The end of the age of oil  

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(@echec_et_maths)
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05/19/2019 9:58 pm  

I watched a Youtube video called the End of Suburbia.

The notion that oil will run out someday isn't new. Ironically, we seem to be using more of it everyday, as more stuff gets im/exported on increasing large cargo container ships, more people get packed like sardines into airplanes to their vacation destinations, and more cars hit the road (esp the summer season).
Why does it matter? Well, the US lifestyle is critically dependent on oil right now. The main mode of transportation is cars. We go to work, to school, to buy groceries, to the doctor, to vacations, to just almost everywhere on cars*. A large infrastructure was built specifically for it (the ashphalt, needed to constantly maintain it, comes from oil too). If oil were gone tomorrow, no trucks could deliver food to grocery stores, you couldn't fill up at the gas station to go to work, to the grocery store, or anywhere. Cargo container ships wouldn't deliver goods (especially from China!) Most critically, the equipment that harvests our crops (that miraculous combine harvester) wouldn't work without it (countries like Brazil are trying to convert their equipment to biofuels, which is a nice stopgap measure). If we couldn't use the machines anymore, people would go on foot out to the midwest to plant, tend to, and harvest their crops (hopefully irrigation systems would still work). Harvest would be backbreaking, and while processing would still work assuming the grid is up, transport and distribution would be nearly impossible. These are just a small fraction of the kinds of problems we'd run into without oil.
Other things to ponder: how does the military operate without oil? The jets, the aircraft carriers, the tanks?
We've been mired in middle east since the 1970s. Whereas some politicians would have you believe they're promoting freedom and democracy in the region, I think the true reason is because of how critical oil is to our lifestyle (from gathering food to running the military). They won't say it, because our enemies may decide to cut off the supply, leading to worse problems than we had in the oil shocks of the 70s.
Plastics come from oil. They make terrible waste products for the environment, but they have some unique, very useful properties (in particular, sealing and waterproofing).

More realistically, extraction becomes increasingly difficult as the stuff gets rarer and rarer, making prices prohibitive. Oil would only be reserved for the basics such as transporting food, or to repair infrastructure (downed power lines, bad roads). At some point we'll be out, or it will be futile to extract anymore.

So in the end, wouldn't it make sense to make use of whatever oil we have left right now to build a new infrastructure that's self-sustaining? Some people think a train network that runs on electric. It would need to connect cities to crops to industrial centers. Obviously that won't pop up overnight.

Burning all that oil produces a great deal of greenhouse gases too. Even if we stopped burning it worldwide tomorrow, it would take decades (maybe centuries) for temperatures to return to normal. Overnight switching off is not feasible with our basic needs (food) entirely dependent on it.
China's ahead of us in that regards. They're mandating 10% of their yearly sold motor vehicles to be electric. If there were no gas left, they'd still be able to transport and commute, at a reduced capacity, but better than what's available in the US.

Anyway, a lot of people were wondering what that lightning flash was that would reset our way of living in 2019 or 2020. There's a lot of speculation like EMP warfare, solar flare (at least those two look most like lightning), strike on US soil, and economic downturn. I thought oil might be a candidate because of the Middle East instability.

Has anyone done remote viewing to see what kind of lifestyle we'll have in a decade or two? Modes of transport. Air quality. Means of living, means of getting around.

* City dwellers do have the option of walking, public transportation, or bicycling, but that's obviously not an option for suburbs or rural areas. Places are much more distant in the US, compared to say, Europe, which is more urbanized and saturated.

P.S: The video suggested we may have to plant our own crops (at least those with yards). I'm still unsure that we'll become an egalitarian utopia, since those who already own the most land will have quite a head start (they may need some help with the manual labor, but I hope it doesn't turn into the plantations system we had in the South in the 19th century).


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(@jeanne-mayell)
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05/20/2019 2:28 pm  

Eches,  Welcome to the forum.  

 I see you can't post a link yet. so please send it to me using the contact form on the website (see contact in menu).  I can then post it for you. 

If you are referring to an  End of Suburbia video that is based on Howard Kunstler's book The Long Emergency, we are no longer in danger of running out of oil.  There is enough oil in the ground to kill every living thing on earth if we use it so we don't want to use it.  But his point that a lifestyle based on needing cars to get around is probably no longer relevant.   They have developed 100 percent electric cars which can be run on solar or wind energy now.  Please correct me if wrong.

You mention that it will take decades or perhaps centuries to return to a normal climate. However that figure is way off.  It will take at least a thousand years at best, to return to normal.  And paleoclimate evidence tells us that it will take hundreds of thousands of years to return to normal, at which point, all complex life forms on earth will likely be extinct and our earth will be evolving towards a new set of lifeforms.  

At this point, if we are going to have a climate policy, and as you know, our government does not have one, except for denial, but if we are going to have a climate policy, it must be immediate dramatic minimizing of use of greenhouse gases. and all that that entails.  It will have to be much more dramatic than even the Green New Deal. 

It will not be pleasant.  But it will be life saving. 


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