaining, at least from a market perspective," said study author Debbie Niemeier, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Niemeier and co-author Nataliya Malyshkina, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher, set out to create a new tool that would help policymakers set realistic targets for environmental sustainability and evaluate the progress made toward those goals.

Two key elements of the new theory are market capitalizations (based on stock share prices) and dividends of publicly owned companies and alternative-energy companies. Other analysts have previously used similar equations to predict events in finance, politics and sports.

"Sophisticated investors tend to put considerable effort into collecting, processing and understanding information relevant to the future cash flows paid by securities," said Malyshkina. "As a result, market forecasts of future events, representing consensus predictions of a large number of investors, tend to be relatively accurate."

Niemeier said the new study's findings are a warning that current renewable-fuel targets are not ambitious enough to prevent harm to society, economic development and natural ecosystems.

"We need stronger policy impetus to push the development of these alternative replacement technologies along," she said.

Explore further: Minorities aren't well represented in environmental groups, study says

More information: Full text of study, "Future Sustainability Forecasting by Exchange Markets" -- pubs.acs.org/journal/esthag

Provided by University of California - Davis

2.4 /5 (47 votes)

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TabulaMentis
3.3 / 5 (16) Nov 09, 2010
The 90 year timeline is based on current technology and not new hypothetical technologies that will be developed over the next fifty years.
Just_some_guy
2.8 / 5 (8) Nov 09, 2010
How would you know?
Uri
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2010
It seems this would be a forecast better made by an economist than an environmental engineer. Besides current oil prices (which exert some control over the price of shares in publicly traded oil companies) seem to be buoyed right now by commodities trading based on a current lack of excess capacity, and fluctuations in the strength of the US dollar. There actually (currently) is no problem supplying the world with oil, the price reflects geopolitical instability.

The odd thing(to me) is that the inflated prices continue to cost everyone, regardless whether the perceived threat of oil supply interruption ever occurs.
JamesThomas
3.9 / 5 (10) Nov 09, 2010
The 90 year timeline is based on current technology and not new hypothetical technologies that will be developed over the next fifty years.


I agree that this study is not taking into account the doubly exponential growth of technology and the fast approaching singularity that will open an entire new paradigm.
Anyone interested may find Ray Kurzweil's commentaries informative.
AkiBola
4.3 / 5 (12) Nov 09, 2010
How did they estimate when fusion power will be practical, or small lightweight car batteries will be developed, or fuel cells will power our cars and homes, or 95% efficient solar panels will be on houses, or ....

The study is pure speculation with the pretence of being scientific and accurate. My best guess is it is an effort to maintain the bogus "peak oil" narrative and sustain high oil prices. I agree that there is, as yet, no cost effective alternative to pumping free black stuff out of the earth.
3432682
3.7 / 5 (15) Nov 09, 2010
Predicting technology 90 years into the future is quite a stretch. How good were people in 1920 at predicting today's technology? Hydraulic fracturing is having immense success for natural gas, and that will have effects on new oil exploration, as well as rejuvenating old "tapped out" wells and areas. Besides, apparently Earth itself generates methane far below organic layers, possibly providing whole new sources of energy.
jscroft
3.5 / 5 (18) Nov 09, 2010
Hydrogen and carbon are respectively the first and the sixth most abundant elements in the Universe. Planets in our solar system exhibit oceans of hydrocarbons that could swallow Earth without so much as a splash. We find hydrocarbons literally EVERY place we drill on the planet, so long as we drill deep enough.

And this guy thinks we're going to run out? Can anybody spell "political agenda"? Let's finally dispense with the pointless "dinosaur theory" of hydrocarbon deposits and actually have an adult conversation about their future as an energy source.

Peak Oil. What a stupid canard.

CarolinaScotsman
3.3 / 5 (10) Nov 09, 2010
I'm not sure if this is a ploy to justify higher oil prices or one to get more money into alternative energy research or both. The conclusions are quite speculative and are based on guess work not science. All in all, it seems to be a flawed and biased study.
Parsec
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 09, 2010
Long before we switch technologies, the earth will become so densely populated that we will all be squeezed to death. Thats quite easy to calculate based on the current population growth. Its even easy to predict the exact time it will happen (where every human being will have less that 1/4 sq meter of land surface to occupy.

This prediction, like the one in the post is totally bogus of course. Its simply impossible to extrapolate very far into the future at all.
eachus
4 / 5 (8) Nov 09, 2010
Total tripe. Imagine that the supply of (relatively cheap) oil was cut off today. How long would it take to switch back to coal for some purposes? How long to increase coal production to match the new demand? How long until enough oil substitute was made from coal for cases where oil is necessary?

The answer to the first question is measured in months. Increasing coal production to replace oil completely would take 5-10 years, and that includes the conversion of coal to automotive and jet fuel.

I don't like coal, and I certainly wouldn't want to see the world move back to a coal based economy. However there are lots of other, better, alternatives which would be developed as well. Recovery of methane from methane clathrates is just one such possibility. Fission Nuclear power is a lot better than burning oil or coal for base load electricity, and so on.
marjon
2.1 / 5 (26) Nov 09, 2010
Another BS article from physorg, except, if the socialists at physorg do get their way, there WILL be shortages of all kinds.
If free markets and private property rights are protected, no shortages will occur.
This is why many here hate free markets and property rights. They can't have control.
Modernmystic
3.3 / 5 (11) Nov 09, 2010
We've had nuclear for many years. Go fish...

That an article like this can even be published much less a study like this be taken seriously shows how much this issue has been politicized.
TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2010
How would you know?

Because I consider myself smart!

There was just an article placed on Physorg.com titled:

"Quantum computers may be much easier to build than previously thought, study."

that can be found at the following link:

http://www.physor...ght.html

People who wrote this article seem to be forgetting about future innovations like: quantum computers, artifical intelligence, robotics, fusion power, H2O power, gravity engines, fuel cell vehicles, teleporters, replicators and so forth.
AdamCC
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2010
I'm not suggesting this study is spot on, BUT
a) None of you are scientists. Pretty sure this scientist has some idea what he's doing and what the results mean. I get so sick of people thinking they know more than the scientists doing the studies.
b) This is an economic analysis, it's about commercialization and infrastructure, not about invention. Yes, we don't know where things will go in 90 years. But the study is suggesting that if policies remain the same and the development - and more importantly commercialization - of alternative energy sources continues at the same pace, it won't be able to provide all our energy needs before oil "runs out"
snwboardn
4 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2010
If the U.S. FED keeps rolling out "quantitative easing" it won't matter because inflation will put the price of oil and gasoline way out of the reach of the working class.
ArtflDgr
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2010
This is about the fifth time they predicted that it would end...

and adamcc, your idea that only those who are a member of the science guild know things, is completely ignorant of all the stuff that came and does come from outside the self appointed anointed of academia..

your following in the footsteps of the dominicans who siced the churge on gallileo to hold the consensus, or else they would not share profits on education with the church..

or trofim lysenko...

you can get sick of it adamcc, but they are no more infallible experts than you are, and worshipping them for their smarts and your lack does not make any progress towards validity.

ever read the czech papers on oil found deeper and hotter than there is life? russians drilled seven miles down...

if they could foment the aids myth, agw, they could do the same here, and only those who are driving you crazy would save you from ignorance pretending to be erudition

TabulaMentis
2 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2010
@AdamCC

That is my point, this study is based on narrow minded people who believe everything will remain the same, which they will not.

As for if I am an educated or self-educated scientist, well, that remains to be seen!
ArtflDgr
1.8 / 5 (10) Nov 09, 2010
if policies remain the same and the development - and more importantly commercialization - of alternative energy sources continues at the same pace, it won't be able to provide all our energy needs before oil "runs out"

yes, and if conditions remained the same, we would not be here, but dinosaurs would.

its completely false analysis with no meaning other than political...

socialists are legendary in history for pushing the presumption of an end justifies the means, and so truth, empricism, etc, goes out the window first!

[my family came from an occupied land of the soviet union, so go ahead, tell me from inexperience what it is, is somethig else]
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (18) Nov 09, 2010
Is it a surprise that a social engineer "finds" that social engineering will be required, as opposed to free market capitalism? No. The "global warming" debate is really about governmental social control vrs freedom/capitalism.
PinkElephant
3.1 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2010
@Uri,
Besides current oil prices (which exert some control over the price of shares in publicly traded oil companies) seem to be buoyed right now
Not to pick on you personally, but it's a common delusion.

To find the real price of oil, let's just assume that about 50% of our military spending is ultimately targeted at guaranteeing access to oil supplies, or dealing with blowback from our past practices related to oil supplies. That's roughly $500 Billion per year (including both on- and off-budget spending.) U.S. annual consumption of oil is roughly 7 billion barrels. This works out to about $70/bbl in extra "hidden" cost.

So the REAL current price of oil is not $85/bbl, but more like $155/bbl. (And that's while ignoring the HUMAN, never mind environmental costs...)

If we actually recognized the REAL price in a TRUE "free market", we'd be paying well in excess of $6/gal for gasoline. That would make alternative fuels and technologies mighty competitive in a hurry.
AdamCC
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2010
BAH! Seriously sometimes I wonder why I even bother scrolling past the article to the comments.

I am not suggesting, as ArtflDgr implies, that scientists are infallible. Far from it. That's why we have the scientific process - scientists are constantly checking one another's work. Which is why I prefaced my comment by stating that I was not suggesting that the study was spot-on. It may not even be right.
AdamCC
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2010
My point was that people interested in science sitting at home reading this article - such as myself - do NOT know better than the scientists producing the research. Same goes for EVERY article here on physorg and elsewhere. Findings may or may not stand the test of time and research by other experts, but we DO NOT KNOW. The people behind these articles - or rather, the people behind the research (the articles don't always do a good job of representing them or their findings) - these people have KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE.
AdamCC
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2010
Sure, people outside of Academia can contribute to scientific understanding, but for that to happen their suggestions/findings/research must be scrutinized by experts in the field (those familiar with the math/date/whatever). It's the scientific process. And like it or not, it HEAVILY favors those with thorough education. Reading up on topics at home, or even having a bachelor's degree in a field, does not put you anywhere NEAR the level of expertise of these individuals. If you want to claim they're wrong, you had better have some REAL education and/or EVIDENCE - evidence that will have to be independently verified.
AdamCC
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2010
Unless you have a phd or have some real, specific evidence and are willing to have it tested and quite possibly refuted, just. shut. up. Honestly. You are not a scientist.

Use the comments section to express interest, discuss implications, compare to other studies by people in the field ... just don't make unjustified claims based on preconceived notions, which often stem from political bias or incomplete education.
AdamCC
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2010
Oh, and TabulaMentis, "self-educated scientist" is utterly meaningless and laughable. Show me your phd, or else PROVE to me that you are one of those EXTREMELY rare individuals that is going to make a real contribution to science without a formal education (with a theory, research, or whatever that is / will be validated by others that know what they're talking about and have the wherewithall to test).
Noumenon
3.1 / 5 (17) Nov 09, 2010
AdamCc , don't be so naive to think phd's are infallible. In the 70's these phd's proclaimed "global COOLING". Also, as you know science does not advance based on authority alone, but based on ability of a model TO MAKE PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE EVENTS, and measure and verify the accuracy of those predictions against observations. While I believe reducing co2 is a good thing as the core science is correct, much of the AGW is speculation especially with respect to proposed solutions, and eminent danger.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2010
In the 70's these phd's proclaimed "global COOLING".
And they were quite right. Today, it's called "global dimming":

http://en.wikiped..._dimming
as you know science does not advance based on authority alone
I believe his point is that to opine on matters of science, one has to first be at least minimally versed in the subject matter. Otherwise, one is liable to make a fool of oneself.
AdamCC
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2010
I believe his point is that to opine on matters of science, one has to first be at least minimally versed in the subject matter. Otherwise, one is liable to make a fool of oneself.


Quite right, at least in part. My point is not to declare that science is always right and every scientist is flawless. My point is that it is rather naive and presumptious for someone without equal education (and in the right field) to declare them wrong unequivically, especially when doing so involves rather strong unsopported statements (particularly when they are politically charged). Leave the science to the scientists - doesn't mean they're always right, just means that they as a community decide what IS, over time ... not self-educated couch scientists. If the scientific community has produced something supporting your claims / against something stated in an article, first make sure you fully understand the context, then cite the other evidence in your comment.
Ravenrant
5 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2010
This is pure BS, replacement technologies are available now if we had the will to implement them. Oil won't run out for at least 50 years MINIMUM and we are supposed to believe replacement technology won't be ready until 90 years after that, 2150? Come on, get real.
KomMaelstrom
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2010
Let me see some figures untainted by opinionated scholars looking for a healthy pocket to feed from.

They preach disaster to gain attention. I can't take these people seriously anymore.
Flakk
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2010
At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready


I guess I should move closer to my job.
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2010
This is pure BS, replacement technologies are available now if we had the will to implement them. Oil won't run out for at least 50 years MINIMUM and we are supposed to believe replacement technology won't be ready until 90 years after that, 2150? Come on, get real.


i dont find it that hard to believe at all, in 1850 at the start of the industrial revolution they moved from animal and people power to mechanical powered devices and it has taken us 150+ years to reach this peak of technology where literally EVERYTHING we live in is dependent on petroleum and fossil fuels. So if we were to move to a system where all of that raw material is sourced from a new technology (algae produced oils for plastics, electric vehicles using stored solar/wind energy) it would take at least 150 more years to completely switch over, dont be fooled by the population there might be more of us doing the work but theres still more of us who need the work done too.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2010
"Sure, people outside of Academia can contribute to scientific understanding, but for that to happen their suggestions/findings/research must be scrutinized by experts in the field (those familiar with the math/date/whatever). It's the scientific process. And like it or not, it HEAVILY favors those with thorough education."

Yeah, who likes the fact that most of the same people that CAUSED the current economic crisis are the ones appoint to fix it?!?

Should I assert myself the Science of Modern Economics and all it's proponents should go take a flying leap?

Oh, wait Marx was an economist (arguably the greatest of all time) and LIKE much of what he wrote...
Bartolo
3.5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2010
Many future developments will not be possible because of the scarceness of materials needed for those technologies. China owns many of them and isn't willing to share or sell. We can't even make alternative energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines, or flat screen TV's and mobile phones for that matter, without these materials.
I don't think the future is really as bright as some people still think it is and this study may even be way too positive.
Maybe humans should start reconsidering their reproduction rate?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2010
@ Cave Man

The electric car was first used in the 1800s, so at your rate of 150 years we should be about there.

This article does not take into account Moore's Law.

http://en.wikiped...e's_law

Computing power along with artifical intelligence will help facilitate future innovation. Quantum computers will make a giant difference.

There are some new discoveries coming within the next 40 years that will change everything. Coal and crude oil will be the last thing people will be worrying about then.
ekim
4 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2010
http://www.genera...ign.html
This could solve some problems.
Personally I'm in favor of Thorium nuclear reactors. Not just for power generation ,but to reduce the amount nuclear waste that already exists.
Husky
not rated yet Nov 10, 2010
we don't even need fusion, improved fission and deep actinide burners, will bridge the oil and tech gap until the Z-machines and Polywells of this world finally pan out on commercial scale, in this respect China and India show us the way by building fission reactors like they are growing mushrooms at much more reduced cost/KwH
CreepyD
4.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2010
It's a total waste of money even trying to bother to guess what the world will be like 90 years from now.
Just as people 90 years ago simply would never have been able to dream about our current tech, in 90 years time people will look back and say the same.
I think as the oil runs out (IF it runs out), prices will rise, gradually forcing alternatives to be used. It's not going to run out overnight!
John_balls
2.3 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2010
What an ignorant article. We can be off of oil in 10 years if we really wanted too.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2010
@ CreepyD

In 90 years you and me will be able to look back and talk about the good old days if we create technologies enabling us to build mind uploaders/downloaders.
jscroft
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 10, 2010
@AdamCC: Actually, I am a scientist. And I can state unequivocally that the nature of the sheepskin nailed over one's desk is the LEAST important factor in the question of whether one is qualified to comment in a scientific forum.

The beauty of science is that it doesn't CARE who you are, where you come from, or how you received your education. A pointed, well-formulated question posed by an amateur is EVERY BIT as deserving of consideration as one posed by an "expert." We who operate at the threshold of human knowledge are painfully aware of our ignorance. At the frontier, we are ALL amateurs.

On the other hand, only SOME of us are jackasses... namely, the guy standing on a chair in the middle of an interesting debate, yelling for everybody else to shut up.
Noumenon
3.7 / 5 (15) Nov 10, 2010
I think as the oil runs out (IF it runs out), prices will rise, gradually forcing alternatives to be used. It's not going to run out overnight!
This is exactly correct. Oil will become increasingly expensive (as it "run's out") which in turn will allow alternatives to compete. The study was done by "civil and environmental engineers", so intrinsic to their mentality is governmental policy rather than capitalism. This is what they are trying to say,.. Capitalism won't fix this in time, so we need big government and control of the masses (aka social engineering). The study is idiotic to say the least. Whether you believe in AGW or not, if you can't see by now that this is really a debate over form of government, then you're clueless. ....
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (16) Nov 10, 2010
Let's put aside whether AGW is pure speculation or a empirically verified theory (you guys ignored this point), and assume it's true,.. NOTICE the proposed solutions are all anti-capitalist in nature, big government policies and control of energy use.. If these "researches" had a clue they would attempt to prove that oil will NOT run out and will remain relatively cheap and in use, therefore showing the freemarket will not of itself solve the problem, but they can't.
BTW, "global cooling" is the polar opposite of "global warming",.. now it's "climate change" which came latter and is intrinsically undebatable.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2010
@Noumenon,

Look up the definition of "civil engineering". (I'm afraid you'll find it has nothing to do with "social engineering".)
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 10, 2010
Do think by "policymakers"' they mean the private sector even though they just stated free market can not save the world in time?
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2010
They just stated that the free market TOLD them it has no intention of saving the world in time. At that point, what alternative is there?

Although one should note that the current valuations of oil are set by anything but a free market. Because oil is artificially cheap, its alternative competition is therefore artificially depressed, the usage of oil is artificially kept too high, and the dependency of the rest of the economy is therefore artificially biased toward oil.

Given that all of this is a direct consequence of policymaker decisions, I'd say it makes sense to look to policymakers for solutions...
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (15) Nov 10, 2010
Word-salid. The price of oil is driven by THE MARKET via commodity exchanges, traders speculatng on conditions and forces in the global MARKET. There is nothing "artificial" or engineered about it. All OPEC for example, can do is to decide on production volume, like any company they don't want to flood the market with oil causing prices to decline, and don't want to limit production to cause prices to go high either, as this may cause a change in oil use behavior and even alternative markets. The free market isn't a thing that will consciousily decide anything,.. the condition of harder to find and extract oil will cause prices to go up, thus allowing alternative energy sources to compete. If anything is artificial it is government social engineering, reducing energy use, artificially causing gas prices to go up, proping up questionable alternatives before their natural free market time.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2010
The price of oil is driven by THE MARKET via commodity exchanges, traders speculatng on conditions and forces in the global MARKET.
Except the background against which the market operates, causes the market to be massively biased. As I've already mentioned before, U.S. (along with NATO) is pouring hundreds of $Billions a year, not to mention numerous human lives and livelihoods, into essentially assuring access to oil. This massively distorts the price (under-pricing by at least 50%.) If U.S. withdrew all that spending, there would be wars and embargoes all over the Middle East and Africa. Oil would be almost twice as expensive, if not more so. Which would bolster all the petro-dictators even more, and spark even more strife. And so on, in a "virtuous circle".

And that's before we consider the unnatural dynamics of the long-term unsustainable petrodollar system: again, set up and maintained deliberately by policymakers.

http://en.wikiped..._warfare
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 10, 2010
Pink pink, the US would have it's tenticles all over the planet irrespective of oil, as the British, Spain, Portugal, and France did before there was a USA or cars for that matter. A country will spend money protecting it's interest. You're attempting convoluted accounting to win a point, but it's bad accounting. Even if you can get away with it, that is just a cost of doing business and doesn't take from the point that oil as a commodity is driven by free market forces,... and the solution to AGW will be free market as well.
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 10, 2010
This study is nothing more than propaganda by leftist wanting control of the AGW solution.
global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready
Wild speculation, perfectly in accord with many AGW claims, but hey I guess only phd's are allowed to speculate.
Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (14) Nov 10, 2010
,.. what AdamCC doesn't understand is that such speculation is not science. I gave the conditions above, necessary of science to advance and to claim knowledge. Verified predictions.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2010
Pink pink, the US would have it's tenticles all over the planet irrespective of oil
And that is precisely what I mean when I talk about policy makers. This isn't a matter of free markets, but of geopolitics and oligarch-centric policy-making (i.e. the industries with the biggest share of EXISTING economic structure, get to drive policy in a SELF-SERVING feedback cycle.)

If you myopically focus on the markets while ignoring all the politics, you're going to get an utterly incomplete and patently incorrect picture.
and the solution to AGW will be free market as well.
The point is, that solution could be reached much sooner, if only the policymakers got out of the way and stopped distorting the markets.
Wild speculation, perfectly in accord with many AGW claims
Or, perhaps a hint that the markets are horribly miscalculating future trends. Contrary to right-wing propaganda, markets are neither inherently rational nor efficient. At times, the markets are HORRIBLY wrong.
marjon
3 / 5 (6) Nov 10, 2010
At times, the markets are HORRIBLY wrong

Free markets are self correcting.
Govts are HORRIBLY wrong, more times than not. But govts are FORCE and are much more difficult to correct.
Freddie, Fannie, and other govt regulations caused the mortgage collapse. Has any govt agency, employee or politician been 'corrected'? No, they have been rewarded.
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (15) Nov 11, 2010
If you myopically focus on the markets while ignoring all the politics, you're going to get an utterly incomplete and patently incorrect picture
I'm not ignoring the politics, try reading some of my posts,.. I say flat out that AGW is all about politics because the left assumes redistribution of wealth and social engineering will be solutions, but this requires fundamentally changing and controlling society. I'm saying this mentality will fail because it cuts across the grain of the free market, it will fail like cap&trade. The left are about controlling society through reactionary ad-hoc button pushing and dial turning of social economic forces.
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (15) Nov 11, 2010
... so they propose to control the earths thermostat while they can't even do basic things like prevent genocide, and the USA government failed to anticipate basic things like the housing market bouble, even though it set up the conditions through do-gooder policies that caused it. What about unintended consequences of gov social control?'The USA is 13 trillion $ in debt and now they are printing money for convoluted accounting, that's clear incompetence & more reasons I don't trust a government. As Marjon said, the markets have ups and downs but the government is ALWAYS in debt, inefficient, and incompetent.
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (16) Nov 11, 2010
The point is, that solution could be reached much sooner, if only the policymakers got out of the way and stopped distorting the markets
The market is not distorted. You can't say that because the USA protects it's interest around the world, preventing the savages in the middle east from slaughtering each other, that that cost should be added to the cost of oil. If the USA government was a BUSINESS and made a profit (what a joke) and was taxed (even better joke) then yes they could add those costs and pass them on to the buyer. The gov is not a business, it's purpose is to establish safe trade routes, stabilize other countries, and as I said above IT IS DONE IRRESPECTIVE OF OIL. You can't add that cost onto the cost of oil,..'doing so would be an artificial raising of oil prices and is social engineering.
Noumenon
3.4 / 5 (15) Nov 11, 2010
I'm not saying gov has no place. I don't mind tax money doing something useful like grants to research or for subsidies for infrastructure or industries if a market looks promising, or is core to the economic interests,..'that's the governments job.

Generally, if no one is behind the counter making a profit, no one is there to maintain quality, efficiency, and innovation. That's why the USA free market is so successful and has raised the standard of living in the USA and across the globe, while in contrast the USA government is 13 trillion in debt and all basic social problems still exist.
TabulaMentis
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2010
I truly believe petroleum jelly will have useful applications for thousands of years to come!
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (16) Nov 11, 2010
U.S. (along with NATO) is pouring hundreds of $Billions a year, not to mention numerous human lives and livelihoods, into essentially assuring access to oil. This massively distorts the price
I don't agree with the premise that that could be stopped or such cost makes sense to add to the cost of oil, but couldn't you say that regulations preventing drilling or making it too expensive to do so, right here in the USA, causes dependency on foreign oil and in turn artificially inflates the cost of gas? It's all a wash and dorsn't matter, oil is a commodity that is traded on the open market. The gov could add a gas tax to artificially slow use, but again this is dangerous tinkering with the economy, and entirely unnecessary. The technologies that will come about will make this AGW argument obsolete in a matter of decades.
Shootist
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 13, 2010
"The aeroplane will never fly." -- Lord Haldane, Minister of War, Britain
NotParker
4 / 5 (8) Nov 13, 2010
The world is awash in Natural Gas with vast qwuantities being extracted from Shale, anve ven more in Methane Hydrates.

Cars can and do run on NG.

We have a replacement now, not 90 years from some fantasy end of oil moment.

ekim
not rated yet Nov 13, 2010
"I am tired of all this sort of thing called science here ... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped."

-- Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator, on the Smithsonian Institute, 1901
ODesign
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
commentators should read the article.

"It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace."

They reverse extrapolate to find the perceived odds and probability that would produce the investor behavior they scientifically observed. They could have used the same technique to predict the health of the oceans 90 years from now based on the long-term investors commercial fishing ship building stock price.
Just_some_guy
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
@ CreepyD

In 90 years you and me will be able to look back and talk about the good old days if we create technologies enabling us to build mind uploaders/downloaders.


Oh, please! You are reading this forum like it's a science fiction novel! There's a distiction between science and science fiction you know. And not just in the spelling.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (2) Nov 14, 2010
If oil industry subsidies were gradually reduced,alternate energy sources could become economically viable.I find it incredible that big oil receives billions of taxpayer dollars,and has for decades. See: http://cleantech....node/554
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2010
@Just_Some_Guy

Oh, please! You are reading this forum like it's a science fiction novel! There's a distiction between science and science fiction you know. And not just in the spelling.


How much money are you offering for the answer?
kawa
not rated yet Nov 15, 2010
You're just a bunch of conspiracy theory crackpots that think corporations and governments FAKE PEAK OIL in order increase their money and power!

The reality is that they don't need to fake anything in order to do that!
JeffJohnson17
not rated yet Nov 15, 2010
Hey I know I know!
Lets grow and use hemp oil for our engines like we did 100 freaking years ago!
Yellowdart
3 / 5 (4) Nov 15, 2010
The point is, that solution could be reached much sooner, if only the policymakers got out of the way and stopped distorting the markets.


Agreed. When did you start advocating a free market? :)

Yet you argue that the price would go up if we quit spending on wars? Yes the demand would go down, but that means you'd have a temporary surplus of oil. The price would go down as a result. There is no reason to stay at war to protect price.

The knee jerk as you mentioned would be the tariffs/embargoes, but such a response doesnt protect price in the long run. If OPEC raises their price despite the demand, others will react to raise cost against OPEC, or will produce more of their own supply. Instead, OPEC should lower prices, so that more oil is consumed again.

TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2010
Hey I know I know!
Lets grow and use hemp oil for our engines like we did 100 freaking years ago!

I can see it right now, exhaust pipe smokers. What a bong that would be!
box211
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
Considering how fast the population is growing and how quickly third world countries are entering the petroleum market, this problem may be here much sooner than expected.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
@Yellowdart,
When did you start advocating a free market? :)
I've always advocated for it. Though what I understand as "free" isn't what zealots like marjon have in mind.

To me, "free" does not mean "lawless" (e.g. "fraudulent", "front-ran", "pump-and-dump", "inside trading", "manipulated", or "cornered".) Nor does it mean "free of externality costs".
There is no reason to stay at war to protect price.
We're not protecting price; we're protecting supplies. If supplies dwindle (e.g. due to geopolitical disruptions), that would of course cause prices to skyrocket (e.g. the 1970's oil crunch.) Of course, our geopolitical acts only breed more enemies, and lead to more wars and blowback, in a "virtuous circle".
Instead, OPEC should lower prices, so that more oil is consumed again
Which would lead precisely to the scenario described by the title of the article above...
Yellowdart
3 / 5 (4) Nov 30, 2010
We're not protecting price; we're protecting supplies


Domino effect in the least. You can also protect supply by investing mor ein your own resources or new alternatives.

Which would lead precisely to the scenario described by the title of the article above...


Not really. Remember alternatives mean a drop in demand and thus consumption. OPEC would lower prices to increase demand again. So overall the amount consumes isnt any greater than it was before.

The problem for america is that such things as hybrids arent more cost effecient. They cost more to purchase, and are expensive to repair. For many americans who drive an hour to work, have larger families, etc it's not a lucrative investment yet.

Car companies arent selling it cheap, because they are also still heavily invested in gasoline heavy products.

With tensions rising in the east, I'd be far more worried about WWIII than running out of oil.