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Peak Oil: Can We Begin? Pt 4

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Given what's been happening with oil production in the past 12 months or so [duly acknowledging the impressive production gains leading up to that period], I find myself thinking that the near-total lack of preparation for a major energy upheaval is beyond surreal. It's no different than reading the climate change assessments from scientists worldwide and then observing a collection of fact-averse "leaders" contorting reason and common sense into ideological fluff to avoid the psychological disruption of cognitive dissonance.

Does it really make sense to wait until full-fledged panic and listening to loud mea culpas admitting that ignoring reality has actually, finally brought society to that point are our only viable options to address these fact-based, ever-developing problems? Wouldn't a little more truth-telling from those who aren't offering that now, and some actual leadership tossed in for good measure help at least a little?

That truth-telling and reliance on facts are no longer automatically assumed is a sad commentary on modern policy-making and problem-solving, but we'll never fashion meaningful solutions to the challenges and limitations we face [energy supply and climate change among the more urgent ones demanding attention] without facts. Shouldn't that be rather obvious to everyone?

Waiting until ... when exactly? is not a rational first choice. It's soon to be well past irrational, also. Let's not get there before those who know are at last willing to publicly admit that peak oil advocates and an overwhelming majority among countless thousands of actual climate experts may actually be telling more of the truth than the lies or wild exaggerations deniers were busy promoting instead.

[We don't like the implications and likely consequences any more than deniers do, by the way. We just prefer dealing with the challenges while we have the best opportunities available. Denial is not as appealing to us as it apparently is to others.]

We'll concede and have admitted that we may not bear the brunt of disruptions to our lifestyles and commercial endeavors for the simple reason that climate change's impact and/or the declining rates of fossil fuel production are more of a gradual creep than the catastrophes opponents claim. They'll be catastrophes if we do nothing, but we have a lot of options to at least consider between doing nothing and "What the hell just happened to everything and everyone!?"

Impacts on the periphery now [and I'm being overly cautious and generous in minimizing what climate change is already doing and how oil production/supply issues are already real-life factors] admittedly aren't all that noticeable to most of us now or in our near-term future. But the only outcome we can assure ourselves of having to deal with by ongoing avoidance is that the problems for our children could be much more severe than they ought to be.

Should that even be the remotest of possibilities ... ever?

The widespread impact of a diminishing yet absolutely essential resource required for preserving and expanding modern society, and the great unknowns of how Earth's weather patterns will be altered by the steady development and expansion of climate change, are no one's idea of a fun topic of conversation. Accepting the facts and then reflecting for even a moment on how adaptation might take place and what would be required in advance is beyond daunting to the wisest and most optimistic among us. There's nothing easy, simple, quick, or inexpensive about preparation and creating possible ways to address the impacts.

It will not be easier, simpler, quick, or even cheaper if we focus too many of our efforts on disproving the other's side talking points rather than starting broad, ambitious discussions about adaptation and all of the preliminaries. The bigger picture is bigger than that.

Adapted from a blog post of mine
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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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