[Marxism] Re Peak Oil
rholt at planeteria.net
Sat Oct 15 00:53:28 MDT 2005
I do not advocate developing any source of CO2 producing fuels except
those that are integrated with a sequestering process for CO2 (and there
are only a few experiments existing). Even there, I advocate the massive
employment of thorium-based nuclear power under social control
(excluding the US government, the oil companies, etc.). I made two posts
on parts of this theses on October 2, 2005.
Heinberg is not a reliable source. People grinding their own axes have
to be watched, and, if you check his numbers, you'll find problems all
over the place. For example, check page 121 of "Powerdown" and you'll
see that the energy cost of extracting syncrude from the tar sands is
16% if you convert his own numbers to these terms. I.e., convert his
cubic feet of gas to BTUs and compare to the BTU equivalent of the oil
produced, you'll quickly see that the process is very attractive--if you
discount the cost of capital. His conclusion is that "... the energy
profit ratio will inevitably be dismal, and the cost of the resulting
crude will be unattractive. This will remain true regardless of
increases in the market price of oil." Can his numbers support that? No.
Capitalists are sensitive to the Profit-to-Capital ratio, and doesn't
that have something to do with the price of oil? The pilot Alberta
project was (marginally) profitable when oil was $20/bbl. I don't know
how much additional investment will be needed to recycle the water and
for catalytic splitters to produce the light hydocarbons needed. I
suspect it's a lot. Of course, they'll try to screw the landscape, and
everything and everybody they can. It takes a social movement to tackle
Heinberg is unreliable because he reaches conclusions that suit his
theses even though it contradicts his own numbers.
He lies about Cuba too. I suppose it's alright for a capitalist acedemic
to do that?
In the late 1980s, farmers in Cuba were highly reliant on cheap
fuels and petrochemicals imported from the Soviet Union, using more
agrochemicals per acre than their American counterparts. In 1990, as
the Soviet empire collapsed, Cuba lost those imports and faced an
agricultural crisis. The population lost 20 pounds on average and
malnutrition was nearly universal, especially among young children.
The Cuban GDP fell by 85 percent ....
Cuban authorities responded by breaking up large state-owned farms,
offering land to farming families, and encouraging the formation of
small agricultural co-ops.
As a result of these efforts, Cuba was able to avoid what might
otherwise have been a severe famine. Today the nation is changing
from an industrial to an agrarian society.
The facts are quite different. In 1990, the social product fell by 3.1%,
in 1991, by 25%, by 1992, by 14%. Cuba got 95% of its promised petroleum
products in 1990, and later years were similar. The state farms were NOT
broken up. If the average Cuban lost 20 lbs, (Where this number came
from and why Heinberg thinks this is a sign of virtual famine is a
mystery to me!) the health of all would be improved--except for
children. The crisis for Cuba was not predominately agricultural or
energy-related alone. The fact was that Cuba had 85% of its trade with
the COMICON states. When they lost that trade, they ran out of hard
currencies. It's a short trip from there to a total breakdown. Revising
agricultural techniques reduced the need for oil and oil-based products,
which conserved hard currency. Anyhow, Heinberg is just pulling stuff
out of the air. If he does it here, when it is so obvious to us that
it's a lie, then don't we have to watch him elsewhere?
The source, by the way is the same as quoted by Louis and by me before.
Heinberg used the same speech/paper several times. It's all over the
Jon Flanders wrote:
>On Fri, 2005-10-14 at 20:19 -0700, Rod Holt wrote:
>>I simply stated that Richard Heinberg was
>>the source of Louis's quote and I thought Heinberg was not a reliable
>>source. Most of what he says about agriculture is correct.
>Heinberg is not a marxist. Agreed. Therefore his solutions do not
>include proletarian revolution.
>But as a source of facts about the energy problem, he is quite good,[snip]
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