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Seems to be off-topic week in RISC OS land (see csa.apps for the worst example so far), so I'll just continue with that theme - after all, I don't remember a peak oil discussion on Drobe ;-)

"Life after the oil crash" is just another peak oil/doomsday site that can be found all over the 'net. As with all peak oilers I have met (and discussed) so far, they don't understand the basic things of the most important topics: substitutability, production technology and market mechanisms. However, they are excellent in understanding how to build up straw men. And - apart from promoting their doomsday literature - they also like to quote the "peak oil heroes", Campbell and Simmons. Both are predicting peak oil since the 80s, and both were proven wrong time and again by that ugly thing called reality.

The most important thing to understand why peak oil won't be an issue is production technology. Thanks to BTL and CTL, it is (at today's oil price!) possible to substitute oil with biomass and coal. The reason why this is not happening yet is a sure signal that the current oil price is considered to be vastly inflated by investors. And I guess they are mostly right.

Oil is used today for two major applications: heating and transportation. In Germany, heating is responsible for around 45% of oil consumption, transportation for around 50% and all the rest (mostly chemical industry) for 5%. If we experience a major price rise, we can easily substitute the heating part by other means (electricity (heat pumps), solar-thermal, natural gas, district heating). We already produce 5% of our oil consumption from biomass, so that'll cater for the chemical industry and agricultural stuff. The transportation part is the most difficult, but there is enough technology in the pipeline that will become viable once the oil is expensive enough (natural gas, much fuel consumption reduction technology (plug-in hybrids, lightweight construction), fuel cells), and of course reducing our mileage is always easily possible.

Anyway, even if peak oil would happen tomorrow, it wouldn't help RISC OS significantly - there are equally power-efficient processors in x86 land available (e.g. AMD Geode and VIA Eden), and there are more powerful OSes available for ARM. So there it is again, the niche problem...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 08/10/07 6:13PM
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