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I may have this all backwards, but I think it is the abundance of cheap energy that is due to disappear. Locally, if you have access to a wind or wave turbine, or the latest solar energy collector, your energy is coming close to "not very expensive at all", but maybe it just can't scale up to our current usage. So selling objects (mass production for large markets) may become more scarce, and the objects longer lived, but it may be that locally energy will be part of the social contract (population helps install, maintain, upgrade etc.--paid through some form of area "tax", which might mean everyone having to help out, or offer some kind of new money into a pot) rather than, as now, an individual payment for X energy....only better expressed.
Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
Oil isn't going to disappear. Oil, as I understand it, is going to eventually become more expensive to produce than the energy it produces to be used to produce oil. Goods such as plastics are an end product of oil and currently require oil-as-energy to manufacture but there are other energy sources and those sources can be deployed. At the present time, as I understand it, those alternative sources are under-utilized.
Also there is the possibility of new energy technologies being developed.
Certainly as oil-as-energy increases in cost its use in the energy production cycle must and will decrease. It has to. As the cost increases the affects will spread into other, seemingly unrelated areas such as Land Use Patterns. Again, it has to.
Whether this/these shifts is/are Catastrophic in the Thom sense or catastrophic in the popular definition is unknown. Too many factors affecting and effecting the shift - and each other - to be able to model.
Despite all the doomin' and the gloomin' there are known techniques for alleviating problems encountered along the path. In my own case the house I'm remodeling has 4 times the living area and consumes only 20% of the oil-as-energy of our current residence. Why? It was built according to the climate with materials (adobe primarily) and design appropriate to the area. Thus the average internal temperature is +/-20 degrees F around ambient. Much cheaper to raise and maintain the temperature 20 degrees than (as much as) 70 degrees during the winter as we need to do now.
I'm sure the same could be done for your area, as well. (Tho' I ain't got a clue as to what it would be.)
Of course some people's lifestyle will be affected by the changes. Anyone, for example, enamored of driving around in their Hummer or other fuel-wasting Brontosaurus will face heartbreak (& tough shit.) Suburbanities, of any country, are going to have to get used to either paying through the nose for their daily commute, car pool, use mass-transit, or dump their single-family detached residence.
Again, again, all this has to happen.
I can't really see the heartburning about this. It's like having a toothache. Does one sit around, bitching and moaning, writing learned articles in scholary papers about the intensity of the aching, starting e-mail lists about how one's life has Gone to Shit because of the toothache ...
or go to the dentist?
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
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