A few blogs have been linking to the recent Peak Oil Alarm Revealed by Secret Official Talks article reported in The Observer, where it states:
Speculation that government ministers are far more concerned about a future supply crunch than they have admitted has been fueled by the revelation that they are canvassing views from industry and the scientific community about “peak oil.”
Well duh – any government that imports more oil than it produces had better be worried. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that dwindling resources, increasing global population and the rapid development of third world countries will wreak havoc on global energy systems. The Earth can’t support everyone in the world living the American lifestyle. It’s just not gonna happen.
Then we get that news article coupled with the recent CNN piece entitled U.S. Electricity Blackouts Skyrocketing, where it states:
Experts on the nation’s electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers.
The two articles are indirectly related and the latter, discussing the need to update the nation’s power grid, highlights the problem we face. At a time when oil supplies are dwindling, we are increasing energy demands. I know, “alternative energy is the answer, duuuude.” Look, I’m an environmental idealist as much as the next non-showering granola hippie …. well not quite, but I’m with you in spirit. Except I’m also a realist, and while alternative energies need to be developed, there is absolutely no realistic plan to bring enough of these resources online to meet present and future demand.
So as the friction between increasing energy demand and declining resources heats up, something must give. It’s obvious – if a trend is unsustainable, it will not be sustained. The severity of the repercussions will depend on a few factors:
- the economy – the longer it sits in the toilet waiting to get flushed, the longer the energy crisis can be avoided.
- alternative energy – yes, it has a role – but until oil reaches a price where these sources are economically competitive, we won’t see it on the scale it needs to happen. Government incentives are not enough.
- third world countries – everyone wants a flat panel television, fancy computers and a new car (I want a new truck). Imagine the size of China’s population suddenly living the American lifestyle ….. exactly. The speed at which these populations increase their standard of living correlates directly with the speed of energy supply/demand friction.
- conservation – are YOU ready to power down?
So when energy supply and demand enter the TEOTWAWKI boxing ring, it’s going to play out in one of two ways:
- a slow slide into darkness (pun intended) where high energy prices perpetuate economic doldrums, or
- a faster, more abrupt collision.
Pray for a slow slide! A slow slide, while difficult and painful, would give society time to adapt. We would have time to adjust our lifestyles, develop new energy conservation technologies and new energy resources. A faster, abrupt collision would be much more rough …. got a garden and goats?
I’m of the view that a slow slide is more likely and that demand levels will get reduced when it costs too much money to run air conditioners all day long in schools, office buildings and homes. Got sweat?
City street lights shining all night long and business signs lit even after closing will all get switched off. Evening sports game on well lit fields will become a thing of the past. Carpooling will become a necessity. People will move closer to work. Smaller cars, motorcycles and bicycles will surge in popularity. The civilian Hummer will be a thing of the past. Clothes will be hung out to dry. People, accustomed to multi-media distractions, will find enjoyment in the simpler things in life. It almost sounds kinda …. dreamy ……… pray for a slow slide ….
– Ranger Man