Re: The Party's Over

From: <>
Date: Mon Apr 12 2004 - 19:25:13 EDT

In a message dated 4/12/2004 8:09:17 AM Mountain Standard Time, writes:

> THE PARTY'S OVER is the title of a new book c 2003 by Richard Heinberg.
> Subtitle "Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies."
> I think it has been mentioned here a few weeks ago.
> Has anyone read it? Are there weaknesses in the author's analyses?
> The author (I think it is he) will be speaking here in Durango on April
> 20th.
> His key message is this: (page 5): "We are about to enter a new era in
> which each year, less net energy will be available to humankind,
> regardless of our efforts or choices."
> It will not be whether, but how we reduce energy use and transition to
> renewable solutions.
> "Industrial societies have been flourishing for roughly 150 years ... it
> as if part of the human race has been given a sudden windfall of wealth
> and decided to spend that wealth by throwing an extravagant party ....
> but soon the party ... will be a fading memory ... because the wine and
> food are gone and the harsh light of morning has come."
> The author (apparently, I have not read much of the book yet) thinks we
> can come to a moderated "landing," but unless we do a number of things
> rather quickly, we will be in for a crash landing.
> One reviewer equates this book to Carson's "Silent Spring."
> Heinberg says there are four voices in the debate:
> 1. Free market economists. The optimists. I confess to being one of
> these, but I think I may just be a Pollyanna.
> 2. Environmental activists. Conservation is the key.
> 3. Retired/independent petroleum geologists. Hi, Glenn.
> 4. Politicians.
> Group 3 is a quiet one; no powerful institutions helping them. This book
> takes their side.
> Group 2 has (usually) good ideas, but incomplete ones.
> Group 4 has the power, and whether from the left or the right, seems more
> interested in assigning blame than in fixing the problem. Group 4 is the
> one that ultimately matters
> Group 1 has at least one Nobel laureate (Robert Solow) on its side, and
> Group 4 likes to adopt its arguments.
> Burgy

Curiously the April 5 issue of Oil & Gas Journal has an interview with the
Saudi oil minister whose intent is to refute the "peak-oil" naysayers. He says:

  "We have to take these statements [about running out of Saudi oil]
seriously because of the damage they can do to [sic] influencing desision-makers. And
I think it would be tragic for the world to believe that we're running out of
oil in the next 10 years. We may be running out of oil in the next 50-80
years; that's something else."

Right or wrong, I find it amazing that he seems to think that his 50-80 year
estimate is GOOD news! True, it's better than running out tomorrow, but we're
still talking about one newborn's lifetime. And China is just starting to go

Karl V. Evans
Received on Mon Apr 12 19:25:58 2004

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