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Peak Oil: Now Is A Good Time To Get Serious Pt 5


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Who among us--proponents, deniers, or those with no opinion or knowledge about the issue of peak oil--doesn't want our marvelous capitalist system to continue uninterrupted, taking us to higher and higher levels of technological achievements? Who is willing to voluntarily give up any opportunity to share in the enormous wealth such progress is sure to create?

Who doesn't want to do all that they can to ensure the continuation of the promises of this modern day lifestyle [present woes duly noted and notwithstanding]? Who in their right mind wants to contemplate for even a micro-second the creation of some ill-defined, complex beyond our wildest imaginings, multi-year transition process to a different energy source with all of the uncertainty and sacrifice certain to be a part of that?

Anyone? Beuhler...? Buehler...? Beuhler...?

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Not me, that's a definite vote. Unfortunately, wishes and wants won't matter much soon enough. Not soon as in imminent, but as measured in the course of progress and a future not that far away, changes loom in the availability, affordability, cost, and efficiency of our current, primary energy supply: oil. Failure to prepare or understand what's involved [hint: a lot!] will compound the challenges, and decrease the number and viability of options. That will not be a good place to be.

The problem with ignoring--or wishing and hoping--is that at some point, we bump up against reality. We may be enjoying this heady ride for all it's worth--as we should; the technological advances have been astounding! But we derive these great benefits because we have enjoyed the untrammelled use of a seemingly-endless supply of resources ... and the ride is going to come to an eventual end because reality tells us that the "seemingly-endless supply" is instead quite finite.

Still a lot left of course, but depleting a finite resource has some unwanted end results--all the more so when substitutes relied upon so far don't offer the same level of great advantages.

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Lacking the collective effort and will to supplant fossil fuels is not a good starting point. An undertaking of this magnitude--a transition away from those resources all but inconceivable at the moment--is no one's idea of a good time or exciting opportunity.

When does the "end" arrive? Who knows? Besides, it's not an actual end/full depletion so much as it is a point of no return. At some point we will have depleted the remaining conventional crude-oil supplies to such an extent, and will have exhausted all reasonable efforts [technological and financial] to pump out substitute fossil-fuel resources--while trying to make do with less each and every day as it is--that throwing in the towel is the next choice.

None of us want to get to that point. Whether we're eventually confronted with that option as the only one will depend to a great extent on how much information--and how quickly--we provide to the general public so that the lengthy process of understanding, planning, testing, and implementing can begin in earnest.

The onset of Peak Oil has been a long time coming."The warnings, ephemeral as they may have been, have been with us for decades. But we did not want to alter the pace of progress and prosperity in order to reflect on where we were going and how we were going to get there. I'm not sure that blame is to be allocated. That's actually beside the point.

But we have now traveled a good long way down a path of prosperity and progress that will not lead us to any good places at the end of the road if we don't begin to recognize and appreciate the depth and breadth of changes the future will demand from us.

Adapted from a blog post of mine

 

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