Reading the column on peak oil, it occurs to me that homo-something-or-other has been in existence for 2 million years, give or take. Assume that we don’t nuke humankind into extinction or create some other such human made total catastrophe. One might suppose that our descendents could be around for, oh, a few thousands of generations at least.
Why does it seem that we don’t hear much concern about the fact that once we’ve used up all the accessible oil (& possibly coal?) over the next few hundred years there won’t be any such fossil fuels around for our descendents? At least not for the next millions of years until the process completes another cycle.
Our industrial age likely wouldn’t have happened without it, so what happens if other big, but not total, catastrophes send our great-great-grandkids into dark ages where industrial and information age devices fail? Assuming that some standard of living as ours would be desirable, with no more oil around for future civilizations, how could they bootstrap themselves into some semblance of industrial age technologies? Are we the biggest bunch of callous dummies to ever walk the face of the earth? Why is the point hardly ever raised, much less being planned for while there are still sufficient reserves left?
Better yet, are there any long-term solutions we might possibly leave them to try and make sure there is always something left for emergencies?