Recently economically dominant governments have been turning their attention to studying the future of energy, trying to calculate when there might be an energy crisis.
In an ideal state, any government would prefer to circumvent a potential energy crisis. But analysis leaked from a German Military think tank, the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, states a crisis in the near future is increasingly inevitable, according to Der Spiegel.
The Bundeswehr Center has forecast peak oil will be reached this year, and crude oil production will decline into the future. This forecast jives closely with one issued by the US military earlier this year. The US analysis saw a peak oil energy crisis coming possibly as early as 2012. The potential for crisis only increases with time said the United States Joint Operating Environment 2010 report, because demand for energy is predicted to double from current levels by 2030.
The Mail & Guardian Online reported Friday that United Kingdom industry insiders are warning of the potential for economic chaos in the near future due to a lack of crude oil. "The UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security stated in a recent report that, "We must plan for a world in which oil prices are likely to be both higher and more volatile and where oil price shocks have the potential to destabilise economic, political and social activity."
The UK Industry Task Force report on Peak Oil, The Oil Crunch, was published earlier this year.
The German report, described as a leaked draft document, has been circulating on the internet. Some websites, such as Consumer Energy Report, have posted brief translations of the report. The forecast paints an disturbingly cool vision of the world without enough energy, which includes possible economic collapse along with shifts in the balance of world power, and the collapse of western nations. The report does not touch on the potential for war, but stresses security risks for alternative sources of energy will be very high.
In the worst of speculative post-peak-oil apocalyptic visions, it is human versus human, which paves the way to potential genocide, dictatorships and other impositions of power and control. The solution to avoid all that, says University of Arizona Professor Emeritis Guy R. McPherson, is to "... stop playing by the rules of the destroyers. We need witnesses and warriors, and we need them now. It’s time to terminate western civilization before it terminates us."
McPherson warns that continued reliance on crude oil means the world is headed for permanent changes due to climate change, or the destruction of the planet earth. "... Why would we want to sustain such a system? It is immoral and omnicidal. The industrial economy enslaves us, drives us insane, and kills us in myriad ways. We need a living planet. Everything else is less important than the living planet on which we depend for our very lives. We act as if non-industrial cultures do not matter. We act as if non-human species do not matter. But they do matter, on many levels, including the level of human survival on Earth."
The outspoken professor emeritis notes Western civilization has been in decline since 1979, saying the decline is accelerating. "... We’re obviously headed for full-scale collapse of the industrial economy, as indicated by these 40 statistics. Even Fortune and CNN agree economic collapse will be complete soon, though they don’t express any understanding of how we arrived at this point or the hopelessness of extracting ourselves from the morass."
McPherson was not exaggerating. Only last month, CNN was speculating about whether the United States in now in the grips of economic collapse.
One Wall Street investment guru and former stockbroker, Peter Schiff, told the Wall Street Journal he is banking on an economic depression and eventual collapse. Schiff is the author of How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse.
Before dismissing these over-the-top scenarios which may or may not take place, consider the fact that the Observer revealed that secret top-level consultations have been underway in the United Kingdom over peak oil, reported The Guardian.
Opposing points of view say there is nothing to fear. The Wall Street Journal points to increases in oil production thanks to offshore drilling, saying the issue is the increasing costs of obtaining crude oil from harder-to-reach deposits, combined with slumping markets which will ensure high prices for oil will be the norm.
Others say a peak oil crisis is preventable because we currently possess the ways and means to sidestep any potential future energy crises. Key to maintaining control, Penn Energy reported earlier this year, is the reduction of present and future energy demand through conservation measures while developing renewable energy resources.
One of the biggest problems with predicting peak oil is the secretive nature of the oil industry, where full current production is kept hidden, as are estimated reserves.