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by Chris Martenson
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Executive Summary

  • Perception will drive the market shift.
  • Awareness of Peak Oil is still low but spreading rapidly.
  • The military is mobilizing, but civilian government is AWOL.
  • The Post-Peak transition will be more chaotic than it need be.
  • We have time to prepare (but not much).
  • Taking informed action now is critical.

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I of this report, please click here to read it first.

Part II

It’s All About Perception

On my plane ride back from DC, I happened to sit next to an insurance professional who was chatty.  After hearing about his washed-out business trip to the Cayman Islands, I told him about my work and the ASPO conference I’d just been to.  He’d never heard of Peak Oil before.

When I encounter someone who has not heard of Peak Oil, I experience the same sense of disorientation as if they said they had never heard of 9-11.  The only difference between the two is that Peak Oil might have much larger and even more devastating effects.

The good news is that this reminds me that we are further away from the tipping point of awareness than I sometimes think, (hopefully) providing us with an extra year or two or preparation time.  The bad news is that when the tipping point arrives, it will do so all at once, and probably with more disruption than if people had been allowed to more slowly internalize the implications and reality of vastly higher oil prices.

As we explored in the previous report, it’s not the fundamentals that will finally lead to the shift, it’s perception.  Right now, on a fundamental basis, there is every indication that a liquid fuel crisis is imminent.  Perhaps the data is wrong and will be corrected, or perhaps a massive discovery will change the game, but right now our best information is that depletion and demand are going to swamp supply in the near future.

Future Chaos: There Is No “Plan B”
PREVIEW by Chris Martenson
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Executive Summary

  • Perception will drive the market shift.
  • Awareness of Peak Oil is still low but spreading rapidly.
  • The military is mobilizing, but civilian government is AWOL.
  • The Post-Peak transition will be more chaotic than it need be.
  • We have time to prepare (but not much).
  • Taking informed action now is critical.

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I of this report, please click here to read it first.

Part II

It’s All About Perception

On my plane ride back from DC, I happened to sit next to an insurance professional who was chatty.  After hearing about his washed-out business trip to the Cayman Islands, I told him about my work and the ASPO conference I’d just been to.  He’d never heard of Peak Oil before.

When I encounter someone who has not heard of Peak Oil, I experience the same sense of disorientation as if they said they had never heard of 9-11.  The only difference between the two is that Peak Oil might have much larger and even more devastating effects.

The good news is that this reminds me that we are further away from the tipping point of awareness than I sometimes think, (hopefully) providing us with an extra year or two or preparation time.  The bad news is that when the tipping point arrives, it will do so all at once, and probably with more disruption than if people had been allowed to more slowly internalize the implications and reality of vastly higher oil prices.

As we explored in the previous report, it’s not the fundamentals that will finally lead to the shift, it’s perception.  Right now, on a fundamental basis, there is every indication that a liquid fuel crisis is imminent.  Perhaps the data is wrong and will be corrected, or perhaps a massive discovery will change the game, but right now our best information is that depletion and demand are going to swamp supply in the near future.

by Chris Martenson

This post is a contribution to Honda’s “Racing Against Time” thought leadership series.  Chris Martenson was selected to provide a unique perspective on how we should approach the discussion of oil as a finite energy source.   During the first week of October 2010, five individuals provide their own thoughts on the subject. These independent contributors were not compensated for their participation and as such their views are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Honda.  Details and links to what others are saying about “Racing Against Time” can be found at www.facebook.com/Honda.


 

Peak Oil will result in ‘peak economy.’  Once it arrives, nothing will work quite the same way again.

Let me explain.

The concept of “Peak Oil” is simple enough:  Oil is a finite resource.  Someday, no matter how hard we try, we will hit a maximum rate of production.  From that time on, we will see less and less oil coming up out of the ground.  What Peak Oil refers to, then, is not “running out” of oil, but the fact that we are going to hit peak production sooner or later.  All of the data suggests that “sooner” is a better candidate than “later.”

By itself, the concept of having to get by on just a little bit less oil each year seems to be manageable enough.  Perhaps we can develop more hybrid/electric cars, wind/solar farms, and other technologies that can help us use energy more efficiently.  I will applaud these technologies as they become more widely available, but basic math indicates that they cannot possibly bridge the energy gap being left by retreating oil supplies fast enough.  So then what?

My particular concern, and the focus of my writing and speaking, is the role of energy in creating and supporting the economy upon which we all depend.  The short version of the story is this:  Our economy utterly depends on oil to function.  And for the first time ever, oil production is declining.  We are now racing against time.

Racing Against Time: Peak Oil = Peak Economy
by Chris Martenson

This post is a contribution to Honda’s “Racing Against Time” thought leadership series.  Chris Martenson was selected to provide a unique perspective on how we should approach the discussion of oil as a finite energy source.   During the first week of October 2010, five individuals provide their own thoughts on the subject. These independent contributors were not compensated for their participation and as such their views are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Honda.  Details and links to what others are saying about “Racing Against Time” can be found at www.facebook.com/Honda.


 

Peak Oil will result in ‘peak economy.’  Once it arrives, nothing will work quite the same way again.

Let me explain.

The concept of “Peak Oil” is simple enough:  Oil is a finite resource.  Someday, no matter how hard we try, we will hit a maximum rate of production.  From that time on, we will see less and less oil coming up out of the ground.  What Peak Oil refers to, then, is not “running out” of oil, but the fact that we are going to hit peak production sooner or later.  All of the data suggests that “sooner” is a better candidate than “later.”

By itself, the concept of having to get by on just a little bit less oil each year seems to be manageable enough.  Perhaps we can develop more hybrid/electric cars, wind/solar farms, and other technologies that can help us use energy more efficiently.  I will applaud these technologies as they become more widely available, but basic math indicates that they cannot possibly bridge the energy gap being left by retreating oil supplies fast enough.  So then what?

My particular concern, and the focus of my writing and speaking, is the role of energy in creating and supporting the economy upon which we all depend.  The short version of the story is this:  Our economy utterly depends on oil to function.  And for the first time ever, oil production is declining.  We are now racing against time.

by Chris Martenson

Prediction: Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think

Friday, October 1, 2010

Executive Summary

  • We do not live in a linear world
  • Complex systems are inherently unpredictable (sort of)
  • Accepting “what is”
  • Banking on perception
  • The dawning of awareness of Peak Oil, sovereign insolvency, & currency debasement
  • Hope alone is a terrible strategy
  • What you should do

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I of this report, please click here to read it first.

Part II

Banking On Perception

When it comes to markets riding on a flawed fundamental premise, perception is everything.  

Consider that in December of 2007, the world had plenty of food, but by February of 2008, we saw food riots and the international perception of food scarcity.  Almost nothing had changed with respect to the fundamental quantities of food stocks between December and February, and that’s the point.

Or consider that one month Iceland was in fine shape and the next month desperately broke.  Ditto for Greece.  Again, there was nothing that had fundamentally changed from one month to the next, in terms of cash flows or debt levels, that would justify the size of the adjustments, but they happened nonetheless, and they happened quickly. 

Prediction: Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think
PREVIEW by Chris Martenson

Prediction: Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think

Friday, October 1, 2010

Executive Summary

  • We do not live in a linear world
  • Complex systems are inherently unpredictable (sort of)
  • Accepting “what is”
  • Banking on perception
  • The dawning of awareness of Peak Oil, sovereign insolvency, & currency debasement
  • Hope alone is a terrible strategy
  • What you should do

Part I

If you have not yet read Part I of this report, please click here to read it first.

Part II

Banking On Perception

When it comes to markets riding on a flawed fundamental premise, perception is everything.  

Consider that in December of 2007, the world had plenty of food, but by February of 2008, we saw food riots and the international perception of food scarcity.  Almost nothing had changed with respect to the fundamental quantities of food stocks between December and February, and that’s the point.

Or consider that one month Iceland was in fine shape and the next month desperately broke.  Ditto for Greece.  Again, there was nothing that had fundamentally changed from one month to the next, in terms of cash flows or debt levels, that would justify the size of the adjustments, but they happened nonetheless, and they happened quickly. 

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