Peak Oil Hits the Mainstream

$135 a barrel. Headline news worldwide. World poised for the outbreak of fuel riots. All of America on the abyss. Is it really happening? It would be to boring to get into an introductory discussion about peak oil but the uninitiated can follow the discussion at

Peak oil is an inevitability. Whether we are living through it at this very moment or not might even today be open to debate (or is it? but that the rate of flow of oil will drop below the constantly expanding demand for it seems to be a mathematical certainty. We have all heard the story of the ant and the grasshopper but can you believe that it seems to have had zero impact on all these responsible adults that are running the world? Here in India the increase in oil consumption is palpable. Landing in Mumbai the other day I saw for the first time a sky full of planes, circling. Airport buses with LCD televisions. Cavernous terminals with the air conditioning blasting, the doors open to 33 degree heat. All this wasn’t here even just a few years ago and this is one of the poorest countries on the planet. How many more dinosaur bones can we burn before they finally give out? Are we building 13 tonne stone heads with the last of the wood?

To be quite honest, I find the cornucopian argument quite unfathomable. “Something will save us”, they say, “It always has.” Which would have been equivalent to driving while looking in the rear-view mirror except for the minor examples of the Easter Island and Aztec civilisations (and this from people who have even read Jared Diamond’s Collapse). The history of the world is rife with examples of civilisations where “something” did not indeed arrive at the last minute and save everyone. To all the people still thinking about building spaceships to Mars I say this - pull your head out of your fucking arse and take a look around you.

Even if the high price of oil is indeed caused not by peak oil but by world’s the collapsing financial systems, I posit that one of the reasons for this is purposeful demand destruction be people well aware of peak oil who want to preserve the precious stuff for the warplanes and the tanks. Hello !!

As the Coen brothers said - you can’t stop what’s coming. The mathematics of inflation and peak oil are very clear. The descent is inexorable. Then it accelerates. What can one do? Gather together. Play some music. Smoke a joint. Forgive your enemies. And your friends. And yourself. Re-evaluate. Re-connect.

We have enough aeroplanes. What we need is a new myth. A new heroism. A new culture.