Reporter: Raymond McNeil
Hate to break it to you, but the party’s almost over.
Pretty soon, we’re all going to have to find a way to adjust to our changing planet, a planet without fossil fuel. On Nov. 8 classes from around the world came together for a two-hour discussion as part of Durham College’s end-of-semester lecture, called The Global Class.
Students had the opportunity to speak with filmmaker Adolfo Doring about; political corruption, the failure of the mainstream media, and most importantly, peak oil and the end of fossil fuel, the subject of Doring’s documentary Blind Spot.
Peak oil is, or should I say was, the moment in time when humans reached peak oil production, which was somewhere around the early 1970s.
This is something I have been keeping at least one eye on for a couple years now, and the truth is peak oil is very real.
Average people probably don’t even realize that oil is not just used to fill your gas tank. Most paints, plastics, pesticides, clothing, makeup, cleaning products and building materials have some oil in them.
But all of this is meaningless when it comes to getting the public to actually address the problem, because unfortunately over the years, our society has created an environment that demands infinite growth, in a finite world. The best way to wake people up is to use basic logic and math, and if you’re one of those people, who always believed oil would be around forever, pay close attention to the next few sentences.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) states that current proven crude oil reserves in the world are at over 1.4 trillion barrels. Now that’s a lot of oil, why am I even writing this opinion piece?
Oh yeah, now I remember, because the world consumes around 85 million barrels a day. Some simple math shows the grim truth, that those 1.4 trillion barrels will only last for the next 45 years. There is no energy source on this planet that can provide a comparable energy return set by oil.
Pretty scary huh? Not to mention that there is a major flaw in the equation. It assumes no one will be born for the next four decades. A few weeks ago the seven billionth person on the planet was born, and as the population rises, oil demand will as well.
The United Nations predicts the world population will increase by about half-a-billion in the next decade, and will remain fairly consistent, meaning the end of oil will arrive closer to 35-40 years.
Thankfully, this revelation finally vindicates M. King Hubbert, who first predicted that peak oil would occur around 1970. Seeing as how oil production kicked into high gear around the turn of the 20th century, the math is pretty solid that the end of oil is right on schedule.
When that day comes, the human species will once again need to have balance with our natural world.
In some places, this has already begun. Tokyo burns charcoal for energy, and back in North America people are experimenting with using algae for our power needs. And while four decades is not much on a broad scale, humans managed to orbit the Earth, land on the moon and Mars, and build the International Space Station in that time. So the possibility that we can avoid a major human catastrophe is still there.
Those who still insist the human race is not powerful enough to cause such a shift in planetary properties, like global warming, and species eradication, I’d say sucking dry our precious black gold in less than two centuries is an impressive one.