Friday, January 25, 2008

Our Core Function

Magritte At Pistol River

This is one of those days. As I looked over the events and statements of the day, there was a plethora. Of course the stimulus package to keep our economy from contracting is all over the front page. All the while, the geographic state of the US continues its presidential hypnotic spell on itself, hardly dealing with climate change, and completely avoiding Peak Oil.

On that Peak Oil front, the Chairman of Shell, the world's second largest oil company, just announced that it's coming in seven years:

"Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, said in an e-mail to the company’s staff this week that output of conventional oil and gas was close to peaking. He wrote: “Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.”

He sees two scenarios:

The first scenario, “Scramble”, envisages a mad dash by nations to secure resources. With policymakers viewing energy as “a zero-sum game,” use of domestic coal and biofuels accelerates.It is a world, said the Shell chief, where “policymakers pay little attention to energy consumption – until supplies run short.”

The alternative scenario, “Blue-prints”, envisages a world of political cooperation between governments on efficiency standards and taxes, a convergence of policies on emissions trading and local initiatives to improve environmental performance of buildings."

Even Texas Monthly has discovered Peak Oil with several articles this month. In the interview with Matthew Simmons, Simmons says:

“The best we can hope for is a ten-year plateau,” Simmons says, skipping coffee. “This controversy is the single biggest risk for the twenty-first century.”

So can anything be done?

He looks sharply at me, the Coronado Club’s soft light reflected in his glasses, and shrugs, suddenly out of gas himself. “I’m a lot more concerned than I was three years ago,” he says."

"Standards of living will fall, and people will not be able to pay their debts. Lending will tighten, and eventually there will be major defaults. Growth will cease, and hoarding will set in as oil becomes increasingly rare. Then, according to Simmons, the wars will begin." more

Uh... I think the wars have begun. And standards of living have been dropping for some time. Overall quality of living in my view is in a nose dive.

Yet, in places as seemingly remote as Minnesota, some policy makers are getting the message, and they are discussing the real issues.

"Lerch said that to deal with the lack of oil, communities must:

1. Make long-term plans for dealing with transportation and land use.
2. Decide on a 100-year time frame for handling regional planning.
3. Address the issue of private energy consumption.
4. Engage the business community.
5. Build a sense of community and community resilience in dealing with these problems.

Meanwhile, in the Swiss Alps, the rich and powerful are meeting again in Davos, where they still say things like this:

"If we lose sight of our core function of serving our customers and creating shareholder value... we'll be out of our jobs," said Peter Sands, chief executive of international bank Standard Chartered."

We'll all be out of our jobs

if we are all dead. .


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the video clip.......K

3:49 PM  

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