Peak Oil News: Oil: A Bumpy Ride Ahead

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Oil: A Bumpy Ride Ahead

World Policy Journal

By Ian Bremmer

(Excerpt) Over the next 25 years, the geopolitics ofoil will likely prove a bad news/good news story. The nearer-term bad news is that,while politically inspired upward pressure on oil prices will continue for the next several years, price fluctuations will be cyclical, undermining the sense of crisis needed for a focused global push toward the large-scale development of alternative sources of energy.


The good news is that, over the next 10 to 15 years, hydrocarbon alternatives— and the infrastructure needed to deliver them—will begin to come on line. A generation from now, global energy markets, less reliant on oil exports from dangerous places, will become much less vulnerable to the sort of system-wide political risks that can generate international upheaval.


For the next several years, political factors will continue to pressure energy prices from both the demand and supply sides. The sources of rising demand have become well known. Surging economic growth in emerging-market heavyweights like China and India has sharply increased their energy consumption, as industry in these countries expand their productive capacities—and as hundreds of millions of people move from poverty toward middle-class lifestyles.


The recent history of the automobile in China tells the story. In 1984, the first private vehicle was sold in that country. By 2006, 1,000 new cars hit the streets of Beijing every 24 hours. By the end of 2007, there were 15.2 million privately owned automobiles on the road across China. There’s plenty of room for this number to grow, because fewer than 4 percent of Chinese citizens already own a car. In fact, some forecasts suggest that there could be more than 300 million vehicles on China’s roads by 2033. Similar dramatic changes are underway in other developing countries. Sustaining and extending these economic gains will prove crucial for the long-term social and political stability of a growing number of emerging market states, and the governments of these countries know it. That’s why we can expect these trends to continue.

Click to read entire article (PDF)

Ian Bremmer, a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute, is the president of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, and the author of The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall (Simon & Schuster, 2006).


At 6:40 PM, November 04, 2008, Blogger Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of New Hampshire said...

There are no real alternatives to oil. We are facing a catastrophe.

According to most independent scientific studies, global oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time demand will increase 14%.

This is equivalent to a 33% drop in 7 years. No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe. Because the demand for oil is so high, it will always exceed production levels; thus oil depletion will continue steadily until all recoverable oil is extracted.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment.

We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

This is documented in a free 48 page report that can be downloaded, website posted, distributed, and emailed:

I used to live in NH-USA, but moved to a sustainable place. Anyone interested in relocating to a nice, pretty, sustainable area with a good climate and good soil? Email: clifford dot wirth at yahoo dot com or give me a phone call which operates here as my old USA-NH number 603-668-4207.

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