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Have Even A Partial Solution?

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 29 Jun 2006, 21:12:44

TonyPrep wrote: I get the impression (from this and the rest of your post), that the only reason you rail aginst these possible approaches is that you desperately want your current lifestyle to continue and desperately want to believe that your can constantly increase your standard of living. Just because you and others can't envision a world that doesn't meet your specification doesn't mean that there must be a solution that will meet your criteria. You seem to believe passionately that there is.

Tony


Oh boy...Tony, you have hit the nail on the head. This is the crux of the matter. Because a powerdown doesn't meet many people's specifications, it is not acceptable. I get this response at lectures I give couched in the form of, "but that's unreasonable."

There is going to be serious wake up call.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 01:59:17

But with a lot more people, of course, and much grander lifestyles, with aspirations that we seem to expect as a right. We passed peak on individual energy consumption (per person) quite some time ago (I think it was at least 10 years ago, but I may be wrong). This indicates that we are already more efficient than we were, since the economy has grown, but it will get harder and harder to keep economies growing and affluence increasing, as energy decreases.


Carbon trading / rationing will restrict demand, but I agree, it can only go on for so long.

Don't hold your breath for fusion. If it's not ready soon, we may not have the energy to develop it to a stage where it is ready. And the test station is not due for another decade.


I’m not. If it can be done perhaps we’ll see a return of the personal automobile. If not, the car will die-off.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Doly » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 05:11:47

TonyPrep wrote:Don't hold your breath for fusion. If it's not ready soon, we may not have the energy to develop it to a stage where it is ready. And the test station is not due for another decade.


I'm not holding my breath. But I don't doubt that the energy to develop it will be made available by hopeful governments, even if it means blackouts in the area. The stakes are too high to neglect that possibility.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 05:39:56

Doly wrote:
TonyPrep wrote:Don't hold your breath for fusion. If it's not ready soon, we may not have the energy to develop it to a stage where it is ready. And the test station is not due for another decade.
I'm not holding my breath. But I don't doubt that the energy to develop it will be made available by hopeful governments, even if it means blackouts in the area. The stakes are too high to neglect that possibility.
The stakes may be high but it could be a complete waste of energy. There is no guarantee that it will work and even the optimists are talking in terms of 40 years away. If energy starts declining now, even Iter will be ditched, in my opinion.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby garyp » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 06:52:48

MonteQuest wrote:
TonyPrep wrote: I get the impression (from this and the rest of your post), that the only reason you rail aginst these possible approaches is that you desperately want your current lifestyle to continue and desperately want to believe that your can constantly increase your standard of living. Just because you and others can't envision a world that doesn't meet your specification doesn't mean that there must be a solution that will meet your criteria. You seem to believe passionately that there is.

Oh boy...Tony, you have hit the nail on the head. This is the crux of the matter. Because a powerdown doesn't meet many people's specifications, it is not acceptable. I get this response at lectures I give couched in the form of, "but that's unreasonable."

There is going to be serious wake up call.

Problem is, it's you that will get that wake up call.

There is no point in trying to tell people things they will not hear. Even if liquid petrolum fuels start to decline, most people will act irrationally and violently before they consider the ideas inherent in 'powerdown'. It's like the local by the farm gate, telling the tourist you can't get there from here. He's not being obstructionist, he's realistically assessing that there is no route the tourist could/would take that would get them there.

'Powerdown' is inherently based around a simplistic reaction to a single event that postulates a solution which involves regressing to an earlier stage of development. It also implicitly states that life expectancies fall and there is little to look forward to for the average man or woman. Its no wonder its a dead duck in the real world.

Luckily the very simplicity of this 'solution' points up how other, more workable approaches exist. Dig a little below the surface and you can note that population growth isn't uniform, petrolum liquid fuels aren't the only energy source and with stready enlightenment in the efficient use of energy the decline rate IS tractable, at least in the first world.

None of which means as a global society we will necessarily take the right path - politics will intrude. However its positive that such a route does exist; we can get through it if we don't overreact and if we don't listen to the siren calls of our worse nature.

What we need at the moment is focus, and the will to tackle the complex problems with flexible and emergent solutions. And not to give up.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby galacticsurfer » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 10:01:49

Magnus Redin posted this a couple days ago at TOD on the Swedish plan till 2020:

http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/6/14/93057/6889#90

I did not read it in much detail but I think it is what is actually happening in the real world so it is relevant.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 13:06:18

TonyPrep wrote:
Wildwell wrote:Talks about 1/5th of an acre. Well, a home with that sort of land near me costs about $1 million
Why does it have to be near to where you live now? I get the impression (from this and the rest of your post), that the only reason you rail aginst these possible approaches is that you desperately want your current lifestyle to continue and desperately want to believe that your can constantly increase your standard of living. Just because you and others can't envision a world that doesn't meet your specification doesn't mean that there must be a solution that will meet your criteria. You seem to believe passionately that there is.

Tony


Well, if it helps, I'm one of the few people on to get a 1:1 world/footprint ratio on one of those ecology tests. So my lifestyle is already pretty much 'in range'. I just don't see the need to turn the clock back too much, because of the pain it would create. In any case, governments will try and keep control at any cost and probably inflict petrol rationing and other things before you can say powerdown.

Lets just remind ourselves what people’s scores are:

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic1073-0.html

Wildwell: IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.0 PLANETS.
TOTAL FOOTPRINT 1.5

Well bully for me I guess. Ludi is nowhere near, and admitted in another post they had 5 cars. So all this nonsense about ‘doing things for yourself’ is just that, total spin. Meanwhile some of us have already adjusted. I don’t need to be lectured by a Texan with 5 cars what I need to be doing, I’m doing it.

Realistically I don't believe in this manure powered utopia. It's not necessary, it's not achievable, it's not actually very nice in stark reality, and people, most people, just won't put up with it. That's not to say it won't work for some and we should give up, but top down is going to be the way it's going to go for better or worse.

If some of this self-sufficiency was done in this area, the kids would probably go and smash the place up for a laugh, the old ladies would write to the local paper, conversation would turn towards blaming the government (as people do) over a pint. And, if you did have a nice crop of radishes for your nearest and dearest, you can bet your bottom dollar they would be extracted when your back was turned by some opportunist. I just think my plan is more realistic and number of countries is moving that way, all pretty much bar the US.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 15:48:11

I’m going to believe solutions will come via the following until I get marched quietly into a death/prison camp, or get gunned down scrumping apples:
1. The power of community
2. The power of Government
3. The power of the free-market

I don’t see that you have to pick one. But I’d say the biggest changes will come from 2, who no doubt have some measures to pull off-the-shelf.

To get people on board make it a Patriotic cause, have Vera Lynn singing ‘there’ll be wind turbines over, the white cliffs of Dover’, people love that sort of stuff and will be clamouring over themselves to do their bit.

Think about the Manhattan project in WW2. Or the NHS (now around the fifth largest employer in the world) over here, which began in the messy aftermath of WW2. Huge undertakings that only one body has the power to initiate. We need that with renewables, recycling and conservation programmes.

Meat farming is too energy intensive and would need to be scaled down, so the atkins diet and 80-stone man go tubby bye-bye. This frees up land for bio-fuels. We’ve got food mountains at the moment, I’ve seen the ‘snack’ portions that are served up in the US and the waistlines that go with it. I’ve read that in Hong Kong, 45% of local vegetable needs were being met through the use of just 6% per cent of the land back in 1996. We grow a lot here (a third of all UK veg at one time?) on dwindling numbers of small allotments often run by people who are retired. So I believe there is quite a lot of slack in the system, and we could ramp up production if required.

Some beer mat calculations & airy-fairy thoughts: The US defense budget is something like $400 bn. Let’s say a third of that is lopped off to go towards other causes over a period of 5 years. $667 bn to party with. I don’t know how many homes there are in the US, but let’s say 180 million. I make that $3700 per home to fit wind turbines/solar panels/insulation/broadband rather than Rummy’s star wars fantasy. The NSA could even fit a listening device in if they wanted javascript:emoticon('8O') Would give the Mrs someone to talk to when there’s a decent match on, and as they’re a lot smarter than us blokes (http://www.alsagerschool.co.uk/subjects ... ation1.htm ) they’ll be able to pass on useful tips on how to run the world javascript:emoticon(':-D'). Energy companies aren’t going to like it, fine, make them state-owned if necessary.

In the UK I’d like to see the lords scrapped and replaced with some sort of long-term planning assembly, elected by the population from a list drawn-up by the Privvy council. They’d have the power to veto legislation from the commons (up to a point) and draft up their own legislation to submit to the commons. Proportional representation would ensure a more balanced house and a wider set of issues debated.

Make every company develop an energy saving policy as they do with H&S etc… The list goes on.

Some countries will fair better than others (I’m thinking Sweden, France, Germany Ireland). But even in China they’re building a new city on ecological principles, a drop in the ocean I know.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Ludi » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:03:48

Wow, Wildwell's lack of imagination is still getting to me even though I am supposedly ignoring him.

Most towns and villages have some vacant land round and about. Most apartment buildings have little patches of land around them currently devoted to lawn or shrubs. Folks can get together to agree to plant these little patches to improve their diets and get much-needed exercise. Apartment dwellers can work with apartment owners to install greywater systems, composting toilet systems and passive solar heating/cooling. Folks can share vehicles, tools, skills, etc etc so enabling everyone to need to earn less. Etc etc.

Working together is the key. Now, if Wildwell doesn't have any friends or neighbors or is unable to speak to other people for some reason, I'm afraid I can't offer any suggestions.

But seriously, all I can see is someone so desperately intent on not allowing these solutions to be possible that he'd rather just be ignorant of them.

And I don't understand it. What is so horrible about the idea of people working together to improve their local situation? Why is that SO much less acceptable than the government "doing something"?
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby MonteQuest » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:10:50

garyp wrote:Problem is, it's you that will get that wake up call.


The wake up call being that reality will be far worse than what people are calling unreasonable? I got that call in 1972 after reading The Limits to Growth.

There is no point in trying to tell people things they will not hear. Even if liquid petrolum fuels start to decline, most people will act irrationally and violently before they consider the ideas inherent in 'powerdown'.


Just because people don' t wish to hear the truth doesn't mean you stop telling it.

'Powerdown' is inherently based around a simplistic reaction to a single event that postulates a solution which involves regressing to an earlier stage of development. It also implicitly states that life expectancies fall and there is little to look forward to for the average man or woman.


No, "Powerdown" is a broad, well-reasoned response to an unsustainable civilization that is living beyonds it's means. Peak oil is not a single event; it is a symptom of a greater disease.

It does not have to entail regressing to a lessor stage of development. In fact, it could well improve our development as we learn to live within the global balances.

Without the phantom carrying capacity of fossil fuels, it would be impossible to maintain the longevity and health care we have grown accustomed to, at least at this level of population.

Luckily the very simplicity of this 'solution' points up how other, more workable approaches exist. What we need at the moment is focus, and the will to tackle the complex problems with flexible and emergent solutions. And not to give up.


Who is giving up? Let's hear the numbers to your "solutions."

You make a lot of spurious claims with little meat.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:16:57

Ludi wrote:Wow, Wildwell's lack of imagination is still getting to me even though I am supposedly ignoring him.

Most towns and villages have some vacant land round and about. Most apartment buildings have little patches of land around them currently devoted to lawn or shrubs. Folks can get together to agree to plant these little patches to improve their diets and get much-needed exercise. Apartment dwellers can work with apartment owners to install greywater systems, composting toilet systems and passive solar heating/cooling. Folks can share vehicles, tools, skills, etc etc so enabling everyone to need to earn less. Etc etc.

Working together is the key. Now, if Wildwell doesn't have any friends or neighbors or is unable to speak to other people for some reason, I'm afraid I can't offer any suggestions.

But seriously, all I can see is someone so desperately intent on not allowing these solutions to be possible that he'd rather just be ignorant of them.

And I don't understand it. What is so horrible about the idea of people working together to improve their local situation? Why is that SO much less acceptable than the government "doing something"?


*sigh* You've obviously never been outside Texas, so I'm not going to waste my breath. There's no vacant land or little patches to grow food. The government doesn't do everything anyway.

I hate gardening, I do not wish to grow food, anyone I tell about PO doesn't care (They'll think of something), I don't have or need a car, I can get about anyway. And there was food in the shops long before oil. I'm sure if people want it, someone will sell it. Meanwhile there's the mortgage to pay and other things to do.

I'm just imagining knocking on the neighbours door now 'Oh, Fancy growing some spuds we're going to run low on oil and the supermarkets (which make billions) won't be able to think of a way to get produce to market. Would you like to buy one of my home made garden knomes?'. I think they'd call the police.
Last edited by Wildwell on Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:34:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:32:46

Wildwell wrote:
TonyPrep wrote:
Wildwell wrote:Talks about 1/5th of an acre. Well, a home with that sort of land near me costs about $1 million
Why does it have to be near to where you live now? I get the impression (from this and the rest of your post), that the only reason you rail aginst these possible approaches is that you desperately want your current lifestyle to continue and desperately want to believe that your can constantly increase your standard of living. Just because you and others can't envision a world that doesn't meet your specification doesn't mean that there must be a solution that will meet your criteria. You seem to believe passionately that there is.
I just don't see the need to turn the clock back too much, because of the pain it would create.
You reinforce my point superbly, Wildwell. Because you see it as painful (which it might well be) then you can't even consider it. You want a future without pain (don't we all?) and so simply can't accept any course that doesn't fit in with that expectation. This is understandable but it doesn't mean that you won't feel pain.
Wildwell wrote:I just think my plan is more realistic
What exactly is that plan? Are you saying that it doesn't involve a power down, or zero economic growth?

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:43:37

It's like a religion to you people this stuff isn't it?

'Why can't you accept that this is the truth. You know this is the way. Don't fear my freind, you know you have to believe'.

Listen, most people know as much about economics on here as I know about carp fishing - I'm not expert, but trust me, 90% of this forum is fiction. If you care to go back a few pages, a few suggestions were made, a lot is being done by business and government, perhaps not enough. But then, I can't control the world or what happens. Trust me, it's not an option for me to spend my time tending to my turnips 24/7, nor do I think it's necessary. When Ludi uses her imagination and gets rid of her 5 cars, especially as I read the US produces half of all car exhaust pollution ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/international ... 51,00.html ) I might take some of the stuff she says seriously as agriculture uses about 5% of world oil supply, cars over 50%.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Ludi » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:45:15

But what is this "turning back the clock" nonsense? Our culture has never adequately lived within the limits of its resources, or we wouldn't be in the predicament we find ourselves. Our culture will be greatly PROGRESSING, not regressing, if we learn to live within the limits of the Earth's life systems. In the past, people of our culture didn't even understand the idea of ecosystems, limits to growth, etc. To a conquering people such as ourselves, such ideas were (are?) foreign, ludicrous, even heretical. If you use up your stuff, you simply go over the hill and get the other guy's stuff. But here we are with no "guy over the hill" to get stuff from.

I see absolutely no regression in the solution I'm putting forth, quite the opposite, it will entail a great maturation of our relationship with our planet.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:47:22

Without the phantom carrying capacity of fossil fuels, it would be impossible to maintain the longevity and health care we have grown accustomed to, at least at this level of population.


Who is giving up? Let's hear the numbers to your "solutions."


To be honest Monte, I’m not so sure we saw your numbers.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:48:29

Wildwell wrote:anyone I tell about PO doesn't care (They'll think of something)
So you've been convinced by the response you've been getting? It certainly seems as though this is now your position (someone will think of something). You keep talking about how we managed at some point in the past, but fail to see what it would take to get us to that point in the past (with less people, less affluence), or that even at that point in the past, we'd still be using fossil fuels (and, thus, depleting them).

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby TonyPrep » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 16:59:46

Wildwell wrote:It's like a religion to you people this stuff isn't it?

'Why can't you accept that this is the truth. You know this is the way. Don't fear my freind, you know you have to believe'.
Wildwell,

It's not rocket science. With each transition to a new energy source, we've discovered a more concentrated form, which has enabled a huge expansion of human societies. Unless we come up with yet another energy dense source (including EROEI) then we will simply have to make do with less energy inputs, as oil starts to decline. I don't see what is so controversial about that. But, as has repeatedly been pointed out, not only will energy decrease but there are issues in many parts of the world with topsoil and fresh water, not to meantion climate change and biodiversity. We need to solve all these problems with a declining energy input.

Miracles only happen in the movies.

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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Gridlock » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 17:02:44

It certainly seems as though this is now your position (someone will think of something)


Hasn’t civilisation already thought of something? I know it doesn’t fit in with end times/die-off, but we cling to our daft ideas.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 17:02:55

Well if you want my honest answer, I don't really especially care. Since oil prices have tripled in the last couple of years, hardly anything has changed for me. The supermarkets have billions more resources than me, so getting food to market is a lot easier for them than it is me. Food prices are hardly affected by oil prices in any case. 70% of oil use is transport, mostly cars. I don't own one, ok? So I've done my bit. Oh my local transport for is electric rail. And even if all the railways in this country were electrified it would be about the same as one large power station, very doable.
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Re: Do you have an "acceptable" solution to peak o

Unread postby MonteQuest » Fri 30 Jun 2006, 17:03:21

Gridlock wrote:To be honest Monte, I’m not so sure we saw your numbers.


Then I guess you haven't read my posts. Try the Best of Montequest for starters.
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