An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Michel Desjardins:
We have become increasingly aware that there are fundamental constraints to ongoing economic expansion, that perpetual growth on a finite planet is a fool’s dream.
If Peak Oil is here – and there is solid evidence showing that it is – then it means we have begun to run up against the planet’s natural constraints. Mother Nature has begun to tell us that the party is over.
It’s an uncomfortable thought, but one that can no longer be ignored.
We can no longer assume that decades of economic and population growth based on ever-increasing rates of resource extraction, manufacturing, and consumption can continue….
Peak Oil is a problem like no other….
It is truly a game-changer….
Communities that are quick to recognize the problem stand a better chance of weathering the storm….
We need to find ways to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energies, start promoting local agriculture, alternative methods of transportation and energy efficiency.
Bottom line: we need to build our community’s capacity to adapt to a very different world.
The article from which that quote was extracted is more than two years old, and was written by a Canadian. [The link may no longer be accessible.] I don’t recall that the author of that piece had any connection to the oil industry, but his assessment then was no less accurate. It has greater significance now.
There continues to be a great deal of hype about fracking and tight oil, with some now convinced that Peak Oil is “dead.” Of course, when your commentary about all of this increased production neglects to mention much, if anything, about the downside of this path to energy independence, it’s easy to dismiss reality.
There’s no doubt that the production increases from shale have caused a noteworthy surge in production. But that’s only half the story, although it’s clearly the happier side. What the cheerleaders fail to tell us time and again is that there’s an eye-opening rate of depletion in the tight oil fields. More rigs and wells are needed just to stay even, and none of them are free. In fact, they cost a great deal more than do conventional wells.
There are also solid indications about water contamination, not to mention the incredible amounts of water needed in the process to begin with. The integrity-free failure to disclose the chemical compounds used in fracking isn’t exactly a plus, either. Those are just a few of the annoying facts which tarnish all that happy talk.
And as is true of conventional crude production, most of the “good spots” have been found and tapped. More expense, more effort, and more risk is now the norm. That’s not a winning formula for continuing production increases. Losing money tends not to be a primary objective for most oil producers. When the losses start piling up and investors start backing away, it’s a bit of a challenge to maintain any decent levels of production.
And so the end result is that Peak Oil indeed remains a “game-changer.” The more of us who recognize this by slicing through the Happy Talk to understand the full story and not just the cherry-picked good parts, the sooner we can start the necessary discussions about what to do. Many of those important conversations and plans will have to occur at the local levels. The federal government will have a role to play, but we can’t turn the keys over to it and assume all will be well.
Crisis? Opportunity? I’m a fan of Option B.
[NOTE: Traveling the rest of this week. Next posting on Monday, June 3]
~ My Photo: Good Harbor Beach, MA – 07.10.10
Look for my new website, coming soon!