A conference sponsored by a US military official convened experts in Washington DC and London warning that continued dependence on fossil fuels puts the world at risk of an unprecedented energy crunch that could inflame financial crisis and exacerbate dangerous climate change.
The 'Transatlantic Energy Security Dialogue', which took place on 10th December last year, was co-organised by a US Army official, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, operating in a private capacity, in association with former petroleum geologist Jeremy Leggett, chairman of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Gas.
According to US Army colonel Daniel Davis, a veteran of four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and regular contributor to the Armed Forces Journal:
"We put the event together because the prevailing idea that we have a bright future of increasing oil and gas production that can sustain our current way of life indefinitely is based on a selective appraisal of the data. We brought together experts from across the spectrum, and with a wide range of opinions, to have a comprehensive look at all the relevant data. When you only look at certain things, like the very real resurgence of US oil and gas production, the picture looks fine. But when you dig deeper into the data, it becomes clear that this is only part of the picture. And the big picture proves that our current course cannot continue without significant risks."
...Mark C. Lewis, former head of energy research at Deutsche Bank's commodities unit, ..highlighted three interlinked problems facing the global energy system: "very high decline rates" in global production; "soaring" investment requirements "to find new oil"; and since 2005, "falling exports of crude oil globally."
Lewis told participants that the International Energy Agency's (IEA) own "comprehensive" analysis in its World Energy Outlook of the 1,600 fields providing 70% of today's global oil supply, show "an observed decline rate of 6.2%" - double the IEA's stated estimate of future decline rate out to 2035 of about 3%.
The IEA report also shows that despite oil industry investment trebling in real terms since 2000 (an increase of around 200-300%), this has translated into an oil supply increase of just 12%.
...Lewis' presentation was complimented by geoscientist David Hughes, formerly of the Geological Survey of Canada, who cited a wealth of official data demonstrating that shale oil production is likely to peak around 2016-17. Similarly, US shale gas production has sustained a plateau for the last year that is unlikely to retain long-term sustainability due to spectacularly high decline rates, and because the vast majority of production comes from just two or three plays.
The upshot is that continued dependence on fossil fuels is becoming increasingly expensive, with oil prices continuing to rise for the foreseeable future, impinging evermore on global economic growth. At worst, declining global exports point to a risk of an oil crunch that could, in turn, trigger another financial crash.
One signature trait of the Harper government has been its ability to always be asleep at the wheel. It failed to see the collapse of 2008 barreling down on Canada. It has chosen to ignore the already serious impacts of climate change hitting our country. Now we see that it has no national energy policy to insulate the country from a global energy crunch. Harper doesn't govern, he administers. He's really just another technocrat in a grey suit.