If the predictions of a lot of experts come true, then fears over global warming may soon subside. This will not be due to any great discovery or tactic on our part - not at all, since CO2 emissions are still being ramped up - but, rather, because an arguably more troubling storm (in the short term) may be approaching. That storm is the end of cheap oil - and with it, the demise of the industrial age as we know it.
The Era of Easy Oil is Over - ChevronPlease take a quarter hour to watch the following important clip:
The Real Oil Crisis Duration 13 mins
It's incredible, isn't it, when you stop to consider the scale of the society we've created, and to also ponder how things could have been if we'd taken an alternate path - if we'd recognised that there's no such thing as oil 'production', as we continually refer to it (in the sense that we cannot create oil any more than we can create gold), but only oil extraction. We do not manufacture oil, we mine it.
What could have been a judicious use of the earth's resources has instead devolved into a purblind free-for-all. We've used this finite energy source like there was no... um... tomorrow. As we've expressed before - "Have energy, will waste".
Sooner or later oil supplies will taper off. Even in best-case scenarios we're looking at a dire need to begin transitioning to a more localised, sustainable social structure.
Unfortunately it's looking increasingly like government and big business will always trail behind citizenry in getting this transition underway. In fact, there's a good chance their collusion will impede it.
I love the earth-at-night map below. You've all seen it before, but in the context of this post I think it says more than words can. Consider that world falling into complete darkness at night - and potential despair and anarchy during both night and day. The growth-at-any-cost economic model that has created the image below, ignores the fundamental principles of finiteness.
So, what next? More and more people are asking this question - I hope our Celsias readers will do so too, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Although big industry is coming online with attempts to fill the gap, many energy experts are telling us that no amount of wind, or solar, or biofuel energy can fill the void that will be made if that steady stream of energy we've been gorging ourselves on over the last century and a quarter starts to become more intermittent. Additionally, the production and transportation of all these alternative energy forms require fossil fuel inputs at every stage of manufacture and delivery. And, some of the 'alternatives' are more a case of jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire than a solution.
Below is a very interesting clip on how Cuba, in the late eighties and early nineties, had to deal with its own oil shock. When the Soviet Bloc finally collapsed in 1989, Cuba was essentially cut off from its major ally - and, with it went the source of half their oil supply. To say the way of life for Cubans was adversely affected would be to seriously understate the case. With no time to prepare, how did they cope?
Learning from Cuba's Response to Peak Oil Duration: 27 mins
Continue on to Low Energy Lifestyles, Lessons from Cuba