In the wake of “Ten Bucks a Litre”

2 08 2013

Dick Smith’s show was pretty well everything I expected.  Dumbed down, too short, and too much flying by Dick……  All you can really expect from TV, even the ABC, is infotainment.  The biggest plus is that it might at least make a few people think about the predicament facing us in the future.

There were some howlers.  Like the electric car that will store daytime solar energy in every house to be fed back into the grid for night time useage, I guess like powering Brett Narten’s family needs of four TVs, oodles of halogen downlights, three aircons, a ginormous fridge, a dryer……..  but of course he would have to give up his V8 Crummydoor.  Oh hang on…  no he couldn’t….  the electric car’s batteries would be flat in the morning!  But Dick thought it was the way of the future.

Then they point out that for this household to be ‘self sufficient’ using solar panels (all 36 x 250W I presume, and half of them on the wrong side of the roof, which is too small anyway…) with storage batteries would cost $80K!   As I pointed out to our Korean wwoofers who were watching too, if they reduced their consumption to our levels, it would only cost $8000……  but no, there was no mention of energy efficiency in this show, it was all about how we can keep all the crapola going using whatever hi tech gizmos are available, and we were shown quite a few….  and then last night on TV, I saw the latest gizmo……  ta dum….  a 100 inch TV!  That’s right, a TV as wide as a standard ceiling is high….  for $8000.  Which would probably need $8000 worth of panels and batteries to run too.

Was I the only one who laughed out loud when they showed the ‘scrubber’ that removed 1% of the CO2 from the exhaust stack of a coal fired power station?  And then totally omitted to show us how it was safely stored…?  Or the nuclear power station that’s been turned off in the UK which can’t be decommissioned yet because the cost of doing so is so prohibitive nobody wants to pay for it..??  Oh wait….  that was never mentioned….

But no matter, Dick continued flying around the planet on his merry way, not once mentioning the energy cliff, or that we are fast running out of time to build ANY of the so called solutions…..

And the bit about the inventor turning sawdust into oil……  how clever.  All you need are oil powered machines to cut the trees, turn them into sawdust, and move the stuff to the plant, only to turn it into…  oil!

Trust me, post oil, ALL the sawmills will operate just like they did 100 years ago, burning sawdust to drive steam engines….

The bit about the Leigh Creek and Pt Augusta coal mine was interesting too.  Even though one of those huge Tonka Truck was shown (with Dick taking a ride with 197 tonnes of coal on board..) there was no mention of the colossal amounts of diesel those things consume, or how we will deal with that issue when the oil runs out… Nor how Olympic Dam will operate.  Unless of course it uses the shale oil from Arckaringa…. but of course if it does then the price of Uranium will skyrocket making the cost of nuclear power high enough to need metering!

On the roeoz forum I run on Yahoo, a member wrote

“Back in ’52, when we arrived in Australia, they shipped us (Mother Sister and me) off to the little whistle stop town of Copley,  (to join my Father) 12 miles south of Leigh Creek.  Leigh Creek is now 12 km south of Copley.  They kept digging it up and moving it along.  That coal must be the worst coal imaginable.  Even worse than brown coal.  You put a lump of it on the fire and it glows for a while and then you’re left with a lump of stone as big as the original lump of coal.
At Port Augusta, where I did my High School, the powerhouse ground it up, as fine as talcum powder and then blew it into the furnaces.  My Father worked there in their drawing office.  A Southerly wind blew it all over the town and gave it a good powdering.  I suppose the ash, including the fly ash, after they put in precipitators, ended up spread around the place.  Environmentally sustainable?  I don’t think so.  The thermal solar idea?  Yeah, Right.”

There were some astonishing pluses too though.  Dick actually said people living in outer suburbs could one day be stranded there in energy slums if they couldn’t drive to work or the supermarkets…..  I was actually amazed that the ABC editors let that one through to the keeper……

The most disappointing bit for me was that for someone who’s aware of limits to growth, and in particular with regard to population, Dick made no mention at all of reduction in consumption.  Whether voluntary or forced on us by Gaia.  Maybe, just maybe, the ABC editors got in the way.

Discussing these issues has to happen, and hopefully this show is the first tentative step of many to come……

freewill

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43 responses

2 08 2013
Linda Cockburn

Good rave Mike. I agree it was ‘soft’. The scrubbers, yes, they left me spluttering and snorting and pulling faces. But think it needed to be, Dick wasn’t preaching to the converted. He was preaching to the family with the Commodore and four stupid size TV’s. I’ve been thinking a lot about this of late. Humans are mentally fragile. Too big a hit at once and they can still choose to walk away, because the system makes it easy to do so. And they do (straight off the first available cliff), it has to be done by degrees. Unfortunately the Celsius variety are not going to wait for us to catch up.

I’ve just started to read Deep Green Resistance this morning. Only a couple of pages through and I know I am ready for it. But for most people it is many steps too far. We have to find ways to ‘recruit’ people into a new way of thinking, but, unfortunately, the baby steps that need to path the way for a full of sprint need to be taken at baby step level. I agree, I couldn’t believe the almost nativity of Dick’s push for sustainability. But it’s a start and adds to the momentum. It questions what we do and how we do it. But 1000 ships of coal a year, each worth ten million was it? Now that kind of easy money is going to be hard to beat. I’ve come up with my own $10 bucks a litre concept. Working on it now. It has an entry point level through to top level responses, you start where you’re at and continue. Perhaps pointless. But we have to do more. I know I’m not doing enough.

2 08 2013
Linda Cockburn

No! it was $5 million.

2 08 2013
len gardener

yes mike,

we need to come back to reality, truth and good ethics none of which is being bandied around by the doomsayer the corrupt wealthy.

the fist place people need to start is abolish and dump all these indoctrinated mcmansions, build modestly and simply that keeps it all affordable, forget renewables doing anything more than making power even too expensive for those wealthy thinking yuppies why should all subsidise those few with grid connect through increased coal fired power prices, let renewables stand alone, then no one would want them, they have a maximum obsolescencey of 30 years full replacement no subsidies.

mike you can buy second hand deep cycle 2 volt batteries many use them and get excellent value.

instead of feel good anyone who is genuinely concerned should go stand alone under their own recognisance(in other words pay for it yourself, don’t burden others), no kick backs, that for one will bring the price of panels and inverters down, take out the middle men grab.

if we stop exporting coal to the big polluter countries we will go broke.

len

3 08 2013
Michael

I fell asleep during the electronic Dick’s show….

3 08 2013
Aime

To Len, who said…………. “the fist place people need to start is abolish and dump all these indoctrinated mcmansions, build modestly and simply that keeps it all affordable”

With all due respect, in towns controlled by developers who are in turn lining local council pockets, the above isn’t all that easy.

Take Ballarat (Vic) for example. It’s a growing city with new suburbs such as “Lucas Heights” popping up like Spring daisies. The price of a block of land remains affordable for most working people. The blocks are small, but would support a small two bedroom home with the traditional garden out the back, but council legislation simply will not allow you to build a small home there. They say it “detracts” from the value of other homes (read McMansions) in the surrounding area and they will not give you permission to build.

If you want to build a small home on any size block, you have to move further afield to smaller townships where they actually welcome new building, but then of course there’s no work for miles and nothing for the young ones to do. Small town mentality can also be a problem!

3 08 2013
len gardener

thanks for the recognition of respect, but! people are too easily being dictated to test the envelope, submit your own plan that befits the suburb of excesses.

if people rejected these developments the council would soon bend, simply cannot believe that a simpler designed 3 or 4 bedroom home can’t be built, so long as the exterior fits to a degree.

or else all that is happening is corporate greed and gov’ corruption is being pandered to, bet there’s a builder out there could get such a home through.

len

3 08 2013
mikestasse

Len, it’s called a covenant. Even worse than specifying minimum size, they can enforce the use of brick and tile construction at the exclusion of everything else…….. it REALLY sucks.

I believe that if you are the second or third owner of land bought from a developer that has not been built on, you can tell them to go to hell unless YOU agreed to the covenant when you purchased. There was a covenant on our estate, but only the first three houses built here obeyed it, everyone else ignored it (apart from the idiots who wanted such a house…)

3 08 2013
len gardener

yes I know it’s a covenant, we simply never buy and build in those estates.

where we are now the council has this sort of bluff covenant I call it that we must put in one of those home sewerage toilets, that are showing their weaknesses 4 times a year pay to have some slacko’ plumber come around look at what’s in the tank pop in a chlorine tablet and charge like a wounded bull, nice work if you can get it.

so when we had the soil engineer report done a $1k rip off we told him to design in a standard septic and it was approved, much more affordable than the rip off price for the other.

don’t cop it sweet plenty of options out there.

we need to take our lives back while these doomsayers are casting out red herrings everything important like affordable living goes down the tube.

len

3 08 2013
mikestasse

I fought the council tooth and nail to NOT put in one of their wanky sewerage systems in…… and eventually won. Been maintenance free (largely) for eight years now….

3 08 2013
Rasili O'Connor

Another part of the conversation: as we run out of oil, there will be less and less oil to MAKE the plastic to MAKE the electric cars, or the solar panels, or to MAKE the concrete to build the nuclear power plants…and the list goes on. We DO not have enough oil left (if my information is correct) to MAKE enough solar panels to continue living anywhere near the way we live (at present in the west). Look into coppicing trees…I have a sense it’s going to be, e.g. Kang cookers/bed warmes/building warmer/wood oil collectors-all in one! and Rocket cooker/water heaters, methods we’ve used successfully in centuries gone by. And fantastic well-designed growing/energy systems, a la Permaculture. I suppose if Dick Smith’s program told all of the TRUTH…there actually would be mass panic. So…maybe this dumbed down version first. Surely he doesn’t believe what he put across in the program! Or maybe he does. Hhmm.

3 08 2013
len gardener

forgot to comment doesn’t dicky look so swish and boy scoutish in good clothes and a shiny heli behind him just to emphasise his poorness.

len

3 08 2013
gbell12

It was astonishingly unintelligent.

A few other low-lights:

1) There’s no such thing as “agricultural waste”. Anything we don’t directly use and recycle back into the soil, should itself be put back into the soil. Burning it means burning soil fertility.

2) For every unit of energy his “alternatives” produce, lots of energy had to go into their production (heating, harvesting, mining, grinding, pumping, etc.). This input energy is much higher than for fossil fuels, leaving less for us to run on (Energy Returned on Energy Invested).

3) Oil exporters are starting to use much more of their oil domestically, leaving less to export. Combined with the poor competitive and financial footing of most western nations, places like Canada, the US, Australia and Europe will probably have a liquid fuel crisis much sooner than the geological peak.

4) He didn’t do the math, nor use the word “predicament” which is what we’re in. A problem with no solution.

Boo-hiss to Dick Smith. You had a chance to raise awareness and you failed.

On we go with Business As Usual, right toward the unsurprising cliff.

5 08 2013
W. Shawn Gray

After sadly pondering all these issues for decades, I was very disappointed by Dick’s doco effort. Not so much in terms of what Dick said, nor how he presented it, (all which seemed to be a function of his target audience). Most of the people campaigning about the countries futures (like Dick) worry me most over their lack of long term thinking, or of joining the dots. Even the electric-car supporters. EROEI just seems too difficult for many to understand, let alone communicate. The Post-carbon transport mess has become my main focus with some feasible Plan Bs for Auz long-distant transport;-
http://www.auzgnosis.com/pgs/auzloco.htm

16 08 2013
RossC

I agree that this show was crap. Dick let his pre-conceived notion of a nuclear future derail this show completely. Nuclear is a fossil fuel too – and suffers the same bugbears as other fossil baseload power sources – expense of supply and infrastructure development. Dick was at Melbourne University for his doco, but for some reason didn’t bother chatting to Prof Mike Sandiford – maybe Dick was worried that Mike would undermine the premise of his show? Mike has already outlined to us all why renewables – especially solar – will be the future – they will be cheaper before too long, and then market forces will take over. (http://www.theage.com.au/business/fossil-fuels-will-run-out-of-gas-when-the-solar-revolution-arrives-20110321-1c3qe.html)

16 08 2013
mikestasse

Hi Ross…..

Sandiford states “Technology-driven cost reductions are typical of industries dependent on advanced material science. The drivers are clear. Innovation provides the technology push and demand pulls the learning”. In fact while it is innovation and technology that push technology, it is fossil fuels that delivers it, including PVs… Without fossil fuels, we would not even have the computers we are using right now to communicate, nor would I have the PVs that lay on my roof.

In another post here, Dr Simon Michaux predicts Peak mining by about 2020…… and I see Peak Mining = Peak Everything, including Peak PVs.

In any case, PVs without storage cannot run Business as Usual…… not that I care, BAU is nonsense that one day will stop with the collapse, around about the same time we revert to working only during daylight hours!

16 08 2013
len gardener

hey mike what about food, also you can’t work in daylight hours then walk too and from work, buy some expensive rare food then walk home without getting bludgeoned, and cook and eat it in the daylight over wood fire, then stand guard all night to protect your little mcmansion and family.

really if what you doomsayers believe in and is going to happen, I say for your and your families sake head bush, oh! also be interesting to see who’s wives don’t run with them I know one bloke she who must be obeyed says your on your own jose, she says she’s staying put.

anyhow start growing your own stuff hey, no good building a moat they’ll drop in from heli’s

you are still not providing any answers for right now let alone next year of up to 2525, even 2025. with mass unemployment ad starving people.

len

16 08 2013
mikestasse

What about food? Do you grow yours at night..? And forget work…. post Peak Mining, there won’t be any ‘work’. Except growing food in daylight hours of course!

16 08 2013
len gardener

we grow food naturally in season so once planted it grow itself, feed the chooks and eggs come,

your peak whatever’s are all doomsay stuff you are not supporting more positive exploits of encouragement, when the pre endtime bloodlust starts the yuppie areas like sunshine coast and gold coast to mention 2 strongholds will be seen as gold mines of food and fuel.

you may not be safe, be more positive leave all that myth promotion

and show a bit of moderation allow my posts unhindered all views should be on the table.

len

16 08 2013
mikestasse

Encouragement…? Most people think I’m wasting my time doing what I do…. I’d be better off getting a job they think… don’t you understand MOST PEOPLE don’t even want to get dirt under their fingernails? WTSHTF… most people won’t know what to do, will be in no position (ie live in towns) to do anything, EVEN IF they happen to like gardening. And then they won’t even have petrol to get out of Jackson….

17 08 2013
gbell12

I’m really hoping, post-peak, that grammar, punctuation and clarity of thought count for something. Look out Len!

All views are allowed “on the table” Len. Make your own blog. The problem with “your views” is they’re incomprehensible thanks to your disorganised, dog’s breakfast, stream-of-consciousness writing.

17 08 2013
mikestasse

And you should see the ones I delete…….

17 08 2013
len gardener

oh! I don’t need a blog I have a web page, takes more effort and not smothered with adverts.

so obviously you like lack of democracy, mike deletes posts he doesn’t like.

len

17 08 2013
mikestasse

What adverts…….? This is an advert free zone, no?

17 08 2013
len gardener

most blogs I see are cluttered with adverts, here unless I look at your front page I don’t know.

len

19 08 2013
len gardener

anyhow, mike,

just saw a doco on TV new oil field off east coast of brazil on line, check the link, but they are talking of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, total capacity of the field as best as I can figure 300,000,000 to 600,000,000 barrels of oil, some peak hey?

http://www.statoil.com/en/NewsAndMedia/News/2011/Pages/06Apr_Peregrino.aspx

wonder how much other oil is being found? does anyone know?

may research it yet, no signs of the mid est running ot not sure of our off shore fields, but at one stage the gov had capped moonee and moonah fields in qld, hedging for the future.

more pressing issues really people need help.

len

19 08 2013
mikestasse

People who deny Peak Oil like you do not understand the problem.

The Lula field is 290 km offshore and lies below 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) of water and then 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) of salt, sand and rocks……. sounds like a piece of cake and cheap to get at, right…?

And 100,000 barrels per day? The world consumes close to 1000 times that much every day. This won’t make one iota of difference, and it will simply ensure the price of oil goes UP.

They are all scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel now…

19 08 2013
len gardener

g’day mike,

we deny the lack of facts to show that oil or anything has peaked, the people who own the oil aren’t saying anything, that’s the sheik’s mostly, they are from a different culture to us, and all they want is to get the highest price for their oil.

didn’t suggest that this new find is all the world needs but add it to what is there(again we don’t know).

people who deny all these theories care about life in the real right now time, people already suffering, and the doomsayers have no answers but to support even more suffering that if factual will affect them as well(maybe not the top scientists they will have condo’s someplace to go run and hide, like Ronald bigg’s)

len

19 08 2013
mikestasse

See Len, you know nothing……. ALL the oil companies have acknowledged Peak Oil. You are so out of touch…

19 08 2013
Linda Cockburn

One of those Shieks said, ‘My grandfather rode a camel, my father drove a BMW, I fly a jetplane, my son will ride a camel’. They all know it’s ending Len, just when and who will kill who over the last drops remains to be seen.

19 08 2013
len gardener

no doubt linda,

they have their own indulgence race car track and all now, most shieks son’s not only got masseratis’ but an F1 racer parked beside it while their poor languish.

yes of course it will end but not this century maybe not even the next century.

just now we don’t need fear hyper’s giving oil co’s and gov, more incentive to rob us at the pump.

len

19 08 2013
mikestasse

Len…….. we will NEVER RUN OUT! But 50% of all that’s left now will stay where it is, under the ground. it’s not the tank that matters, it’s the tap……..

20 08 2013
len gardener

your still not offering anything tangible mike?

I have said here before, if their is an affordable alternative up and running then bring it on, lets stop going to those oil co shrines hey, be great to see them and their sheik friends go under.

len

20 08 2013
mikestasse

Tangible Len………? Just google Peak Oil…

And there are NO “affordable alternatives”… which is the WHOLE POINT. I’d love to know how you think I somehow enshrine oil companies… NOTHING could be further from the bloody truth.

Now will you just go away………..? I’m sick of having to prove the Earth is round for you…

20 08 2013
Linda Cockburn

Rob us at the pump? Is this your concern Len? Shallow, self-interested personal politics? There are bigger things at stake than how much you have left in your wallet.

Mike, some people will never get it. Denial is a form of protecting yourself from not just the truth, and avoid the imperative to get involved and to even make hard choices like voluntarily reducing our lifestyles.

Some people will never be able to come to terms with it. It’s like Holocaust deniers. They will simply refute and dispute the bald and bare facts.

It’s not our role to convince deniers. They’ll die going, “More oil will come on soon. We’ll figure out a way to keep this energy intensive, (world destroying) culture going, it’s our right to live the lives we choose, It’s all the Greenies fault anyway.” Doh. Wasted energy.

20 08 2013
len gardener

wow linda, do you despise the lower socio economic people that much, we get ripped off with the power bill, we get ripped off with fuel gouging, you and mike may have money to flash around we don’t means we don’t always get to fill our car.

yes I’ve admitted to be a denier of false theory, now will you admit to being a scaremongering, doomsayer? bet you won’t, like I’ve said before you too have judged me wrong so that means you have done so by your own merits, it is very common.

len

20 08 2013
mikestasse

Len, you have no idea how either Linda or I live. For your information, we both live frugally, like you. We’re not scaremongering, we are telling it like it is. YOU simply cannot handle the truth.

You Len make no worthwhile contributions here, so I’m now officially cutting you off for good. Goodbye, and good luck. You’re going to need it.

20 08 2013
gbell12

PLEASE everybody, stop feeding the troll.

Or better, Mike, please moderate strictly. The on-topic and data-driven discussions in your comments section are local to me and thus very important. They’ve been swamped of late.

20 08 2013
mikestasse

I’m not taking any more comments from len.

19 08 2013
len gardener

dunno mike, what has lula field got to do with the link I posted? maybe I missed something in your translation

“The Peregrino field is located 85 kilometres offshore Brazil in the Campos basin at about 100 metres of water depth in licenses BMC-7 and BMC-47.”

the above from that site and plans for 37 wells and more to find, so my simple math says 37 wells is about 3.7 million barrels.

now lets put people ahead of fear hype please.

len

19 08 2013
mikestasse

3.7 million barrels is PEANUTS. Australia burns through that in less than four days. Brazil maybe in 24 hours…. BTW, I mentioned Lula because it’s way way bigger than that other field you mentioned. You know they’re getting desperate when they write stories about oil fields THAT small….

19 08 2013
len gardener

that’s ok mike you are entitled to you opinion, just trying to show with oil underground capped off and new fields coming online there can be no peak well not for maybe a hundred years maybe.

len

19 08 2013
mikestasse

YOU just don’t get it…….. all the “new fields coming online” are getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller….. and they produce less and less, and the oil’s crap… at least compared to the really good stuff we had fifty years ago.

And then you have to ask yourself, “why are those oil wells out west capped?”

And the answer is? They’re CRAP wells! If the oil companies can get $100 a barrel for it, they would….. don’t you think?

13 05 2017

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