Oil is connected to transport, is connected to…

If you’re familiar with the West Wing episode, The Hubbert Peak (season 6, episode 5), you’ll be familiar with the subject of this post. Along with the threat of global warming – just in case that isn’t enough – here are a couple of pieces, the first a trailer for a film, that point to declining oil supplies and encourage speedy transnational collaboration, planning and changes in behaviour –

According to David Strahan, promoting his book in this next video, the much-vaunted Stern report, on the economics of climate change, had one thing very wrong, namely a facile assumption about the stability of oil prices –

For more indepth analysis, you could try here or here. So there are a range of interlacing issues that converge to make the world an increasingly disturbing place to be: evermore costly energy ratcheting up the price of supplies; drought and flooding from global warming constricting food production; rising seas, trans-cultural conflicts and mass migrations of people with few places to go. There are intelligent people preparing for societal collapse, but quite how and with what nation states prepare, I’m less clear. Which services and whom will they privilege, as they inevitably will?

If you can afford to build your own house, and have some land, you might well consider this: a recently-patented, award-winning design that dispenses with heating bills. You may well quibble with the interior aesthetic, but the design principles are good –

Make sure it’s more than ten metres above sea level. Put it on stilts if necessary. Buy some chickens too. (This is good of me – providing a grain of hope to round off another bleak post. I’m now off to drain the last drops of a deep-bodied, Spanish red wine.)


2 Responses to “Oil is connected to transport, is connected to…”

  1. david strahan Says:

    Dear Sumptuous,

    I had no idea the West Wing had done Hubbert. What happens in that episode?


  2. drfrank Says:

    Hi David, The WW episode contextualises the peak oil issue amidst the turmoil of staff transition, particularly Toby’s awkward inhabitation of the press secretary role. The episode starts off with Josh test driving a Humvee, and crashing into a customer’s new Prius, for which he had waited eight months; the PR gaffe comes at the time when the Democrats have gone soft during debates on CAFE standards. Toby manages to handle the press’ indignance by referring them to the under-secretary of ‘whimsy and caprice’ – focusing their attention on the non-story of Josh’s action, whilst emphasising the importance of improved fuel efficiency of vehicles. Josh, meanwhile, is quickly marshalled into chairing an antagonistic discussion amongst representatives of the renewable energy industry, leading to an impasse as far as a future for renewables is concerned. The episode ends with President Bartlet saying, ‘if we hang around for the alternatives to be perfect, it will be too late’; from his perspective, ‘it’s all about economics’, and he, CJ & Josh opt for a course of action that will get fuel efficiency back on the debating agenda. So, an episode that puts relevant issues on the table, trying to push them forward, whilst ending with a picture that’s far from ideal. Still, like most episodes in the WW, it’s well conceived, scripted and executed. Let me know if you watch it.

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