23 June 2012
Norman Pagett writes
In Barack Obama, there seems to be a decent man in office who cares more about humankind in general than about one (wealthy) strata of mankind in particular, even if he is trying to govern a country benighted by religion, guns and a divine right of overconsumption.
However, the oil crisis was building well before he took office; and will continue to propel the nation (and the rest of the world) into the oblivion of oil depletion after he has left it, whether this year or 2016. That is something beyond the control of politicians, economists and speculators.
The reality of the gas situation is in the (liquid oil) production figures:
2004 72.5 Million barrels/day
2009 72.3 (production drop after recession)
These figures are freely available oil industry data, they are not the result of a Muslim conspiracy or financial speculation. While oil production has remained static for 7 years, world population grew by another 400 million or so, all demanding oil dependent food.
2005 was the year we hit the oil production plateau; by 2008 it was obvious world output was no longer rising so speculation was inevitable. Oil hit $147 a barrel, from $20 a decade earlier. That was unsustainable so the world economy crashed because oil was unaffordable to the majority of the world’s trading nations. Oil underpins the world commercial system, which can only sustain itself if there is a constantly increasing input of it, together with coal and gas. Politicians continually promote ‘growth’ as if it is some abstract element within the human psyche to be tapped at will. It isn’t; growth and GDP are directly linked to fuelburning, primarily oil. Oil prices drop, we burn more, GDP goes up; it really is that simple. Every product of industry has oil production and use facotored into it somewhere, every job depends on it, virtually all our food is derived from it. Mining the tarsands, oilshales or drilling 7 miles under the Gulf of Mexico are telling us that we are sucking out the last dregs in the collective pretence that the oilparty isn’t over. The USA isn’t going to be self sufficient in oil again, ever. You can’t speculate on geology.
Obama is doing his best, but his opponents think they can have $2 gas again just by voting for it. Instead, they and we are staring into the abyss of a very different future.