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Peak Oil Distractions Pt 3

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"[T]here is no intellectually honest way to believe that the world can continue its near-total reliance on fossil fuels for much more than another decade -- a paltry window of opportunity. We also know that we cannot wait until they go into decline before reaching for renewables and efficiency, simply because the scale of the challenge is so vast, and the alternatives are starting from such a low level that they will need decades of investment before they are ready to assume the load. The data is clear, and the mathematics are really quite straightforward."---Chris Nelder

We're not going to suddenly discover magical amounts of fossil fuel reserves though magical technologies because the Republican Party controls the House and/or because too many of its members are beholden to the industry. Energy resources don't concern themselves so much with political ideology.

What's left [and there are still substantial amounts left] is going to be harder to find, extract, and pay for. The chatter about "abundant resources" and/or "trillions of barrels" never includes any details about the how of getting all that fossil fuel from there to here. That part of the reality would do nothing but spoil the narrative.

And for all of the legitimate hype surrounding the production increases courtesy of tight oil, the quality and quantity of that supply will simply not be there in the manner we've come to expect. That's the reality, and those are the basic facts--among many other considerations involving the technology of hydraulic fracturing [fracking].

Rapid decline rates; the tremendous amounts of water needed; the infrastructure and related damage to local communities, and the need to constantly seek out new supply to overcome the decline rates are among other essential factors which rarely see the light of day when "Abundance Forever" storylines make the rounds.

What that means is that in time we're going to have to make do with less just when we need it all more than ever, and just when millions more have asserted at this same time their needs and demands for the same finite amounts. Party affiliations shouldn't be expected to change any of that.

The important issue is that no matter what words one uses or how the issues are characterized, the energy supply we've long relied upon to power our society to its impressive heights is no longer what it once was.

Just how does the market on its own develop guidelines about what needs to be done, how, when, in what priority, where, and assorted other considerations? The transition away from fossil fuels, if powering the future via any energy sources matters at all, is a nearly-incomprehensible, complex undertaking under ideal circumstances. That's definitely not a happy news observation, but it's the reality we have to deal with.

Efforts to mislead the public and/or denying there are looming problems [to say nothing of present ones] is a tactic of questionable integrity and even less value. What kind of wishful thinking is required to think that we'll just figure something out when we need to for an undertaking of this magnitude?

Is it really a better option to ignore the planning now so that the bigger problems later can be met only with fewer options and resources? I hope no one gets injured when performing the factual, psychological, and emotional gymnastics necessary to make that strategy sound good!

The sooner we all recognize our fossil fuel dependency and the risks it entails, coupled with the need to make better choices now to begin the transition--before it is no longer a choice we own--the better off we'll all be.

That remains a choice, but it also calls upon those in the know [or who should know] to stop tap-dancing around the realities associated with a finite resource. We'll need their expertise, and it's high time they put an end to obstruction and start playing their important role in helping us all adapt to a different future.

[Adapted from a recent 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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