Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peak Oil - Hirsch on the Hirsch Report, 4 years later

Robert Hirsch, author of the so-called Hirsch Report (October, 2005; pdf file), spoke with Steve Andrews of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas - USA this past September, in advance of the October ASPO-USA conference held in Denver.

I recommend reading their brief interview (~2,200 words), as it offers not only Mr. Hirsch's current views on the subject of peak oil (things ain't any better), but also some insight into the glaring absence of this issue from the mainstream media and political discourse.

Read the surprisingly brief (10 pages) report itself as well, for greater background on this essential subject.

Folks, I don't know how urgently I can promote the importance of this issue without seeming like an Apocalyptic nutjob; and at the risk of alienating a few friends and acquaintances, I'm happy to go that far. I can't conceive of an issue with more grave impact upon our immediate future than this one. By "our," I mean humanity at large: all peoples in all nations, oil-importing or -exporting, rich or poor, populous or underpopulated.

While it's certainly refreshing that coverage of environmental fragility and impending eco-disasters (led by "global warming") has not only reached the forefront in mainstream media news coverage, but has also stimulated a considerable degree of political, economic, and social change; yet the consequences of peak oil, in the short and medium term, are far more deleterious. I've said it before: this issue is civilization-changing. I really want to say civilization-ending, but that's an argument that requires a solid definition of civilization I'm not prepared to present. But peak oil will almost without question bring an end to life as we know it in the wealthy nations of the Northern Hemisphere, which change will, in turn, profoundly affect the rest of the world as well.

Please educate yourself on this vital topic. Spread the word, talk with people. Write or call your congressional representatives. Fire off a letter to the editor of your newspaper asking why they don't offer (more/any) coverage. Ask your friends, co-workers and colleagues, "Have you heard about peak oil?" Awkward? Possibly. But that's nothing to the awkward you'll experience when the effects of peak oil come crashing down.

We can avoid the worst effects of peak oil, but only if we act NOW, as in TODAY. Hirsch, in the interview, suggests the situation may already be dire-----

We found that because the decline rate in world oil production was going to be in multiple percents per year, it was going to take a very long time for mitigation to catch up to the decline in world oil production. Basically, the best we found was that starting a worldwide crash program 20 years before the problem hits avoid[s] serious problems. If you started 10 years before-hand, you are in a lot of trouble; and if you wait to the last minute until the problem is obvious, then you’re in deep trouble for much longer than a decade. As it turns out, we no longer have the 10 or 20 years that were two of our scenarios.

----- but cause for hope comes from the fact that while the general populace has remained largely ignorant of the subject, there are great minds at work on the problem and some of them offer potentially powerful tools to mitigate some of the consequences of the coming socio-economic transition: the Transition Initiative is one such tool.

Please take a few minutes to learn about peak oil. Please.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home