Thursday, January 18, 2007

a peak into the future

It's coming, and a lot sooner than most of us expected. But it's coming in a civilized, controlled way at the moment.

That's part of the problem - the insidiousness of both Peak Oil and climate change - at least in the UK.

Climate Change - how's it actually going to work here? A few heatwaves, a few storms, the odd tornado? Probably. Even if the Gulf Stream fails it will take a few years to take full effect. We can adapt. There will be a few major incursions of the sea during storms, particularly on the east and south coasts. A few people will die, not that many. Not nearly enough to worry the survivors. Things will probably go on pretty much as before. Except, except ...

Other parts of the world are going to suffer vastly more. There will be huge problems in the Bay of Bengal, China, the foothills of the Himalayas, southern USA and Australia in particular. This suggests huge population shifts, much to Europe. This could create social problems far beyond immediate climate change difficulties.

Also famine will loom over much of Southern Europe, suggesting population movements northwards. This could destabilise the whole of Europe.

But Peak Oil is far, far worse. We are nowhere near ready for this huge change. The end of cheap energy is almost over and all governments seem to be ignoring it - at least in public. This is folly of the highest order. 'Peak Oil' as a term and a concept have still hardly entered everyday conciousness. This is dangerous. We have ten or twenty years at most of fairly cheap energy - and that's if everything stays calm, which is unlikely. We'll all need to change our lives dramatically as petrol becomes out of the reach of 95% of us.

But the really scary thing is that both of these huge changes will hit together. That's the real danger. And only a few of us are actually prepared for it.

Gold, wood, seeds, guns, friends. That's the stuff we all need to work on ...

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