The thing with our civilization, you see, is that it's all oil dependent. All of it. There is barely anything in our world that does not require oil to make, to ship, or to consume. It's not just cars, trucks or planes that require oil. Just about everything these days is produced through some sort of machine, and guess what machines require to run - You guessed it, oil.
The most startling thing is really, the food. According to a study done by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the United States - 3 calories of energy are required to produce 1 calorie of edible food. [¹] Where is the root of that energy coming from? You guessed it, oil.
Our whole way of life is completely dependent upon fossil fuels.
The next part after accepting this fact, is really:
Well, how long do we have left? Optimistic estimates say peak oil will happen around 2020 [²]. But given the way OPEC just loves to cook the books, peak oil could already be upon us. The issue in this case is that we have no reliable data of just how much oil is left, and that oil producing nations are very secretive about their reserves.
Here's a pretty important quote from Journalist George Monbiot
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008 ... energy-iea" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;f you ask, the government always produces the same response: "Global oil resources are adequate for the foreseeable future." It knows this, it says, because of the assessments made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook reports. In the 2007 report, the IEA does appear to support the government's view. "World oil resources," it states, "are judged to be sufficient to meet the projected growth in demand to 2030," though it says nothing about what happens at that point, or whether they will continue to be sufficient after 2030. But this, as far as Whitehall is concerned, is the end of the matter. Like most of the rich world's governments, the UK treats the IEA's projections as gospel. Earlier this year, I submitted a freedom of information request to the UK's department for business, asking what contingency plans the government has made for global supplies of oil peaking by 2020. The answer was as follows: "The government does not feel the need to hold contingency plans specifically for the eventuality of crude-oil supplies peaking between now and 2020."
So the IEA had better be right. In the report on peak oil commissioned by the US department of energy, the oil analyst Robert L Hirsch concluded that "without timely mitigation, the economic, social and political costs" of world oil supplies peaking "will be unprecedented". He went on to explain what "timely mitigation" meant. Even a worldwide emergency response "10 years before world oil peaking", he wrote, would leave "a liquid-fuels shortfall roughly a decade after the time that oil would have peaked". To avoid global economic collapse, we need to begin "a mitigation crash programme 20 years before peaking". If Hirsch is right, and if oil supplies peak before 2028, we're in deep doodah.
So burn this into your mind: between 2007 and 2008 the IEA radically changed its assessment. Until this year's report, the agency mocked people who said that oil supplies might peak. In the foreword to a book it published in 2005, its executive director, Claude Mandil, dismissed those who warned of this event as "doomsayers". "The IEA has long maintained that none of this is a cause for concern," he wrote. "Hydrocarbon resources around the world are abundant and will easily fuel the world through its transition to a sustainable energy future." In its 2007 World Energy Outlook, the IEA predicted a rate of decline in output from the world's existing oilfields of 3.7% a year. This, it said, presented a short-term challenge, with the possibility of a temporary supply crunch in 2015, but with sufficient investment any shortfall could be covered. But the new report, published last month, carried a very different message: a projected rate of decline of 6.7%, which means a much greater gap to fill.
More importantly, in the 2008 report the IEA suggests for the first time that world petroleum supplies might hit the buffers. "Although global oil production in total is not expected to peak before 2030, production of conventional oil ... is projected to level off towards the end of the projection period." These bland words reveal a major shift. Never before has one of the IEA's energy outlooks forecast the peaking or plateauing of the world's conventional oil production (which is what we mean when we talk about peak oil).
The problem is really that nobody is steering the ship. As I have said in another thread:
Indeed, there is no contingency plan for when oil finally runs out.There seem to be parallels between the finite nature of our lifespans and the finite nature of the resources on planet earth. In both cases we know they're going to run out, but in both cases we pretend as though they won't.
So what happens when oil does run out? Well in the long run there's not gonna be enough food to go around for 6 - 9 billion human beings, economies across the world will collapse, there will be rioting, starvation, and deprivation. Of course it begins more gradually, food prices going up, a few global recessions and spiking oil prices as supply starts to outstrip demand, but eventually the big one will come.
Funnily enough, all those nations which are primarily agrarian will be the one's who will weather the storm best. Those with a knowledge of organic farming and gardening, carpentry and such likes will reap the obvious benefits of independence.
Now I am not putting forth a very strong argument, it might seem, this is mostly because I don't really have the patience to thresh out a well cited piece right now, I'd just like to get the ball rolling.