We Might Delay a Collapse of Civilization Caused by Oil but Not One Caused by Climate Change

It may buy us some time before a tragic drop in population

Glen Hendrix


Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Above picture is a dramatic demonstration of methane hydrate burning.

As I’ve pointed out in several of my previous essays, running out of oil will be the most immediate cause for the fall of civilization. It will come sooner than a collapse caused by climate change.

So many critical components of society depend on oil — freight transport (ships, trucks, and airplanes), agriculture (fertilizer and machinery), pharmaceuticals, high-end and specialty plastics (a lot of medical applications), mining (digging and transport), steel, specialty lubricants, cement, and glass — that as oil goes so goes our civilization.

Yes, some of these things can be converted to electric given time. We do not have that time. We have proven oil reserves out to about 47 years, but we can only use 37% according to climate scientists without going over 2 degrees C. (3.6 degrees F.) global warming or beyond by 2050. Holding it to 1.5 deg. C (2.7 degrees F.) is technically possible but unlikely.

A climate scientist puts it thusly:

“We have got to the stage where the 1.5C carbon budget is so…