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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oil Be Seeing You

We are so dependent on oil. It's a massive part of our lives, perhaps more than we realise. Most of us probably don't really appreciate the number of ways in which it impacts us.

This is probably why when faced with the problem of climate change, we focus on ways to limit our oil usage rather than focusing on addressing it at the source: drilling and supply.

There is this idea that at some point we will reach the maximum extraction limit, after which supplies of oil will be in terminal decline. This idea is called 'peak oil', and eco-lobbyists are often loath to do anything other than pussyfoot around the idea for fear of sending consumers into a blind panic at the thought of never having any more petrol.

The threat of having no oil is not something that is easy to get across to the average Joe on the street. No-one wants to touch the idea, which is why they like to push all the warm and fuzzy green consumption initiatives. There has also been a slight air of 'conspiracy theory' about the whole concept of 'peak oil', and as a result, the 'peak oil' people and the 'green warm and fuzzies' have been sitting in separate camps.

However, now the global economy is threatened by rising food prices, increased costs of transportation and Middle Eastern instability, especially with Libya now entering the fray. Worries about the oil supply affect more than just bearded nutters with underground survival bunkers.

But the idea of 'peak oil', to me, is just common sense, isn't it? It seems pretty foolish to imagine that the supplies are unlimited. A real oil crisis is on the horizon, people - conservative estimates say it will start in about 10 years' time.

Greenpeace are of course doing their bit - about to mount a legal challenge over licences for deepwater drilling off Scotland, and what with last year's Gulf of Mexico debacle still fresh in our minds, not a moment too soon. Active opposition to the ever more dangerous and some would say downright foolhardy attempts to find more oil and suck it out of Mother Earth have strengthened in its wake.

One thing is clear - the environmentalists and the peak-oilers need to unite, and perhaps now is the right time. Conditions are now right to address the fact that the earth is fragile, and all the while we humans are running it, we need to take care of our home.

UPDATE: Now watch this.

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