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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Welcome to the oil death spiral

Welcome to the oil death spiral

There is something deeply tragic about watching people who would be dead within a fortnight without oil nevertheless calling for oil – and fossil fuels more broadly – to be banned immediately.  It is possible, of course, that these people believe that food grows inside supermarkets or that the chemicals used to provide clean drinking water can be beamed to the waterworks using Star Trek technology.  The hard reality though, is that every aspect of modern living – even for those of us surviving on the margins – depends upon oil… and not just any old oil.  The workhorse behind the modern, hi-tech western economies is the roughly 30 percent fraction of an average barrel of oil called diesel.

Take a look around the room where you are reading this.  Every item your eyes land upon was, at some point in its life, transported on a truck – if you are in the UK, a large part of it will have arrived on a ship from Asia too.  Almost all of those trucks used diesel as a fuel.  Some smaller trucks and vans may have used petrol (gasoline) and an even smaller number may have been electric… but only the small ones – you cannot run a large semi using batteries (at least, not if you want to leave some space for cargo).

Take another look around the room for anything made from or with plastic, or anything which is painted or dyed.  These, too required oil in their manufacture.  Almost everything made of metal or requiring metal as a component began life in the bucket of a diesel-powered crane, which loaded it as an ore onto a diesel-powered mining truck, which delivered it to a fossil fuel-powered grinding machine which, in turn moved the crushed ore to a fossil fuel (coal or gas)-powered smelter.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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