PEAK OIL: Not Really Understood


Peak oil is much more serious than most people realize: a big enough supply crunch at a time of falling extraction and high demand has massive and immediate effects that modern society is not ready for. The first significant shortage to trip up the normal distribution of petroleum products—10%, like the 1979 Oil Shock -- will trigger a crisis from which there will be no standard recovery. Oil industry activity will largely come to an end as the oil market goes "berserk" and then all but evaporates. The rapid economic damage and disintegration of a society hit with work stoppage (though lack of fuel for commuting and deliveries) and petroleum-dependence related hunger and general confusion will not wait for a theoretical or hoped for calm resumption of oil distribution at a desired rate of reduced oil industry activity. A destroyed economy is not going to require or enable the extraction, refining and distribution of oil -- difficult and expensive to obtain or not -- on a scale large enough or long enough to maintain a consumer economy. Since oil is the lifeblood of modern civilization, and substitutes are not ready on the scale needed, culture change will be the only active, broad, immediate response to peak oil that will also shape the future long-term.

Document(s)...

San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force: Report to the Board of Supervisors City and County of San Francisco, March 2009

--
Wolfgang

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