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Is there a long emergency plan for peak oil?

Ever since I first learned about peak oil in 2000, the Master Resource that makes all other resources and activities possible, I’ve wondered what The Plan to cope with its decline and eventual disappearance was. So it wouldn’t be just a long emergency plan, but a permanent emergency plan.

There have indeed been plans: Nixon launched “Project Independence” after the oil shock of 1973 to wean the U.S. from its dependence on imported oil by 1980 with kerogen shale oilhydrogen fuel vehicles, and nuclear power.

When that didn’t pan out, further government attempts were made to find alternatives for fossil fuels, for example (NRC 2009):

  • Richard Nixon’s “Project Independence” (1974)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (1974)
  • Gerald Ford’s “Energy Independence Act” (1975)
  • Energy Policy & Conservation Act (1975) to restrict exports of coal, petroleum products, natural gas, petrochemical feedstocks, and supplies of materials and equipment for the exploration, production, refining, and transportation of energy.
  • Jimmy Carter’s “National Energy Plan” (1977)
  • Department of Energy (1977)
  • Ronald Reagan’s “Energy Security” report (1987)
  • George H.W. Bush’s “National Energy Strategy” (1991)
  • Bill Clinton’s “Federal Energy R&D for the Challenges of the 21st Century” report (1997)
  • George W. Bush’s “Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future” report (2001).
  • John Kerry’s plan: “Kerry Aims to Reduce Foreign Oil Reliance,” Associated Press (2004).

But Senator Lugar pointed out in 2006 that despite Project Independence and other plans, the world has become more reliant on the three-quarters of reserves concentrated in unstable regions, where the risk of wars over remaining energy supplies will dramatically increase.

Or as Jay Hanson (2004) once wrote: “I am convinced thatafter the PROJECT INDEPENDENCE fiasco, our rulers reached the same conclusion I have: since no solution exists, there is no point in scaring Joe Six-pack…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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