The oil crash: a very inconvenient truth

I just finished watching this extremely well-done documentary (if you subscribe to Netflix you can stream it from their site as I did). If anything, it was more terrifying than An Inconvenient Truth. I think that’s because the consequences–drastic economic dislocation, a series of resource wars, etc.–are more immediate and viscerally disturbing. (Obviously the two problems are closely related.)

The usual response to this–that the magic market-god will provide–seems to completely ignore the fact that no source of energy that could actually fill the role currently played by oil and other fossil fuels is even on the horizon of large-scale viability. Demand won’t simply produce a new source of energy out of thin air, and there’s every reason to think that our fossil fuel binge is a one time affair.

Not exactly an uplifting film, but recommended.

5 thoughts on “The oil crash: a very inconvenient truth

  1. trahantheman

    Definitely true. Our reliance on fossil fuels is a terrible thing. And it’s not even reliance, it’s utter and complete dependance.

    I would however disagree that it is a situation the market could not handle. If the supply were to grow immediately short the demand for energy would drive prices up resulting in research and development into alternatives or conservation technology.

    The problem is as long as gas only costs $2.00 nobody cares. It’s not worth it to buy a solar panel for your house now because the investment doesn’t pay off.

    Unfortunately nobody is thinking ahead. Keep the spigots wide open now. Nevermind how much is left, as long as we get our daily fix.

    We should be paying so much for gas that it forces us to look into alternatives.

  2. Well, yes and no. One of the points made in the film w.r.t. hydrogen cells is that nobody’s really investing in producing them because the infrastructure for using them doesn’t yet exist. And the infrastructure hasn’t been built because there’s no demand due to the fact that no one’s producing them. Sounds like a textbook case of market failure to me.

    We need government investment (in infrastructure, etc.) in order to allow the market to function properly.

    Your point about gas prices is well-taken, though.

  3. Elliot

    Ulp. More terrifying than An Incovenient Truth? I should make sure I’m caught up on anti-depressants and exercise before I watch it, then. Thinking about peak oil on top of climate change always makes me think we’re headed for “The Road,” and question the wisdom of having children.

  4. Lee

    Part of it’s the immediacy of course–climate change will affect polar bears and people living on small island nations before it will (seriously) disrupt our way of life. Whereas peak oil threatens to undo our entire existing economic order. Not saying that’s a particularly virtuous way of looking at it, but that was kind of my gut reaction.

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