Peak Oil In Guatemala  

Posted by Big Gav

Global Public Media looks at how Guatemala is coping with the approaching peak and contrasts it with the US. While the third world has been hit first by the approach of the peak, this article (like Matt Simmons yesterday) notes that some third world countries may adapt better as they don't have so far to fall.

Personally I'd rather we didn't fall at all but watching our collective Dear Leaders in action lately makes me increasingly unsure that nothing short of actual disaster is going to make those ignorant clowns change course.

Each nation on earth has been transformed to varying degrees by the general abundance of energy from fossil fuels, and each will face many fundamental challenges as declining global production of petroleum can no longer meet demand. However, there will almost certainly be enormous variation in the changes and reactions on the part of eaach nation. Accordingly, energy problems and their near-future consequences in Guatemala reveal striking differences from those of the United States, and can show a great deal about the global scope of the problem of peak oil and how to respond to it.

In short, as the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Guatemala is at an extreme economic disadvantage in its ability to withstand and respond to large-scale challenges. Also, with an export-based agricultural economy, Guatemala's already precarious system will be dealt a severe blow by diminished international commerce from vastly higher transportation costs. Crucially, however, there are two interrelated factors which put Guatemala in a far better position than heavily industrialized nations: its meager consumption of fossil-fuels and its status as an agrarian society able to re-localize its base of food production. In stark contrast, the United States by virtue of its wealth and economic power has attained the privilege of being among the very least sustainable societies in terms of energy consumption, resource management, and other related factors. The bigger they come, the harder they fall, as the saying goes.

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