Friday, July 28, 2006

Peak Oil

Peak Oil.

Have you ever wondered how much oil is left? How much demand has grown? How long will you be able to drive your car before the cost of fuel becomes prohibitive? What will be the global consequences of increased fuel prices? Will global warming disrupt human activities through environmental catastrophes so soon that we don't even have time to burn up all the remaining fossil fuels anyway?
I wonder about these things often and so I am totally amazed when people get all upset about the cost of fuel at the moment. Don't get me wrong I cringe every time I fill up but to actually expect the prices to drop is a bit ridiculous! Maybe there is some strange logic behind the idea that the 'perceived' high price of fuel is temporary and will some day return to 'normal'. Even if for some reason it did come down it would only be a temporary thing. Realistically the cost of fuel is going to go UP and UP and UP! Just like there is some logic behind the idea that Australia can support a population of 40,000,000 people, and things will start looking up just as soon as this darned drought is over. I am 36 years old and I've been hearing that one as long as I can remember. Maybe there isn't a drought. Maybe this is just the way this country is but we can't accept that because it requires us to take a conservative attitude towards development! Maybe there's no point speculating about what is normal because normal has gone out the window because the climate it is a changing. Even if for some reason the price did come down it would only be a temporary thing.

Oil is a finite resourse that, despite it's impermanence, we have built our entire infrastructure, economy, trade, cities, modern human civilization to rely apon as though it will be there for ever! If this is the age of Oil, which, judging by how many cars there are on the road I would say it is, then we are currently living in what has become known as the time of Peak Oil. Of course supply will fail to meet demand! At least from the perspective of it meeting the demand or consumption as it currently stands. Not at some distand time in the inconceivable future, but if the model for peak fuel is acurate we should be preparing for this huge change right now.

If you don't know what Peak Oil is then look it up. Here are some links to start you off.

It's simple stuff really but for some reason the worlds of media and politics do not apear to function in anything other than a reactionary state. So we cry about the cost of fuel and the pollies do what they can to gratify our immediate demands and we say thank you but it wasn't enough but we'll take it anyway. Do we ever bother to ask, "but what is really happening in this world anyway?" Rarely! The similarities between this situation and the very things that Orwell and Huxley had warned us about are too many to laugh about. Wow It's so weird reading and seeing science fiction while living it at the very same time.
If you are unconcerned about the current state of affairs and think that the wonders of science will find a solution to this problem, you are probably right. Already drinking water recycled from sewage is being seriously considered by at least one Australian municipality, due to the unavailability of fresh drinking water and nuclear reactors are already back on the drawing board for Australia as a suitable alternative to burning fossil fuels. I'm sure that science will come up with something that will save us from our terrible fate but when they offer you those protein pills to replace fresh food when it becomes too scarce, please take my advice. Don't eat the green ones!

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