Friday, June 4, 2010

Food for thought - Peak Oil

I'm not sure where I come out on the Peak Oil theory most days, depends on my mood and what I've most recently read. I have the feeling that we'll figure this one out somehow. One journal article I recently read though caught my eye. Instead of debatintg peak oil, it just asks, "Ok, what if..?".
It looks at test cases of societies that have all experienced at least a 20% reduction in petro imports. Its a harrowing look at the 4 major options of what will happen.
1: Your military will seize the remaining oil resources needed for your country.  (US and China are listed as the most likely to follow this role, Japan in 1931-1945 is the example)
2: Your elites will clamp down on everyday Joes and lots of people will go hungry and not have electricity. (North Korea, Latin American Pseudo-democracies, etc)
3:  You will all find a way to live together in harmony, with lesser reources and live happily with fewer calories. (Cuba after the Soviet Collapse)
4: Their will be winners and losers in a large country, so areas with resources will prosper other will crash. (The Southern US after the Civil War is listed as an example)
5: High % of population dies, Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! (ok, #5 wasn't actually in there, I just added that as an homage to Ghostbusters)

But the idea I took most to heart was this:

In the event of peak oil,we should not expect

either immediate collapse or a smooth transition. People do not
give up their lifestyle easily.We should expect painful adaptation
processes that may last for a century or more.

Let me repeat...
painful adaptation processes that may last for a century or more.

That sucks.

Friedrichs, J.,Global energy crunch: How different parts of the world would react to a peak oil scenario.

Energy Policy(2010), doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.04.011

1 comment:

K. Erickson said...

As corollary to the fact that people do not easily let go of their lifestyles, I offer:

Corporations do not willing give up revenue and profit streams.

Politicians do not willing give up power, position or payoffs.