Observations based on my Trip to China

Sorry I was away so long. I was in Spain, and then China. Let me tell you about the China trip.

One of the first things I discovered on the China trip was that I couldn’t write posts on Our Finite World from China, thanks to China’s censorship. I could, however, read posts that I had previously written on Our Finite World.

The impression I got was that China allows a moderately free expression of opinion, as long as it is through a recognized organization, like a newspaper, or even The Oil Drum, or Energy Bulletin. What they don’t seem to encourage is sites by individuals. Sites that were unavailable included Facebook, any Blogspot blog, You Tube videos, and any site on sites.google.com (including the new Biophysical Economics site). Given the number of sites that seemed to be unavailable, I was glad that ourfiniteworld.com was at least readable from China, even if I couldn’t add new posts. It may be the fact that Our Finite World doesn’t use “wordpress” in the URL that permits it to be read. (I have to access a WordPress page to update it though.) English language newspapers in China seemed to carry a range of stories, including ones about expected power shortages this summer, and about recent college grads not being able to find jobs.

My trip consisted of two parts: (1) A visit to China University of Petroleum for three days, followed by (2) A commercial to tour (by  Viking) which included stops at Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai and a boat ride down the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Wuhan.
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The Context of Hubbert’s Peak in World Oil Forecast

(Note: This is a post I wrote which is published in today’s ASPO-USA newsletter.)

Recently when I was reading some of the papers M. King Hubbert wrote, one thing struck me was the context in which he made his forecast regarding how world oil supply would peak and decline. He made this forecast in the context of having plenty of other fuel supply from other sources already developed, to offset this decline.

The three graphs shown in this paper are from Hubbert’s 1956 paper, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels. Based on Figure 30, it is clear that he expected nuclear energy to raise total energy production to a very high level, even before fossil fuels began to decline.

In his 1962 report, Energy Resources – A Report to the Committee on Natural Resources, Hubbert writes about the possibility of having so much cheap energy that it would be possible to essentially reverse combustion–-combine energy plus carbon dioxide and water to produce new types of fuel plus water. If we could do this, it would be possible to fix our high CO2 levels and produce lots of fuel for our current vehicles, even without fossil fuels. Continue reading