It just keeps getting better and better......
Capitalist states cooperating?????doubt it !
By Yves Cochet, Le Monde, March 31, 2004
(Translated by Mark K. Jensen)
In a few years, the global production of conventional oil will fall,
while the
global demand continues to rise. The resulting shock of this
structural oil
famine is inevitable, so great are the dependency of our economies on
cheap oil
and, related to the first, our inability to wean ourselves from this
in a short period of time.
We can hope to soften the shock, but only if its imminence immediately
the unique reference point for a general mobilization of our
societies, with, as
a consequence, drastic consequences in every sector. The alternative
is chaos.
This prospect is based on the work of the American geologist King
Hubbert, who
predicted in 1956 the peak in US domestic production of oil in 1970.
occurred exactly as predicted.
Transposing Hubbert's approach today to other countries has given
predictive results: at present, the production of every giant oilfield
-- and
only the giant ones matter -- is in decline, except in the "black
triangle" of
Iraq-Iran-Saudi Arabia.
The Hubbert's peak of the oil-producing Middle East should be reached
2010, depending on the more or less rapid recovery of full Iraqi
production and
the growth rate of demand in China.
The sectors most affected by the steady rise in the price of crude oil
will be,first, aviation and intensive agriculture, since the price of jet fuel
for one,
and of nitrogenous fertilizer as well as diesel fuel for the other,
are directly
linked to the price of crude oil.
This will occur unless stabilizing policies are used -- for a time and
in some
other sectors -- to lower taxes on oil as prices rise. But afterwards
transport, tourism, the petrochemical industry, and the automotive
industry will
feel the depressive effects of a reduction in the quantity of oil
To what extent will this situation lead to a general recession? No one
knows, but
the blindness of politicians and the usual panicked overreaction of
allows us to fear the worst.
This unavoidable prophecy is being universally ignored, denied, or
Rare are those who realize exactly how close and how great is its
advent. Michael
Meacher, formerly UK minister of the environment (1997-2003), wrote
recently in
the Financial Times that unless there is a general awakening and
decisions at the
planetary scale to bring radical change in the domain of energy,
will confront the most acute and no doubt most violent upheaval in
recent history."
If, in spite of everything, we want to maintain a bit of humanity in
life on Earth
in the 2010s, we ought, as the geologist Colin Campbell has suggested,
to call on
the United Nations to agree immediately on the following: to guarantee
that poor
countries will still be able to import a little oil; to forbid oil
to encourage saving energy; to promote renewable sources of energy. In
order to
attain these objectives, this universal agreement should impose the
followingmeasures: every State must regulate oil imports and exports; no
country may produce more oil than its annual depletion, scientifically
allows; every State must reduce its oil imports to an agreed-upon
global depletion
This necessary priority granted to physical econometrics will not suit
and politicians, especially in America. No government of the United
States has
ever accepted questioning the American way of life. Since the first
oil shock of
1973-1974, every American military intervention can be analyzed in the
light of
the fear of running short of cheap oil. It was, moreover, the American
peak in 1970 that enabled OPEC to seize the occasion and cause the
first shock,
which coincided with the Yom Kippur War. Countries in the West then
attempted to
regain control and conjure away the specter of shortage, less through
sobriety than by means of opening oilfields in Alaska and the North
Sea. In 1979,
the Iranian revolution and the second oil shock once again allowed
OPEC to regain
preeminence, as Western economies paid dearly for their thirst for oil
the recession of subsequent years.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the financing and arming of Saddam
Hussein to
fight Iran was part of the American reconquest of the price and flow
of oil, as
was the cooperation obtained from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to
increase crude
oil exports to the West. That allowed the oil price crash of 1986, a
return of
Western growth through unlimited oil abundance, the extension of the
thirst for
energy up to the Iraq wars (1991, 2003) no matter how many died from
them (100,000?
300,000?), no matter how much they cost ($100 billion? $300 billion?), by no matter
what means (annual Dept. of Defense budget: $400 billion).
During these same last fifteen years, the multiple conflicts in the
Balkans had
their source and their resolution in the American desire to keep
Russia away from
the oil transport routes from the Black Sea and the Caspian to the
ports on the
Adriatic, by way of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania. Oil geopolitics
any pact with Islamist devils, from central Asia to Bosnia, and all
the cynical
connivances with terrorists, right up to Tony Blair's recent trip to
Libya to
allow Shell to bring its volume of reserves in return for several
hundred million
The present American Greater Middle East Initiative is dressed up in
and democratic considerations, but it is nothing but an attempt to get
once and for all of every source of oil in the region.
More than thirty years of worrying about oil has not opened the eyes
of American
and European leaders concerning the energy crisis that is looming just
before us.
Despite what Rene' Dumont and the ecologists were saying from the 1974
campaign on, the governments of industrialized countries have
continued and
continue to believe in almost inexhaustible cheap oil -- to the
detriment of the
climate and human health, both perturbed by greenhouse gas emissions
-- instead of
organizing a reduction in their economies' reliance on hydrocarbons.
However, the oil shock that promises to strike before the end of the
decade is not
like the ones that preceded it. What is at stake this time is not
but geological. In 1973 and 1979, the shortage had a political origin
in OPEC'sdecision. Then the supply was restored.
Today, it is the wells themselves that are declining. Even if the
United States
succeeded in imposing its hegemony on all the oilfields in the world
(outside of
Russia), their army and their technology will not be able to prevail
against the
coming depletion of conventional oil. In any case, there is not enough
time to
replace a fluid so cheap to produce, so rich in energy, so easy to
use, store,
and transport, with so many uses (domestic, industrial, fuel, raw
in order to reinvest $100 billion in another source of abundance that
Natural gas? It does not have the just-named qualities of oil and will
reach its
global production peak in around 2020 -- about ten years after the
other peak.
The only viable path is immediate oil sobriety organized through an
agreement along the lines I have sketched out above, authorizing a
prompt weaning
from our addiction to black gold.
Without waiting for this delicate international agreement, our new
elected officials and our soon-to-be-elected European representatives
should set
for themselves as a top priority the local realization of these
objectives by
organizing, on their own territory, an oil shrinkage. Otherwise,
rationing will
come from the market through the coming rise in oil prices, and then
be propagated
by inflation, with the shock reaching every sector. Since the price
will soon
reach $100 a barrel, this will no longer be a simple oil shock -- it
will be the
end of the world as we know i
"I have a need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me
to melt" William Lloyd Garrison
"It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society"
"The world is my country, all mankind my brethren, and to do good is my
religion." Thomas Paine
"…it It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate,
tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds…" Sam Adams
"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do
nothing, there will be no results". Gandhi
"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to
think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing
superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion
that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and
intolerable." H.L. Mencken