Keep the news coming! Your ad here for only $30 a week.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Kiss your lifestyle goodbye

By now we all know that the House approved the Republican energy bill yesterday, including a provision to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I will not waste your time repeating or attempting to analyze these events, which are being picked over extensively in the media as we speak.

The House bill, in any case, is so loaded with gratuitous prizes for the oil industry that it is unlikely to proceed intact through the Senate. It's inclusion of ANWR drilling alone is enough to ensure that.

Instead, I offer food for thought on the big picture, thanks to this timely article in the UK's Guardian newspaper.

The piece discusses a meeting last week that "ultra-conservative Swiss financiers" requested with retired petroleum geologist Colin Campbell, who helped found the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre. An industry man, he saw problems on the horizon with the world's dependence on fossil fuels and launched the organization to draw attention to the issue. Campbell has unique insight on global petroleum reserves, having seen the situation in detail from the inside.

In short, he said, the phenomenon of "Peak Oil" is about to befall us, bringing shortages, economic chaos, and other unspeakable hardships.

"The first half of the oil age now closes," says Campbell. "The second half now dawns, and will be marked by the decline of oil and all that depends on it, including financial capital."

Campbell goes on to confess that while working for industry, he "never once told the truth" about an oil discovery, because his employer was always competing for money and wanted the world to believe it held the biggest piece of the pie.

Adds Bill Powers, editor of Canadian Energy Viewpoint: "The US government does not want to admit the reality of the situation. Dr Campbell's thesis, and those of others like him, are becoming the mainstream."

Indeed, the House energy bill gives only a token glance at the future while throwing billions in subsidies at the oil industry -- during a time when the industry is posting record profits thanks to high prices at the pump.

"We should be worried. Time is short and we are not even at the point where we admit we have a problem," said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review, published by the Energy Institute in London.

The Guardian piece is full of truth-telling gems like this and is worth reading in its entirety. If you can stomach it.

[Technorati tags: ]