the revenge of chicken little
Prophets of doom have been pushing disaster snake oil for millennia. It’s terrible, I tell you. These shameless hucksters of terriblisma! The only thing worse would be an actual disaster.
At present, the baseline scenario for peak oil is a negative one. The smoothest transition we can hope for given current global inaction is one where conservation and renewables make up the depletion gap, if we are lucky enough to have a nice, gradual down slope.
The idea that during the decline of oil and natural gas we will continue business and progress as usual is highly questionable. Entertain optimistic scenarios, but necessarily hold them to a higher burden of proof than the negative ones.
This is opposite the experience of all of us living in western culture, where every year has brought energy fueled progress. Our gut tricks us, tells us it ain’t so – that IRA will be there for us when we retire, and if we’re real lucky Janet Jackson will flash her other boob during the 2015 Super Bowl.
Peak Energy will flip progress on its head.
Is this a fair contention? I think so. There are numerous positive and promising ideas out there for alternative modes of living, but they are not actually reflected in current culture. There is a large gap between the idea of something –- and even a working a prototype -- and the ability to start producing it on a large scale.
Would you know how to grow and produce algae based bio-diesel in a pinch? Or build a vertical garden that gets enough sun and water? What happens to our manufacturing base in general when electricity and liquid fuels become sporadic? Will western nations suffer a malaise, or will strong leadership carry us through?
These are open questions, and they are endless.