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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Peak Oil: The Next Steps Pt 4


We remain free as always to choose to fear the consequences of a permanent decline in the availability of affordable and accessible fossil fuel supplies. The enduring impact on our society and our ways of life as a result of a diminished supply of our primary energy supply is no small matter. So fear is certainly an option.

We can also rely on those disinclined to examine the majority of production realities, offering instead a steady diet of optimistic statements and light-on-fact assurances.

Very few of us who are concerned with the full range of oil production issues and challenges find anything about the widespread future impact of peak oil to be other than a somber realization on our best days.


But so too do we have the choice to view the challenges we’ll face [sooner than we’re likely to be fully prepared for, unfortunately], as opportunities to fashion new successes for ourselves; new definitions of prosperity; new ideals of community; and new ways of projecting humanity into a future of hope and progress. Completely idealistic in this moment, to be sure. But it strikes me as a better attitude to have as we approach the urgency of addressing our concerns before available options start getting crossed off the list.

The opportunities to plan and prepare will surely be different than those crafted as a result of the many benefits of readily available crude oil and its countless products. We may not have much choice in that regard, depending on what plans and adaptations take shape in the years to come. This process of transition/adaptation is not going to be measured in any shorter time frame.

But there is no reason to lament, out of fear, that those descriptions will be less worthy or satisfying. We own the choice of assessing what needs to be done and what will be done, too.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Oil: Are We Not Better Than This? Pt 9


There are—almost always—at least two sides to any story of significance and potential impact upon others. The greater the impact and potential for a range of outcomes, the more certain one can be that there are more than a handful of factors, considerations, and perspectives to be accounted for if the issue at hand is to be both understood and resolved effectively.

Ignoring the “other side” of the issue may be effective if one prefers their narrative to remain unchallenged and to provide reassurance to fellow believers, but beyond that, it’s hard to understand what the benefit might be to those seeking information if what’s shared is inaccurate or purposely incomplete.

From the second article I’ve been referencing throughout this series:

In the USA, hydraulic fracturing has taken petroleum production to its highest level since 1972, and oil imports to their lowest level since 1995. America now exports crude oil, natural gas and refined products.
The fracking genie cannot be put back in the bottle. In fact, it is being adopted all over the world, opening new shale oil and gas fields, prolonging the life of conventional fields, leaving less energy in the ground, and giving the world another century or more of abundant, reliable, affordable petroleum. That’s plenty of time to develop new energy technologies that actually work without mandates and enormous subsidies.


But in the real world where facts are actually important, a different story is told. Two days before the above-referenced article was published, we had this:

[N]ow, over 1.5 years into the price collapse, production declines in shale oil are finally starting to appear as low oil prices have slashed company investments in new supply, and production begins to decline from existing wells….
The array of spending cuts and production declines announced by dozens of separate companies may be difficult to wrap one’s head around. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Oil: The Next Steps Pt 1


I ended last week’s post by explaining the significance of getting all of the facts about our energy supply future as a first step.

Before deciding whether or not to accept the realities of a depleting finite resource and the impact this will have on our society—or ignoring it for whatever comforting alternative explanations suit one’s needs—understanding the implications and those realities is a more beneficial approach.


The corollary to an appreciation for what a less adequate, less affordable, and less available supply of our primary energy resource is the transition itself. That effort will not happen via magic. Not only will the research, development, and planning require more effort, time, and contributions than we’re likely considering now, putting everything into place is no easy assignment, either.

Just to keep things interesting, the transition from an oil-based industrial economy to Whatever-Plan-B-Will-Be will have to be achieved using that same declining measure of supply to design and construct and transport and put into place the infrastructure we’ll need to support and maintain this as yet unidentified and not-planned-for-yet Plan B, thus making less available to us for all of our ‘normal’ demands and needs, creating its own set of problems. We’re talking about using a lot of declining energy supplies that’s a lot more expensive, over the course of a lot of years to put into operation a lot of new industrial and economic and civic foundations to (we hope) enable us to maintain some semblance of growth and prosperity—all while using new energy resources that simply will not be as efficient or inexpensive or dependable as oil has been.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Oil: Where To Begin?


The unpleasant truth now and soon is that the ready supply of oil and gas which we almost always take for granted [the occasional price spike notwithstanding] is on its way to becoming not-so-ready. A host of factors now in place are steadily converting possibility into likelihood. Thinking that we’ll just implement a few crash programs to straighten out that potential mess is a nice thought, but we simply do not have the means to make that happen—not the technological capabilities, not the personnel, not the industries, not the leadership … yet. Clearly, we do not have enough time to do it all with effortless ease and minimal disruptions.

The farther we continue to travel down that path which relies on fossil fuels to sustain us rather than on a new one marked “new future with new and necessary alternatives”, the longer and more difficult will our backtracking be. What supplied us on the front part of the journey will no longer be there for us on the ride back. We’re going to have to create entirely new systems and infrastructures and modes of production and transportation—or at the very least re-build extensively—in order to adapt to new sources of energy. So relying on current conditions and practices and customs and tinkering only along the edges simply won’t work because we are going to be dependent on entirely different energy resources.

A recent article highlighted the fact that many oil producers are continuing production efforts even though they are operating at a loss. Many factors obviously contribute to such an incongruous decision, chief among them the costs associated with resumption. How long should we expect those trends to continue?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Oil: Stark Realities





We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by. [1]

~ ~ ~

Like so much of our public discourses these days—notably surrounding the [sadly] too-comical Presidential races—truth, context, relevance, facts, integrity, and their related concepts have given way to the damaging urgency of adhering to ideology. Consequences are rendered irrelevant.

The discussions about climate change and the future of fossil fuel production have been among the noteworthy casualties of our polarized approach to governance and problem-solving. Like the other disputes light on facts in favor of extra doses of partisanship, in time the consequences will be anything but irrelevant. Recriminations, justifiable though they may be, will help none of us as we deal with the harsh realities we’ve ignored in favor of scoring points for our side.

Covering as many bases as possible, a predominantly fact-free article [except for the obligatory cherry-picking] in the irony-rich online American Thinker ventured first into the obligatory right-wing climate change doubting nonsense [citing one whole “Climate Statistics Prof” before veering off into a reference about “a well-loved and respected doctor” who was “expelled from an important medical center” because of “legitimate evidence-based concerns” regarding the center’s “decision to endorse the homosexual lifestyle,” then on to a “highly qualified scientist in California” fired because he “found scientific evidence that questioned a dogma of evolutionary thought,” and “so many other cases,” before readers were finally ushered into an equally fact-free but statement-rich denunciation of “settled science.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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