Friday, May 6, 2011

A New Smaller World

One slide at a conference places peak oil in perspective. It's a three century run with a precipitous decline.

It reminds me of Jeff Rubin's book Why Your World is about to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. As a chief economist and observer of global markets, he paints a scenario of rising prices and argues for a much needed rethink about our energy usage.

"Life as we've known it is up for grabs in a world of expensive fossil fuels. Expensive oil means a severe curb on the free-spending lifestyle that cheap energy has afforded us for some time now. It means you can say a long and wistful goodbye to the inexpensive products manufactured on the other side of the world. You may not love them, but they have been stretching our dollars for a while now and holding down inflation at the same time. You'll miss them when it starts to become clear that your pay cheque just doesn't go as far as it used to." (He is forecasting $7 a gallon for gasoline in a few years.)

Rubin provides an alternative,

"Not only must we decouple our economy from oil but we must re-engineer our lives to adapt to a world of growing energy scarcity. And that means learning to live using less energy. While much could go terribly wrong in this transition, don't be surprised if we find more than a few silver linings in the process, like a solution to carbon emissions, for example. And don't be surprised if the new smaller world that emerges isn't a lot more livable and enjoyable than the one we are about to leave behind.

Either way, your world is about to get a lot smaller."

Via NPR and Treehugger