From 'Peak Oil' to 'Transition One'
In my humble opinion, we should now have reached 'Peak Oil'. So, it is high time to close this critical chapter in the history of international oil industry and bid the mighty 'Peak' farewell.
At present, global oil output fluctuates around 82 mb/d as some institutions try vainly to push 2005 statistics towards 83 and 84 mb/d (as they always do). But they will be obliged to backtrack as 'actual' oil supplies fail to follow their 'paper' ones.
So that, in the 'Peak Oil' aftermath, we are about to enter what I call 'Transition One' [T1] --- a rather bizarre phase akin to a vague 'no-man's-land' between still adequate oil supplies and the clear realization that demand has definitely left supply behind. I see the tragic '2004 Tsunami' and the heart-breaking '2005 Katrina and Rita' as the precursors signs to 'T1'. This fresh phase might come to burst on the global stage during the coming winter 2005-2006 --- maybe taking large swaths of the public by surprise.
Fortunately, the hidden advantage of 'T1' is that worldwide oil supplies will remain almost constant during this initial phase, allowing those with foresight, intelligence and agility to begin preparing for the next, more-turbulent phases: 'T2', 'T3', ..
Because 'preparation' is going to be the new name of the game henceforward. I am now putting forward my first list of 'to do' summarized in the 'Five Rs' below:
(1) RE-PROGRAM: first and foremost, re-program 'the mind'; duly throw out 'business-as-usual' and similar rosy scenarios (nothing will remain 'usual'); take on as much as 'lateral thinking' (see super- guru 'Edward de Bono'); devise not only 'Plan B', but Plans 'C, 'D' and 'E' as well; also begin 'Thinking the Unthinkable' and to 'Expect the Unexpected'. (I have just seen a picture of 'greater Phoenix' [Arizona] by night which sent a shudder down my spine with its 'sea of lights' (while I simply imagined the hidden and humming air-conditioning) for this sprawling urban agglomeration of 163 kms by 173 kms (no less than 28,200 km2 !) housing some 4m people --- with an average daily intake of 500 newcomers !).
(2) REDUCE : first cut waste mercilessly: the normal 30% should be shed offhand; compress debt level as swiftly as possible ('T1' will inevitably bring higher inflation along); bring down traveling of all sorts to economize on ever precious fuels (optimize Internet use); gradually reduce all types of consumptions (getting leaner and ready for big cuts); revise home lighting and heating systems (investing wherever necessary, as investment once cheaper than yearly operating costs); reduce size and number of cars as soon as possible. (I met with an Australian family living in plush suburbia which owned no less than five cars --- one for every family member.
I told them that was great come 'Peak Oil'; they were flabbergasted, asking how come with prices skyrocketing ? Well, I replied: "Then, you can easily get rid of two cars with minimal pain, by just a little more planning, but cutting your overall car expenses by at least a third with a single stroke, not taking into account savings in gasoline.").
(3) REUSE : so many things are easily reusable, just requires a little attention to achieve an enormous effect: from plastic bags to packings; retreading tires; most important might prove to be innocuous 'water' which is bound to be in short supply; and 'wood' as well. (The 'reuse' philosophy requires a brand-new mindset as no one is used to reusing).
(4) RECYCLE : tomorrow's industrial boom will be in 'recycling' industries; recycling of garbage should be made mandatory (as in Germany or a handful of US cities such as Seattle or Pittsburgh ); many of today's 'throw-aways' could be made 'recyclable'; eventually many goods will be made in view of being later recycled. (Recycling of cars should be given top priority as enormous benefits can be thereby achieved).
(5) REWARD : reward every massive action for reducing, reusing or recycling; better to make use of 'positive' subsidies instead of 'negative' ones.(One example would be to reward the 19m Americans who have purchased a bicycle over past 12 months).
With my personal best wishes for 'Transition One'...