Up, Down and Getting Hotter

June 12, 2011

On Friday, I put another $20 worth of fuel in the old Jeep, gas now down to $4.19 a gallon for regular — a dime drop in just a week and nearly a quarter in less than a month.

This as certain oil prices increased: Brent crude oil futures for July 2011 delivery ended the week’s trading session at $118.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange yesterday evening, $2.50 higher than last week’s closing price of $116.00 a barrel. Brent oil prices rallied as high as $120.07 in early Asian trade on Friday, breaching $120 for the first time since 5th May.
Down here, up over there.

(Illustration found here).

Meanwhile, WTI prices have decreased: US Light crude oil futures for July 2011 delivery ended the week’s trading session at $99.11 a barrel on the NYMEX, $1.38 lower than last week’s closing price of $100.49. What’s up with that?

According to reports, some of the off-shock at the pump comes from Saudi Arabia’s move to increase oil output to spite other OPEC members, who so quarrelled like bitter, little school girls last week over oil production that it busted up an important meeting of the oil producing group. From the LA Times:

Saudi Arabia may increase its oil output by as much as 13% in coming days, a Saudi newspaper reported on Friday. The word came just days after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries snubbed a Saudi call to raise production quotas to reduce prices and help boost the global economic recovery. Analysts saw it as a bold step to reassert Saudi influence over the cartel.

One explanation for just a part of a bias toward reality: Oil is like an animal that feeds off its own ass, and ultimately and eventually, due to an insatiable appetite overpowering the body’s ability to produce more ass to consume (food/energy), will explode/implode and die.
An actuality in that bias is the now-much-talked-about no-longer-a-concept of peak oil, which in itself just signifies the beginning of the end for the cheap shit — easily extracted and put into production — and from here on out, the whole getting-of-oil will cost so much, both in cash and environment, gas might become rare, via the “Mad Max” view of the so-near future.

A good read with graphs and charts on the nowadays of peak oil can be found at theoildrum in a post on the international oil company TOTAL’s view on future oil production.
The thrust:

In performing their analysis, TOTAL created their own view on how future oil production in different regions will develop.
Mauriaud (Pierre Mauriaud of TOTAL Oil) mentioned in his presentation that once the geological decline begins it is inevitable, except for a few small upward bumps which do not change the decline trend much (shown in figure 3 in the case of the UK).

Also, he made the prediction that the decline in Russian oil production will begin once about 60% of all potential to produce reserves are produced, implying that Russia will peak around 2014.

Just like in past public statements by TOTAL, Pierre Mauriaud mentioned that their key message is not one of a lack of resources.
According to the company there are plenty of resources left, including conventional oil. The problem lies in turning these into reserves due to the need for advanced technology, large scale investments, and a lack of resource accessibility of international oil majors.

The big problem, however, is not the oil itself, as reportedly there’s enough oil out there to keep the globe going for another decade or so (see above, while other studies suggest less-than a few years at best), which in itself further intensifies another much-more-obvious reality, that of climate change — oil products in machines powered by gas, or coal, or wood, or whatever, is much-quicker-than-anticipated heating up the planet beyond what is livable — but does the earth itself have another couple of decades (or even a couple of years) within itself to handle this business-as-usual with oil products.

Climate change is kind of in-your-face nowadays — people can see the effects out their window, all over the planet — the US joining all mankind the last few years in receiving the blunt end of big, natural disasters, events previously occurring in third-world countries, currently everywhere.
And most-likely because of the dumb-ass politics of the very term, ‘climate change,’ most people, from what I can tell, may not actually call it that, or maybe even think that, but are still fretfully-aware of a general weirdness turn in the weather, both where they live, and all over.
Here along California’s northern coast, from some of the old-timers, the weather has shifted in just the last couple of seasons from more-drier and warmer climes to a similarity of elements from 50-60 years ago — wetter and colder.

Peak oil is different — a disaster in a kind of slow motion loop.
And gas price craziness ain’t it — I experienced a craze at the pump nearly four decades ago in the mid-1970s during the initial OPEC dust-up — so we continue driving cars, trucks and planes without a thought of what is in reality already a lifestyle of the past, which also in reality is seemingly catching quickly-up with the nowadays.

And the direct by-product by all that driving around is hot temperatures.
People in the eastern US are right now cooking under a sweltering heat wave — record heat from New York to Chicago, to Philadelphia to Chattanooga, all them going pop like nuts in an oven.
And we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Another new climate study says summers are going to be hot and then get hotter.
A team from Stanford University concluded the way life is going right now, all the places of the world where it’s already hot, will see some “unprecedented summer heat,” while even the middle latitudes of Europe, China and North America will undergo “extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years.”

“According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,” said the study’s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science and fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford.

The report is to be published later this month in the journal Climate Change Letters.

One must remember in all this shit, however, especially in a changing climate, these environmental alterations are coming faster than at first anticipated, in some cases, much, much faster.
From the UN’s “Climate Change Science Compendium 2009” (via IPS News):

“Just a few years ago, we thought sea level rise might become an issue in a century or two,” said UNEP’s executive director, Achim Steiner.
“The latest research (on sea level rise) is something that is really quite breathtaking,” he said, adding, “It is not inconceivable that sea level rise may reach two metres …in the lifetime of a child born today.”

Two metres translated into American is more than 6.5 feet.

And these observations this past February from Dr. Harold R. Wanless, chairman and professor in the department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami, via earthsky.org:

“Basically, what we see is accelerating sea level because ice melt is accelerating.
And we are confident, unfortunately, that sea level will be three to six feet above present level at end of century.”

Wanless said that with projected sea level rise of 6 feet, only 44% of South Florida’s developed area would still be above high tide by the end of this century.

A much-more exciting future in store than was previously anticipated.

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