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View Diary: The End of Economic Growth (188 comments)

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  •  Hmm. (12+ / 0-)
    However, natural gas is still a good way from peaking. In fact, natural gas prices have dropped substantially since 07(?).

    There are three fundamental problems of looking to natural gas, especially shale gas, as an answer:

    1. There isn't as much of it as claimed. Here's just a taste of it from the NYT investigation.

    2. It isn't a substitute for oil in our current infrastructure, and it takes a few decades to transition from any fuel source to another.  I covered substitutability and other related issues in a previous diary.  (Nuclear runs into scalability issues, which I addressed in another diary.)

    3. It has many serious environmental issues including polluting groundwater and causing worse greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

    David Hughes has written a great survey of some of these issues.  

    This should see you well into your old age before any Mad Max scenerios catches up with you.

    The most common thing I've heard in response to this is that it's a mad max scenario.  It's not.  In fact, it's far from it.  We've grown accustomed to expect either perpetual progress and growth on one hand or apocalypse and mad max on the other.  What I'm saying is that neither of these is likely.  Instead, we're looking at a slow, griding decline in which the U.S. has a standard of living in 25 years roughly equivalent to Brazil or Mexico today.  That's hardly a catastrophe - just a lot less than what we live on today.

    contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

    by barath on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:03:35 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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