An observation worth noting … and pondering, from the International Energy Agency:

…pre-planning is essential in order for transport demand restraint measures to succeed during an emergency. It is not enough for countries to have a list of measures to use; they must be ready to implement those measures on very short notice. To do this, they generally must develop detailed plans and make certain investments ahead of time. Communicating this plan to the public also appears very important; if the public is not well informed of plans ahead of time, and supportive of them, they may be less likely to cooperate and do their part to help the plans succeed during an emergency. Strong support and cooperation from the business community is also essential. In general, providing clear information to the public – that the public can trust – seems to be an important element of any plan. [1]

It’s been a consistent theme of mine that the impacts of Peak Oil will extend to all segments of our society—social and industrial.

Peak Oil is not an event that’s going to happen at a designated yet undetermined point in time. It will become the foundational energy aspect of our lives. Given how much we depend on fossil fuels—crude oil in particular—it borders on the insane to ignore the many facts suggesting an endless change in the energy source we’ve collectively relied upon for well over a century. Oil plays a prominent role in the supply, manufacture, distribution, and transportation of almost every product or service we rely upon at home, at work, in our communities, in our industries, and in the technologically astounding lifestyles we’ve created for ourselves.

The easily accessible, reasonably affordable, high-quality crude oil we’ve utilized in countless ways through the magnificent displays of our technological prowess and ingenuity has been on a plateau of production since the middle of the last decade. We’re now resorting to costlier, more energy-sucking, inferior quality, harder to access substitutes.

For all the Happy Talk about the vast this or that potential, the numbers do not add up. We’re not going to be able to seamlessly transition everything from crude oil to unconventional substitutes.

The public continues to be underserved by fanciful claims which artfully skate around the facts which cast a long shadow over their exuberant claims of energy independence and a worry-free energy future.

Business leaders don’t blindly open themselves to new markets; professional coaches don’t just show up for the next game; and families don’t wake up every morning and just wing it from start to finish. Each of them and countless others making plans for whatever endeavors they are about to undertake—consequential or not—do not succeed without first relying on facts at hand. Plans are meaningless without them.

Peak Oil will be high on the list of “Consequential” undertakings, given the wide swath it will carve through all our lives. Not having accurate and complete information makes it a wee bit difficult for individuals, companies, teams, local governments, state officials, national organizations, and our federal government to consider viable—any—options. That’s not a strategy. But so far, that’s all we’ve got.

We’re better than that.

~ My Photo: Newport Beach, CA – 02.12.06

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[1] www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/savingoil.pdf; Saving Oil in a Hurry, 2005 report – p. 15