Religious believers like to believe weâ€™re special, that Somebody is watching over us. And they use the most stunning logic to explain the notion of Somebody: Science only explains our universe back to the Big Bang. What about before then? And what caused the Bang, and all the matter associated with it? It must have come from something. By which they mean Somebody.
Reason is the basis for understanding the material world. Mysticism has proven an insufficient foundation for dealing with peak oil and runaway greenhouse. As such, I suspect it will prove inadequate for saving humanity. Whether or not we’re worth saving is a separate issue.
In my opinion, which echoes Lovelock’s, habitat for our species will be gone by century’s end. I strongly suspect this outlook, like most prior predictions associated with global climate change, is hopelessly optimistic. It would not surprise me if our exit from the planetary stage were complete within three decades. Will we make it to 2100? I’d give us about a zero percent chance.
I’m starting to understand the many peak-oil deniers out there. It’s tough to wrap our hummingbird-sized intellects around these pterodactyl-sized numbers. Our ability to power down with all the peace and tranquility of Buddhist monks seems a little far-fetched (we are, as pointed out by Nietzsche, “all too human”). It’s easier to deny the impending collapse of empire than to deal with facts. On the other hand, as Matt Savinar points out, you’d better “Deal With Reality or Reality Will Deal With You.”
Yep, there are two sides to the peak-oil story. The side we go up (which ended a couple years ago), and the side we go down. We’re on the downhill side of world oil supply, and the slope’s about to get a helluva lot more slippery.
Now that oil is on the verge of the magical $100/barrel mark, the laughter is starting to die down. Seems the readers of my dire writings — which merely echo the thoughts of people far more intelligent than me — are starting to think the Empire might fall, after all.
The good news: We’ve passed the world oil peak, and the U.S. economy will implode within a
decade, probably less. This will give myriad cultures and species a fighting chance to survive a
few more years. It might even allow a few individuals of our own species to squeeze through the
bottleneck of runaway greenhouse, and therefore prevent the extinction of humanity.
The bad news: I don’t think so. I suspect we’ve passed the global-change tipping point, and we’ll
be extinct at our own hand by the end of this century.