Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Then some of the volunteers and the speakers had a few drinks over at a nearby bar, drinking beer and wine imported from thousands of miles away and live music produced locally by Jan Lundberg, led by the classic "It's a Global Warming Day".
My big take away was that we need to be aware of the global situation, but we shouldn't expect any action at that level. Instead, we need to start organizing locally.
Look forward to hearing from our regular readers (more of whom I met today) about their thoughts of the conference.
(5 October 2005)
Petrocollapse roundup: Ruppert
ianqui, The Oil Drum / Peak Oil NYC
As Stuart did for the Community Solutions conference, peakguy and I will be writing a series of posts over the next couple of days about the Petrocollapse conference that was held in New York City today. There were many interesting speakers, and we'll get to all of them, but I wanted to start with Mike Ruppert.
Now, I know Ruppert is a controversial figure, and he's been discussed (not necessarily positively) on TOD before. Before seeing him speak today, I hadn't really read much of the From the Wilderness publications, but when I came home I scanned the website, and on the recommendation of JLA's comment in the above linked story, I read the Nation article about him. When it comes to 9/11, he seems pretty nutty. And with respect to peak oil, he's firmly in the apocalypticon camp. Still, he's a dynamic speaker, and I can see people being easily convinced by his message, at least as it was delivered today. Many of you will no doubt be worried by that.
Ruppert firmly believes that the government certainly knows about peak oil and has started preparing for it, although their solutions are not what the American people will want to see.
(5 October 2005)
PetroCollapse New York Conference: Remarks by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler, his website
In the waning months of 2005, our failure to face the problems before us as a society is a wondrous thing to behold. Never before in American history have the public and its leaders shown such a lack of resolve, or even interest, in circumstances that will change forever how we live.
Even the greatest convulsion in our national experience, the Civil War, was preceded by years of talk, if not action. But in 2005 we barely have enough talk about what is happening to add up to a public conversation. We're too busy following Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson, or the NASCAR rankings, or the exploits of Donald Trump. We're immersed in a national personality freak show soap opera, with a side order of sports 24-7.
Our failure to pay attention to what is important is unprecedented, even supernatural.
(5 October 2005)
Kunstler's speech is reviewed at Peak Oil NYC by peakguy. Dozens of reader comments are there too.
Kunstler's most recent column, Calgary is about suburban development in the center of Canada's tar sands industry.
Petrocollapse Round-Up: Dr. John Darnell
peakguy, Peak Oil NYC / The Oil Drum
Dr. John Darnell PhD., Roscoe Bartlett's energy advisor, gave a 35 minute presentation on adaptation lessons from the Apollo 13 mission that we could apply to the problem of peak oil. Overall he struck me as being the most optimistic person that spoke at the conference and that's not saying much since in any other room, he would be considered an alarmist. His style was low-key and less dramatic than Kunstler, but no less effective at conveying the magnitude of the problem and the need to take immediate action to reduce demand.
His proposal is to reduce demand is a controlled annual 5% reduction (worldwide I assume) ahead of the geological decline rate to provide a hydrocarbon cushion for the future to help transition to a low energy economy and give time for alternatives to ramp up. He gave several examples of an energy self sufficient house, a 300 mpg car and other ways of reducing energy consumption.
...After the conference, a small group of folks including one of the volunteers (Mitch) and Michael Kane (another speaker) asked him about the awareness at the highest levels of government. As many of you know, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett met with President Bush on June 29th. Basically Roscoe asked the President what his legacy will be given the war in Iraq is not going well, the deficit is high, Social Security reform is on the backburner of the Republican Congress and his popularity is getting lower. Rep. Bartlett basically proposed a crash program of preparing America for the implications of peak oil as soon as possible. While Dr. Darnell (you can call him John when he has a pint in his hand) says that the highest levels of government is aware of the peak oil problem, he says that they are afraid of creating a panic prematurely. He added that local government is probably not very aware of the problem being as imminent.
Personally, I think that's exactly why we need to get in front of our local community organizations and explain to them how we need to start preparing for the worst case scenario now.
One trick he recommended that you do when you write to a local paper: Include your local representative's name in the letter. That way their staff will have to read it and usually pass it on to the representative themselves.
(6 October 2005)
More comments on Darnell's speech are at The Oil Drum.
Jan Lundberg speaks at Manhattan peak oil conference, Oct. 5
Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #111
Many in this audience have done their homework on the basics of peak oil. I will summarize the concept and offer evidence, very briefly. Then I will quickly move on to the larger issues at hand highlighted by peak oil. I've given a lot of talks lately, all ad lib, but this one I must read.
I wrote this on the train here, as poor as this country’s rail service is. Besides poor subsidies, Amtrak has to be sidelined frequently by freight trains unpredictably. But reflection and making notes have flowed from my tour around the country by rail, the nation’s safest, most energy efficient and least polluting motorized transport. Out the windows I saw nature mostly raped and buried, and in the train I lamented the artificial and toxic environment I was breathing in.
Since I stopped analyzing the petroleum market on a daily basis in 1988, I have observed other aspects of our world and learned far more about petroleum and energy after leaving the industry. I will impart to you some of what I learned in my for-profit career, then in my nonprofit career up against oil industry expansion, and now as a writer as likely to make songs as compile my culturechange.org essays into a book. Some years ago I dedicated my life to a revolution in cultural values. When I realized this, I wanted people to define real cultural change in terms of no longer paving over the good Earth or driving around in deadly, isolating machines. This is mostly why I’m in front of you today.
(5 October 2005)