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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: information

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In last week’s post, I asked what seems to be a reasonable, fair, and obvious observation and inquiry in light of assertions offered by the author of the second article serving as the focal point of this series:

Imagine if we actually engaged in meaningful conversations with ‘the opposition’ which involved honorable considerations and discussions of both the merits and the disadvantages of policy proposals and the many factors in play before solutions were proposed! Who might benefit? Who might not?

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As cognitive dissonance theory would predict, people tend to avoid information that is dissonant with their current beliefs and seek consonant information, especially when they are already committed to a particular position [citations in original pdf]

I’ll conclude this portion of the series with some unedited comments about President Obama by anonymous readers of the American Thinker article discussed in prior posts. It’s a remarkable but unfortunately not uncommon sampling of what passes for reasoned responses—at least for those having any relevance at all to the article about our future energy supply and its dismissive treatment of any concerns about fossil fuel production—from a too-large segment of the far Right on almost any issue dividing Left from Right. That’s not to say those on the Left don’t contribute their share of discord, but from my very unscientific observations over a numbers of years, the personal attacks are far fewer; and one finds more substantiation of the positions taken.

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I suggested at the outset of this series that I did not want it to turn into yet another exercise in mocking those who do not accept the implications of peak oil. A legitimate argument could be made that I’ve failed in that objective.

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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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Confirmation bias is the tendency of individuals to pay attention to or believe information that confirms the personal values and beliefs they already hold, rather than allowing their beliefs to be changed by new information.
It’s a powerful force that many researchers have suggested plays a key role in the persistence of phenomena such as climate doubt. With an overwhelming abundance of evidence pointing to the existence of anthropogenic climate change, for instance, many scientists have questioned why skepticism continues to be pervasive in society. Sociologists have suggested that the reason has to do with the fact that it’s difficult to change an individual’s worldview simply by presenting new information. Confirmation bias, rather, leads people to seek out evidence — however small or poorly supported — that supports their existing personal beliefs. [1]

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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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Imagine what would happen if citizens took a moment or two to ponder the implications of the nonsense peddled to them daily by those public voices having decidedly different priorities than the public’s continued well-being…. continue reading…

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Shortsighted as a strategy is … well, shortsighted. Too bad that’s not the worst that can be said about it. Good to know that in my unexpectedly long absence away from posting that not much has changed, price drops and production numbers notwithstanding….

Fossil fuel and utility interests, concerned about the rise of cheap clean energy, are financing attacks on pro-clean energy policies, in an effort to delay the growth of a market competitor….
[S]pecial interests tied to the fossil fuel and utility industries are spreading disinformation about the cost of clean energy. The Koch Brothers and their allies want to continue selling as much coal, oil, and gas as possible — and in their effort to rollback clean energy policies, are spreading falsehoods about the energy market.

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The economic effects of peak oil are as obvious as they are frightening. The most immediate effect is to increase oil prices, and this has its own effect of slowing the economy down. There was a period in which Saudi Arabia could modulate the world’s rate of oil production by turning up the flow, but even that is a thing of the past. Oil prices jump up and down in response to rumors and temporary conditions — the worldwide economic slowdown has tamped them down a bit over the past few years — but the overall pattern is a steady price increase, all other things being equal….
We should understand that peak oil has probably already occurred, and we will be spending the rest of our lives, and our children their own lives, dealing with the consequences.
But we avoid the long term relevancies. There was plenty of oil yesterday and there will be enough today to maintain a modest lifestyle, and we all hope that there won’t be another big oil shock very soon….How do we prepare? [1]

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Several months ago, one of this year’s better features on the subject of peak oil was offered by John Kaufmann in his article entitled: The Energy Independence Illusion. It’s an excellent read [adapted from a presentation to the World Affairs Council of Oregon this past march] for anyone interested in this topic. [Any quotes here are from that article unless noted otherwise.]
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