Re: Life after the oil crash

From: <>
Date: Sun Oct 30 2005 - 08:45:20 EST

Hi Don,


you wrote:
>>>>Think how much less rapidly the declining end of the production curve would drop if we cut usage in half.  This would also give more time for necessary adjustments in life styles and for developing alternative sources of energy.  The US uses a quarter of the world's oil, and our lives are not that much better (if at all) than in several other developed countries that use much less, so presumably changing our ways could make a significant difference. <<<<
I absolutely agree with you. We are not that much better off than parts of the world where they use lots less energy. England uses much less energy per capita and the lifestyle was fine. But on the other hand, America produces about 1/3 of the GDP for the world--this is what we do with our energy use. 1/3 of the world's GDP on 1/4 of the oil. 
 But that is a very nice, very idealistic thought. How exactly do we propose to convince Americans to use less energy. What are we going to get them to quit buying. And how are we going to deal with those thrown out of work because their products are no longer purchased? What are we going to tell the children of the unemployed?  Having lost 2 jobs in 1986 and having had to tell my sixth grader he couldn't go to the movie with his friends(I couldn't tell him it was because I simply didn't have any cash at all because I was unemployed), I know that well meaning people who think they can order the world's economy never think of those who are thrown out of work. I would cite the 10% luxury tax a few years ago. The rich were supposed to pay 10% extra to buy those yachts.  Who got hurt? The poor artisans who made the yachts. When the rich quit buying yachts, they kept their money in the bank and the boat makers were put on the dole!
 >>> But to do so would involve a massive adjustment in attitude that I judge from observing compatriots' talk and behavior is practically inconceivable in the absence of crisis.  Almost everyone seems to prefer bashing oil companies.  And then there are the many prophets of progress and prosperity ever onwards and upwards.  One of the editors of the local newspaper recently evinced such confidence in the power of technology and the free market that he claimed (not seriously) our energy would come from rabbit pellets if all other sources failed.  Just give the free market a chance, he said.  <<<
Yeah, everyone wants to bash oil but never stop using it. If they all stopped using it, I would be out of work very quickly. But, I would point out that if 2005 is the year of peak oil, cutting energy use in half right now, would not change the situation very much.  Some authorities think peak oil will be this year or next. Hubbert predicted 2000 but he didn't count on the efficiencies put into the economy in the 1970s--these efficiencies never left.
>>>>So I agree that things look very gloomy even for the fairly short term, but to a degree that's because of the difficulty of getting attitudes to change in absence of crisis.  <<<<
Unless this is the year that we top oil production, which is what Kenneth Deffeyes believes. Indeed he says before the end of this year the world will pass Hubbert's peak.
>>>>There's another side to the ethical issues: A sudden drastic cut in usage would cause deep recession (and that itself would cut usage further).  Is it right to deliberately destroy our robust economy--that, among many other things, supports a great many Chinese, etc.?  However, a gradual phasing in would be far less damaging.  Question is, do we have the time for "gradual"?  <<<
ABsolutely and that was my point above. Those who get hurt are not the oil companies but those who do lots of other things.
The only way IMO to give the next few generations a chance at a better material life is to get current generations mobilized to recognize the problem and work together to solve (or soften) it--as the US got mobilized during WWII.  An apparently insurmountable difficulty is in getting people to recognize the seriousness and magnitude of the problem, that there's any way to significantly soften its future impact, and that it's better to focus our remedies on the unknown future instead of the known present.  Jesus said, "...Don't worry about tomorrow...."   But ultimately conservation seems like a no-brainer: It's much harder to go wrong with conservation than with profligacy, even though it may slow the economy.    <<<<
Absolutely. No one really believes that this is a huge problem. Look at Janet and her views of peak oil. If we can't convince the likes of her (someone who has not studied the issue and isn't very expert in it) how can we expect to change the attitudes of people?

Received on Sun Oct 30 08:47:25 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Oct 30 2005 - 08:47:25 EST