Peaking out: make changes before we run out of oil
By Angela Michielsen
“Peak oil” is the point when the world will have used half of the oil resources on the planet and the global output of oil will no longer meet demand. Peaking is usually followed by a serious decline, a prospect that worries many researching “peak oil.” Few dispute that oil will hit a peak; the arguments centre on when it will occur. Some say oil’s peak is decades away, but many believe it will happen between 2010 and 2020 (monbiot.com). Today we consume around four times as much oil as we discover.
Peak oil is one of the world’s most serious questions because the consequences are so great. Experts predict that lack of oil will cause a steady rise in prices and frequent oil shocks, leading to increased global instability, and an unstable economy held permanent hostage to terrorists, unstable dictatorships, resource wars and natural disasters. This will start a domino effect of human rights violations in desperate bids by western countries to gain control over remaining oil supplies that fuel their economies.
Isn’t this already happening? Take, for example, the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the US government with the ultimate agenda of controlling oil reserves in Iraq. The violence has caused devastation to several countries – Afghanistan, Iraq and the US – which will take decades to recover from, and some countries may never recover.
This is only the beginning. Oil corporations already commit massive human rights violations in southern countries through unsafe working conditions, pollution to environment and underpaid labour (and more), and when western countries become desperate for more fossil fuel to maintain their economies and lifestyles, the violence will only increase and the “have-not” countries – as throughout history – will pay the price. The best solution is for us to use our creativity to find solutions and for governments to support initiatives.
Note: just before press-time, the government reaffirmed it would not allow electric vehicles on the roads of most provinces, even though we make them in Canada for an American market. What’s wrong with this picture?