Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

They know, but they aren't telling you

A leaked draft of a study done for the German military is getting plenty of attention everywhere but the U.S. corporate media. As reported by Stefan Schulz for Spiegel online:

According to the German report, there is "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later." The Bundeswehr prediction is consistent with those of well-known scientists who assume global oil production has either already passed its peak or will do so this year. . . .

The authors paint a bleak picture of the consequences resulting from a shortage of petroleum. As the transportation of goods depends on crude oil, international trade could be subject to colossal tax hikes. "Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise" as a result, for example in food supplies. Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all industrial goods. Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain. "In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse." . . .

The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil "as a general systemic crisis." This would create "room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government." Fragmentation of the affected population is likely and could "in extreme cases lead to open conflict."

Note the conditional case. In fact, peak oil is not a conditional proposition. It will happen, most likely has happened already. The global recession has made the event invisible, but when demand for petroleum recovers the price will follow. Yet no world leader has stood up to say publicly that this is happening, it is an emergency, and we need to take action now to replace what will soon be a dwindling resource. Not even the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could give Mr. Obama the courage to act in the service of humanity. What will it take?

1 comment:

Daniel said...

See this link for a petition to have the National Academy of Sciences to study this issue and report to the nation.

Seems worthwhile but the NAS reports on climate change haven't had much impact.