Without Why, You Won’t Believe How.
Over 30 years ago the US experienced its first oil crisis. The 1973 OPEC oil embargo created gas lines, economic chaos and a re-evaluation of the limits to growth.
While outwardly little seems to have changed, behind the scenes, this is a radically different country than it was in 1973.
The oil crisis of 1973 was of a political nature, caused by the OPEC embargo on the sale of oil to the US and the demand for higher prices from western importers.
US oil production peaked in 1970, requiring our greater dependence on imported oil to meet our rapidly increasing demand. The US economy was therefore vulnerable to manipulation by the OPEC cartel.
The imminent oil crisis is not of a political nature. It is a geophysical fact. The liquid crude oil that fuels much of the global economy is a finite resource. Though crude oil reserves are many years from depletion, there is a limit to the speed at which remaining oil reserves can be produced.
The level of maximum global production will reach a peak, and will then decline until the resource is depleted or oil production is no longer economically viable.
Known reserves are being depleted faster than new reserves are being found and produced. Demand continues to grow with the technological development and increasing global population.
Opportunities to switch to alternatives of an oil-based economy diminish with each passing day. Substantial efforts recognized as critically necessary to make these transitions should have been implemented 30 years ago, when public awareness levels were high and new initiatives were taking hold.
OPEC’s oil embargo prompted massive investment in new production and exploration technologies and relatively cheap and abundant oil returned to the world market to fuel the global economy through the 90’s.
In the 1980’s after the embargo and resulting economic malaise, US priorities re-focused on winning the cold war and maintaining our super power status.
The necessary investments in renewable energy and sustainable growth simply were not made.
Global oil production and the world’s ever increasing demand for oil have crossed paths and the inevitable result is permanently higher prices and eventual shortages of supply.
Of greater importance to most of the world’s population will be the desperate efforts led by the US and Great Britain to both control the timing of this crisis and implement demand destruction to dramatically curb the growth in demand.
Peak Oil left to market forces would benefit most those countries whose petroleum and gas reserves can not only supply their own needs but the needs of the global market as well.
The gradual shift of economic power would have resulted in an eventual comparative decline in the economic dominance of the US and the EU.
This decline would have been especially marked in the US, with one of the highest per capita energy use rates in the world.
Additionally the US suffers from a near total absence of political will to address the issue in real terms outside of using military and economic force to maintain access to outside sources and supplies of energy and maintain the status quo.
These policies will result in bringing this crisis to the forefront sooner than later, as can be clearly demonstrated in the example of Iraq and the effect of these policies on global supply.
The containment of Iraq via military defeat, economic sanctions and now military occupation has greatly reduced Iraq’s ability to produce and export oil and severely limited Iraq’s contribution to meeting global demand.
Though no one can be certain of what Iraqi exports would be today absent these policies, Iraqi exports are less today than they were during the economic sanctions and the infamous “oil for food” program.
What would the price of oil be today, given an alternative policy history of serious efforts for greater energy efficiency, alternative energy production and rational political solutions to the rising economic power of the oil exporting nations?
What price will we pay in blood, treasure and higher energy prices when these policies are expanded to Iran and possibly the rest of the Middle East and beyond?
If neoconservatives had truly wished to bring democracy to the Iraqi people why wasn’t this goal pursued in 1991 when we had a truly international coalition to accomplish the task?
I view U.S. policy in Iraq as a deliberate attempt to limit the development of Iraqi oil production to bring the world to Peak Oil on an artificial timetable induced by military force rather than market forces.
If world oil production has not yet peaked with current restrictions and limiting circumstances on Iraqi oil production; sanctions, military force or self imposed export restrictions on or by the Iranians will certainly begin the flattening of the upward production trend and may well begin the terminal decline.
Words to Live or Die By and plenty of Fuel for Thought.
“The American way of life is not negotiable”
~George Herbert Walker Bush
For passing on a legacy of evil intent and the commission of the resources, goodwill and trust of the American people to the destruction of the Word.