Peak Everything: Three More Things To Worry About


Goldfinger could have just waited 40 years for the gold to run out.

Richard Heinberg wrote the book Peak Everything, a theme we picked up on in Peak Everything: Eight Things We Are Running Out Of And Why. Now we have to face three more possible peaks:

Peak Gold: Output hit a record in 2001 and has since been in decline

Martin Mittelstaedt writes in the Globe and Mail that gold is getting harder to find and more expensive to get out of the ground.
Mittelstaedt writes:

Many precious metals analysts and gold miners are taking a cue from the claims that global oil production will exhibit a peak, and then begin an inexorable decline accompanied by sharply higher prices. They're starting to say the same concept applies equally well to bullion and may lead to outsized investment returns from buying the yellow metal.

Believers in peak gold say that mining has a number of uncanny similarities to oil extraction.

Others point out that oil is consumed, whereas gold is recycled forever, and consider the term "peak gold" to be a copycat move.

"I'm sure that you'll find that many in the resource industry will claim that they are now on the back side of their own Hubbert curve," says Jeff Rubin, former chief economist of CIBC World Markets, who has written a book about the end of the cheap oil era.

More in the Globe and Mail
Peak asphalt: the return of gravel roads

At the Oil Drum, there is concern that asphalt, made from crude oil, might soon be too expensive to buy and maintain, and that roads may have to revert to gravel.

Asphalt comes from crude oil. It is made from bitumen which is a heavy and viscous form of petroleum; normally the residual of the distillation of crude oil. Could it be that with peak oil we don't just have a problem of availability of fuels and of energy, but also of bitumen for paving roads?

They note that we are certainly not running out of bitumen; that is what the tar sands are made of. But it will become more expensive. Maintenance is also becoming a lot more costly and governments are letting the roads deteriorate.

It is likely that in the coming years we'll see more and more roads returning to gravel, as it was commonplace in the Western World up to about 50 years ago. When most roads were not paved, cars and trucks had much softer suspension systems and lighter wheels; we may see a comeback of this kind of vehicles which, by their nature, are not made for high speeds. After all, gravel roads don't mean the end of transportation. We'll just have to slow down considerably, and that may not be a bad thing.

More in the Oil Drum: Europe . This is something we have been rooting for for a while; see 55 MPH: It's time to bring it back.
Peak Olive Oil: Russia will profit most from the coming olive-oil crisis

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On April 1, the Economist expressed concern about the future of olive oil in Europe; Changing climate was going to put the Mediterranean out of the oil business.

Russia, however, expects to profit handsomely: its steppes, freed of permafrost, will soon host vast olive groves; a series of pipelines will send extra-virgin supplies westwards. Yet not all are happy. A Russian deal to pipe oil directly to Germany has caused dismay in central European countries that will be bypassed, potentially leaving salads undressed.

More in the Economist

Tags: Peak Oil