September 23, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Welcome to the 21st Century

Just a random entry from John Robb's consistently excellent web log. A former military officer, he casts an analytical eye on what he calls "global guerillas" -- a notion that explains the present chaos around the world, and a notion that he argues both candidates are ill-equipped to deal with.
In general, peak oil seems to be a technical model that has value. The real debate is over when the peak will be. A major aspect of peak oil that most people miss is that three major underlying assumptions have changed (this could be a book in itself since their addition makes peak oil nearly innevitable):
  • Demand patterns. The act of bringing both China and India online has accelerated demand for oil.
  • Geopolitical risk. As we search for large deposits of oil to exploit, we tend to find them in risky locations (Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Venzuela, and the Caucuses). Further, formerly safe locations (Iraq and Saudi Arabia) don't look too safe anymore.
  • Global Guerrillas. New methods of warfare that target oil production.
These are the decades your science fiction writers warned you about in the '70s.