An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Chris Nelder.

Over the 150-year-long history of industrialization, we have built a complex civilization that has literally remade the face of the planet. To do so, we have burned the condensed energy of hundreds of millions of years of ancient sunlight: over one trillion barrels of oil, over half a trillion tons of coal, and over 80 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. All of it was essentially free for the taking, plus production costs. We will never have such a bonanza again.
This has engendered a recency bias that’s hard to discount. We assume that the next 50 years will be like the last 50 in terms of energy availability, when the data clearly show that it will not. We assume that if oil runs short, we’ll find a substitute, not comprehending that the substitutes have much poorer quality, far lower production rates, and lower energy content. We assume that societal surpluses, like health care, or one person per car, or a complex society sporting ten times the retail space per capita of Europe, are normal. They are not. They are artifacts of an age when energy was insanely cheap.

Peak Oil remains a fairly straight-forward, common sense concept almost anyone can appreciate and understand with just a few moments of reflection. It’s not a great leap from that realization to recognizing the likely consequences of reliance on a depleting, finite resource and/or its costlier, inferior, more-difficult-to-extract-produce-and-deliver substitutes.

No one—not the most ardent denier nor the most passionate supporter of Peak Oil—wants to deal with this reality! There is at first, second, and third glance almost nothing pleasant about the prospects of our waking every day to a world where we have less of the most important resource we’ve ever needed to create just about everything we use, own, or rely on … and then less of it the next day and every day thereafter.

What will we do—deniers, supporters, and those in between who cannot devote the time to understand the broad range of issues and instead rely upon one camp or the other? How are we supposed to adapt when the full weight of Peak Oil’s reality rests on all of us, and only then are we coming to realize how badly the masses have been mislead, and what few options we’ll have much too late?

* My Photo: At Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester MA 10.14.12