T Nation

The End Of Our Industrial Civilization


I had this up on my blog a few days ago and think that it might be a good idea to put it up here as well. Here it goes:

"This is not an eco-fascist fear statement, but the end of our comfortable advanced industrial civilization is nearing us. What I have to tell, might be a lot to read, but you can't learn if you are not willing to read, right?

This following is my synopsis of the first 21 pages of the book called THE OIL AGE IS OVER' by Matt Savinar. Whether you choose to believe his facts which are based on several scientists and economists or not is your choice and whether it will happen as predicted in the book or not, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. If skeptic, make your own research on google. If you don't trust the world wide web, get a hold of some books addressing this issue.

From the first time in 1895, commercial oil was drilled to now (150 years later), we have used up to half the world's recoverable oil. So yeah, you might think: "So what, we will have 150 years more to go. Until we can figure out what to do".


If you think the world's population in 150 years will be equal of that in 150 years ago, you might not know much about the rapid growth of world population.

Optimistically calculated, 2020-2035 will be the years in which worldwide oil production peaks. The more realistic estimation, however, is between now and 10 years.

By 2015, we will need to find a new oil resources that equal at least 80% of what is produced today. The most promising prospects are due to locations, hard to reach - some regions lack even basic infrastructure or the Arctic which present extraordinary challenges.

The curve of oil production resembles a shape of a bell. Production of oil peaks due to demands; and it declines after the oil peaks due to finite resources (think the shape of a bell) Like domino effect, the more demand for oil exceeds production of oil, the higher the price. The higher the price, the more dislocations world economy suffers, the more wars after resources the population endures. HINT: Wars on 'TERROR'

To make matters worse, much of the oil, half way after the peak (the left side of the bell curve) may not even be energetically recoverable since it takes energy to extract energy.

The ratio (EROEI - Energy Return on Ener Invested) used to be about 30 to 1, but it had fallen to 5 to 1 and is estimated to be 1 to 1 in a few years which means at that point, it will be no use for us as an energy source.

This also is referred to all other forms of energy from solar panels, wind turbines to nuclear power plants since their construction and maintenance require a significant amount of energy. Therefore, once the ratio hits 1 to 1, we will be out of energy forever and it will happen.

Petrochemicals and fossil fuel energy are not needed only for our car, but for powering everything our way of life is depended on including our basic needs. Food production and processing, delivery of fresh water and medicines all require petrochemicals and fossil fuel energy.

In other words, the end of cheap oil means the end of everything we, industrial civilization, have grown accustomed to.

Within 50-100 years as a result of oil depletion, it is estimated the number of world population will be reduced less than 500 million from its current 6.4 billion. Basically, 90% of world population will not survive to see tomorrow.

Like any species on earth from bacteria to animals and to us, humans, when given access to an abundance of food(energy), all species follow the same pattern:

a rapid population increase followed by an even more rapid consumtion of resources which lead to resource exhaustion and in the end population decrease characterized by violence, war and sometimes cannibalism.

As I said, these were just informations of the first 21 pages of the book which contains 160 pages. In there, he talks about involvement of government and why they want to keep a secret from us, the truth behind war on terror etc.

You can read and ignore it, or you can read and learn from it, make your own research on the topic and be prepared. It is up to you.

Check out MAtt Savinar website on more information:

Whether you will buy or borrow it from the library, it is the book to read! "


Alarmist rhetoric.

There are vast untouched oil sources of oil. It is more expensive to get and refine but it is there.

As oil prices continue to climb we will tap into them.

Energy will become more expensive in the future but we will not run out.

People are used to spending more for cable TV than for gasoline. That will change but it will not hurt our civilization.


Know Nukes :slightly_smiling:


We may be in a pickle for a while, until we develop alternative sources of energy.

Check out Terra Moya Aqua ( TMA ) they just made a new wind power turbines that is 20% more efficient than others. In fact it can produce usable power with just 7mph winds. Thats an awesome improvement over previously and its bird-safe and its quiet and its actually cheaper to produce wind energy than from natural gas or coal b/c once the turbine is built there is little inputs left.

Also, to replace oil we will probably use hybrids in the next few years and the governments will make requirements for fuel economy. Those SUV's will be things of the past lol. Then we might switch to ethanol they have made a number of technological improvements in that area as well. So since we have oil -powered electricity plants i dont see the problem with ethanol powered ones.

Zap is right the chicken little stuff is overblown but we still need to be good stewards of this planet.


That's reassuring. How do you know this?


How do I know what? That there is plenty of untapped oil that is a little more expensive to get to left in the world?

It is pretty common knowledge. Canada has more oil tied up in the tar sands than there is in the Arabian Peninsula.

The oil is out there. It just takes more work to get to it and to refine it.

As long as oil as oil prices remain under some magic number (I believe ~ $ 100 per barrel) it is basically not worth getting oil out of the tar sands and elsewhere.

When oil gets expensive enough we will be getting it from many other places.

I am not sure of the $ 100/barrel figure but I have heard it a couple times.

It will impact our wallet. I wouldn't be buying a gas guzzler. Detroit is in serious trouble because they are making cars for yesterdays market but we will not run out of petroleum.


You'll be sending all your hard earned dollars to Canada so you can drive to work to pay for your oil.

And I'll be liking it! :wink:


I would gladly send money to canada instead of the middle east.


re: canadian tar sands
it takes more work and money to get and produces inferior quality crude.. .

its in regions where wildlife and nature reserves will be crippled if not destroyed.. .

by the time it becomes "economical" to refine tar sand the american economy will be so far gone that it will not be able to afford to.. .

refining tar sand requires natural gas input which will is allready becoming in short supply (canada sends most of its gas to america to power your current way of life)

[i]EnCana Corp., the largest natural-gas producer in the U.S. and Canada, plans to raise its oil output from Alberta's tar sands as much as 12-fold in the next decade.

State-owned and publicly traded oil companies have made unsolicited inquiries about the possibility of participating in an expansion, Calgary-based EnCana said in a statement today. The company said its goal is to produce 500,000 barrels a day from its oil-sands properties by 2015, up from 42,000 barrels today.[/i]

500,000 barrels a day might be a nice cash cow but its far short of the 20 million america uses every day!

the main problem for america (this is a global problem though) is that each year they have to import more as their own fields run out (as they have been doing since the 70s) and theres only so much each country can export to america.. . eventually there will be a point where you simply get less and less each year.. . economies do not grow without energy growth. ..


Read The Long Emergency, by Kuntsler (sp?), it will give you nightmares. Then read Red Sky at Morning to put the facts behind Kuntslers alarmist rhetoric. Its a population problem, an environmental problem, an affluence problem, and an energy crisis.

Oil effects everything, people paying more at the pump is small peanuts. Just in Time retailers like wal mart, sitting on cheap suburban land relying on small margins and globalized shipping and production, are going to take a huge hit, the cost of which gets pushed to consumers. If economic growth stops chugging along, loans go unpaid, retirement becomes impossible, and financial collapse could sink banks, creating tons more consequences. Medicines, plastics, building materials, etc, are oil based. The potential environmental troubles of burning through millions of years of stored energy in 150 years of industrialization are also pretty frightening. Global Warming coule potentially alter warm water ocean currents and bring on another ice age, which, historically speaking, is long overdue. There are tons of very real problems that necesitate alarmist rhetoric. Leading the public blindly into the coming years thinking there is no energy crisis and that Iraq war was anything but a land-grab is not a responsible path.

Canadian oil shale is still prohibitably expensive to process, and estimated remaining oil reserves are only going to buy a few years. Reigning in consupmtion and pouring cash into R&D and development of sustainable projects it the best we can do to maintain our standard of living (like costa rica, where 99% of electricity is generated by geothermal, hydroelectric, and some other renewable power source, sorry, im a little drunk i forget).

I dont believe it is as bad as some think, but I am betting my retirement on alternative energy and think it is an issue that should be better understood at large. Maybe the alarmists are totally wrong, but i would like to see humanity make some responsible choices so that we never find out.


oops i meant tar sands, not oil shale. they are both inferior, hard to process hydrocarbons, my bad.


What I've read says the exact same thing, but the infrastructure and refining costs of a lot of these new sources are going to be huge. Just because there is plenty of oil, doesn't mean when the Mideast and Texas and similar places run out there won't be huge global economic ramifications.


Yeah. And it will take forever to reduce oil usage by using these new things like ethanol. We use so much oil that its a long slow process to figure out how to use something new. BUT, i think that ethanol gas is a little cheaper than regular gas up in the midwest. The cost should go down some more with the new cellulosic technology that breaks down the cellulose into simpler sugars that we can make alchohol from. This will also expand its area to make it viable in other areas besides the midwest. It should cost just a couple hundred dollars to make cars ethanol-ready too. I cant wait. And we will probably sustain some more damage to the environment but at least the trend is that we are becoming more and more green even if its because we just have to since natural energy sources arent limitless. One of the few good things that bush is doing right now is his energy bill to put goverment research muscle behind this alternative energy stuff, which will reduce the cost to use it further.

Check out www.ethanol.org/ , google cellulosic technology, and wind power. Alternative energy isnt just cool its cheaper than gasoline in many cases and wind is cheaper than natural gas or coal fired plants so thats a plus.


This guy has been a guest on Art Bell. Therefore he loses 100% of his credibility in my eyes.


Oil might get incredibly expensive when/if it runs out. This might spark changes to economies, maybe a depression. Affect the standard of living. But will it stop the world from running? No. Will the world revert to say 1900 standards? nah. At the worst industries will be smaller, more expensive. But we will still be able to live.


nuclear power, that'll never run out, not brilliant for the school run tho


water& food are what you should be worring about, recently all the large food tamperers/producers like to buy up any water source they can. apparently 80% of the food in the world is owned by 5 companies.....

I saw i don't need oil too much, but i need food and water


[i]EnCana Corp., the largest natural-gas producer in the U.S. and Canada, plans to raise its oil output from Alberta's tar sands as much as 12-fold in the next decade.

State-owned and publicly traded oil companies have made unsolicited inquiries about the possibility of participating in an expansion, Calgary-based EnCana said in a statement today. The company said its goal is to produce 500,000 barrels a day from its oil-sands properties by 2015, up from 42,000 barrels today.[/i]

Shell Canada was producing over 250,000 BBL/Day 3 years ago.


Does everyone really think that the species that put men on the moon, created written language, invented the wheel, etc. won't think up something?

Isn't Nevada something like 80% uninhabitable and owned by the federal govenment? Cover the whole f'ing thing in solar panels.

The species that invented the iPod will not revert to living in caves. Except for that Osama douchebag.


I have a question about the scientists and one of the "facts" initially presented. Did these scientists determine that 1895 was 150 years ago? If so, I'm worried about their analysis skills.

I'm the first to admit that I am probably very under-educated on this topic, but having studied economics extensively and having worked in capital markets, I can tell you economics with regards to the future is purely speculative, and any formal hard-fact deduction reached about future economic events should be taken with a grain of salt.

Also, I'd like to ask what opposing information/research the original poster has read to confirm that the point of view they are presenting here is the one we should concern ourselves with.

p.s. i'm not being a smart ass, i'd really like to have sources for the various sides of this argument.