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Peak Oil: Where To Go From Here? Pt 3

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A moment's pause to consider the practical realities of billions of others looking to improve their lifestyles on any scale by which we measure our own progress and achievements should realize immediately that a finite set of ever-more-challenging-to-acquire energy supplies needed to power those advances can only be spread so thin.

I'm fairly certain that one thing has not changed since my most recent OpEdNews article: finite resources are still finite, and that means they remain subject to the same laws regarding the consequences of depletion as was true last week.

Much of the opposition to the concept of a peak in the rate of production is based upon vague but impressive-sounding claims regarding the "potential" for one increase in production or another, usually based on the possibility of gains if certain other pieces fall into place. Making statements backed by almost no substantive discussion or explanation of mitigating factors [e.g, comments suggesting that trillions of barrels remain to be produced sounds great as long as no one explains what that would involve and thus how all but impossible it will be for any amounts anywhere close to such production totals to ever be achieved].

That's a tactic that deniers freely utilize on any matters of national significance where "losing" that argument comes at a cost ... to them. As for the public benefit in disseminating factual information supported by evidence and the realities? Well, we can probably assume that those individuals and organizations really do care about the well-being of the public, really! It's just that ... well, you know....The high art of preserving benefits for the few at the expense of the many. How nice for them!

If the attempts to dispute the facts about oil production are not placed in the real-world context of increasing demand, depleting oil fields, harder-to-find-and-produce newer resources (meaning more energy being used to produce lesser amounts of inferior-quality supplies), and the often-overlooked factor that many oil-exporting nations are now keeping for their own use more of their production totals, then the "potentials" lose much of their luster. So there is a reason why details tend to be omitted, apparently on the hope that pleasant-sounding generalities will suffice, as they sadly do.

To be sure, there are a host of psychological and practical reasons why the public is less [or poorly] informed about energy-supply matters, just as they are by the issues of climate change, tax policy, and Take-Your-Pick Issues. There's little or no fault assigned to those who either do not have the means to devote sufficient amounts of time to be better educated about the complexities, or are relying on others in whom they've placed their trust to honor that responsibility.

We all know how that tends to work too often.

Yet the realities of a depleting finite resource are not held up by misinformation or baseless denials. Just keeping up with depletion rates still represents a net loss in production if worldwide demand increases and exports from oil-producing nations are being curtailed. And let's also remember that all of these "new," more expensive, energy-intensive and time-consuming efforts are taking place because there's no place else to go. Because these enhanced efforts are more costly, energy prices have to remain high for producers to justify the time, expense, investments (financial, manpower, asset-acquisition), and efforts needed to extract these often inferior oil resources.

Important factors such as these need to be part of the information base released to the public. The failure to do so may serve the interests of some--at least in the short term, but none of those beneficiaries will include the public.

We'll need to change those dynamics if we're going to develop effective plans and preparations, and we're going to need to develop effective plans and preparations. That result is much likelier if we engage that process before we have no choices left.

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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