One issue I am having real difficulty with is in distinguishing between peak oil and peak energy. Peak oil is coming – it may already be here. But as there is no such thing as peak energy, what are the real implications of peak oil itself? Not necessarily an energy-poor society, if peak energy is nowhere in sight. So what then?
Specific issues I would like answers to:
- How much does the transition to a post-fossil fuel energy regime rely on making the most of peak oil – such that, the oil fails too soon, we won’t make it?
- Energy is a physical issue, but fossil fuels also have a major chemical role in our economy – in plastics, in fertilisers, and so on. How can this be dealt with?
- Biggest of all by far, it has been argued that a specifically capitalist economy relies on fossil fuels – its extremely rapid and highly focused cycles rely on such a mobile, flexible and instantaneous form of energy. To what extent is this true? And if it is true, what are the political implications of this fact, which vastly exceeds the planning of any current political system?