I appreciate the sentiments, expressed on and off the blog, by those who asked me to come back. As I’ve come to expect, you’re kind. You give me yet another reason to slog on, through the fog of misery shrouding the empire.
Despite your kind comments, it’s a message from my brilliant nephew, the philosopher and some-time contributor to this blog, that sucks me back into the blogosphere. In his message, he included only the following few words under the subject line, “Hang on in there, now”:
Friedrich Nietzsche, *The Gay Science*, Book Four, #276, tr. Kaufmann:
> *For the new year*. — I still live, I still think: I still have to live,
> for I still have to think. *Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum*. Today
> everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest
> thought: hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today,
> and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year — what
> thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life
> henceforth. I want to learn to see more and more as beautiful what is
> necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who makes things
> beautiful. *Amor fati*: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to
> wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse. Looking away shall
> be my only negation. And all and all and on the whole: someday I wish to be
> only a Yes-sayer.
As usual, I cannot say it better that Nietzsche. Or my nephew, for that matter.
So I’m hanging in. But I’m not happy. The latest projections on climate change from the Hadley Center indicate we’ll not voluntarily power down quickly enough to save our species. Seems even if we reduce emissions to 47% below 1990 levels by 2010 (yeah, right) we’ll still warm the planet sufficiently to destroy all planetary ice by century’s end, and therefore ensure the extinction of our species. No surprise there, of course. When the Nobel committee gives away the Peace prize to the gutless (but “pure”) scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you know we’re screwed at our own hand.
Civilized humans will not fix the problem. We will not voluntarily save our own species, much less the many species and cultures we’re taking down with us. Hell, we won’t even make the pathetic changes called for by Al Gore and those scientists at IPCC, such as trading in the car for a bicycle for that one-block trip to the drug store to buy low-energy light bulbs.
Thus the need to bring down civilization. And, if you’re too committed to empire to help in whatever small way you can, to save our species, take heart: the empire’s coming down, even without your help.
Global oil supply extraction has declined about one-half percent per year since peaking in mid-2005. The result? A global economy best described as “in the toilet”. Runnin’ on fumes. Worse than the Great Depression. And so on.
But it gets better. The rose-colored-glasses folks at the International Energy Agency, who have never admitted the concept of peaking might be a reality, project an annual decline rate of nine percent from 2009 forward. You think times are tough now, when unemployment barely exceeds fifteen percent and half the companies in the industrialized world are tanking? With luck, a nine percent decline will generate full unemployment and recognition that, as Ed Abbey was fond of writing, all gold is fool’s gold. That is, we’ll ditch fiat currency, abandon globalization, bring down the power grid and the water coming out the taps and groceries at the big-box grocery store, and start living like we’ve pretty much always lived. After all, a nine-percent decline indicates we’ll be extracting 45 million barrels per day by 2012. That’s equivalent to 1970, when the global human population was less than 3.7 billion (vs. today’s very industrialized 6.7 billion) World extraction peaked at 74.3 million bpd, and we’re down to 72 or so, depending on what organization is fudging the latest numbers.
The Oil Age is over. Bring on the Stone Age, yet again.