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PaulS's picture

Newsnight are looking for a story

At this website
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8070734.stm

If a few of us send in Peak Oil story, perhaps they will pick it up and run with it. This is what I sent them:

Whilst you chase around every minor story in the tabloids you are missing the big one: Peak Oil.

After many years of denial, the International Energy Agency have admitted in their latest report that Peak Oil not only exists, but conventional oil has has actually peaked four years ago (in 2006). That is after years of denials and absurdly optimistic forecasts, which have all been shown as false.

That is why we had an energy crisis in 2008, which has resulted in a world wide recession. Since then we have lived under a glass ceiling of maximum available energy, which was fine whilst we were in recession, but now that the the world has started to climb out of that (whilst of course existing oil fields continue to deplete), we are just about to hit it again. What a headache that will be:
- high oil prices
- hence high energy prices
- hence higher prices of transport, agriculture, food, plastics, and most other products, since they all require energy to manufacture and transport them.
- that will cause another perhaps 5-10% drop in GDP (=recession)
- that will cause further financial pressures (who will rescue all those bankrupt states?)

- one would hope, although I doubt it, that politicians will finally realise that the Era of Growth is over and start planning for a lifetime of de-growth or depression.

- Once we (that is the whole planet) decrease our energy requirements to some 40% of what we use today and provided we invest heavily in renewable energy, we may then be able to stop the downward spiral and power the planet from largely renewable sources.
- However, it is more likely that investment in renewable, together with all kinds of obstacles to renewable energy (planning, NIMBY, capacity, grid structure) and unwillingness of the population to reduce their lifestyles will result in a depression forced by spasms of shortages and high prices alternating with short periods of apparent recovery, disincetivising investment, leading to the loss over the next 20-40 years of most of what we now regard as essential parts of our civilisation.

That should be a cheerful program!

There are no known solutions to this crisis, except for downgrading our energy requirements, which is something that no politician will take on. And no wonder. The end of Growth implies the end of the existing financial system which most people regard as unthinkable. But its likely to happen anyway.

Once you understand the nature of Peak Oil and the civilisation ending potential of this crisis, then contact me again and lets talk about Transition.

Here are a few references to get started:

http://www.transitionnc.org/node/53/1696#comment-1696
http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/
http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/188071-the-iea-s-new-peak
http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/188069-it-s-official-the-economy-is-set
http://www.transitionnc.org/node/53/1707#comment-1707
little blog from 2008: http://www.transitionnc.org/node/73
and here is something about us: http://www.transitionnc.org/node/45/1750#comment-1750

Good luck with this, you'll need it!