A Simple Explanation of Peak Oil

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Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
A Simple Explanation of Peak Oil

I would love the input of anyone who will take the time to read my story of Peak Oil. A friend who had not been "getting" it said that this story clarified things for her in a way that all my explanations before hadn't. It is a little lengthy and I do not have a blog, so I will need to PM it to you if you are interested in reading the whole thing. Bonus points if you guess which country you are living in ;-)

Peak Energy

A Tale of Three Countries

Once there was a world that was running out of energy. To be more specific, since the world itself was destined to continue to twirl around its sun indefinitely with truly no reduction in the amount of energy expended, this world was running out of the energy its inhabitants needed to produce and transport their goods. A Truly Alarming Situation as you will soon discover. This is the story of how three of the countries of this world responded to this Truly Alarming Situation.

The Truly Alarming Situation

This world had many scientists who were in charge of studying Energy. Over several years the scientists had become aware that it was getting harder to find new sources of Energy. The ones that had been found and tapped had produced extremely well but they were slowing down. New sources were harder to find, further away and more expensive to tap.

Now to understand what made this situation Alarming, one needs to understand what Energy meant to the people of this world. It helped to build their roads, homes and schools. It warmed those homes and helped cook their food. It was in the chemical that coated their crops to protect them from bugs and it was in the plane that sprayed the chemical on the crops. It helped harvest the crops, process the food and transport it to the stores. It ran the machines that made their clothes, tools, appliances and other Necessary Things. And since it was so abundant, after doing all that, there was plenty left over to make Unnecessary Things. Things like doodads and gizmos, trinkets and stuff. Energy was needed for all this and now it was running out. 
When Energy had run low before, prices were raised. This slowed production and reduced the rate of Energy depletion as people only used it for Necessary Things. But after awhile the people missed their Unnecessary Things and began to work harder to afford Energy and so companies worked harder to find it. Production increased which actually lowered the price of Things so people purchased more, not caring that they had less time to enjoy the Things they were purchasing and not realizing that after awhile, they were working harder just to purchase Necessary Things. Oddly, the Unnecessary Things remained inexpensive and so people were content.
But scientists had begun to realize that simply raising prices would not solve things anymore as the whole world had been explored and there were no more places to find Energy. Scientists the world over reluctantly agreed that they had reached the halfway point of all the Energy they could tap from the world. They’d reached the Peak. This situation was Alarming, but what made it Truly Alarming was that since more things were being produced using Energy than ever had before, the second half was going to get used up much faster than the first. How much faster was a point that scientists contemplated and argued over for a long time before One Who Was Wiser suggested that it didn’t really matter how much time was left, what mattered was solving the problem. The Wise One recommended that scientists return to their countries and warn the leaders so that all could start working on solutions.
Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
Re: A Simple Explanation of Peak Oil

hmmm, that really posted poorly. There are actually paragraphs there, but for some reason it went through as one big mass. I hope that doesn't make it too awful hard to read.

Anyway, if you are interested in the whole thing, email me and again, I appreciate constructive criticism.

bluestone's picture
bluestone
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 263
Re: A Simple Explanation of Peak Oil

Saffron

seems like a good explanation to me.  since I already believe that peak oil is real it's hard for me to know how effective the explanation is. 

I was just trying to explain peak oil to two more people yesterday.  They considered it , nodded their heads, then seemed to dismiss it.  Kind of gave that look like I must be from Mars. 

I suggest keep trying this explanation on others and see what kind of response you get.

Brian

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