The US government is aware that we are about to endure a disastrous international energy shortage. According to Dr James McKenzie, a senior member of the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, USA: "That's why we went to war in Iraq."
We always knew the world's oil reserves would run out eventually. The oil was formed by natural geological processes which occurred over millions of years. Oil consumption presently exceeds 25 billion barrels a year and demand continues to spiral upward, out of control. The outcome is inevitable.
In the 21st Century we rely on oil (petrol) and gas for transport - cars, lorries, ships, aircraft - as well as electrical power. We cannot survive without oil and gas, and when the supply runs out the great engine of Western civilization will finally grind to a halt. We are heading for an event that will be remembered as one of the great disasters of human history, and life is going to get harder for everybody as the day of reckoning draws nearer.
In the years ahead, wars will be fought over oil and fuel as the oil-dependent superpowers struggle in vein to preserve our unsustainable way of life. We are entering a period of great change and there are be difficult times ahead. The process has already begun. Students of prophecy will be familiar with certain relevant verses from Christian scripture concerning the signs of the end times (Matt. 24.8; Mk 13.8, Rom. 8.22; Rev. 12.03, 21.1-4). As it was translated in 1961 in the New English Bible: "With these things, the birth pangs of the new age begin" (Mt.24:8; Mk.13:8). Whether you are religious or secular, you should be aware that the tide of history is turning.
In North America, where we use far more oil than anywhere else on Earth, the vast majority (71%) of electrical power generation is entirely dependent on fossil fuels - coal (52%), gas (16%), and oil (3%). The world's natural gas is running out along with the oil, and the coal supply is not unlimited either. Nuclear energy contributes only one-fifth to the US power network, and 7% of power is hydroelectric. Only 2% of US electricity production is from renewable sources. As we continue to burning up the world's dwindling fossil energy sources at a terrifying rate, we simultaneously unleash catastrophic damage to the natural environment.
The Insider recently reported a wave of four major electrical power outages which struck the US; then the UK; followed by Denmark and Sweden; and then Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France. The effects only lasted a few hours, but each case was the biggest power failure in the history of the affected country. These massive power cuts were separated by a matter of days. The governments were only practicing this time. This is just the beginning.
It would be prudent to pursue alternative energy sources before it is too late, but the oil corporations will never allow this to happen. So important is oil as a resource that it brings great wealth and power to those who control it. Consequently, our corrupt politicians, whose power is lavishly funded with oil money, prefer to serve the short-term interests of greedy oil executives than the long-term interests of ordinary people like you. But as long as we have food in our bellies and entertainment to keep us busy, why should we care? Thus, it is the immorality and indifference of our species that ultimately leads to our own demise.
Nothing lasts forever. Like all the great civilizations in the past, ours has a limited life-span. A few years from now the Westernized world will reach the point where there is no longer enough fuel to sustain civilization in its present form. This will literally be the end of civilization as we know it.
The Independent (UK), "Oil and gas running out much faster than expected, says study", p 5, 02 October 2003.
[ http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=449053 ]
WORLD OIL and gas supplies are heading for a "production crunch"
sometime between 2010 and 2020 when they cannot meet supply, because global
reserves are 80 per cent smaller than had been thought, new forecasts
Research presented this weekend at the University of Uppstala in Sweden claims that oil supplies will peak soon after 2010, and gas supplies not long afterwards, making the price of petrol and other fuels rocket, with potentially disasterous economic consequences unless people have moved to alternatives to fossil fuels.
While forecasters have always known that such a date lies ahead, they have previously put it around 2050, and estimated that there wuld be time to shift energy use over to renewables and other non-fossil sources.
But Kjell Aleklett, one of a team of geologists that prepared the report, said earlier estimates that the world's entire reserve amounts to 18,000 billion barrels of oil and gas - of which about 1,000 billion has been used up so far - were "completely unrealistic". He, Anders Sivertsson and Colin Campbell told New Scientist magazine that less than 3,500 billion barrels of oil and gas remained in total.
Dr James McKenzie, senior assistant on the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, said: "We won't run out of oil - but what will happen is that production will decline, and that's when all hell will break loose."
Present annual oil consumption is about 25 billion barrels, and shows no signs of slowing. That would suggest a "production crunch" - where consumption grows to meet the maximum output - within the next couple of decades.
Dr McKenzie said that on this topic the argument split between economists and geologists. "The economists think it will just force the price of oil up, which will mean it will become economic to extract it from all sorts of unusual places, such as tarry sands or deposits which are 90 per cent rock and 10 per cent oil. But the geologists say - you tell us where the deposits are and we'll find them. We've looked and we can't."
One side-effect of having lower oil reserves might be that the worst predictions of climate change would be forestalled - because there would be less fuel to burn, and therefore less carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas, produced.
The Uppsala team's estimates are lower than any considered by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose minimum estiimate for the total reserves was 5,000 billion barrels.
But Nebojsa Nakicenovic, an energy economist at the University of Vienna in Austria, who headed the IPCC team that produced the reserves forecasts, said the Swedish group were "conservative", and that his team had taken into account a wider range of estimates. Dr Nakicenovic added that, if oil and gas began to run out, "there's a huge amount of coal underground that could be exploited".
Dr McKenzie said: "We have to accept the fact of oil and gas production peaking, and get concerned with substitutes. It's not when will we run out, it's when will production be unable to meet demand.
"And 97 or 98 per cent of transport depends on it. You can use coal to make methanol to power your cars or buses. But the reality is that it's all about where the oil is."
The Gulf countries - Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - produce about 25 per cent of the world's oil at the moment, and hold 65 per cent of the world's oil reserves.
"That's why we went to war in Iraq," said Dr McKenzie. "Gas might have comparable reserves to oil, but it's not in the right place and we don't really have the infrastructure to transport it."
CNN (US), "World oil and gas 'running out'",
[ http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/02/global.warming/ ]
Global warming will never bring a "doomsday scenario" a team of scientists says -- because oil and gas are running out much faster than thought.
The world's oil reserves are up to 80 percent less than predicted, a team from Sweden's University of Uppsala says. Production levels will peak in about 10 years' time, they say.
"Non-fossil fuels must come in much stronger than it had been hoped," Professor Kjell Alekett told CNN.
Oil production levels will hit their maximum soon after 2010 with gas supplies peaking not long afterwards, the Swedish geologists say.
At that point prices for petrol and other fuels will reach disastrous levels. Earlier studies have predicted oil supplies will not start falling until 2050.
Alekett said that his team had examined data on oil and gas reserves from all over the world and we were "facing a very critical situation globally."
"The thing we are surprised of is that people in general are not aware of the decline in supplies and the extent to which it will affect production.
"The decline of oil and gas will affect the world population more than climate change."
According to the Uppsala team, nightmare predictions of melting ice caps and searing temperatures will never come to pass because the reserves of oil and gas just are not big enough to create that much carbon dioxide (CO2).
Alekett said that as well as there being inflated estimates, some countries in the Middle East had exaggerated the amount of reserves they had.
Coal-burning could easily make up the shortfall. But burning coal would be even worse for the planet, as it would create even more CO2, he said.
Predictions of global meltdown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sparked the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an agreement obliging signatory nations to cut CO2 emissions.
The IPCC examined a range of future scenarios, from profligate burning of fossil-fuels to a fast transition towards greener energy sources.
The Uppsala team say the amount of oil and gas left is the equivalent of around 3,500 billion barrels of oil -- the IPCC say between 5,000 and 18,000 billion barrels.
Alekett said his team had now established what they called the "Uppsala Protocol" to initiate discussion on how the problems of declining reserves could be tackled -- protecting the world economy but also addressing the problem of climate change.
The conclusions of the Uppsala team were revealed in the magazine New Scientist Thursday, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, of the University of Vienna who headed the IPCC team said it was standing by its figures.
He said they had factored in a much broader and internationally accepted range of oil and gas estimates then the "conservative" Swedes.
A conference in Russia this week heard a warning that global warming kills about 160,000 people through its effects every year. The numbers dying from "side-effects" of climate change, such as malaria and malnutrition, could almost double by 2020, the climate change conference in Moscow was told.
"We estimate that climate change may already be causing in the region of 160,000 deaths... a year," Andrew Haines of the UK's London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said.
Most deaths would be in developing nations in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, says Haines. These regions would be worst hit by the spread of malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria as a result of warmer temperatures, droughts and floods.