With your host, Catergory5….just me this time.
After a bunch of Guest writers, controversies and old articles I just wanted stored for posterity, Its time to get back to reporting what I see.
As I said in episode I, I’m not that exited about this post for reasons I will add after we get past the interesting photos. Mainly, the subject of declining EROEI or Energy Return On Energy Investment. Though trikes like these are used in Mexico, Im not sure its worth the effort in upper north amerika, although it might be useful to a few handy mechanics, welders and motorcycle builders. We do have a history of building trikes, more so as the aging Boomer can’t hold their highway bikes up anymore and they still have a bit more of their children’s and grandchildren’s future to spend on credit and the soon to collapse, over inflated stock market. We do have a legal and insurance framework to build these…and they would be handy for small farmers. It’s just than no body has seen motorcycle trucks before so expect pushback.
But for now, lets just report on how other people do things differently in different places. Alot of the Getter Done, hard work in this city and beyond is done with these. They are used for taxies but they are also used for poorer residents to get them up the hills or for micro buisneses to bring in daily re supplies in often tight places.
Just Gettin’er Done. It is a truck when needed
There are two Heroes in this photo. I can’t believe I am saying this but one is the cops. They don’t care about what this guy is doing. Not at all. Back home, It would end with police shooting an unarmed brown man…or me… because this is exactly the type of thing I would do…and you may have to do yourself. I lost one vehical to the pigs because of it… and it is not forgotten or forgiven.
Yup. He is holding it in place.
Rare, but one 250cc motorcycle carries 11 and it is a damned good bus.
That is bags of heavy concrete (broken up by hand, by the way) and this thing is about 250cc’s
This was from a small farm high in the Andes on the side of a cliff that I will share on a later post. It was less than 10 km out of the Mel Tappan approved, small agricultural town of 2000 in BF nowhere. Though these folks are dirt poor…it’s the right tool for the job…before heading back down the energy cliff to donkeys, oxen and lamas… That is, IF you are LUCKY enough to already have them in advance…because they aint going to be available when you suddenly need them… and during that panicky timeframe most of these animals will just get eaten if you can’t fight to keep them…or cant feed them during the first winter.
Which gets us back to what I really want to talk about. The declining EROEI moment at which point industrialised life comes to an abrupt FULL STOP. Even for these handy items.
As I mentioned in a previous article, The Slow Crash, us collapse commentators and doomer prophets can tell you what is going to happen because of fundamentals baked into the cake. Collapse is inevitable. What we cannot predict accurately is how it plays out. That would just be looking for signs in the heavens, reading the entrails and listening to ancient prophecies or angels . “Excuse me Mr. Moroni. Can I quote you on that date for the apocalypse for our newspaper” (don’t worry if you didn’t get that joke). Using history as a guide can be deceptive because history usually focuses on a date that something important was supposed to have happened but that “moment” may have played out over months, years, decades or even centuries. So much “Collapse” has already happened… but because Time was involved, we just got used to it. 2001, the world lost much of its freedoms… but we got used to it. 2005 we reached peaked conventional oil … but we got used to it. 2008 crashed world financial markets…. but we got used to it. 2014 and beyond, we all started to go broke, couldn’t buy stuff and commodity prices crashed… and we got used to it. 500 year storms are happening monthly… and we got used to it. And we are still waiting for “The Crash”. A slow or fast crash, becomes a matter of perspective and perception.
But I am here to talk about the potential of a Fast Crash, even if it plays out over a few months, years or a decade.
Can gas production come to an abrupt stop? “Why, yes it can, other C5. Yes it can.”
For this, we reach out to the other Jesus and his divine revelation.
When the declining EROEI narrative finally went mainstream (society needs an EROEI of 20 or 30 to 1 to function but fracking oil is 5 to 1 and Renewables cant do the job) I didn’t want to just jump on it. I have been fooled before. Its not often but I’m not always the smartest guy in the room. I like other smart folks and try, when I can, to have even smarter friends assess my latest obsessions. I reached out to one of my oldest friends who works as a 2% man. His job is to tweak out 2% extra efficiency from any industrial system. He unfortunately took the supply and demand argument of “as long as there is someone willing to buy it (at any price) someone will provide it”. Well, even smart guys can miss the point sometimes. Only oil that actually makes a profit is going to be worth the huge costs. First you have to find it (pre-investment). Then you have to finance it (a complex, functioning, financial system has to be in working order, based on previous Excess Energy capital). Then it gets drilled (the cheapest part. All run on previous Excess Energy. Roads. Mining for material turned into machinery and everything associated with keeping the worker drones alive). Then it has to get to a refinery (pipelines, roads, and workers, all built on previous energy surplus). Then there is the giant spaceship looking monstrosity that is the refinery (all the assorted costs mentioned above). Then it has to be organized and shipped to the gas stations (pre-excess energy capital for roads, mining to produce tankers, trucks, stations and birthing worker drones).
And I don’t think that is even the full costs or previous energy investments. I am not even sure how to add in the cost of the wars, occupations, and everything associated with keeping the consumers alive, from farms to medical care.
If you can get an EROEI of 1:2, that is one barrel of oil energy will produce two new barrels of oil, you would think “supply and demand” would mean “someone” would buy it.
Unfortunately, society would fall apart long long long before that… and that is the part that people don’t seem to grasp.
There comes a point, and nobody what that point is, when there isn’t enough E.R. or Energy Return excess, to keep the actual complex society consuming it running. That moment when there is an Energy Deficit from all the other assorted costs.
The next big mental jump is looking at ER or Energy Return…on Energy Investment, as “the amount of economic activity derived from a barrel of oil”.
And while writing this, a scary thought came to mind that I cannot compute. It’s beyond my brain power. (full disclosure. My brain is spinning and so is the room. I am at full mental capacity. My own mental EROEI tipping point has been reached in trying to communicate this and has swung into unworkable mind wave starvation collapse. I will have to go drink after writing this.)
The scary thought was, “what if we are already in Energy Return Deficit?” How would we know? What would be the measurements for it? Brain goes “POW”.
I suppose what started this train of thought is the fracking and tar sands industry. For those coming in late to the game, fracking is and always has been a Ponzi scheme. It has never made money for oil companies, even when over $100 a barrel. It only makes money for shareholders by bringing new investment money by gullible investors. It was running on debt back then. It’s running on more debt now. They are not making money… and yet they are still pumping. Ka-chunk Ka-chunk Ka-chunk. Mad with the smell of Gazolene.
That is what started the question. If they are pumping oil that does not produce Energy Return in “economic activity derived from a barrel of oil”, what does that mean? Is it simply Lieutenant Colonel Killgor being Bat Shit Crazy or something more nefarious like, they don’t know what else to do except extend and pretend. Not about finances this time but about actual oil and the ER derived from it.
At what point does the oil industry just say, “Sorry. We are not paying for this anymore. We are bankrupt.”
OIL FULL STOP.
(There is still oil in the ground. We just can’t afford to bring it out because it is not worth the effort.)
And that is when we get into high prognostication. We know what will happen. We just have to guess how it plays out. Will the oil companies all throw in their cards at the same time or will it be one company after another folding over a period of weeks, months, years or decades. Will the last economically recoverable oil be nationalized and controlled? What will rationing look like? Even more theoretical, will the military take over oil production at a loss because they need it, sucking the population dry to finance it at a negative energy return or something ridiculous like that. Don’t know. Can’t even speculate. Apocryphaly, it’s theoreticly possible to conclude this has already happened considering those embedded in war decision making and cui bono, to whose profit.
Just so you know, in case you didn’t get the memo, renewables aren’t… and face the same low EROEI societal collapse that can’t afford renewables. What you already have will be all you get… until it breaks.
The Road Warrior future, so feared, ends up looking more like this.
And of course, this site isn’t all about peak oil. Peak oil is just a symptom. I underreported the number 80 million more people added to the total of the planet next year. It’s actually 85 million people. Let’s put that into perspective. This AutoMolock mega city I am in at the moment is 10 million people. That means 8 and a half more of these cities will be filled up in just one year. And the year after that. And the year after that. Where are those extra resources supposed to come from? The mind boggles.
I am sort of beginning to be glad I will be dead or nearing it as the Usual Suspects, the 4 Horsemen, start to Rock and Roll all night and Party every day. I’m just staying on the planet for the opening bands.
Like this, where brown people just don’t get the coverage. While the media outlets focus on 30 people killed in Planet Disney Land Texas, they are not really paying attention to the 1200 people that just drowned over in Asia.
And Hurricane Irma is on its way. Hopefully it misses my farm. I must get another shipping container very soon as a storm proof home, because, we are entering the time my predictions come true. People don’t have to BELIEVE in anthropomorphic global warming (climate chaos). They simply need to look out the window. The smashed out window… with water rising. Or window frame on fire… or the gentle rolling scenery in the background of meadow pasture crops… all dried up and slowly becoming creeping sand dunes. I am not ignoring the other apocalypses at hand. Soil depletion, nitrate run off turning our rivers, lakes, and oceans green, lifeless and a potent neuro toxin to any children who dips their feet into it. Nor the CO2 buildups absorbed by the oceans, turning it acidic and destroying the bottom of the food chain. I guess that’s okay because who wants to eat the plastic particles and mercury in fish and shellfish anyhow. I am more concerned about breathing actual oxygen. And I seriously need to ignore the nuclear plants at sea level or built on a river, just to stay sane. Super stoms. Peak uranium. Peak potash. Economic collapse. Civil war. World War. Pestilence. Pollinator die off. I could keep this up all day… but I guess that beer isn’t going to drink itself.
Go! Super storms!
Well, DJ C5 just can’t go without leaving you with a song. I never much liked this song but context is everything.
At 50… I wanna Rock and Roll for part of the night, once every week or two… and recover for at least a day.
They are sooo cute…but sooo deadly
And so not to leave you on a Downer, Man…
Go team apocalypse!
Though I was not exited about this post…I am quite exited about the Next Adaption post. The Man Truck. Stay Tuned.