First of all, let me clearly state that I don't think that Peak Oil Armageddon is inevitable, merely that it's a real and worrisome possibility that shouldn't be dismissed too lightly. You, however, do seem ready to completely, or nearly so, dismiss this possibility, and it's that casual dismissal with which I can't agree.
Originally posted by faust9
I gave a couple examples of this advancement. I don't know how much higher math you've had, but there are general theorms, or models, that describe the time required for a technology to spread. Spreading of a technology doesn't happen overnight but it does and will happen...
...The argumnets I've seen thus far are basically "We can't wait for technology". To that end I say crack a book on engineering history and trace the steps of advancement. Technology advances independent of market forces. People develope new technologies when they see a need that fills an otherwise empty void. This has happened singe the beginning of human existance and will continue to happen.
You can't derive from general trends of technological advance that specific
solutions to specific
problems will come out of that advance.
Plenty of needs go unfulfilled by technology all of the time. Bubonic plaque rampaged through Europe, all without spurring medical technology beyond leeches and chanting in time to save millions from untimely deaths. In the 1330's, one third of the population of Europe simply died.
In more recent times, the death toll on all sides in World War II was around 50 million. 50 million people needed to be saved, but technology mainly rose to the cause of helping to kill them. Technology was also used in defense, of course, but net balance of technology's assistance was in death's favor.
Even more recently, consider the AIDS epidemic. Medical technology has only helped treat, but not cure, those in the industrialized world, at great economic expense. After a two decades of research and effort, AIDS still spreads in poorer countries, like the nations of Africa, killing millions, yet technology hasn't solved issues of economics and infrastructure needed to help all of these people. They simply die.
Most new technologies are not developed by industries nor does the Dow or FTSE play a roll in their development. Technology development is an inane human trait resulting from our creativity. More efficient cars ARE on the market, and gaining popularity. Better sources of energy ARE on the grid and gaining popularity. You can't refute that, so I don't see how you can say "We can't wait for technology." You have to no matter what.
I can't refute the existence of those cars, but there is a lot that I can refute, or at least seriously question:
Are such vehicles gaining popularity fast enough to avert crisis, or does the speed of adoption only seem fast when compared to a very small current supply of those vehicles?
Will enough people adopt such vehicles in time to make a difference in world oil consumption?
Will the energy savings, even if everyone drove such vehicles, be enough to make much of a dent if Peak Oil is just around the corner?
Is simply using less oil, rather than using a different energy source, something that necessarily gives us the time to switch to another energy source in a timely manner? Or again, is this only a hope, not a guarantee?
I can go on all day, but I know no matter how many examples of current technology or how many glimpses at technology are the corner, Henny Penny will still say the sky is falling. Its not falling. When the cost of fuel A excedds the cost of fuel B we will switch. This switch will drive down the cost of fuel B.
There's no guarantee, however, how high the cost of fuel A will need to go before it reaches the unknown price of replacement fuel B. If the next energy source costs even twice what oil now costs, that will cause serious painful ramifications to the world economy before the switch-over happens.
Also, existence of technology is not the same as deployment of technology. High levels of technology adoption often take many years after a technology first appears on the market. Technologies often don't hit the market until many years after they've first appeared in laboratories.
You can't compare the transition pains of switching the world from one fuel source to another with, say, moving from VHS to DVD. No one dies if DVD takes a few years to reach 50% market penetration compared to VHS. If, however, oil is skyrocketing in price before a serious effort to switch to a new fuel source is underway, people will die
over the years that it could take to switch, and the fighting that could well break out during the attempt to make such a transition could disrupt the transition efforts too much for the transition to succeed before catastrophe becomes inevitable.
No, here again I disagree. People in the technology sectors have immediate access to all published research. You might not be a member SAE, but I am, and I read papers, both old and new, regularly. The information is available, and as time has passed information availablity has also advanced.
You're missing what I'm saying. I'm not talking about access to existing information... I'm talking about discovering as-yet unknown, but needed information. Market pressures and profit motives encourage, but do not guarantee
, that research will produce desired answers or needed information to solve as-yet unsolved problems.
PS I'm not a foolish optomist, I'm a pragmatist who has worked with new technologies long enough to know it's out there and people will find it when the time comes.
No one on this planet has "worked with new technologies long enough" to validly make any sweeping generalizations about the supposed inevitability of technology generating specific answers to specific problems.
You can cry "The sky is falling, The sky is falling" until the cows come home, but in the end the cows will come home, the sky wont fall, and someone will find a new way to do things. That is our history, and the history of technology development.
Our known history is very brief, and our technological, especially technological/industrial history, is far briefer. Two hundred years of industrialization is merely enough to outline some basic trends, trends that haven't yet been tested against enough different situations to treat them like laws of physics.
You can't look at the growth of a child between birth and age 12 and validly conclude that the child will be 25 feet tall at age 60. We've reached greater levels of technology than ever before, but also unprecedented levels of dependence on technology. Nothing in the past parallels with our current situation closely enough to predict anything at all using such gross oversimplifications as "technology always finds a way".
Looking beyond our own brief history, and generalizing to other species, extinction is closer to the rule than the exception. Merely surviving repeated and massive population crashes counts as a great success. Human intelligence perhaps offers us a way out that other species haven't had before, but that same intelligence has also helped us get into the very perilous situation that we need to resolve.
One thing that history makes very clear is that, acting as a collective body, human intelligence en masse is a scary, unpredictable, and highly irrational thing. It produces both great good and great evil, great accomplishments and utter stupidity. I can hope, but have no unshakable faith, that our better natures and clearer minds will prevail in what will be an unprecedented crisis.