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Oct 23, 2009

In this episode we interview the author of the viral video "Peak Oil 91 * 86 * 90", Steve Crower. Up until two weeks ago Steve Crower was virtually unknown to any of the Two Beers With Steve crew until his video was forwarded onto me. Steve Crower is an energy investment banker with Starlight Investments LLC of Denver, CO who started researching the topic of Peak Oil in 2005 after a Matt Simmons speech.

Watch the Peak Oil video here (8 Minutes)

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Hopes
five and a half years ago

Your posting really strngihteaed me out. Thanks!

Rudhy
five and a half years ago

Boy that relaly helps me the heck out.

Aamir
five and a half years ago

That's really thinking at an imrpvssiee level

Jason Luck
almost nine years ago

Dear Steve,

I wanted to drop a note to encourage you and thank you for your podcast. I’ve been casting about for a few years now wondering why other people weren’t seeing the things I was and thanks to you and others I know I’m not completely alone in this.

By way of quick background I’m a few years ahead of you on this curve, I think. I worked in the Canadian government for several years culminating in our Minister of Environment signing the kyoto accord in 97 after which I saw that same government and energy and business interests ensure that no meaningful action would ever be taken. I worked a couple private sector jobs, one non-profit job and traveled a bit, throughout the states in particular. I’ve been to all now, save hawaii. In any case, I couldn’t shed this cognitive dissonance referred to in your last episode. Indeed, travelling about I realized just how delusional we all are/have been about what’s really going on. Its actually gotten to the point that I can’t talk to most people much past small talk. If I enter into any of these issues, no matter how gently, I’m usually thanked with blank stares.

In 2005 I had the opportunity to spend a couple years working in barbados and I had plenty of time to read. I won’t list all the books but I’ve been on quite journey that has re-wired my thinking completely and I wanted to let you know I think you’re asking exactly the right questions and coming to the right conclusions. You have some excellent guests and your tone is great.

I came to your podcast intrigued by its name and via the James Howard Kunstler interview. I’ve followed JHK for a few years now and the breadth of his view is impressive as you know. I would encourage you to explore one are in a bit more depth however. I know you were shocked by the explanatory power of peak oil. I’d urge you to follow that instinct. I’ve read the usual suspects on this issue about the actual oil age, the political tie-ins etc. But what really crystallized it for me were two books which looked in great detail at the relationship between societies and energy. First, Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies choose to succeed or fail. And second, Thomas Homer Dixon’s, The Upside of Down.

These books, while exploring environmental, historical and other factors, explain in great detail the role ENERGY has played in societies. I’ve studied history, political science, sociology, economics etc. I’ve studied it all, and none has more explanatory power than energy. It’s the ENERGY, stupid I thought!

Think about it, the growth of our industrial civilization, population, economy, technology, in short, everything has been enabled and partially determined by Energy. From Newcomen’s steam engine that pumped out the coal mines in England so the brits could mine their coal to power their looms to grow their economy to build their ships to establish their empire to exploit the colonies and establish the rudiments of world trade.

We’ve been taught history is full of great men, great movements and great ideologies. These all now become secondary when you understand the relationship between energy and our civilization. The explanatory power of this new paradigm is quite stunning. Perhaps two of the greatest mysteries of WWII, for example, illustrate the case. Why did Japan do the “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbour, particularly when that culture placed such a high premium on honour? The answer, it turns out, is Oil. The U.S. dominance in the Phillipines threatened Japan’s major suppy of oil. Obviously there were other reasons, but Japan’s Imperial ambitions could go nowhere without a reliable supply of Oil and the only way to ensure that was to destroy America’s Navy in the Pacific. Second, people always wonder, what was Hitler thinking when he opened up a second front by attacking Russia, widely agreed to be one of the main reasons Germany eventually lost. The answer, it turns out, was Oil. He was driving for the Oil fields of Baku on the Caspian Sea. Fortunately, he thought he’d give the Russians a black Eye along the way by whacking Stalingrad which didn’t turn out so well.

So, here we are from One Billion people in 1800 to 6 Billion in 1999. We’ll hit 7 Billion in 2011.

Think about that for a second. 1 Billion People in 12 years.

Yes, it seems peak Oil is here. But Peak Humanity is also here. Energy and Population. Oh and uh, oh yeah, environment.

I won’t get into Climate Change too much except to say I’ve been following the science for about 15 years now. It turns out that not even the most pessimistic scenarios are pessimistic enough.

So, all this to say I encourage you to view all your other issues through the energy paradigm. Thomas Homer-Dixon calls these the converging challenges of humanity: population, energy and climate change. Perhaps the most stunning realization is that they’re all going to resolve themselves one way or the other in the next twenty years or so. We get to see what happens.

Anyway, courage my friend. Keep up the good work and follow your instincts. The political system will not respond to this. Watching the fiscal drones on CNBC seems almost comic now, especially after the crisis. (Have you noticed recently these rah-rah town hall type shows on that network recently?) The monetary system is interesting and the pursuit of the little green bits of paper keep most people far too busy and tired to get through their day let alone think about these issues.

I’ve included a couple links that may be of interest below. Finally, I don’t recall hearing you had kids on the podcast but if you do, wait until they’re grown or you feel you’ve exhausted these issues. Then, and only then, read Derrick Jensen.

Courage,
Jason Luck

P.S. – you may want to play portions of Homer-Dixon’s podcasts in your conversations or even invite him as a guest. He’s the real deal.

http://www.homerdixon.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book)


thermal paper
over nine years ago

Plastic Parts
Stamping Mould
Metal Stamping