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Re: SC43

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June 14, 2007 11:25PM
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Archives2007/KingEvent.html

The Event of the Century

........"The 21st century is still young, as there are another 93 years to go. So it might sound overambitious to claim that 'The Event of the Century' is already behind us. But I'll gladly take the risk, for I seriously believe that the peaking of the global production of crude oil -- commonly know as 'Peak Oil' -- has occurred in 2006 and will be 'The Event' bound to dominate the history of the 21st century: one of those 'historical inflection points,' which abruptly change fundamentals in the course of world history. I cannot foresee any other event coming to eclipse Peak Oil, not even the world wars which might be unleashed in the Peak's aftermath and further fueled by widespread resource scarcity. Unless, of course, humanity decides upon collective suicide with the massive use of weapons of mass destruction; but such an annihilating event would spell the word 'end' for most, if not all, of mankind."...............

..........."Take, for example, population. In the 'Post Peak' era, population growth will gradually decrease before becoming stagnant (following crude oil) and passing a Peak of its own -- my early projections show a 'population peak' occurring some time around 2025 (a 20-year lag respective to oil) at a global level of around 7.5-8.0 billion people. There is little doubt that crude oil is our world's 'master domino': when it thrives, all other dominoes flourish, and when it tumbles, it does topple all of the others too. Thus, interestingly, 'Peak Oil' will not usher in a revolution, but rather an evolution 'en sense contraire' ('in reverse gear')."..........

..........."Peak Oil', however, is now in the past, and we are presently left facing the 'Post Peak' era. There is little doubt that in this brand-new period, massive changes are bound to occur. The usage of relatively cheap crude oil has invaded every nook and cranny of our modern world economy -- sometimes without the wasteful invasion being fully realized. Moreover, the ubiquitous oil products have created addictions (especially in the transport sector) which will be extremely difficult to uproot. And not only is the addiction to motorcars common throughout the developed world, it has also begun making deep inroads in China, Russia, and even India: a very dangerous development, indeed, because as American physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes [1809-1894] judiciously remarked:

" Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions ".............

............."In 'Post Peak,' all of our systems of habits are in mortal danger. Due to the relative cheapness of crude oil (in relation to other, more expensive daily needs), people don't exactly realize the pivotal role played by its products in their daily routines -- as these products have invaded every nook and cranny of our modern life. It is only when the brakes will be pulled (as they inevitably will have to be) that the general public will come to gradually realize the critical importance of 'black gold' -- which currently provides no less than two-fifths of world energy -- and of 'energy' in general in their living habits.

"Thus, at present, the global masses seem totally unprepared for the two shocks which will inevitably occur in 'Post Peak.' On the one hand, no major institution or medium is willing to inform them seriously on the not-so-palatable consequences of 'Post Peak'; and, on other hand, specialized institutions (such as the International Energy Agency [IEA], the Energy Information Administration [EIA] and OPEC) as well as some major energy consultancies (e.g., the Cambridge Energy Research Associates and the Edinburgh-based Wood Mackenzie research outfit) will go on denying 'Peak Oil' by issuing rosy future oil output predictions.

"So that the twin shocks are now inevitable on a global scale, as there is no time left to prepare public opinion for 'Post Peak' sequels. The shocks will first surprise, then jilt, and finally entangle swaths of people worldwide. Those better prepared will be less inclined to react in a disorderly way and panic when the shocking truth will be unveiled.".............

.........."In the large majority of countries, no one has prepared (or wanted to prepare) the general public to the historical 'Peak Oil' event and to its momentous consequence in their daily lives. Thus, most probably, the popular masses will be directly exposed to two main types of shock:

A material shock;

A psychological shock.

"Due to the benign decline gradient in crude oil production during the early 'Post Peak' period -- only 3 mb/d over the first transition period spanning 2007-2010 -- the material shock will not pose insoluble problems and accommodation will prove possible with minimal gradual pain. Moreover, sizeable amounts of wastage in most developed societies will provide a welcome cushion for the initial cuts to be made.

"Not so for the psychological shock. This shock, in stark contrast, will be electric and abrupt. Stress, fear, depression, despairs, and nightmares will be the order of the day -- as people come to face the not-so-palatable facets of 'Post Peak.' When confronted with this series of unknowns, with the trauma of change, people will try to protect themselves by automatically reverting to their past, to the known, to what they believe to be "real and true" -- in a word, to their reassuring 'roots ".............
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