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January 21, 2011

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Peak Oil is different because it is the BEST energy source we will ever have. There is no way that renewables can be considered to be better energy sources (cleaner, yes, more energy dense, no). Peak Coal is variously predicted to occur from 2011 to 2026, (see http://www.peakoil.org.au/peakcoal.htm ).
Conventional gas is predicted by ASPO-Ireland to occur in 2021, although unconventional gas (from coal seams and from shale) are an unknown factor. This puts Peak Fossils at about 2022, just 11 years away.

There is no way renewables can be brought on-stream at sufficient scale to prevent Peak Energy, as the energy embodied in the raw materials and infrastructure and maintenance operations for renewables needs to come from somewhere. Same for nuclear.

So the saying "the Stone Age didn't end for lack of stones" is quite inappropriate for the real future we face. We have built up a fantastically complex, interdependent, "just-in-time" world based on cheap fossil fuels, and post Peak Fossils, we will see it collapse into energy gridlock and spectacular chaos.

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