Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Elsewhere oil

George Monbiot is incisive and witty (We have gone mad, Your Majesty). He's right that the UK government is off track. We should also bear in mind that optimism about the conventional alternative for government looks increasingly unwise - see David Nussbaum.

But I don't buy the idea that only the Saudi authorities know whether there is an *absolute* shortage of global oil reserves. Yes the reserves of some mid east countries may be surprisingly short (and maybe even more so for gas than oil: see the energy-rich Gulf faces a gas shortage), but I still think that -- globally and over the time frame of decades that really matters -- the pinch point remains accessibility, not absolute reserves. We are still looking at 'elsewhere oil' rather than 'peak oil'. (See the second comment to this post and consider that the Arctic may hide a quarter of so far unexplored and unexploited oil and gas reserves.) [P.S. 31 May: See Recoil at The Economist]

The US military industrial complex (on which read Frida Berrigan) will be just one player in this increasingly multi-polar world (on which read James Galbraith reviewing Kevin Philips).

[Or we could all adopt policies to massive increase renewables and intelligence of energy use...Sorry, that was a joke.]

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