Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What makes me wake up in a cold sweat at three in the morning

From "Tipping Point, Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production, An Outline Review" quoted from The Oil Drum
If peak oil is imminent or medium-term, we have neither the time nor the resources to substitute for oil, or invest in conservation and efficiency, a point re-iterated in the UKERC report. It is not merely that the net energy, material and financial resources we need to adapt will be in shorter supply, or that we are replacing high quality energy sources with lower quality ones. Nor is it that the productive base for deploying alternative energy infrastructure is small with limited ramp-up rates, or that it competes with food. Nor even that as the global credit crisis continues with further risks ahead, ramping up financing will remain difficult while many countries struggle with ballooning deficits and pressing immediate concerns. But, once the effects of decline become apparent, we will lose much of what we might call the operational fabric of our civilisation. The operational fabric comprises the given conditions at any time that support system wide functionality. This includes functioning markets, financing, monetary stability, operational supply-chains, transport, digital infrastructure, command & control, health service, institutions of trust, and sociopolitical stability. It is what we casually assume does and will exist [my emphasis], and which provides the structural foundation for any project we wish to develop. For example, near future degradation and collapse of the operational fabric may mean that we already have in place a significant fraction of the renewable energy infrastructure which will ever be in place globally.

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