Posted by: Ken Homer | August 9, 2008

M. King Hubbert, Peak Oil and Ridin’ the Slide

In the past two months I have attended a couple of presentations by the Post Carbon Institute, a think tank working on how to live in the age of peak oil and beyond. They make a very convincing case that the age of cheap gasoline is over.

The shift to a non-oil-based economy is going to be an interesting ride!

Back in 1956, a highly respected geoscientist by the name of M. King Hubbert, who worked at Shell Oil, stunned many of his colleagues when he introduced the Hubbert curve and his prediction that oil production would peak in the USA between the late 1960s and early 1970s.  This did in fact happen.

In 1976 Hubbert extended his prediction of peak oil production for the entire world and claimed that it would peak in 1995 (based on then current trends.). While controversial at the time, recent developments in the world’s oil production seem to be validating his theory.

Here is a two minute video clip of Hubbert explaining his theory to a man whose dress and style will evoke a few memories for anyone who lived through the 1970s

And here is another two minute clip that dramatizes what we are up against:

Whether you believe we are have passed, are passing, or are approaching peak oil, the indications are clear – very large shifts are underway that have profound implications for how we organize ourselves at the level of communities, societies, nations and as a globally interconnected people.

In the USA our infrastructure is heavily dependent on oil for the delivery of crucial services including food and heating oil. Breakdowns in these systems imperil the lives of millions and threaten the economic well being of the middle class. Some people are preparing by stocking up on food and ammunition. Others are on the ground working to build resilient communities that have strong local bases for self-sufficiency.

What about you? Do you think this is just hype? Another doomsday scenario cooked up by crazy environmentalists? Or is it real and serious and something you need to pay attention to, even do something about?

What do you think is an appropriate response?

I want to thank my friend Charles Savage for alerting me to both of these clips.


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