Most of what passes for “green” in business only tinkering at the edges?

Is most of what passes for "green" in business only tinkering at the edges of a global economy built on the passing mirage of cheap oil?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The answer is a resounding YES...green_business_sml

At least 64 countries around the world, and most of the major oil companies, are now clearly past the point of peak production (in some case many years ago already), so we can expect a series of energy price and supply shocks similar to that of 2008 as the production of oil for the global economy declines.

Many of those countries and oil companies are also well aware of this Peak Oil fact by now. Only they still refuse to tell the general public.

The New Zealand government and a former US Energy secretary are now saying so, as US Strategic Air Command, Lloyds Insurance, a UK Industry Task Force on Peak Oil and Energy Security, the current British Energy Secretary, and the Transition movement, of course.

Transition has the tools, techniques, approaches and, in the Transition Network, the expertise to help businesses, organizations and communities adapt, and find positive opportunities. Yet in most boardrooms, there's still huge misplaced faith in continuing growth – well beyond the planet's means – and the debates is whether they have now, maybe, done enough on the green agenda, rather than how they plan to kick the oil addiction.

Many people and companies still do not see, and even refuse to see, the key issue of peak oil.

With the global recession following hot on the heels of the last commodity spike, global oil consumption dropped just enough to fall in line with global oil production.

Overhead issues suddenly became income issues and for many, the focus of their attention was shifted. As recession turns to recovery and the world's haulage industries and manufacturing industries start to stir back into action, fuel issues will again hit the headlines as consumption again exceeds OPEC's agreed outputs.

While we often refer to Peak Oil – and I have done so in the title of a small book – at the “End of Oil”, it is, in all honesty, but the end of cheap oil, as there will remain some oil in the ground.

That oil, however, I think will also remain there and that because of reasons of economy. It is way too expensive to bring this remaining oil to the surface as simply no one will be able to pay for it. Liquid black gold oil was once referred to and in due course, I am sure, the price will also be going to reflect that.

Many businesses do not consider any “not business as usual” models in which they could anticipate energy security-based risks, re-orientate their thinking and still thrive and prosper. Such models, however, must be considered for the BAU model will no longer be feasible.

We must get away from the abuse of oil and reduce our consumption. As far as energy generation is concerned we must go renewables and to the burning of waste to energy, methane gas and electricity generating plants powered by that gas, and such.

We also must reduce our energy consumption, full stop. We just cannot continue to use electricity, and other non-human and non-animal energy, the way we have been doing for the last century or so. It is just simply not sustainable and, in fact, never have been.

Even with renewable electricity – and may be especially – we must reduce our consumption to a proper usage. There can no longer be any waste of it allowed such as the way London is lit up like a Christmas tree every night by empty offices.

And talking of Christmas, and while not wanting to be a spoilsport, the extravagance of the Christmas lights, whether on London's Oxford Street and such, or in the local council areas, is something that must end and must end now. We cannot afford that waste of electricity.

Those who light up their homes over the Christmas period too should be told in no uncertain terms that they must stop this practice so as to reduce energy consumption and have more power when we need it.

© 2010