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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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Tag: environment

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America’s tradition of anti-intellectualism puts a low premium on careful thinking, allowing the substitution of slogans for analysis. The current presidential campaign should be evidence enough of how true this is.
But there is another reason for resistance to careful thinking; it can be difficult and distressing, especially if it leads to conclusions that are uncomfortable or contrary to our current beliefs.

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We … [confront] a previously unacknowledged factor that may contribute to the perpetuation of environmental apathy and inaction, namely, the motivated tendency to justify the status quo, especially in the face of threat. Confronting global warming and environmental destruction requires facing up to serious threat, not only because of the scope and unpredictability of the projected disasters but also because they pose a challenge to the very foundations of our socioeconomic system. This threat may stimulate defensive, system-justifying responses and, therefore, continued indifference and exploitation with respect to the natural environment, rather than commitment to recognizing and remedying the problem. (Citations in original)

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Shaping our identity in large part by the groups we align ourselves with for emotional, psychological, cultural, and political reasons are powerful anchors—individually and collectively. All of us are much more inclined to seek out information and assurances which bolster who we believe ourselves to be rather than contemplate facts or assessments casting doubt about our choices and conclusions.

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According to system justification theory, our evaluations of social systems and institutions are influenced by epistemic needs to maintain a sense of certainty and stability, existential needs to feel safety and reassurance, and relational needs to affiliate with others who are part of the same social systems (_). These needs give rise to a motivation to perceive the system as fair, legitimate, beneficial, and stable, as well as the desire to maintain and protect the status quo (Citations in original).

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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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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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Recently, in challenging contentions I had raised, “RGR”—an otherwise unnamed commenter (a petroleum engineer, if I understood correctly)—offered this: continue reading…

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Last October, Peter Neill offered a passionate appeal for us all to consider more carefully and thoughtfully the energy supply roads we are now embarked upon in the aptly titled “What Price for Extra Oil?”. After an overview of recent energy production innovations and a sobering  continue reading…

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It’s been quite a while—several years, actually, since my last post on transportation issues. But it’s still as important as ever; more so, if that’s possible. More than 90% of all transportation systems depend on fossil fuels—oil and gasoline, specifically. continue reading…