Tuesday, January 24, 2006

oil price and Iran

Oil price near $70 again. Iran has the world over a barrel with its nuclear program.

There is no spare capacity in the worlds oil supply, any slowdown in supply has a massive effect on price. In fact any news of a potential effect on supply has an effect on price. Hence talk of sanctions on Iran add to a jittery oil market.

Iran must know this and can push ahead with its nuclear program. Not much anyone can do really.

Just expect tension to rise. Both it the middle east and globally around oil prices.

The argument about peak oil will rage on, politics will continue denying it exists for as long as possible but we are close to a main stream breakthrough in the press on the issue. It is getting harder to make any case at all against it.

Our present economic theory is busted and does not cater for limited supply resources. This should be fun.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

god and science 3

This is the 3rd in a series and should be read in context..

The conclusion of my last piece was that religions are constructs of social science and that it is these religions that have be a necessary part of our social cohesion and development over the last 10,000 years.

The other conclusion that seems weired to most is that science as presented to the general public, and religion are one in the same thing. They are systems to explain the world to people who need to understand the world to help them feel safe. These systems formed an integral part of the human move into cities and organised societies, at their most fundamental level they are systems to give security to people in an insecure world. They answer the basic questions of, why am i here, where do i go when i die, who is a good person etc etc.

Science is presented as a dogma, i have never seen any of our science presented as 'this might be how it is, but actually we really dont know' For me the argument over which is better is just as good as arguing between a Christian or Muslim god.

This is all hardly surprising as our modern science evolved as a reaction to religion but also a product of our religious culture and organisational systems. I like to use the analogy of great saints of Christianity with the great scientists of the modern world. Saints were often vilified or even killed by the established christian church often to be made saints many years later. The same happens with the great scientific discoveries, the establishment often makes a fool of the scientist until many years later the maverick if proven right.

The Great Divide

So I hope all this discussion makes some sense. My goal is to get us onto a deeper issue i call the great divide. The great divide is all about the core notion of right and wrong connected with might is right.

I believe that the great divide is the root of all human conflict, and at its root stems from basic human insecurity, this is then manipulated by the goal of the religion that the human currently goes with. Be it the government propaganda, the football team, the religion and your need to be right about something that you decide you want to be right about to feel better about yourself.

It is the great divide that will cause all religions (as i defined them) to fight with each other, this goes for science too. These religions including science will then go on to fight within themselves, they will fracture and divide and form offshoots that will continue to fight amongst themselves.

If you have right and wrong...

Only one can be right...

The one that will be right, is the one *you* have picked (going back to the self referential god thing)

If you go with this, you are living in the great divide and you have a religion probably taken on from your parents and society around you. This forms your programming and keeps you mentally safe, but it also makes you vulnerable to programming by others.

If you can really be ok with the concept that no one knows all the answers and in particular *you* dont know all the answers

You dont live in the great divide.

The only other useful conclusion i have for now is:

The stronger one needs to hold onto the notions of great devide the more insecure the person is.

energy

Where we get our energy from as a civilization will shape and change our lives.

1. We can no longer keep using carbon fuels like oil and gas at the current rates because we are at or near the peak of global production. Prices will continue to rise.

2. Generating energy in this way produces greenhouse gasses which are beginning to cook our planet.

Out of these two points. I think the second is irrelevant. I doubt we will manage to make any major impact on our carbon emissions judging from progress so far. Certainly not the 60 to 80% cuts required to make any significant difference. If we could organise that, we could organise world peace, we dont have the will for either at this time.

The scale of change required will only happen by force on this planet, the forces will be economic.

The major factor affecting the economy of any country in the next 15 years will be the rise in prices of oil and gas. America and China will fight over control of these resources. (eg America taking iraq and China buying oilfields)

What should any country do in the face of this ?

We can modify our economics to support and accelerate our direction to the fix. Otherwise our economics will have to be modified as they start to fail.

Oil and gas are going to continue to get more expensive as predicted due to increased demand and supply shortage. This effect will be felt first in the economy of any country as energy literally 'powers' the economy.

So any country that invests heavily in and plans now for:

a) energy efficiency and everything that this connects to (eg trains, canals and local food)

b) more localised and sustainable energy production

c) non manufacturing based information economies, with localised recycling infrastructure (get computing and work from home, grow your own anything or buy it from your neighbour)

Will become the strongest economies of the future. Its common sense

Companies that already do this are showing significant economic gains today. This is a simple abc plan to a next generation sucessful economy.

* The rich countries have the resources to do this but not the political will,

* The poor countries could most easily make these changes but don't have the money.

The best and most rapid way to implement abc is raise taxes on all non sustainable energy products and use the money for the investment in abc policies !

People wont like this solution but they will like the alternatives far less. Society will be pushed to get governments to make these policies in a reactive way as the economy fails them, that's backward.

If America does not start to adapt soon its economy will become unsustainable. Farming in particular will need a big overhaul due to its triple reliance on oil for machinery, fertilizers (ammonia is a byproduct of oil refining) and transport/machinery. Food will get expensive quicker.

Funnily enough Cuba is a great example of what to do right, they were forced to go organic because of the US trade embargo and they now have efficient farming based on old fashioned crop rotation schemes.

We don't need more energy, we just need to use it better and there is a simple way to fix the problem. Its now down to which countries think ahead and do it to build there populations a strong and sustainable future.

I think in 100 years from now people will look back and laugh at how much energy we waste today and how we used our economic system so badly to hide this fact.

Even ignoring the inefficiency issue remember that energy is all around you. It is essentially free, we as a world have allowed for and relied on a centralized system of energy generation and grid distribution because it can be easily monopolized. This will all change to local forms of production and tapping energy.

---

Germany shows There is plenty of energy around.