[VancouverSun] New millennium has brought a turning point in history, yet we ignore meltdown
Hans Tammemagi, Special to the Sun Published: Saturday, June 28, 2008
The period from 1950 to 2000 will be remembered as the Golden Era of modern civilization, the pinnacle reached by humans after a million years of evolution. This brilliant half-century was sponsored largely by fossil fuels, especially oil, which brought unprecedented economic growth, plentiful transportation and a rich and diverse lifestyle.
But the new millennium has brought the end of cheap oil, and civilization is suddenly teetering on the edge of collapse. Even if we manage to scrape through (and it would require heroic efforts), life will change. We’re at one of the most important turning points in history, yet we persistently ignore the coming meltdown and just want to party on…
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Peak oil, this two-syllable piece of jargon, is another way of saying we are on the threshold of a major crisis. From now on the supply of oil will diminish each year, but population and demand will continue to grow. This is truly frightening because our modern industrial society is built on and totally dependent on this versatile fuel. It is the foundation for transportation, industry, agriculture, fishing and much more. As the gap between what economies and nations need and what they can get widens, bidding wars will erupt (they already have) and then shooting wars (one already has).
The globe is in for tough times because renewables like wind and solar simply can’t be supplied in enough quantity to fill the enormous demand. As an aside, environmental organizations are doing an enormous disservice by promoting the fantasy of a feasible renewable energy and hydrogen economy.
[FPIF] How do we know that the Petroleum Age is drawing to a close? Two key indicators tell us that this is so. First, many of the giant fields that have satisfied our massive thirst over so many years are experiencing diminished output. Second, although the major oil producers are spending more money each year to discover new reserves, they are finding less and less oil. Either of these factors by itself is cause for significant worry; the combination is deadly.
[Globe&Mail] A barrel of oil, as analyst Dave Hughes often reminds me, equals 8.6 years of human labour. Think about that. « A human life span could produce about three barrels of oil-equivalent energy, » he adds. We often miss this Hummer-sized truth because, as the Arabs know, petroleum induces lazy thinking and even lazier economics.
In fact, the North American media take for granted how much oil undermines democracy, powers our food system, feeds our drug-addled medical industry and concentrates our cities like bovine feedlots. It has done so as assuredly as cheap labour built Rome. « Slavery, » a Wall Street Journal scribe recently wrote, « was the oil business of its time – profitable, essential, permitting piracy, demanding collusion in countless ills. »
Un lecteur (A.Sautou) recommande cette conférence:
Je recommande aux lecteurs de ce post l’excellente conférence donnée par Jean-Marc Jancovici le 27 mars 2008 au parc Saint-Christophe, en français sur la page WEB