Friday, 25 September 2009

Peak oil & end of the information age

Up until fairly recently I would say I've been very ignorant around oil. I had heard of peak oil, but had no understanding of what it really meant beyond the price of petrol and the environmental impact.

But I have recently done a lot of reading of the subject of peak oil and now understand that that is just the tip of the iceberg. Our society is completely dependent of cheap power. Due to the continuing growth in both the developed and developing world, demand increases every year, but supply does not. On day soon - maybe tomorrow, maybe in 10 years, the amount of oil coming out of the ground will reduce. This will permanently change the dynamics of the world - we will find alternative fuels, but they won't be anywhere near as cheap, at least in the short term. Think of all the manufacturing that has been moved out of western countries - it only makes sense because it is cheap to transport to where the customers are. This applies to food also - it won't be economical to transfer fruit from South America to Europe for example. So now we come to this thing - the internet. The biggest cost (when you add the manufacturing, transport, and running costs) of this is power related. Will is continue to be feasible to ran suites like face-book of twitter when costs double of triple ?

I think there is a really danger that a lot of what we do will not last in the post oil world.. The millions of people sitting at PC's in office buildings may need to head out into the real world again and start growing and making things.. which might not be so bad after all !

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