Humanity’s problem is not that it will use up all the coal, oil and gas. That could not happen for hundreds of years. But, already, the easy-to-get-at resources are running out. Oil and gas companies are going further, drilling deeper, and using more and more complex technologies to eke out resources, than ever before.
And long before these fuels are exhausted, the world’s economies will have burned the
amount that – according to climate scientists – can be used without potentially triggering uncontrollable global warming.
These are some of the conclusions of a report published yesterday by Corporate Watch, To The Ends Of The Earth. It explains the drivers behind the “unconventional fuels” boom, what those fuels are, and why there is a groundswell of opposition to them by communities and environmentalists.
The report questions the idea of “peak oil”, i.e. that oil production would reach a maximum, and then decline, causing “the imminent collapse of modern civilization”.
The stock of conventional oil and gas reserves – that is, those that it is economically feasible to produce, using conventional drilling techniques – may indeed be peaking, it argues. But rather than this causing “global economic and social collapse”, it is driving the oil producers to access new resources that were previously considered too expensive, or too difficult to make use of.
“As oil and gas reserves begin to run low, energy prices rise, and this, along with enormous power held by fossil fuel companies, means that new, more extreme methods of production Read the rest of this entry »