Tuesday, October 12, 2004

peak oil
So we all know that the War in Iraq was about oil right? No debate there any more. But why invade Iraq for oil? So that some elite Americans can get rich from the war money and the oil itself? Or for some other reason?

Well I am sure that some Americans are getting very rich form the war. And I am sure that some Americans will eventually get very rich from selling Iraqi oil. But I think the reason that Iraq was invaded was more to do with securing the oil.

The fact is that since the industrial revolution, our technologies have required power from extracted hydrocarbon energy sources. We started this way of life with coal in the 1800's, but in the post-war period we changed the foundation of our industri-techno civilisation to oil.

Oil now supplies over 90% of the world's energy needs, not to mention being the base product used to produce plastics, artificial rubbers, road surfacing and fertilisers.

Can you imagine a world where we can no longer produce or drive vehicles, have plastics for consumer goods, or enough food to support our industrially enlarged population? Would you rather not imagine it?

Well the good news it that industry experts predict that oil will be available for decades to come, atleast to the end of the century. The bad news though, is that highest ever point of supply is due any time now, between 2004 and 2015. After this time, the demand for oil will outstrip supply and prices will soar.

This state of affairs was first predicted by Hubbert in his Peak Oil Theory. The implications for our society are immense.

The long and short of it is that without action now we could see the end of industri-techno civilisation. We need to start planning the implementation of existing alternative new technologies right now if we are going to maintain anything like the same lifestyle, and we need to research and develop completely renewable and abundant sources of energy and power production.

At the moment, America seems to be choosing the short sighted competitive option. I hope that us Europeans can be a bit more progressive and do what is needed without resorting to violence. We have over 60 years of cooperation under our belt that may make it possible.

If you are interested to learn more, or are thinking that this is just a lot of old scaremongering, wikipedia has a good set of links for you to read.

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