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… [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. [1]

We’re not going to suddenly discover magical amounts of fossil fuel reserves though magical technologies because the Republican Party controls the House and/or because too many of its members are beholden to the industry. Energy resources don’t concern themselves so much with political ideology.

What’s left [and there are still substantial amounts left] is going to be harder to find, extract, and pay for. The quality and quantity will simply not be there in the manner we’ve come to expect. That’s the reality, and those are the facts.

What that means is that in time we’re going to have to make do with less just when we need it all more than ever, and just when millions more have asserted at this same time their needs and demands for the same finite amounts. Party affiliations shouldn’t be expected to change any of that.

The important issue is that no matter what words one uses or how the issues are characterized, the energy supply we’ve long relied upon to power our society to its impressive heights is no longer what it once was.

Just how does the market on its own develop guidelines about what needs to be done, how, when, in what priority, where, and assorted other considerations? The transition away from fossil fuels, if powering the future via any energy sources matters at all, is a nearly-incomprehensible, complex undertaking under ideal circumstances. That’s definitely not a happy news observation, but it’s the reality we have to deal with.

Efforts to mislead the public and/or denying there are looming problems [to say nothing of present ones] is a tactic of questionable integrity and even less value. What kind of wishful thinking is required to think that we’ll just figure something out when we need to for an undertaking of this magnitude?

Is it really a better option to ignore the planning now so that the bigger problems later can be met only with fewer options and resources? I hope no one gets injured when performing the factual, psychological, and emotional gymnastics necessary to make that strategy sound good!

The sooner we all recognize our fossil fuel dependency and the risks it entails, coupled with  the need to make better choices now to begin the transition—before it is no longer a choice we own—the better off we’ll all be.

That remains a choice, but it also calls upon those in the know [or who should know] to stop tap-dancing around the realities associated with a finite resource. We’ll need their expertise, and it’s high time they put an end to obstruction and start playing their important role in helping us all adapt to a different future.

[NOTE: The next post will be on March 8]

 

~ My Photo: Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester MA – 08.09.08

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/energy-futurist/when-should-we-pursue-energy-transition/159; When should we pursue energy transition? by Chris Nelder – 11.02.11

 

We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by. Michael Brownlee

Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows

 

Peak Oil Matters offers observations and insights about the realities of declining fossil fuel production, and its impact on our future well-being

 

* I invite you to enjoy my two books [here and here], and to view my other writings at richardturcotte.com