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GLOBAL FUTURE ANALYSIS


HEADWINDS | ENERGY DEFICITS


The PeakOil guys are not longer considered as weird negative scientists with a wealth irritation. It's too stupid for words that we just starting to give them recently the attention they should have deserved almost half a century ago already, but just only a year ago when market prices start doubling each year and everybody suddenly waked up. The wake-up call of the US production peak in 1970/1971 (as came clear in the years in statistical data after that date) and the wake-up call of the OPEC boycott of the US, Holland and Israel in 1973 doesn't awake us either, we even get deeper asleep afterwards. We increased non-OPEC production in times that oil prices were low due to the US/SA deal, and just tap them to and even over their peak the last 20 years in times of lower than low market prices. We're smart, very smart, even brilliant (we thought). Now we must go on the table with OPEC again without any negotiation backup and can buy oil for 15 times the price we have sold it the last 20 years. And in the meantime the world fertilizer industry has (due its gas intensively) in absolute market share/volume almost completely moved to the Persian Gulf: so also our food system has become an OPEC relation issue. By PeakOil and the food chain facet of it the Green Revolution can end very easily in a Green Implosion: just take out the fertilizer and its production implodes within a year to less than 50% levels. So much for the strategic sophisticated very intellectual superior Western World. The reality is that we have squander both our transition time and reserves, due some unrealistic believe in the endless of finite resources, or in just a rude 'let the next generation fix it themselves' attitude that just has taken an earlier flight to our lives so we (and not our children) must deal with it. We're so stupid that we even can see ourselves how stupid we have been. This dumb kind of behaviour/wisdom only appears in cartoons. The results are there: An economic system that is based on cheap energy and therefore on the edge of breakdown when energy prices go higher (and they will) and that will collapse finally if there occur real physical power/gas/fuel shortages (and they will come). Even very conservative institutions (like for example the by the Dutch Administration for her energy policy determination/development installed Energieraad in Holland) say this will happen even as soon as in 2010. In natural gas is this unseen before: putting pressure again on the infrastructure after a blackout would have severe consequence. In more and more countries in the world 24/7 power supply can not taken for granted. China has severe power problems and has closed down mega users like aluminium factories. Energy that becomes more and more expensive and sometimes is not available and is per definition final. That's our future perspective. With al the attached damage in economic decline and economic shocks by blackouts. It could been different. If we saw finite as finite (as in: just temperately) and not as never ending, if we loved our kids as much as we say we do (than we had acted differently), if we developed energy knowledge (not 1% of the governmental subsidies is used for researching the main source/power of our prosperity) and if we had saved the huge non-OPEC resources (Prudhoe Bay, Cantarell and North Sea) we have found in the '70ties for the time when we really needed them. The whole energy story is a huge illustration of governments that only focus on today (short horizon), people who are inebriated by prosperity and scientists who has lost their independency and use more energy in defending their castles of budgets and arrogance, rather to dig in new science. The economy can not be held accountable: they have the 'daily store to take care for', but governments and certainly scientists a lot. We have waste decades (and if we take Tesla as reference we even waste a full one 100 years) and now we must pay for it. Literally. High prices that drains ours prosperity. Economic damage by blackouts that kicks our prosperity to lower levels. We start to realize that every thing we do is based in cheap energy and that cheap energy has left us. What is our future based on current perspectives? Everything that uses a lot of energy will become very expensive (or must we therefore just say: everything will become expensive?). Economies will shrink/decline. Unemployment will grow, feeding unemployment check based burdens instead of wages based boost on the economy. The economy will shrink again. Social unrest will explode. Car driving and airplane flying will become too expensive. Globalization will stop, the cheap products out China will be very expensive. Doing laundry will become expensive. Showering will become very expensive and a luxury. Food will take half of our budgets again. It simple: when you literally unplug or pinch off an cheap energy driven economy, everything that uses cheap energy (as in: every product and every service) will move in the red zone. Commuting to our jobs will take more than 50% of our wages. And as we can spend each dollar only once we need 2 more jobs (that aren't available and can't fit in one day) to maintain our current life style. The Energy Crisis will lead to an other type of economy. As distances are expensive, more and more facets of live will happen local. The Energy Crisis equals localization: as localization gives the highest prosperity output per used kWh or Joule or energy use. Live is gone change. Some for the better, some for the bad. And the problem is: we can't believe it and has put our minds in denial. But it's so simple: Our economy/lifestyle is based on cheap energy and cheap energy has left us without even saying goodbye. Every facet of live/economy will be changed. And everybody with some brain can analyse this by her/his self. It's no rocket science. It's just not being ready to give it a thought. We have choose not to mediate with reality, but let reality confront us (Kunstler). Each physicist could tell you that the impact of a collision is based on speed (high), mass (high) and crumple zone (time). We robed ourselves from our own transition time and possibilities by just being dumb and put our energy in denial instead of changes. We could save a lot of our prosperity. But we rather live life now to the max. We're stupid. Against our knowledge and against any science or odds. We start doing something is we realize that not our children but we ourselves are the ones that will pay the bill in the next years. Egoism has been and is the best economic and societal changing power. The economy/society needs a lot of changing power the next years. Maybe than we can preserve as much prosperity as possible under the circumstance. Once again: the foundation under our economic system (cheap energy) has gone. This is not so hard to understand, but certainly very hard to accept. And the people of the Middle East? They just want some respect for their culture, heritage and religion. We don't understand that, even not today. To make a long story short: No energy: no economy. Or we must search for ways / design a low energy still prosperous economy.


Author: Gijs Graafland


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