Wednesday, January 21, 2009

John Michael Greer on PeakMoment

Kudos to John for making it to Peak Moment Television. He's the author of The Archdruid Report. In this video he is hawking his latest book, "The Long Descent".

This is a good interview. He explains things very well. At the end though, I don't agree with his happy talk summation.

I don't agree with JMG that civilization has been here before.

And the reason is that never before have we done so much damage to the entire planet at once. Never before has our population reached such unsustainable levels. Never before have we covered the globe with nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.

This time is different, and not in a good way.

When we go down, we are likely to have depleted 95% of the food fish in the oceans. We will have likely destroyed most of the arable land that can be easily irrigated.

Further, to get back to the nuclear issue. We will have left behind hundreds of nuclear reactors that will not be properly decommissioned. Even now, shutting down and decommissioning a reactor is a costly endeavor. It's been cheaper to refit the reactors to extend their running life. After we slide further into this next Great Depression, it will likely be an economic impossibility to properly decommission them.

I've had the good fortune to discuss this possibility with two nuclear engineers now. First, they don't buy my assertion that during the decline, we might not decommission any reactors.

But in the game of 'what if' they aren't decommissioned, I got horrified looks from them. Essentially the answer I got was, if the core is not removed, they will eventually melt down. they did not waiver on this point. They made it clear that you cannot decommission a reactor without removing the core. It must be dismantled, or cooled for thousands of years.

Then there is the problem of nuclear weapons. How do we dispose of them post peak? Are many going to be left to rot and leak into the environment?

And finally, shouldn't we be expecting more war as times get hard? Maybe a limited nuclear strike here or there? Or maybe a shelling or bombing of civilian nuclear reactors?

I think that as the next two decades unwinds, there is a high probability of more Chernobyl type events. It simply costs too much to keep reactors going and as costs continue to rise, maintenance will suffer.

And what's this about a new strain of the Bubonic Plague being used in biological warfare right now? Normally it takes days for the plague to kill. This strain that seems to target Al-Qaeda, kills in hours. If this continues to be used, I think we can be sure that it will mutate and spread.

Now I'll give a final caveat. I haven't read John's new book. I'll be making a point of getting it and posting a review at a later time.


At 1:37 PM, Blogger Edgar Alpo said...

You are posting more and in fine form. I will try to check in more frequently. Nice work.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Edgar Alpo said...

Congress should work without pay or pension. They have aided and abetted the looting of America. Let them live off the graft they crave. Pass it on.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Weas, over on Mish's Blog, he's talking about "peak credit" and "peak earnings." I wonder whether mankind has reached the point of "peak population." Nowhere to go from here but down. The question is, do we go down the easy way, or hard...

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Edgar Alpo said...


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

In ecological studies, population peaks usually come after resource peaks. The population continues to grow for a while, stripping the ecology of food and it's ability to support the popualtion, before real hardship kicks in.

I think we likely have at least another decade of population growth before the environment forces us into a downturn that outstrips the birth rate.

Edgar, abused people often take on the role of abusers. the Israelis are simply becoming the Nazis. Taking on the role of oppression and genocide that had been inflicted on them.

But then also, the Old Testament makes it clear that God created the Jewish people, so that they could wipe out all the other races and take their lands.

I guess they are saving Christrians for the last pogrom.

I've had a few Israeli coworkers that left Israel in the 1990s, because they saw all of this coming. They didn't want to be a part of the continued program of genocide. The result of that exodus is a population that is increasing pro-genocide.

It all makes me sick to my core.

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