Peak Oil is You

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Page added on January 27, 2014

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Peak oil won’t save us

General Ideas

George W Bush, March 5, 2008: “We gotta get off oil, America has got to change its habits…It should be obvious to all, demand has outstripped supply, which makes prices go up.” Hubbert peak oil theory: Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline.

Peak oil would save the day and introduce the age of sustainable, clean energy. No more CO2 pollution to drive climate change; no more oil spills; no more wars of aggression for control of resources; no more economic instability due to energy scarcity. Rising energy prices would make clean energy development a competitive reality. Within a decade or two the world would switch from outdated fossil fuels to the sustainable fuels of the future: wind, solar and tidal energy, with a bit of geothermal energy thrown in for good measure.

But, while one day we will hit peak oil, it won’t be soon enough to solve the problems associated with fossil fuels. Here are some reasons why clean energy won’t become a reality without government subsidies during the transition phase from fossil fuels: Economic interests are at play: When countries invest in new power plants, the economic life of that investment is 30 to 40 years. That’s the period of time needed to recoup the investment and make a tidy profit to invest in new technology.

12 Comments on "Peak oil won’t save us"

  1. Davy, Hermann, MO on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 3:08 pm 

    More mainstream media missing the point and talking out their butts

  2. Northwest Resident on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 3:14 pm 

    What?! Why is the Guardian pumping this “feel good about the future” garbage to the folks in Trinidad & Tobago (the “.tt” in Are they seeing the writing on the wall over there in that part of the world too? Apparently so, otherwise the Guardian wouldn’t be offering them this false hope.

  3. rockman on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 4:59 pm 

    All can say is that expecting PO to “save us” strikes me as the same as saying cancer will save you from growing old. So the sooner we hit PO/develop cancer the better. Got it.

  4. J-Gav on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 7:35 pm 

    Nothing is going to ‘save’ us, we’re all going to die. No redemption! This is it folks! The only chance you get, right here, right now. New power plants, 30-40 years … euh-huh. Well, by all means, let’s try and keep the lights on in the most responsible way we can for as long as we can but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of official agreement on just what that might be for the moment. Renewables can help marginally, but they ain’t gonna cut it. Seems more natgas will be coming online (and I don’t mean just U.S.) but calling that a ‘clean’ fuel is a bit of a stretch given our climate situation … so people turn to fusion, zero-point energy, geo-engineering, etc.

  5. Plantagenet on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 9:21 pm 

    Peak isn’t going to save us—-peak oil is the problem that we need to be saved from.

  6. nemteck on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 9:37 pm 

    Quote:”….peak oil is the problem that we need to be saved from.”
    By what? If Mars once had vegetation then we perhaps could drill there. Saturn’s Titan moon has an ocean of ethane we could substitute for out nat gas.

  7. meld on Mon, 27th Jan 2014 9:58 pm 

    Peak oil isn’t a problem at all, it’s an event that will bring the human population back down to a sustainable level. None of us will be around when the really bad times hit in a 80 or 90 years though.

  8. Harquebus on Tue, 28th Jan 2014 12:13 am 

    If renewable energy generators could return the energy used in their manufacture and then some, the planet would already be covered in them.

  9. action on Tue, 28th Jan 2014 1:00 am 

    Transportation is the true hiccup to renewable energy, and also, secondarily, ALL renewables require hydrocarbons at some point in the manufacturing process. The big players know there’s no side stepping those issues and that without fossil fuels this way of life will end. You notice the article doesn’t actually say anything and doesn’t even recognise that peak oil is a fact by using the word WOULD. The only truth in the article is Bush’s statement and the power plant profit time frame. Again, transportation is the big, unsolvable hurdle that makes the current arrangement possible. And as far as that relatesto coal and electricity, you need ships and trains to transport it, both requiring fossil fuels at some point in their fabrication, or as an energy source. This method of living is ENTIRELY dependent on hydrocarbons, after all, that’s what built it.

  10. Makati1 on Tue, 28th Jan 2014 1:28 am 

    meld, we will not have to wait 80 or 90 years for the ‘really bad times’ to hit. They are already beginning and will escalate quickly. In 80 or 90 years, it will all be over. Wait and see.

  11. robertinget on Tue, 28th Jan 2014 12:58 pm 

    “Because another 25 to 50 years of climate change is already in the pipeline even if we as a global society were not to emit another ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. What few people realize is that much of the heat absorbed by the planet is stored in the oceans. This heat is only gradually being released in ways that affect the surface temperature. It’s what scientists call thermal inertia”.

  12. GregT on Tue, 28th Jan 2014 7:15 pm 

    Peak oil isn’t the problem, oil itself was the problem, and all of the technologies that it provided for us. THE problem, is that we have fucked up the only planet that we will ever have by overgrowing our populations and over-exploiting the natural environment. Thanks to cheap and abundant energy afforded to us by fossil fuels. We could have used them wisely, but we didn’t. It is now time to face the consequences.

    We do not have 80 or 90 years left before facing extremely dire, if not terminal, circumstances. All indicators point to very problematic societal issues in less than 20 years. Many indicators point to a complete collapse of modern industrial society within that same timeframe. If we do not stop releasing CO2 into the environment now, it is very likely that we face extinction as a species within this century. If we do stop, it may very well already be, too late.

    What is occurring right now is unprecedented in all of human history. We have never faced a dilemma as serious as we do now, never mind so many at the same time. There is no techno-fix, and there is no possible comfortable solution. We have made our bed, and now we will get to sleep in it.

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