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Peak Oil solved, but climate will fry: BP report

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BP's recently released "BP Energy Outlook 2030" report claims that a dramatic rise in new unconventional sources of oil -- tight oil, tar sands and NGLs -- will solve the "peak oil" problem. These new sources of "oil" are primed to gush forth and allow the world to burn lots more oil for decades to come. BP's chief executive Bob Dudley said bluntly:

"Fears over oil running out – to which BP has never subscribed – appear increasingly groundless."

And it's not just oil. According to BP, a combination of powerful new extraction technologies, growing populations and extremely weak climate policies mean humanity is on track to excavate and burn lots more fossil fuels of all kinds by 2030: 15% more oil, 26% more coal and 46% more methane (aka natural gas). In fact, policies still so strongly favour fossil fuels that BP predicts that two-thirds of all new energy over the next two decades will be supplied by increased fossil fuel burning.

Off the climate cliff

Unfortunately for just about everyone, this "most likely" energy comes with one very big downside. If we do burn that much fossil fuel we will crank the global thermostat up 4OC. And that, scientists say, will inflict climate misery on humanity for thousands of years. Out of the peak oil frying pan and into the raging climate fire. Sorry kids.

How bad is 4OC?

So far the world has warmed around 0.8OC. Already dramatic climate changes are emerging, often decades ahead of worst-case expectations. Extreme droughts, deluges, flooding, storms, crop losses, heat, forest die-off, coral death and ice melting are already well underway. The polar jet stream is weakening and getting "stuck" more often causing unusual storm tracks and long-lasting droughts.

The consensus of the climate science is that all these things get worse and new extremes will emerge as the world warms. Beyond 2 OC however the changes grow in seriousness and tipping points are likely to be crossed. Nearly every nation on earth has pledged to avoid crossing this 2OC barrier because of the dire threats to civilization that are expected to emerge.

Unfortunately, hitting 4OC seems to be where our fossil fueled energy system is leading humanity even if everyone keeps all our best climate promises so far.

The World Bank calls 4OC both "devastating" and exactly where we are heading. They are so concerned about this that they recently published a report titled: "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided" with the hope that it would "shock us into action." It warns "the world is barreling down a path to heat up by 4 degrees at the end of the century if the global community fails to act on climate change, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes" including "extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise." World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently wrote in the Washington Post that:

"the world needs a bold global approach to help avoid the climate catastrophe it faces today … If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak … With every investment we make and every action we take, we should have in mind the threat of an even warmer world … "

Lord Nicholas Stern who authored the groundbreaking UK government report in 2006 now says he "got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse" and now the world is clearly hurtling toward 4OC or even 5OC:

"This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential."

And now, for the first time I've ever seen, a global fossil fuel corporation is releasing its emissions analysis that confirms our "most likely" future is indeed a devastating 4OC. Of all the dire warning that are pouring forth these days the most unsettling to me is the fact that a purveyor of climate pollution is admitting we are in deep, deep trouble.

Just to be clear, BP's predicted emissions come out of their global economic energy model's "most likely" energy path. This is based on the world's various new technologies, energy policies and climate efforts. This is definitely not a worst-case scenario or even business as usual. In fact their models:

"assume continued tightening in policies to address climate change." 

(36) Comments

David Sims January 31st 2013 | 1:13 PM

EROEI is energy returned on energy invested. It is the measure of the net energy profit from exploiting an energy resource. The problem with many of these extreme, unconventional hydrocarbons is their pitiful EROEI ratio. I've read you need at least 8:1 (eight barrels of oil energy equivalent out for an investment of 1) to just qualify as 'affordable' oil. Note that 1:1 is breaking even, and negative means you are expending even more energy that you are getting out. According to Andrew Nikiforuk at a recent Vancouver talk, mined tar sands bitumen is 5:1 and in-situ steam extraction is 2:1. Early conventional oil was 100:1 and has now dwindled to about 12 to 15:1. As Jeff Rubin has noted, our economy works best when we have cheap oil. Shell will do fine, but what will be the state of the resulting economy?

J. Abram January 31st 2013 | 5:17 PM

Thanks for reporting on this.  Don't understand why you are hating on BP though for the lack of spelling it out more directly.  They gave all their data, what more do you want?
Second criticism is why do you say that it's "their industry that is inflicing this climate change" (paraphrasing).  It's *us*, the *users* of these fuels and the policymakers.  It would stop tomorrow if the policymakers and the people would let it.

monk January 31st 2013 | 6:18 PM

The lower EROEI is right. In fact, the IEA staed two years ago that conventional oil peaked back in 2005, contribution from non-conventionals will be small, and definitely not even enough to meet energy demand.

And to make matters worse,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/09/fossil-fuel-infrastruc...

That means the effects of global warming will continue even when oill production drops.

 

Paul Sorrells January 31st 2013 | 8:20 PM

GWMD. The accelerated burning of fossil fuels worldwide is accelerating CO2 concentrations in the earth's atmosphere, heating it up, causing climate extremes that will adersely affect all of humanity on a global scale, meaning we are facing as a world a Global Weapon of Mass Destruction. Incredible.

richard pauli February 1st 2013 | 12:12 PM

It it pretty important that we know what we are in for.

National Geographic videos:

Four degrees:  http://youtu.be/skFrR3g4BRQ

Six Degrees   http://youtu.be/O8qmaAMK4cM


BP Blondie February 1st 2013 | 1:13 PM

A 6 degree increase globally wouldn't be so bad. I hope it happens. No more winters! Beach all day every day!

Yaaaay! Beach Party!

Ziggy Tolnay February 1st 2013 | 1:13 PM
The system is unsustainable. Chronic diseases are in the rise, nutritive qualities of conventionally grown food is reducing alarmingly, the climate is changing and the global temperatures rising, ice caps are melting, ecosystems are being destroyed, inequality is on the rise, war is ever more devastating, topsoil being lost causing desertification. This all has to stop, urgently! We require shifting towards a sustainable system that promotes health of all people on Earth, and the Earth's animals, plants and ecosystems. A Resource-Based Economic Model has the potential to provide for that. It is worthwhile at least attempting it, through experiments like The RBE10K Project. Please spread the word, and support initiatives like The Venus Project and The RBE10K Project! RBE10K is organising the first experimental sizeable RBE community with a population of 10,000 to settle in January 2015, and experiment with a RBEM lifestyle for a minimum of two years. The success of this project will significantly encourage others to adopt this lifestyle! The pressure of people increasingly opting-out from the system will assist in having governments shifting regionally, nationally and eventually internationally towards a global RBE, but an experimental first community is essential. Please support it! Search Rbe10k in facebook or Google!
judycross February 1st 2013 | 4:16 PM

No fossil ever produced hydrocarbons.  Oil is abiotic and the Earth produces it constantly.  Cleaning up Mother Earth's tarry exudate in Alberta is a good thing.  Land is being reclaimed and planted with native spcies which do much better when the gunk is gone!.  But only 20% of the bitumen is close enought to the surface to mine.  The rest is recovered in situ, without disturbing the surface. When US Foundations are discovered pumping money into both local elections and NGOs to turn the public against Oil Sands development, you can bet there is something fishy going on.

Earth's temperature has not risen for 15-17 years even though CO2 has. Even the much rewarded James Hansen od NASA says 10 years of no warming, while the UK's Met Office  predicted cooler than expected temperatures for the next five years. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/369564/Surprise-Surprise-Global-warm...

It's all been a disgusting scam taking advantage of the average citizen's wanting to do the right thing. The need to promote the phony crisis, built around the really really stupid idea that 3-5% of a beneficial trace gas present at only in parts per million or 4/100 of 1% is Agenda 21!

The Globalist plan for ultimate every day control of where and how we live and what we eat has been quietly put in place in planning departments world wide.

Recently Rosa Koire was interviewed by Radio Malaspina on what Agenda 21 means in Canada.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bdHohf1Le6U#!

New Illuminati February 1st 2013 | 6:18 PM

What does a 4 degree AVERAGE rise really mean? This is a global average - including the oceans! When you factor them out of the equation a '4 degree rise' actually means a rise of 7-12 degrees ON LAND! This is an important detail that just about everyone overlooks. Goodbye global civilisation. It was brutish and nasty but fun while it lusted.
See some interesting data via http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/lavel/climate%20change

 

Martin M February 1st 2013 | 8:20 PM
J. Abram wrote:

Thanks for reporting on this.  Don't understand why you are hating on BP though for the lack of spelling it out more directly.  They gave all their data, what more do you want?
Second criticism is why do you say that it's "their industry that is inflicing this climate change" (paraphrasing).  It's *us*, the *users* of these fuels and the policymakers.  It would stop tomorrow if the policymakers and the people would let it.



Drug dealers who have spent a century not only getting everyone hooked, but destroying alternatives.  No, it is absolutely their fault.

Martin M February 1st 2013 | 8:20 PM

Do these people seriously not even know the definition of peak oil? Problem solved? Look, no one even tries to go after tar sands or tight oil UNLESS peak oil is real and happening.  "Peak" doesn't mean "end," it means "highpoint," as in the highpoint of global production, as in, the middle of the road after the easy to access stuff is gone and all that remains is the low grade, hard to get, EXPENSIVE crap.

Colette Nichol February 2nd 2013 | 12:00 AM
judycross wrote:

No fossil ever produced hydrocarbons.  Oil is abiotic and the Earth produces it constantly.  Cleaning up Mother Earth's tarry exudate in Alberta is a good thing.  Land is being reclaimed and planted with native spcies which do much better when the gunk is gone!.  But only 20% of the bitumen is close enought to the surface to mine.  The rest is recovered in situ, without disturbing the surface. When US Foundations are discovered pumping money into both local elections and NGOs to turn the public against Oil Sands development, you can bet there is something fishy going on.

Earth's temperature has not risen for 15-17 years even though CO2 has. Even the much rewarded James Hansen od NASA says 10 years of no warming, while the UK's Met Office  predicted cooler than expected temperatures for the next five years. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/369564/Surprise-Surprise-Global-warm...

It's all been a disgusting scam taking advantage of the average citizen's wanting to do the right thing. The need to promote the phony crisis, built around the really really stupid idea that 3-5% of a beneficial trace gas present at only in parts per million or 4/100 of 1% is Agenda 21!

The Globalist plan for ultimate every day control of where and how we live and what we eat has been quietly put in place in planning departments world wide.

Recently Rosa Koire was interviewed by Radio Malaspina on what Agenda 21 means in Canada.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bdHohf1Le6U#!

Judy Cross, how do you explain the melting polar ice caps?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/03/arctic-melting-sea-levels-clima...

 

Tony February 2nd 2013 | 2:14 PM

judycross wrote:
No fossil ever produced hydrocarbons.  Oil is abiotic and the Earth produces it constantly.

Since there is little to no evidence of this on Earth, I suggest you check out alternative explanations for how oil is produced, and at what rate. There is much evidence for alternative explanations but it's nice to dream, eh?

John Berkowitz February 3rd 2013 | 5:05 AM

With projects in Vancouver such as <a href="http://yourvancouverrealestate.ca/vancouver-life/2012/12/go-green-city-plan/">2020 Greenest City Action Plan</a>, we feel it is our moral responsibility to fight against global warming and spread the knowledge among the people who don´t know it exists.

BUT

Impact of CO2 on the global warming was not examined. There is a range of theories talking about the climate change from 0.5-6 °C  in one hundred years. 

Sun activity was never considered as a reason for the global warming. Why would they do it if they could blame an industry and introduce a new market with CO2 permits (Al Gore, Club of Rome etc). These people are making millions of Dolars by promoting global warming. They function as a very succesful lobby in the developed countries.

There are many environmental issues we have to deal with. I believe sustainability should be our goal. But to blindly believe politicians (who proved lying many times) and scientists (who proved lying as well) is something we should not do.

Leigh February 3rd 2013 | 7:07 AM

The climate is changing, but this isn't alarming as it has always changed.  To find that there has been a slight change of perhaps a bit less than one degree in a hundred years is well within the norm, particularly since this hundred years started during a colder than average phase and ended in a warmer than average one.  During the subject century we had a period of about 25 years when the average temperature got colder, leading to the hysterical claim by Suzuki et al that "we are entering an ice age and it's been caused by our polution".  Then remarkably things got a bit warmer which naturally led the same people to howl that we are going to burn up.  Neither is true as the earth has cooled and warmed countless times over the billions of years it has existed and most likely will continue to do so for more millions. 

Rather than myopically staring at CO2 as the "only" significant driver of climate it would be worthwhile to continue to try to understand all the drivers of climate, not that we can do anything about them but to get some idea of what to expect and thus prepare for.  Those who have studied history will have observed that the most healthy and prosperous periods generally coincided with warmer periods when crops were good and life was easier.  Anyone who thinks that recent climatic events are extreme also needs to study some history to see how bad things have been in the past.  You need not go all that far back, for instance to put the so called "super storm Sandy" in perspective, read up on the 1938 hurricane that made landfall in Long Island to see what a real hurricane is like.

If anyone wonders why there is so much focus on CO2, just follow the money as billions are being made off that one by lots of "scientists" who have jumped on the bandwagon.

David Brotman February 3rd 2013 | 10:10 AM

The worldwide economic collapse predicted by runaway oil prices may be just what is needed to force a transition to sustainable communities. It is not going to be without conflict but it certainly seems like a better scenario than runaway climate change.

Leigh February 3rd 2013 | 12:12 PM
David Brotman wrote:

The worldwide economic collapse predicted by runaway oil prices may be just what is needed to force a transition to sustainable communities. It is not going to be without conflict but it certainly seems like a better scenario than runaway climate change.

Sleep well David as there's absolutely no indication of any kind of runaway climate change.  These days we do get headlines in the MSM referring to some years being the warmest of the decade or such but they fail to note that the changes are in hundredths of a degree, things have been so stable for about 16 years now.   Many of the models do show "runaway" changes but for the past 25 years all those models have been wrong, with none of them able to predict future climate.   Many very experienced climate researchers are suggesting that the likelihood of cooling for the next 20 to 40 years is much more likely than any further warming.  One thing that is certain is that any connection between CO2 levels and climate seem vague at most as while CO2 has risen over the past half century or so, climate has cooled, then warmed, then leveled off.  Clearly there are other factors influencing our climate with much more effect than that vital trace gas CO2.   Considering that the portion of the infrared spectrum that CO2 does screen out amounts to about 4% of the total with the other 96% of that spectrum unaffected, this is hardly surprising.

Bob Loveless February 4th 2013 | 12:00 AM

Big oil is spending 100's of millions of dollars to manipulate, confuse and deceive public in order to have us distrust the scientists. There are documents to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is all about selfish, thoughtless greed on the part of the oil and gas industry. It is a very slick campaign that from some of the responses seems to be working very well indeed. And the media is unwittingling contributing to this confusion. In an effort to do balanced reporting on the subject of climate change they giving space to scientists that have no back ground in climatology or have no credibility. In short the media is doing a very poor job. No wonder there are people who do not believe that we are the cause of climate change. If we continue to do business as usual there is NO doubt your great grandchildren are going to face a hell on earth!

Leigh February 4th 2013 | 7:07 AM
Bob Loveless wrote:

Big oil is spending 100's of millions of dollars to manipulate, confuse and deceive public in order to have us distrust the scientists. There are documents to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is all about selfish, thoughtless greed on the part of the oil and gas industry. It is a very slick campaign that from some of the responses seems to be working very well indeed. And the media is unwittingling contributing to this confusion. In an effort to do balanced reporting on the subject of climate change they giving space to scientists that have no back ground in climatology or have no credibility. In short the media is doing a very poor job. No wonder there are people who do not believe that we are the cause of climate change. If we continue to do business as usual there is NO doubt your great grandchildren are going to face a hell on earth!

You must be joking!  Where have you seen the MSM report on anything that refutes the hysterical claims of the global warming proponents?   The medial reports are certainly not balanced but it sure isn't the way you state.

In regard to the money that "big oil" is spending, it sure isn't going to fund those disputing those claims of CO2 driving the climate, this is left to individuals who are seeking the truth in this subject, unlike the "scientists" you seem to admire who are preaching the gospel of man made climate change.  Tell me, what possible credentials does Suzuki have in this field having gotten his degree studying the mutations of fruit flys 40 years ago? 

If you look closely at the wind farm projects of Europe you will find that big oil is one of the biggest beneficaries of the subsidies of taxpayers in this industry due to their major involvement in these.  They are not just oil producers.  They go wherever there is money to be made, just like GE who is perhaps the biggest proponent and benefiiciary of this industry.

Big oil certainly is spending lots of money to further their agenda but not on this.  If you want an example. look at the funding that is being provided to block the pipeliine to the west coast.  The big US refiners see the export of Canadian petroleum to Asia as a threat to them since they now are able to steal it from Canada for about $35 per barrel less than world price since they are the only buyer.  Are you are happy with Canada getting ripped off to the tune of $6 billion a year?  This is why they are spending lots of money to fund the opposition.  Stalin described such as "useful idiots".

leoc February 4th 2013 | 8:08 AM

Fact is the global temperatures have flattened for 17 years now contrary to every prediction the IPCC ever made. The world’s poor have been the ones that paid the price by living in squalor and not allowed to rise out of poverty and diseases that cheap energy would bring them.

Have you no conscious?

Leigh February 4th 2013 | 8:08 AM

For those who want to see the big picture on why and how the Americans are ripping us off.

 

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/11/28/vivian-krause-u-s-greens-shut-down-canadian-oil/

Ioannis February 5th 2013 | 1:13 PM

I notice any conversation where Canadian virtue is questioned in the rush to coal-tar extraction is raised brings the shills rushing in.  The scientific part of the discussion is now going to be swamped by "investigative journalism".  Krause should get a job with Fox News.  It doesn't matter what nationality is involved, Canadian or American.  The same lying greedy sociopaths are out to out-shout everyone else.

monk February 5th 2013 | 11:23 PM

I forgot to add that the IEA forecast is similar: a 9 pct increase in total energy production by 2030, based on the assumption that conventional production remains flat.

However, energy demand has to increase by around 2 pct a year to maintain global economic growth.

Meanwhile, other sources argue that spare capacity will be negative soon:

http://www.businessinsider.com/oil-spare-capacity-2013-2011-2

 

Leigh February 7th 2013 | 2:14 PM
Ioannis wrote:

I notice any conversation where Canadian virtue is questioned in the rush to coal-tar extraction is raised brings the shills rushing in.  The scientific part of the discussion is now going to be swamped by "investigative journalism".  Krause should get a job with Fox News.  It doesn't matter what nationality is involved, Canadian or American.  The same lying greedy sociopaths are out to out-shout everyone else.

While I might agree with your description of them, you should keep your comments civil.  Who would have thought that there was so much profit to be made selling magic but one does have to respect the business acumen of Gore since he's the first to make a billion from this new carbon credits industry.

Ron February 7th 2013 | 4:16 PM
So hows solar, et al looking? Doesn't look like it's going to happen. The suicidally corrupt Republicans simply won't stand for it.
Ron February 7th 2013 | 4:16 PM
So hows solar, et al looking? Doesn't look like it's going to happen. The suicidally corrupt Republicans simply won't stand for it.
Leigh February 7th 2013 | 7:19 PM

Ron wrote:
So hows solar, et al looking? Doesn't look like it's going to happen. The suicidally corrupt Republicans simply won't stand for it.

I doubt anyone is really certain what Ron is trying to say.  Anyhow, both solar and wind work just fine as long as certain conditions are met.  Firstly that there be big subsidies provided, secondly that there be reliable alternative sources of power not dependant on wind or sun to fill in when needed.  Thus the investment required doubles due to the need for such redundancy.   Just look at the mess in Ontario, Spain etc.

Sleel February 14th 2013 | 12:12 PM
Martin M wrote:

J. Abram wrote:

Thanks for reporting on this.  Don't understand why you are hating on BP though for the lack of spelling it out more directly.  They gave all their data, what more do you want?
Second criticism is why do you say that it's "their industry that is inflicing this climate change" (paraphrasing).  It's *us*, the *users* of these fuels and the policymakers.  It would stop tomorrow if the policymakers and the people would let it.



Drug dealers who have spent a century not only getting everyone hooked, but destroying alternatives.  No, it is absolutely their fault.

 

  Then I expect YOU to stop being a hypocrit and lead by example. Get rid of your computer (full of rare metals and earth, several from strip mines), cut off your power (from evil CO2 spewing generation), get rid of your car (see above two reasons and more), stop buying groceries (shipped from all over, above 3 reasons) and grow your own. Stop buying manufactured clotes (since likely from Asia, produced by modern equivalent of slaves). Build a cabin in the woods, and eek out a subsistance lifestyle. All while somehow having the economic output needed to pay the taxes needed to support the public services you will continue to demand (Health, Education, Police...) while STILL producing enough of a surplus to feed people on the other side of the planet with our exports.

 

 Oh, what's that? Impossible, you say? That's right. The planet can't support the kinda population it has, never mind even half of it without all those evil modern conveniences you denounce the evil companies for supplying you. While, obviously, at the same time, holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy from them. You have a choice, and you are obviously making it. While hypocritically denoucing others for the same choices, and the companies for supplying them.