Politicians fret over wrong crisis as Peak Oil looms
Politicians fret over wrong crisis as Peak Oil looms
In a stunning reversal of its previous dogmatic ‘business as usual’ stance, the International Energy Agency has belatedly accepted the reality of Peak Oil, and the huge impact the phenomenon is going to have on the entire world.
The crucial and potentially devastating nature of the point at which humanity has used half of the world’s oil reserves - with the remaining half being overwhelmingly lower in quality, in smaller and harder to reach fields, and in less stable parts of the world – has been a BNP theme for more than five years.
Up until now the Chevron oil company has been the only mainstream oil industry player to have publicly acknowledged the clear and present danger posed to the global economy and to a world population which has exploded in recent decades on the back of the oil-based ‘green revolution’ of the 1960s. Hence for the IEA to join the Peak Oil camp is a massive step towards giving the issue the recognition it deserves.
The Paris-based Agency is made up of 26 non-OPEC oil producers, including the UK, South Korea and Denmark. Its board is made up of energy ministers or other senior representatives from each member country. Its power is shown by the fact that after Hurricane Katrina in the USA it was able to get its members to release an extra 60 million barrels of oil to offset the disruption.
The International Energy Agency report avoids the truly apocalyptic predictions that appear to follow logically from a full appreciation of the Peak Oil crisis. And it ‘spins’ the oil supply crunch it predicts as a problem of excess demand and lack of refinery investment (the first point is in any case an integral part of the Peak Oil analysis, the second is the consequence of oil companies being reluctant to invest massively in an industry whose raw material is going to be in increasingly short supply).
But despite such continuing coyness about the inescapable geological facts underlying the crisis, the new IEA report has contributed to the widest grasp of the real issue so far. Its prediction that the current record oil price will soar even higher as the supply/demand crunch hits over the next five years is certainly helping to concentrate minds. Radio Four is serialising a play about a Peak Oil researcher this week, and scarcely a day goes by without a Peak-related story appearing in the financial columns of the main British newspapers.
There are even signs that the Labour Government is waking up to the issue, and its potential to become a real crisis within the lifetime of this Parliament, although Dave Cameron is still fixated on the threats that might be unleashed by global warming several decades into the future at least.
But even those politicians and mainstream commentators (such as the Independent, which ran a Peak Oil front page last month) who have woken up to the looming Peak Oil crisis are missing the big picture: Peak Oil is not just an energy issue, more importantly it’s a food issue.
European Union and American targets to produce up to 20% of transport energy from bio-diesel and ethanol within a decade have already led to a sharp fall in the world’s total food production and grain reserves. Yet the Third World population explosion continues.
Part of the problem arises from the fact that the policy-makers are responding primarily to the wrong crisis. The target and subsidy-driven drive to biofuels is part of their answer to the perceived threat of global warming – something which even Al Gore and Co accept as a potential crisis several decades from now at least.
Even organisations like the IEA are still unable to grasp that Peak Oil has the potential to devastate the world’s debt-based, growth-addicted economy within a couple of years of arriving, and to cause mass Third World starvation and unprecedented social and political turmoil everywhere within a decade.
The key facts are that even the climate change enthusiasts accept that net global warming has now ‘stalled’, whereas even former Peak Oil deniers, like the IEA, are now being forced to agree with the analysis that the British National Party came up with five years ago.
But will the Powers That Be soon tell the public just how serious Peak Oil is and set about taking the radical steps necessary to save our civilisation from an energy deprivation spiral of collapse?
We fear not. Why? Because the ‘wrong crisis’ global warming ‘solutions’ tend to be international, and to provide spurious ‘justification’ for high taxes which the liberal political elite can then spend on do-gooding gesture politics around the world.
Peak Oil solutions, by contrast, will mainly be national in origin and impact. They would involve governments working primarily to set their own houses in order. Massive efforts need to be put into rebuilding home industries and food production, and into researching the new technologies needed to make even a transition from perpetual growth to steady-state sustainability.
Most important of all a recognition that the cheap energy era is over will bring globalisation mania to a grinding halt. Unless self-sufficiency shading towards near total autarky is the inevitable future – hardly an appealing message for the liberal-left mentality which dominates mainstream political thought in the West.
But every day in which our Masters refuse to see the danger is another day lost from the time which remains to find the solutions that could enable us to cope with the unprecedented problems of the declining half of the Age of Oil.
We ask readers to read our in-depth Peak Oil section and then write letters to local and national newspapers, try to raise the issue on radio phone-ins, and pester Establishment politicians to take a serious look at the Peak Oil problem. This isn’t a question of party political point-scoring, it’s a matter of civilisational survival.