Lets get off the fossil fuel Merry-Go-Round

With Local Energy Descent!

Energy Descent is not a sexy topic but a necessary one to effect the transition away from fossil fuels on a global scale. Everyone everywhere on the planet will have to be a part of the solution or Climate Chaos will prevail.

Let’s have a quick look at the fossil fuel energy that created our modern complex High Tech global society. It’s all about oil and natural gas in the 21st century. Oil is easily transportable, has hundreds of derivatives that help us grow our food, put clothes on our backs, build-out our homes, travel to the moon and back, and is readily transferred into mechanical energy. We have long utilized oil as a primary energy source for transportation with the internal combustion engine credited as the key invention ushering in the Second Industrial Revolution.

It’s worth understanding that oil was the ultimate cause of the great wars in the 20th Century and the lack thereof was responsible for both the fall of Germany and Japan to the western alliance of nations led by the USA that had access to increasing amounts of oil …the black gold of the 20th Century and now the horrific tragedy of the 21st!

We have known since at least the first United Nations COP meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1972 that Peak Oil was in sight and that rising GHG were warming the planet. We knew that after the peak production of oil the quality and quantity of that oil would diminish and there would not be sufficient oil remaining to sustain the global economy. We are now well past the peak of conventional oil and are very close to the peak from all sources including from the Canadian tar sands. The secondary economy where 99% of the people on earth actually live is already in contraction as a result of the diminishing amount of energy in a barrel of oil now accompanied by a diminishing quantity.

The global fight is on as to who gets to use the remaining amount of oil before the oil bubble bursts, and we are forced to leave the remainder in the ground leading first to economic collapse and then societal collapse. The only way to reduce our dependence on oil is to reduce our demand for all sources of energy through energy descent at the local level.

Understanding what this means is difficult. It should however be clear that we have waited far too long to make a smooth gradual transition away from fossil fuels within an enforceable level of global GHG emissions. As a global society and civilization we have been unable to get our act together to control emissions …we have made it into a game of roulette not just with humanity but with every living thing on the planet. IPCC pledges for net zero emissions by 2050 or 2060 in the case of China, will not avoid Climate Chaos and loss of life for the many.

The transportation sector is the most visible tip of the iceberg in the transition away from fossil fuels.

Unfortunately the transition to electrified transportation requires more fossil fuels to build-out the technology causing GHG emissions to rise not fall in the short to medium term. Even if electrified transportation is supplied by renewable energy such as wind and solar, electricity is not a primary source of energy and is not sustainable at global scale. Scaling back the global economy through Energy Descent would be required to make solar and wind viable options on a global basis. And the build-out of solar panels and wind turbines also require huge amounts of fossil fuels in their manufacturing causing increasing GHG emissions.

It is not that the scientific community doesn’t know all this but rather that the world remains committed to economic growth and needs fossil fuels to drive that growth…indeed every last drop of it! All the major governments in the world are committed to economic growth. Listen to the way all politicians speak about solving the Climate Crisis with economic growth providing good jobs in the renewable energy sector. Every government in the world is complicit in the economic growth charade as well as the United Nations, World Bank, US Federal Reserve and all other Central Banks in the world.

The lack of sustainability of electrified transportation and manufacturing processes including for robotics, 5G and the Internet of Things has stimulated the development of hydrogen transportation vehicles and the development of SMR’s Small Modular Reactors for decentralized and local distributive electric power generation. Both of these technologies face significant development hurdles and both are underfunded because of the Oil Lobby and the on-going pursuit of economic growth by governments everywhere.

Indeed, the self-serving propaganda of the Oil Lobby has the audacity in August 2021 to advertise to the general public that oil and natural gas can provide the energy for growth in the economy creating the jobs to fight the Climate Crisis. That pretty much describes the Merry-Go-Round that we are on.

The only viable strategy to get off the Merry-Go-Round is the implementation of a broad base of Energy Descent initiatives at the local level engaging everyone in the community.

These initiatives include Local Food, Local Distributive Renewable Power Generation, Local Economic Localization Infrastructure and education in Permaculture Regenerative Systems!


Author Fred Irwin

August 2021