Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Here comes the long emergency

Surplus oil production capacity could disappear by 2012 a report from US Joint Forces Command, says. Photograph: Katja Buchholz/Getty Images

Lets Get Real
Posted on April 12, 2010 by onestraw

There has been ALOT of buzz about the Peak Oil Guardian Article today. And with good reason. For years we, on the “lunatic fringe” have been crying from the roof tops that the sky is falling. And now, the US Joint Forces, is saying the exact same things we have been. HA! We were right! Now who’s the lunatic sucka! But then, within seconds – IT hits. OMG – I’m right. THEY’RE right. Oh.My.God. …2011 oil surplus is gone. Um, that is 8 months from now! 2015 the world is 10 million barrels short. A DAY. In 2008 the US used 19.5 million brls/day. Aw, shit.

Oh, but it gets so much better. I hate reading reports of reports, so I spent 5 minutes tracking down the original Joint Forces Report to learn more. The data they are basing their predictions on is the IEA World Outlook. So lets look at that for a minute:

Right. See the light blue – that is our current oil production. It drops like a rock. Not good for Business as Usual. So if I am reading this right, the IEA says, well what if we put like a bajillion more drills into the current reserves? That gets you the dark blue block- pulling the oil faster, not adding more oil. This is wicked expensive, and won’t really happen any time soon. Why not? Because it didn’t happen at $150/brl oil so there is no way in hell its going to happen at $87/brl oil. But the beauty thing? The billions of infrastucture in drilling only gets us flat for a year, and then 10 million barrels –per day– short by 2015. 4.5 years. Ah but what about the red, gold and green splotches? Notice the lines through them? I translate that as IEA speak for “good fucking luck” or “Cheney made us put that in to stop world panic”.

But back to that JOE report I linked to. The JOE report is the Joint Operations Environment report and sets out to paint a backdrop for strategic planning for the next 25 years. Its the military so they spend the first half dozen pages talking about honor and history and manifest destiny with the obligatory quotes from Ancient Greece. But then they get into a sober frank telling of the Big Issues of the coming decades. Their conclusions should scare the shit out of each one of us. 5 of the Top 1o will sound very familiar to readers of this blog:

* The Economy
* Oil Scarity
* Climate Change
* Water Scarcity
* Food supplies.

Are Rob Hopkins, Richard Heinberg, and David Holmgren working for the Joint Chiefs? Remember that this is based on the largest and best funded intelligence gathering entity on the planet. Let me state this again – at the highest levels our military views oil, water, climate change and food as strategic issues. Let that sink in for a good long minute.

But as I read through this I was struck by the same thing I almost always am (except when I read the 3 authors above). While the JOE report talks about Oil scarcity by 2015, and 40% of the world being thirsty by 2030 and millions of people under water by 2030 they don’t connect the dots. What they don’t get is that we will be out of oil, thirsty, under water, hungry AND broke. At the same time.

4 years ago I started this blog to document our attempts to be more sustainable. Buying organic. Installing CFL’s. Driving a hybrid. I read and read and my concern deepened so I started growing more food. And working on energy projects. I began to question if these were problems to be solved or if, as John Michael Greer stresses in The Long Emergency that these issues were now predicaments to be reacted to. I guess I have answered that question for myself. We saw the effects of $4 gasoline. Ironically, the recession bought us “time” by reducing oil consumption. We are now seeing the economy resurge. But it will smack into the energy reality before the end of the year or so and we will see economic growth sputter again. But this time we will have less capacity – no more stimulous and unemployment will still be 10%+ so we will likely fall farther and take longer to rebound.

Problem or Predicament, we have our design criteria. Water, energy, “money”, and food will all be scarcer in the future, and likely the near future. Our solutions and preparations will be as diverse as we are – and rightly so. But they must focus on being 3 things:

* Local
* Resilient
* Regenerative

I am scared shitless about how fast we have crossed the tipping points and how even those of us who have been working so hard aren’t ready. Greer nailed it – this will be a LONG emergency sparked with respites, like the one we are in now, where things feel good and we can get our feet under us. But we will get thrown again, and all the uncertainty and fear that we all felt last year will return only to recover again, but to a lower level of “prosperity”.

There is much to do.

Be the Change.

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