Monday, April 20, 2009

Colin Campbell Interview

Colin Campbell is a founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO). In this interview he talks about Peak Oil (he thinks it occurred in 2008), the current financial situation, his belief that a second, more serious financial collapse lies ahead, and whether the right steps are being taken. He is not a doomer as such, but I don't come away feeling as though we'll be able to slow down the slide or manage it very successfully.

I will be 100 years old in 2053 if I live that long. But based on the following quote I don't know that I want to, and I certainly expect life to get more "interesting" along the way:

Today's oil supply support 6.7 billion people, but by 2050 the supply will be enough to support no more than about 2.5 billion in their present way of life. So the challenges of using less and finding other energy sources is great.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

Well, I was born in 1952, and I profoundly doubt that you and I will live to see 100.

My mother, 75, says that she believes that my grandmother's generation, those born 1890-1910, will turn out to be the longest-lived generation on record, and I think she might be right.

Peak Oil might mean Peak Lifespan. Kunstler darkly intones that "the journey back to population homostasis will not be pretty".

No kidding. As we go down the slope, we can expect more epidemics, lower levels of sanitation and personal hygiene as ever larger numbers of people lose access to things like ample supplies of clean municipal water, and more malnourished, unhealthy people with sharply lower disease resistance as food becomes scarce and expensive.

The stresses related to population and resource overshoot started appearing in the 1960s, really, and have been increasing ever since and have been taking a toll on people. In this country, incomes have flatlined since the 80s while personal debt levels have soared- we have used debt to drive our economy since the Reagan era, because we haven't been a truly productive country since that time.

I noticed stagnating incomes in combination with the deteriorating quality of common food items, and the increasing prevalence of plastic money.

Is it only me, or is our generation dying younger already? I have lost 5 friends to suicide and 3 to other illnesses, and most of those died before age 40. It would be interesting to see just how many "baby boomers" are dying before age 40,50, 60 in comparison to their predecessors, for an old high school friend of mine recently went to our school's all-classes reunion, and she was struck by how many people graduating in years '65 through '72 have passed on.

It augers very ill for our future that our leaders have chosen to A. ignore the implications of the coming fuel drawdown in favor of short term fixes for the financial crises, not realizing the relationship between the two, and B. have chosen to "cure" the bad debt by create another tower of debt, at a time when we most need to get our economy back on an honest footing, and C. have chosen to "stimulate" the economy by making major investments of borrowed money in the unsustainable technologies and arrangements in place.

Now, we do have thousands of brilliant technical minds working on alternatives and solutions, large-scaled and small. I'm pinning some hope on technical solutions, still. But the successful implementation of these solutions will depend upon how quickly we can let go of our attachment to old ways, and I'm not hopeful about that, given the decisions being made right now.