Ratspeak

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A serious interlude

Okay, I don't normally like to tackle real issues here on my blog - I do enough of that in conversations with friends, but I did want to bring one to peoples' attention. Peak Oil. To quote one website (and I'll not share the link, because in my opinion, sites on the Peak Oil issue run the gamut from sensationalist to over-conservative, and if the reader is interested, I'd like them to do the research for themselves. It isn't hard. Typing those two words into Google will return tons of hits) "Peak oil is the point in time when extraction of oil from the earth reaches its highest point and then begins to decline. We won't be able to say with certainty when we have reached peak oil until after the fact."
What this means is that it is the point where extracting oil from the earth hits the point of diminishing return - more effort for less oil. This will of course drive the price of oil up. Supply and demand, the simplest of economic theories tells us that. Note, I am not suggesting that the current soaring gas prices are in any way related to this. Nor am I asserting they are not. There are reasons why the prices could increase independently of Peak Oil, but Peak Oil would certainly cause that.
This is an issue we (as a species) have been aware of for 40 years or more, and done fairly little about. There are, of course, places that have (California, for instance uses wind farms at the base of mountains to capture enough power to supply communities with their electricity needs, and of course, hybrid cars are on an upswing of popularity. Sadly, not as much so as SUVs) and continue to do this kind of work, but right now I am asking you to look into this issue and see if there isn't a little more we could all do. I'm not advocating becoming a hermit, or riding your bike to work in the snow up here in Canada, but just think both about what you can do to help delay that point, and also, what you will do when you can no longer afford to put gas in your car.
Estimates on the date when we will hit Peak Oil vary quite a bit. Some people say we have already hit it (potentially as much as 5 years ago, according to some) while others say we have about 30 years left. Either way, most experts seem to agree that we will hit it during my lifetime. To go hand in hand with my last post, by then I hope to be in Florida, where at least the cold will not be an issue.
At any rate, those of you who I know read this blog are all intelligent folks. Do a little research on Peak Oil, and give some thought to preparing yourselves for the future.

And now, I shall try to put my soapbox away and return to my regularly scheduled ranting asshole-itude.

5 Comments:

  • I've actually been thinking about this over the last couple of weeks. Hey, women who hang together get their meses at the same time, so maybe guys start thinking about the same thing at the same time in the same way. Certainly so when there are hot women around.

    IN ANY CASE...

    While I haven't exactly prepared a plan for what to do when oil runs out, I kind of envision a world which will have to learn to slow itself down (at least briefly), which goes directly against everything it has done to advance itself through history; getting bigger and better and faster. Solar-powered cars are, for instance, a reality. Oh, they suck pretty hard, so no one wants them, but I figure there may well come a time when we have no choice but to look at everyone getting them anyway.
    And think about it: if everyone who has a car now were to have them switched overnight to solar powered cars, the initial response would be disappointment, but only because of the vehicles we're used to. In a matter of months, we'd be acclimatized to them. Still faster than walking or biking, so they'd still be the transportation of choice. All of us would just have to get used to things slowing down from what we're used to for the first time, rather than looking at the next advancements on what we already have. But then, science could lend itself to speeding those vehicles up. And once again, we'd be moving forward to bigger, better, and faster.
    At some point, though, we may as a race have to look at that bit of a dip in that otherwise upward-angled line of speed/size advancement. Maybe we could rally together and start focusing on those options rather than, say, how many times over the world can be destroyed with our nuclear weapons alone. Stop and realize that we're all in this together, for a change, rather than how much more dominant we can be over others.
    Totally pie-in-the-sky, of course, but hey... a man can dream.

    By Anonymous Reay, at 2:35 PM  

  • Totally pie-in-the-sky I'm afraid Reay. While many alternatives are technically feasible to the way things are done now, hardly any are economically scaleable.
    This means massive gaps in supply and demand are comming. Starting with energy and moving through industry, many commodities and products will simply not be available or not be produced. The awful part is the lethal optimism people have in government or technology. I have spoken to many people about peak oil latley, almost all of them have not even heard the term. This problem was recognized 40 years ago, yet now, at the eleventh hour, the majority seem blissfully unaware of what is right around the corner.
    A massive awareness campaign needs to be launched. To quote Matt Savinar; 'Deal with reality or reality will deal with you.'
    Please read http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/index.html

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