Thursday, December 22, 2005

On working with, not against, the Peak Oil people

Below is an email I received from David Room of the Post Carbon Institute, a non-profit advocating for adaptation to a Peak Oil world. Speaking even as someone who's somewhat skeptical about the Peak Oil worst-case scenarios, I'm still disappointed in responses he's received from some climate change advocates, and their unwillingness to work with Peak Oil people:

I have been trying to work with the Greenhouse Network (through the Executive Director) for 18 months, but am consistently told that they do not have room for me (no pun intended). I hope that we will be able to work with them in the future.

Lately I am meeting more people that I think of as "Climate Change Bigots". This subset of climate change activists believes that peak oil will be a non-problem due to technology and the market, and is therefore at best a distraction. ([It is] not my intent to imply that Greenhouse Network is a climate change bigot.) I have been scolded by one of these folks for talking about energy issues - "you're talking about the right solutions for the wrong reasons". While I agree that climate change is the most disastrous problem facing humanity, the peaking of global oil production will likely have severe ramifications that may drive mainstream behavior much sooner than climate change. I think climate and energy activists need to work together. In fact, I see oil depletion and climate destruction as two sides of the same coin - the responses are the same. I am interested in ideas for bridging the gap between climate and energy activists.

In the last two months I have interviewed Ted Glick of the Climate Crisis Coalition and Joseph Romm, author of the hype about hydrogen, for Global Public Media. The Romm interview will be posted shortly [at]

I'd just add that even if one believes that technology and markets will solve the Peak Oil "distraction," they could do so in ways that are very bad for climate, like increased coal use. Climate change advocates need to be informed and help influence the policy decisions to push adaptation in the right direction.

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