Yeah, I dunno, I'm not really that worried about the world running out of oil, I'm more worried about the atmosphere filling up with CO2. I went to a talk years ago by a guy named Dean Kammen, he's a professor up at Berkely working on alternative energy stuff, I think he advises Steve Chu occasionally. The talk happened right around when gas prices started shooting up, and there was a lot of peak oil paranoia at the time. The beginning of his talk emphasized how things like shale oil and coal gasification could keep us in fossil fuels for a very long time. Although prices would go up. And that's probably a good thing for fossil fuel alternatives, until alternatives become common enough that fossil fuel supply prices come back down via supply and demand. That's why we really need some price on carbon, so we don't just slide back into fossil fuels when prices drop again.
You apparently don't realize what you just said.
Shale oil and coal gasification release more CO2 than any process you want to see happen if you care about CO2.
I'll not bother grabbing exact numbers for shale oil I'll just point you to the highlight snippit since shale oil is a minor player compared to coal.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmen ... _emissions
On top of that you are confusing "coal to gas" and "coal to liquids" which are two different things. Coal to gas is done for electricity and since 99% of the cars in America run on liquids and not electricity coal to electricity doesn't help much when you run out of cheap oil (remember we don't burn oil for electricity much now).
the distinction between coal gasification (that is, producing electricity in IGCC coal plants) and coal-to-liquids (that is, producing liquid diesel fuel from coal via the Fischer-Tropsch process).
The former might some day be environmentally tolerable, if accompanied by carbon sequestration. The latter will never be tolerable, because even if the CO2 created in manufacturing is sequestered, the fuel itself releases twice as much CO2 as gasoline when combusted.
When it comes to CTL, we have two choices:
* CTL + carbon sequestration: This will be grotesquely expensive, and will only happen with massive government subsidies. The net result will be a liquid fuel that is just as bad for the atmosphere as current liquid fuels.
* CTL without carbon sequestration: This might be economically viable without subsidies, but it would be an utter disaster in terms of global warming.
So which half of this statement did you mean? Is it
"I'm not really that worried about the world running out of oil, I'm more worried about the atmosphere filling up with CO2."
or is it
I'm not really that worried about the world running out of oil, I'm more worried about the atmosphere filling up with CO2."
because if we start using coal to power our cars it's just going to get worse if you actually care about CO2.
and either way you go on the CO2 issue, there is another case for confusion as most talks about energy use the term "gas" to mean that colorless odorless stuff we burn for heat or electricity not that liquid stuff you and I put in our cars.
So when you see a table like
Fuel Tonnes of carbon per GWh
All fossil fuels 167
All fuels (inc nuclear and renewables) 124
You have to assume they mean Natural Gas not gasoline.
tells us that gasoline emits 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon but translating that to Tonnes per GWh or translating coal to any per mile rating for a car is lots of math and deals with many inefficiencies that some will ignore when converting.
Finally whatever happens, even if we ignore CO2, running low on oil will have severe economic impacts.