In the future, as we fight among each other for a place beneath abandoned freeway overpasses in which to huddle as a mass for protection against the biting cold of the freezing ice storm that night,under that same freeway that, during the day--if the sun happens to be shining, we lie prone atop collecting hints of the warmth absorbed within that tarry surface, we may curse and ponder why, before the end of the Petroleum Era, our leaders did nothing to prevent it from coming to this. (See yesterday's Always, always, my next car is my last)
Well, from "The Party's Over", a book I'm reading about what happens after we go beyond peak oil, I offer a couple of reasons as suggested by the author, Richard Heinberg, why no leader had the juevos to take actions that may have helped us transit through these bleak times a bit more painlessly. This will be a hot topic for the freezing, dying hordes struggling for a little warmth offered by an old bridge formerly designed for cars, now serving to incubate the weakened and vulnerable former passengers in those cars.
Our leaders chose to take us down the path of optimism by:
- planning "to meet short-term crises because that is the only kind we will ever face, and don't worry about future generations because they will have advanced technologies to solve whatever prolems we may be creating for them";
- forgetting "about efforts to impose improvements in energy efficiency since the marketplace will provide for improvements when and if they are needed";
- forgetting "about government programs to develop renewable energies because if and when alternatives are needed, price signals will trigger the market to turn in their direction";
- "continuing to use fossil fuels at whatever rates are dictated byt eh market since to do otherwise will hurg the economy"; and
- "treating population growth as a benefit rather than a problem, and do nothing to slow or reverse existing growth trends."
I might offer one note of caution here, however. While these points are bound to incite some hot debate among shivering strangers being crushed into intimacy from others struggling to invade their circle of warmth from the outside, be careful. For even as we today witness 1/3 of the American population displaying some throwback Neanderthal genetic tendencies rendering them incapable of recognizing Bush as the source of their problems and not the solution to them, there will likely be some of those in the post peak-oil horde as well. And they will disagree as to who is to blame for the loss of their Humvees; of them having to vie with the masses for enough warmth to survive another night.
If you suspect any of these folks among you, better not to bring up how you came to end up at this point. Better to make small talk of how you once shaved your face with a razor that had five blades. Or how you used to drink steamy hot Starbuck's Caramel Macchiatos at $5 a throw.