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

[T]here is no intellectually honest way to believe that the world can continue its
near-total reliance on fossil fuels for much more than another decade — a paltry window of opportunity. We also know that we cannot wait until they go into decline before reaching for renewables and efficiency, simply because the scale of the challenge is so vast, and the alternatives are starting from such a low level that they will need decades of investment before they are ready to assume the load. The data is clear, and the mathematics are really quite straightforward.
The hard truth is that there are no good fuel substitutes anymore. Throughout human history, we have always been able to find not just a substitute fuel, but a better one: a cheaper, denser, more abundant one. That is simply no longer the case. One may hope for some miraculous technological breakthrough, and one may simply have faith that the invisible hand will solve our problems, but such thin threads are hardly a reasonable basis for policymaking and forecasting.

The truth about alternative sources—and especially the great wonders of tight oil and the tar sands and oil shale out West—continues to be much different than the fanciful “might possibly,” “could potentially,” and their half-truth, disingenuous brethren touted by those with a vested interest in keeping oil production first in line at the profit trough.

What’s being developed, admirable as the technology and ingenuity are, simply will not be enough. The message can be no simpler or straightforward. It’s the Peak Oil bottom line.

We’re just about at the end of the (relatively) easily accessible, (tolerably) affordable, and energy-dense supplies of the conventional oil resources which have powered us all for more than 150 years. What’s “available” does not share those important attributes. They are inferior by almost any measure, and in a world where billions seek to join us in sharing the magnificent technological marvels of modern-day living, we just are not going to have enough of what we all need and/or demand.

Worse still, every day that our nitwit leaders decide that investments in public transportation, education, smart growth, and renewable energy sources should be relegated to the sidelines in favor of their one-note energy policy of Drill More, Everywhere is one less day we’ll all have to plan for and implement what we can only hope will be an efficient transition away from our dependency on the marvelous but finite conventional oil resources.

Still trying to figure out why shooting ourselves in the foot is such a good idea.

~ My Photo: Niebaum-Coppola Winery, Napa Valley, CA – 09.03.04

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