A moment’s pause to consider the practical realities of billions of others looking to improve their lifestyles on any scale by which we measure our own progress and achievements should realize immediately that a finite set of ever-more-challenging-to-acquire energy supplies needed to power those advances can only be spread so thin.
I’m fairly certain that one thing has not changed since my last post: finite resources are still finite, and that means they remain subject to the same laws regarding the consequences of depletion as was true last week.
Much of the opposition to the concept of a peak in the rate of production is based upon vague but impressive-sounding claims regarding the “potential” for one increase in production or another, usually based on the possibility of gains if certain other pieces fall into place. [If anyone is interested in more on this topic, please review any of the large number of posts from the “Peak Oil Denial” Category in the sidebar.] Making statements backed by almost no substantive discussion or explanation of mitigating factors [e.g, comments suggesting that trillions of barrels remain to be produced sounds great as long as no one explains what that would involve and thus how all but impossible it will be for any amounts anywhere close to such production totals to ever be achieved].
ADDRESSING THE FACTS
If the attempts to dispute the facts are not placed in the real-world context of increasing demand, depleting oil fields, harder-to-find-and-produce newer resources (meaning more energy being used to produce lesser amounts of inferior quality supplies), and the often-overlooked factor that many oil-exporting nations are now keeping for their own use more of their production totals, then the “potentials” lose much of their luster. So there is a reason why details tend to be omitted, apparently on the hope that pleasant-sounding generalities will suffice, as they sadly do.
Just keeping up with depletion rates still represents a net loss in production if worldwide demand increases and exports from oil-producing nations are being curtailed. And let’s also remember that all of these “new,” more expensive, energy-intensive and time-consuming efforts are taking place because there’s no place else to go. Because these enhanced efforts are more costly, energy prices have to remain high for producers to justify the time, expense, investments (financial, manpower, asset-acquisition), and efforts needed to extract these often inferior oil resources.
Important factors such as these need to be part of the information base released to the public. The failure to do so may serve the interests of some—at least in the short term, but none of those beneficiaries will include the public.
We’ll need to change those dynamics if we’re going to develop effective plans and preparations, and we’re going to need to develop effective plans and preparations. That result is much likelier if we engage that process before we have no choices left.
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Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings at richardturcotte.com, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:
The Tretiak Agenda
I’ll be posting them [here] beginning tomorrow, June 15, and will continue doing so weekly throughout the summer
~ My Photo: Zion National Park, Utah – 08.25.07
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. [With apologies for prior incorrect attribution: former] USDOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari
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