The End of the Oil Age.

This is one of the best and most pertinent posts I’ve seen on the end of the oil age and energy decline. Watch the interview at the end with Joseph Tainter, author of The Collapse of Complex Societies and take note of the answer he gives to a questioner about whether technological innovation will save us.

This came from the comments section:

“Anyway, collapse can be defined as moving from one level of complexity to a much lower level of complexity, so the takeaway message is we will simplify. It just won’t be voluntary, and it won’t be pretty.”

No, it won’t be pretty. But how to make people aware and how to implement change? The answer’s beyond me. I’m just doing what I can on a personal level and hoping I’ll be pushing up daisies before it all gets too nasty.

Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Author: Norman Pagett (The End of More)


But how can we define an oil age? It has been about 150 years since the first deep oilwells were sunk, and just over 200 years since the viable steam engine was developed. The two are linked, because the steam engine made deep drilling of oilwells possible and gave us access to a hundred million years worth of fossilized sunlight. Perhaps we have not strictly had an oil age, but rather the first and only age where we enjoy vast amounts of surplus energy that we have extracted from hydrocarbon fuels, of which oil is the most energy dense. It has brought us material wealth, and the means to indulge in wholesale killing of each other and all other species. It gave excesses of food and a population that consumed that food and grew to five or six times the sustainable…

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3 Responses to “The End of the Oil Age.”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Yes, it’s a grim tale that has unfolded over the last couple of centuries and the even grimmer ending is just appearing over the horizon and will be upon us in no time. We are already beginning to feel the effects of the receding tides that precede the oncoming metaphorical Tsunami it represents. Everything that happens now, every aspect of modern life, every trending event, every piece of real news, is a pointer to what is heading our way. And yet the obvious remains unnoticed by almost everyone. Few people see it and even fewer are prepared.

    As for Tainter, he says a lot of good things but he still advocates and hasn’t given up on nuclear power (isn’t that technological innovation?) having some part of our future. Anyone who holds to that sort of thinking is definitely off my Christmas card list (not that I have one).


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Yes, I disagree with him on nuclear too, but he’s like most people who understand what’s coming but still want this way of life to continue. Lovelock is another. It’s disappointing when you find someone who ‘gets it’ and then goes on to advocate something that just continues the problem.

      I like the way Pagett writes and have downloaded his book, The End of More, to my iPad. It’s interesting to read the history of oil discovery and production in the Middle East, particularly the input of the British in the early days. I hadn’t realised their actions were just as bad as the Americans are today.


      • notsomethingelse Says:

        I have also come to accept that Britain, the country of my birth, has much to answer for. Imperialism, no matter what the source, is never for the benefit of those nations being ‘liberated’.


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