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A Prince and Four Peaks: Peak Oil, Gas, Coal and Uranium

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, The Oil Drum: Europe
Introduction and transcription by Rembrandt Koppelaar (ASPO Netherlands)

Today the second three-day world future energy summit began in Abu Dhabi. One of the biggest energy conference in the world that is being attended by key policy makers, financiers, leading academics and no less than 400 journalists from all over the world. The conference was opened by the Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and the Netherlands. He is perhaps the only prince in the world who regularly uses a bike to get around and save fossil fuels, as shown in the picture below. The prince spoke about the lessons that we need to learn from the collapse of the Roman civilization in perspective to the four peaks of oil, gas, coal and uranium that await us.

“Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, large parts of Europe had been deforested. Acres of forestland had been cleared for farmland and to provide firewood. Wood and food were essential, to maintain the roman empire. To meet their short term needs, the Romans overexploited their prime energy resource. They did not think about the consequences for later generations. So the demise of a seemingly invincible civilization was partially due to the unsustainable use of their prime energy resource. The question is, are we going to be any wiser?

What the Romans were experiencing, we would now describe as peak wood. Reaching a point of maximum production after which it enters terminal decline. We are now facing a century of at least four undesirable peaks, peak oil, peak gas, peak coal and peak uranium. Mountaineers may be proud to conquer peaks, but there is no reason whatsoever for us to be proud. We can, however, change the course of history. The technologies we need are there.”

More information on the conference including the full speech by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, links to the highly interesting program, and audio files of the presentations can be found below the fold.
(20 January 2009)
Rembrandt’s transcription also appears at rt(Z) in the Netherlands.

Forget “peak oil”, West’s demand growth peaking

Alex Lawler and Peg Mackey, Reuters via Guardian
Oil demand may never return to growth in the United States, Europe and parts of Asia, easing the strain on long-term supplies and prices as emerging countries burn ever more fuel.

The surge in oil to a record near $150 a barrel last year heightened concern the world will run out of crude and supply will start to dwindle — a theory known as “peak oil”.

Now a deepening recession and oil price collapse have raised the issue of whether demand, not supply, is nearing its peak.
(20 January 2009)

The Twilight of an Age
(John Michael Greer interview) – audio, video
Peak Moment via Global Public Media
In his book, The Long Descent, John Michael Greer observes that our culture has two primary stories: “Infinite Progress” or “Catastrophe”. On the contrary, he sees history as cyclic: civilizations rise and fall. Like others, ours is exhausting its resource base. Cheap energy is over. Decline is here, but the descent will be a long one. It’s too late to maintain the status quo by swapping energy sources. How to deal with this predicament? He lays out practical ideas, possibilities, and potentials, including reconnecting with natural and human capacities pushed aside by industrial life. (
(25 December 2008)
One of the most photogenic and thoughtful of the peak oil writers, John Michael Greer is a regular contributor to Energy Bulletin. -BA

ASPO Newsletter – December 2008
Colin Campbell (compiler), ASPO-Ireland
1100. Imaginative Data Reporting
1101. U.S. Election.
1102. Non-Conventional Oil and Gas
1103. Major Oil Company Production
1104. A Prestigious Peak Oil Taskforce
1105. Iraq re-visited
1106. The Energy Challenge facing the United States
(January 2009)
I don’t think we posted a link to December’s ASPO newsletter. -BA