Posted by: jmtoriel | April 11, 2007

As the picture gets clearer…the new reality sets in

It is clear Global warming/climate change/climate disruption is here to stay – until we collectively decide to reverse it. This is the new reality (well, not really new, but let’s just pretend we’ve believed it for the past 2 decades or so). It is a climate crisis that we must adapt to or perish. Thems the facts. It is not a fad or a bubble like technology or yoyos. This is a planetary reality and if we don’t invest in cleaner fuels, more renewable energy and adapt to more efficient and sustainable communities while altering the way we, as North Americans, live, by conserving more, buying less and wasting a LOT less, we’ll all go outta business (see Stern Report). Yes, given the attached geological evidence from America’s largest exporter of the fuel that fuels the economy, we have to convert from conventional fossil fuels much faster and the conversion will have to be done well (eg not relying on profit speculation like the dotcom era).

The other reality is that as oil and gas cos. increase the amount of global exploration (with the assistance of $1 TRILLION in subsidies [Terry Tamminen- “Lives Per Gallon”] of your hard-earned tax dollars) into well drilling (at record levels) over massive tracks of boreal forests in the Athabasca Tar Sands to record low reliable reserves (see attached), are coming up short and we, the consumers, are paying. The countries with the most amount of reserves are located in, you know it, the increasingly unstable Middle East. Chavez has made it clear that his reserves are no longer exporting to the US as before. Has anyone speculated what would happen if Canada and Mexico did the same?…

The trouble is, the marketplace isn’t leaving us with many reliable/sustainable choices — yet. The competition model is not working out so well in the energy sector for reasons I’d rather not get into, but you know. In short, lots of money going in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, demand is growing faster than anyone was prepared for and supply is not getting cheaper any time soon. In a nutshell, there is very little conventional oil left to meet rising populations and their demand (the other reality).

So, what do we do? Continue to argue where we should sit as the vehicule continues to speed towards the brick wall??

No, there is no “one” clean energy solution just as there is no real winner in a war. It’s not sequestration, nor nuclear, nor ethanol, nor a massive buildup of defences to protect the remaining resources for the near future.

In fact, there are no solutions. Not as we’ve known them in the past. We cannot rely on industry to come up with technologies that will save us from these current realities. They have shown that voluntary measures to clean their act has not been working. Leadership and good governance have been shortfalling MAJORLY on these realities as well.

We have to change by collectively taking responsibility for our own lifestyles, by promoting awareness, consuming less and locally, holding oil companies accountable (like tobacco) for the $600 billion in health care costs in the US alone directly attributed to petroleum pollution (Terry figures) while cutting their subsidies AND engaging in real strategies to promote clean fuel/energy with sustainable growth (yes, slow is good) at the community level. California, Oregon and BC are on the right track. Europe has been for a while (minus the resergence in nuclear). Cities, counties and regions are taking power into their own hands and implimenting Kyoto (or something like it) with or without federal consent. Entrepreneurs are developing innovative small-scale solutions while bigger companies rely on PR and campaign contributions ($186 million in the US) and the World is waking up and demanding more responsible corporate behavior.

As an optomist, I am more and more convinced that the only viable option for all of us (and the planet) is massive input into renewable energy (between 20-30% of the current grid from the current and until it is all off-grid to be distributed at a regional/community level.

Peak energy supply tied to peak demand of conventional energy and a widespread regional backpaddle from rising climate change issues is the current scenario. The crash will happen there.

OR, we can dismantle the wall before we crash into it.

“A lower impact society is the most impossible scenario for our future…
except for all the other conceivable scenarios.”

–Jared Diamond from “Collapse”


  1. It is no longer arguable that we (the humans of the world) are responsible for global warming. There is one very definite suggestion going up on my website right now, that would positively prevent a lot of the waste going on now. On the other hand, the people who would be required to take action are very likely to ignore this simple suggestion. They have this remendous ego problem, you see, and are afraid someone else will steal their thunder.

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