[FoRK] Why do political and economic leaders deny Peak Oil and Climate Change?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Sep 6 13:55:17 PDT 2013


On Fri, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:22:53AM -0700, Dr. Ernest Prabhakar wrote:
> 
> On Sep 6, 2013, at 7:05 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> > I think it’s for exactly the same reasons you don’t hear them talking about
> > preparing for Peak Oil.
> 
> Wasn't Peak Oil predicted for 2009?

The exact date is not important, but we seem to have flat volume since ~2004,
and net energy (or EROEI-corrected volume) is dropping. It's important to
plot the function of the EROEI drop, as it is deciding our future. 
 
> At any rate, we only need to make it until 2040, when the world's population will flatten out, and we'll be much more reliant on bits than atoms.

Human population seems to adaptively turn surplus energy into babies,
if inverse correlation applies contraction of the energy envelope will
make birth rate go almost zero overnight, and thus limit the starvation
die-off.
 
> Given what's happening with natural gas and tracking, that doesn't seem so unlikely.  

Looking at recent data, the fracking era is already over, barely after it began.

> To be sure, the environmental cost of getting there may be high, but there doesn't seem to be much reason for doubt that we'll find *some* way to bridge the gap.

I think the only way to bridge the gap is substitute some 1 TW annually
for renewable, and add according synfuel/synthon facility capacities.
Notice this is energy-intensive, so double or triple the TW/year number.

Do the math, there's not enough money in the world for that, so you have
to face demand destruction/austerity. The combination is fatal, since
it compromises your ability to shift infrastructure, and also sets you up
for military conflict (the terminal food fight).

Our odds are unknown, but likely not good.


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