TO THE PEAK OIL COMMUNITY:
The world is in the midst of the most severe financial crisis in most of our lifetimes. The economic damage that has already been wrought is considerable, and we have yet to see the bottom or the turnaround. Against this background, I suggest that the peak oil community minimize its efforts to awaken the world to the near-term dangers of world oil supply. The motivation is simple: By minimizing our efforts in the near term, we may not add fuel to the economic fires that are already burning so fiercely.
We are all aware of how disoriented governments and business are right now. Our leaders, leaders-to-be, and best minds are disoriented and seeking pathways out of the current morass. The public is in a quiet panic mode — those who were reasonably well off are less well of, and their options for action are limited. Those that have lost their jobs and/or homes are desperate. Businesses and the markets are in what might be called a free fall. If the realization of peak oil along with its disastrous financial implications was added to the existing mix of troubles, the added trauma could be unthinkable.
Like many of you, I’ve devoted my recent efforts to trying to wake the public and governments to the impending horrors of peak oil. As much as that awaking is urgently needed, continuing to press forward now is almost certainly not in the broader interest.
Many may be tempted to directly challenge the recent IEA World Energy Outlook. I am among those who were very disappointed. Pressing those concerns at this time might further the peak oil “cause,” but it could well do much more damage than any of us really intend.
Please keep up your studies and thinking, because helping the world realize the dangers of peak oil is an absolute must. In the near term, keeping relatively quiet is likely the better part of valor.
Mr. Hirsch has a point… many people are freaking out right now about losing their jobs, houses and means to secure food & other essentials for their family. Hammering home the point about declining output of global oil production is only going to make those people freak out even more.
An imperfect analogy would be to go back to the last time the world’s economies simultaneously went into the shitter… back in the 1929-39 timeframe. One of the things that dragged the world out of its prolonged economic slump was the breakout of World War II. Global war is at least part of the ‘added trauma’ Mr. Hirsch is referring to. War can be a very effective way to jump-start the economy, mobilize the populace and also thin out the number mouths to feed somewhat. Our modern forms of warfare are particularly effective at this.
I have no desire to see the globe plunged into another cycle of global warfare if it can be avoided. I usually limit my peak oil screeds to this site and a few other online fora… so I’ll just continue to do that. There will be plenty of time for illuminating others down the road.
HT: Energy Bulletin