Monday, April 03, 2006

The Peak Oil Plateau Continues

Nervousness about the dollar's stability is spreading to east Asia. Meanwhile the price of oil climbs slowly back towards last year's peak of $70 without any external driver like hurricanes. And the actual production numbers are not good either as the IEA revised February production down yet again from 84.6 mbpd to 84.1 mbpd, which means that the bumpy plateau since July 2004 continues unabated. Meawhile, Venezuela threatens to boot ExxonMobil out of the country if they don't share like nice boys and girls while Iran seems to have delayed the opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse for several months at least and possibly a year or more. GM continues to flirt with bankruptcy on a scale unimagineable in our lifetimes and the Congress demonstrates just how clueless they are about both peak oil and economics in general. But the talking heads try to make it seem as though our energy future has never been brighter or more secure. Talk about disconnects from reality!

At the same time though, we're getting more and more bad climate news and it's getting worse faster and faster than expected. There is now solid evidence of serious and unexpected warming in Antarctica while sea ice has failed to form during winter for the second consecutive year in the arctic.

All that comes as backdrop to the US facing unprecedented balance of trade issues, deliberately masked inflation that is twice the official reported rate, unemployment that is over 12.5% but masked via statistical juggling, and a federal deficit that apparently is far larger than even the monster being reported by the government. Is it no wonder that gold has hit 25 year highs, last matched during the stagflationary disaster of the Carter era?

At the other end are those who say we have no chance at all and have to actively begin killing off other human beings right now in large numbers. Eric Pianka, a professor at University of Texas, advocates killing 90% of humanity with the ebola virus as a way to alleviate population pressures. My suggestion to Professor Pianka is to show us the way and do yourself in first.

As I watch all this unfold, I see little realization of peak oil and its impact in the mainstream yet. Instead I see efforts to demonize oil producing nations for various reasons, efforts which I fear are prelude to using military force to get what we want. The United States as empire is not behaving very well facing its first serious resource crisis. And the crisis shows no signs of getting better, only worse. I guess we're living in "interesting times", as the Chinese curse goes.