Saturday, July 27, 2013

The peak demand fantasy "There is considerable discussion in energy optimist circles these days about how “peak demand” might occur, thereby slowing oil production to some kind of false peak. This of course is always tied to the increased efficiency with which we use oil and not to economic hard times during which fewer will be able to afford the increasingly expensive stuff. No one ever mentions the circa 70 million people that are being added to the world’s population each year who might like a little energy in their lives."
Can increased efficiency, or renewables reduce oil demand enough to ease the pressure on supply? So far, there has been no sign of it. Demand destruction has only happened due to economic recession. That is simply the effect of the correctly predicted peak of cheap oil in 2005.

And as long as capitalism continues, and population grows, demand for any energy will continue. What happens when that demand cannot be satisfied? We already know. Economic recession, mass unemployment, homelessness.

That leaves the question. Will there be a hard crash? The answer is that crashes come from bubbles being ignored. Right now, a new bubble of oil supply optimism is being inflated. The longer the bubble goes, the harder the crash.

Is there a solution? Yes.

make public transit fare free
make cities attractive, car-free, and safe
educate all children

This will cause birth rates to fall.