I saw a PBS special (or was it a CPAN thing? – can’t remember) recently called “Peak Oil”. If you get a chance watch it.
Let me repeat myself: If you get a chance watch it.
Apparently in about 5 years we (mankind) will reach a point in oil production called “Peak Oil”. That’s when we’ve tapped pretty much everything there is to tap. From then on oil production will decrease. It will be gradual, and over the next 30-50 years oil production will drop at about the same rate it has increased up until now. Of course all this is theoretical, but it was very convincing and based on as about solid evidence as anything that I’ve heard.
It sounded more believable than global warming – and I believe in global warming. I became a believer about 5 – 10 years ago. Even before then however I thought that prudence was the best policy and have disapproved of the negligent attitudes that our government has had toward the issue.
Anyway, Peak Oil is a very closely related topic to the global warming topic, but in my opinion it is far more frightening. Then there’s global dimming – which is apparently far more statistically significant, and perhaps more influential on the world’s weather patterns than gloabal warming. The upshot of global dimming is that it is likely easily purged from the atmosphere within a short time, greenhouse gases aren’t though. What’s worse, when Peak Oil is reached then global dimming will likely go down while greenhouse gases remain or increase.
It is now known that the phenomena known as global dimming has counteracted the effects of global warming to a very significant degree. The result is that when the global dimming decreases then the earth will become very very hot very quickly. And that seems to be right around the corner.
The economic impact of Peak Oil is even far more significant. I used to work in a PV Solar Cell factory as an engineer. I know the alternative energy market industry, and believe me when I tell you it sucks. Nothing comes close to petroleum when it comes to bang per buck. Coal is the closest thing – but it has such a long way to go. Bottom line: when petroleum becomes more scarce (only 5 years away) all hell will break loose.
It kind of puts the Iraq confict into a whole new light. I don’t know all the alterior motives that may have existed for going into Iraq, but if we’re in for what it sounds like Peak Oil will give us then we would have been stupid to not secure a large portion of the middle east for ourselves to keep from being financially utterly destroyed after Peak Oil production is reached. Maybe we really did go in there to secure for ourselves a little future. Maybe, however unpopular it is now, in 5-10 years we’ll be very glad that we did.
So here it is, unbelievably cold … what do I do? We’ve dressed our kids in thermals and thick clothing. I’m wearing 3 pairs of thermals, warm clothes and a turtleneck sweater. We keep the temperature in the mid 60’s and let it get real cold at night. We have a pellet stove hooked directly into our forced air system that I plan on using next year.
I’ve been doing a lot of programming lately. Thank heavens the orders for kiosks have slowed down, as my shop is freezing and I don’t want to fire it up. Too expensive to keep warm when it gets down to the sub-zero temps (F).
So sadly I’m incredibly reliant on heating oil, and there’s little I can do about it. At a minimum I do think an extra hefty gas guzzler tax should be waged on gas guzzlers. Yes, that’s coming from me, a Republican that hates big government and beauracratic red tape. I also think they should triple the incentives given to adopt non-fossil-fuel technologies. Don’t give the money directly to the energy companies to develop new enery technologies – instead give it to comsumers who will invest in them. It should be financed with the gas guzzler tax.
Huge incentives should be given to make homes better insulated. Public awareness campaigns should advocate dressing warmly and keeping home temperatures at a lower setting in the winter. Public transportation needs to be made more inviting and convenient. All these things need to happen, and most of them aren’t even being discussed.
And no more Hydrogen Economy flap. Where do you think the hydrogen comes from? It comes from either water that is split by fossil fuel technologies, or directly from fossil fuel itself. H2 Economy is a clap trap and the public has been all too engaging.
And on top of that we need to secure for ourselves a mutually beneficial relationship with the bulk of Middle East countries as we prepare for this transistion.