Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Past Peak Already?

So Kenneth Deffeyes, whose book "Hubbert's Peak" was one of the earliest attempts to ring the alarm on Peak Oil, is saying we're already past peak production. Specifically, the magic day was December 16th, 2005.

Given that I'm reading in some places that the USGS is revising 2005's numbers down to the point where 2004-5 production was essentially flat (despite a runup in prices) I'm inclined to believe it, cautiously. But that might be because it was a Salon review of Deffeyes' book that was my first introduction of Peak Oil.

So what to do? Well, Japan's solar power market is growing at 40%+ per year, leading to predictions that by 2008 Japanese companies will produce 2,350MW worth of power each and every year. Meanwhile, Denmark, Spain, and Germany are already making gigawatts of wind electricity every year.

We also know (know, not guess, suspect, or surmise) that Canada and the US could begin to save roughly 1/3-1/2 of their electrical bills by refits and efficiency. I keep advocating the abolition of the incandescent lightbulb, for starters.

How about a subsidy for flat-screen computer monitors? They save a lot on energy, and they're nicer to look at. Dell would love it, I'm sure.

I keep bringing up the potential savings, because conversations around Peak Oil too easily become conversations about how OMFG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! For a good example of this, read some of the comments at The Oil Drum discussing Deffeyes' announcement.

Calm down, people. The Black Death didn't cause any kingdoms to collapse, and Peak Oil won't be as bad as that. People who think Peak Oil will cause the collapse of global capitalism/western civilization/multicellular life are all dramatically underestimating the power a modern state has at its disposal. Even if it takes a return to the command economies of WWII, the state is always able to protect itself.

1 comment:

Simon Pole said...

The Black Death didn't cause any kingdoms to collapse

The Black Death actually helped free the peasants and end feudalism through depopulation. There's a bright side to everything I guess.