Thursday, March 17, 2005

we have no plan

Big Gav, commenting on my methane post said:
And finally, Monkeygrinder notes there is a lot of methane about, and that it doesn't smell all that good. Personally I'm a bit conflicted about this - both from an economic viewpoint (I like investing in natural gas producers, and they bring a lot of money into the country)

I've got nothing against methane, or even a hypothetical well built, safely constructed LNG terminal. I use natural gas. I'm writing this on a computer. We all deal with the contradictions of living in the world as it is, while pointing a way to what is next. At present, high energy technology is not sustainable. Peak energy folk live to point out anachronisms before they exist.

So I say, invest in methane, take care of your family, and yourself. These ports will likely be empty twenty years out. Provided they don't blow up. Then they will be empty sooner.

Building yet more infrastructure to maintain a way of life that is about to vanish doesn't address our true needs. We have more energy right now available to us than ever before; this may be the last year in which that can be said. Why not build something sustainable with it? People talk about "gateway" technology, the god in the gaps on our journey to green energy. In my opinion this is supporting the status quo. Somehow, we'll get to keep our cars. We'll turn coal and turkey guts into liquid fuel, and burn methane to generate hydrogen for our fuel cells. Solar and wind, repeat it like a mantra.

What a poor plan.

We humans have two material problems. One is climate change resulting in part from carbon inputs. The other problem is we are running out of the high energy fuel that caused the first problem. Neither of these is affect planet earth, just us and the squirrels. For now, I cautiously imagine that depletion of oil and natural gas and uranium is a good thing for humans. We can't totally destory our habitat.

That leaves us needing infrastructure to support our population during depletion. Our current living arrangement is reliant on liquid fuels. Industrial farming, suburbs, Wal-Mart - they've all got to go. If we wait to take action, people die. We need organic, LOCAL, food production, cities surrounded by farms and rivers, (Think Paris; Phoenix will be a disaster), and the good news is we can do this. Doubtless converting to an agrarian society will be unpopular in this bling addled age.

Yet, in the U.S. there are even congress critters debating alternative energy, all of a sudden, in addition to more typical crybabies like Senator Ron Wyden.

Do we have the will to give up our cheesy poofs now, or shall nature take her course?


At 4:13 AM, March 17, 2005, Blogger Big Gav said...

"Building yet more infrastructure to maintain a way of life that is about to vanish doesn't address our true needs."

I couldn't agree more with that - I was trying to say that natural gas can be used to reduce dependence on coal and possibly help us move to alternate fuel sources. Obviously if we just burn oil and coal as fast as we can while ramping up natural gas consumption then we're just making the problems worse.

I don't see many people (except the Greens parties) talking seriously about reducing energy consumption unfortunately.

At 6:23 PM, March 17, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Yeah, I just used your comments as a jumping off point. I feel conflicted about this stuff myself.

I agree with the theory of using methane to reduce dependance, but what I see in the sudden explosion of industry attempting to build LNG ports is desperation to maintain growth.

The result is the opposite of what you and I want.

We end up with nothing usable when the methane is gone.


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