Staying true to our roots

Grist editors Dave Roberts and Chip Giller had an op-ed in he Boston Globe today called A fit of (oil) peak. Check it out.

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Well, I don't exactly buy into some of the more apocalyptical visions.  That is why I've been working on alternative energy technologies for all these years.  But the last sentence of this piece makes me think of nothing so much as what the poor folks who were walking to the Super Dome must have been thinking.
I'd like to have hope, but this latest debacle isn't exactly convincing me that the apocalyptics are wrong.
There is a big difference between recognizing a problem, dealing with it through changed behaviour, technology, policy and not accepting that there is a problem

IMHO the response to Katrina in the Gulf speaks volums about our national ability to accept that there is a problem, both with disasters and Peak oil.  There may be plans on the books on how to deal with Katrina, but they sure are not working at ground level.  Too many technical details were glossed over, ignored or were left in the "We will figure it out when  the time comes" section.

The reaction and response to Katrina resembles nothing as much as the Titanic hitting an iceberg.  At first there is no problem, the ship is unsinkable we will check for damage.  Then it was, well there is some damage but were working on it because the ship is unsinkable.  Then it was this is a really bad problem that we are trying to fix and we hope the ship is unsinkable.  Then it was we can't fix the problem the ship might sink we are putting plans into effect to get everyone off.  Finally it was  O My God the ship is going to sink and we don't have near enough lifeboats and no help is going to arrive in time.

It's that last part where everyone recognizes the problem AND realizes that insufficient plans have been made for the event that causes chaos.  And chaos is what we are going to get soon.  The relief effort is not going well at all in housing displaced people.  The Astro Dome can only deal with 11,000 people not the 45,000-60,000 mentioned a day or so ago.  Go to to get details of food, shelter, transportation, and communications problems that are much more intractable than mentioned only 24-48 hours ago.

Our government is wholly overwhelmed by this problem and it is tiny compared to what Peak oil will bring.  Our inability to recognize what the true engineering and logistical problems will be (on a national level) when energy is scare and expensive for long periods of time is inexcusable.  

It is obvious to all now that we are going to have a shortage of delivered fuel for weeks if not months.  I am still not hearing a concerted effort to conserve energy by the national government.  There is no coordinated approach to managing the energy supply, now, so that we do not have shortages in the future.  There are half hearted attempts of "don't top up your tank if you still have gas", "I hope all our citizens will not hoard gas" etc.  But we need an overall plan to allocate oil, NG, and gasoline so that needs are met but some wants will go unfilled.  This is a test case for Peak Oil and we are failing miserably.  

I am saddened and depressed today by the needless deaths just for lack of national coordination and leadership.  People are dying because we don't want to close schools and businesses and divert all resources to the problem.  People are worth more than money.

NC: "People are worth more than money."

Not to the Mammonites.

Perhaps noted elsewhere, found this article on Peak Oil on Scandinavian Oil & Gas Magazine web site; RigZone has a copy without graphics.


By Pradeep Anand, President of Seeta Resources
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I was at a raucous Indian wedding party, recently, when a friend in the medical industry, pulled me aside and asked, "Since you are from the oil industry, can you explain what's going on with oil prices?"

It was obvious from the setting that he was not looking for a long-winded dissertation but a quick synopsis that he could carry around in his mental hip pocket, and whip out whenever he participated in heated discussions about rising oil prices.

So, here is what I told him.

"The current frenzied run up in oil prices has been caused by the sudden recognition of two factors: one is that demand and supply are very tightly balanced, and, two, more important, there is a lurking specter that global production of hydrocarbons may have peaked."

"If global oil production had truly maxed out, demand would exceed supply and we are in for huge oil price increases, in the mid triple digits. This would create a deep global recession, from which we would emerge in the year 2020 or so, when some alternatives to hydrocarbons would begin to appear. Until then, we should be prepared to live a different lifestyle."