Created Sunday 25 March 2018
Alternative Energy Solutions - A Mirage of Hope
The strongest, silent proof of Peak Oil is the energy crunch that is getting worse by the day. No wonder you hear shrill cries for energy “solutions” from all directions. And so there are all kinds of “solutions” being discussed. But in this mad rush for so called “solutions” we are missing something. Let me deviate a bit to clarify the meaning of the word “solution”.
John Michael Greer explains the definition of ‘solutions’ very elegantly on his blog "The Archdruid Report". He explains that first, it is crucial to understand the difference between a “problem” and a “predicament”. Problems have solutions. But predicaments are a nature of reality and we have to cope with them. They do not have solutions. He says: “For instance, traffic congestion is a problem and we can find a solution for it: wider roads, by-passes, overhead bridges, etc. But death is a predicament. There is no way to get around it, even if we prolong life expectation. Therefore Peak Oil is a predicament and not a problem. The finiteness of our planet and the availability of resources are also predicaments, alike the finiteness of an individual’s life. Yet somehow, people have mistaken the finiteness of our planet and its resources as a problem.”
It is obvious that perpetual, exponential growth is impossible on a finite planet. Therefore the limits set by our planet should be considered as an inevitable predicament, for which we need to figure out coping strategies and not a denial approach.
If we had become aware of this in the ‘70s, addressing the issue with changes in the way we do business, in our economy and lifestyle, we could still be treating them as a problem for which we can find solutions. Sadly, we have reached Peak Oil without doing anything about it during all this time and the problem has therefore definitely become a predicament.
Now that we acknowledge that we are in a predicament we will understand that most of the solutions offered are false because they are in fact trying to find a way to preserve the crazy paradigm of Perpetual Growth, which is an unsolvable problem.
So to get over this we first need to understand that Perpetual Growth is not possible and we have to start looking at what our responses to the new emerging reality should be rather than search for solutions.
When you mistake a predicament for a problem you only come up with False Solutions. And the focus of my argument is to dismantle all the False Solutions being paraded around these days as grand saviors for the energy fix we find ourselves in.
Here are some of the responses I have come across most frequently.
|FALSE SOLUTIONS||FALSE BELIEFS|
|1. Half the Oil is still left||We have lots of time|
|2. Find more Oil||We can as we have done in the past|
|3. Increase Energy Efficiency||Saving energy will save us.|
|4. Develop new technologies||High Tech can achieve Anything|
|5. Alternative Energy||Other forms of energy can replace Oil|
|6. Human Ingenuity||Human Intelligence is boundless|
BUT STOP: That was the whole point of the Concept vs. Reality argument in the first half of this book. Our financial Concept is INFINITE and the Reality on which it is based is FINITE. Nothing, I repeat nothing, can keep up with exponential growth on a finite planet. Yes, the shocking and dangerous reality is that most of the mainstream energy experts, including most of the alternative energy proponents who ought to be knowing better, are peddling soft lies.
Nothing surprising – a large part of the alternative energy brigade is funded by corporates who are themselves some form of venture capitalists. Their ultimate objective is to sell maximum solar panels or windmills or whatever. They are part of the growth paradigm too. So whatever they say is never going to contest that paradigm ever.
Above that, they are well aware that the general public is waiting to hear some soothing assurances, namely that there will be no energy shortage problems in the future as long as we switch to some alternatives that allow us to run business as usual, which of course means to sustain Perpetual Exponential Quantitative Growth.
This will be evident when we examine False Solutions 1 and 2, which illustrate the futility of battling the exponential. Nevertheless, we will examine each of these False Solutions in detail to fully comprehend the sheer limitations of each of these beliefs.
Time to move on the popular list of Solutions to deal with the Energy and Growth Crisis.