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Peak Oil Matters

A fresh perspective on the concept of peak oil and the challenges we face

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Category: Peak Oil

 

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Entrenched as each side is in what seems an endless and ever-disheartening conflict between conservatives and progressives, finding seams to broaden discussions is no easy task. Cocooned as each partisan is in the selective comfort of peer perspectives and beliefs, suspicion and ridicule are the easier guidelines to follow.

But at what cost to all of us, if not today, then soon enough? Has there been a collective, irrevocable determination by all that the political and ideological wars will continue until … well, when?

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We will have to transition to a post-fossil-fuel economy eventually, either out of wisdom or chaos [1]

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I’ll confess that I hesitated before starting this series. It was too easy to again just dive into mockery and sarcasm over pieces written several weeks ago by those who refuse to give credence to the concept of peak oil and/or its implications. [It’s also the gateway to yet another round of verbal grenade lobbing which generates a lot of high-five’s with fellow ideologues, but little else.]

I’ve contributed my share of mocking on numerous occasions, to be sure. It’s just part of the ongoing Left-Right hostilities….Tiresome. Pointless. Embarrassing. Damaging … always.

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One-sided stories or news features serve many purposes. Unfortunately for the public, serving their interests is rarely if ever one of the objectives … or outcomes.

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If/when a petroleum shortage impacts it will concentrate minds wonderfully. But when it comes the window of opportunity could be brief and risky. If things deteriorate too far too fast there could easily be too much chaos for sense to prevail and for us to organize cooperative local alternative systems. [1]

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Few of us appreciate just how much we rely upon inexpensive, readily-available supplies of energy to live our lives.

[W]hat future awaits us if we cannot be courageous and honest enough to plan for that future with the full range and understanding of all the facts now at our disposal? [1]

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Sir, Martin Wolf, in ‘Cheap oil puts humanity on a slippery slope’ (December 2) states: ‘The emergence of shale oil underlines what was already fairly clear, namely, that the global supply capacity is not only enormous but expanding. Forget peak oil.’ He is mistaken. Even the International Energy Agency acknowledges that conventional oil production peaked in 2005. Add other sources of liquid production, in particular tight oil (often misleadingly called shale oil) production from the US, and there has been a modest increase since then, giving a kind of ‘undulating plateau’ as Shell would have it. What the burst of unconventional production from the US has done is to mask the underlying reality of peak oil. This will become apparent as the tight oil potential itself proves limited in time. [1]

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In the end, does the choice of words really matter?
The “Yes, we’ve reached Peak Oil” versus the “No, we have not” is a distraction—and I’ve done my part to contribute.

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Remember, peaking in production, by definition, means that you have plenty of oil left. It has nothing to do with running out.…[T]he only people who ever use the phrase ‘running out of oil’ are people who either don’t understand Peak Oil, or people trying to mislead an audience about Peak Oil. Because again, if you can successfully mislead an audience and frame the argument as ‘No more oil’ vs ‘We still have oil’ – you again set yourself up for an easy debate victory. [1]

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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. [1]

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