The Five Stages of Peak Oil

In today’s post on The Archdruid Report, “Waiting for the Millennium: Part One: Peak Oil Goes Mainstream,” John Michael Greer sums up the Five Stages of Peak Oil thusly: “denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and getting off your rump and doing something . . . .”

That last part, although almost certainly inevitable for those who want to survive, would be a problem even if most of us were at that stage. Few want to work as hard as will be necessary.

Having just finished irrigating, I can vouch for how hard the physical labor is going to be. As we flood irrigated this time, I thought continually of the little gasoline pump that aided us. The tiny electric pumps it replaced did only a fraction of its work. Without either gas or electricity, irrigating only the top five acres of our land, already backbreaking work for two people and only somewhat tolerable for the six who did it this time, would require perhaps fifteen people with hoes and shovels.

I suppose this should depress me, but I enjoyed this irrigation even though I’m feeling my age. Shared physical labor is more satisfying than almost anything I know. Plus, I’ve always loved physical labor. After the body recovers from the initial exhaustion comes a new mental clarity.

Unfortunately, few of the intellectuals I know agree with me. Indeed, a good many I know fled to academia to escape the shovel and the hoe that loom as the technology of the future. Right now, they, like most others, still dither and deny that this will come to pass, so I’ll repeat C. Northcote Parkinson’s line as a warning: “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.”

I’m now going to pull weeds, tend the new ducklings, and repeat the closing incantation in Greer’s post. I’ll be smiling.



3 Responses to “The Five Stages of Peak Oil”

  1. babz Says:

    moving lines IS hard work. Nice post. { never minded shoveling horse poo. Still think it was a great job. ) but if all your freinds/audience are city folk, this will be so so so lost. I am going out tonight to cut down some pesky hawthorne, gnite!

  2. babz Says:

    oh yeah- summat, when i get all bound up, i hafta go mow, or weed, or jog (I hate jogging) to get loosened up enough to actually go to work. …Funny, to think sleeping ’til 0700 is “sleeping in.”

  3. negconvexity Says:

    Any discussion about oil prices over the next decade must include an attempt to quantify emerging economy demand as an important driver at the margin. Here is a simple thought experiment using Chinese demand to give some idea of the magnitude of the supply issues we face:
    – China moves from 3 bbls/person/year to the South Korean per capita consumption level of 17 bbls/person/year
    – Transition takes 30 years
    – No peak in global production

    In next 10 years we must find 44 million BOPD. If you superimpose peak production on top of this demand profile using the following parameters oil prices would increase approximately 250% in real terms over next 10 years:
    – Oil demand elasticity of -0.3
    – Current production 84 million BOPD, current price US$ 80
    – Peak production 100 million BOPD
    – Post peak decline rate of 3-4%

    If you want to try the model for yourself using your own assumptions it can be found at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: