I have for a long time been of the opinion that there is a conspiracy involving oil production and consumption the companies at the heart of which are doing their utmost to keep a secret. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but the evidence to support my beliefs is out there and readily available.
The trouble is that we live in a world which is governed by those with money and the oil companies are probably the richest about. This gives them a dangerous level of influence over the motor, plastics, pharmaceutical and logistics industries along with our good friends in the media.
And it is in the media playground that most of the damage is done. Not enough people question what they’re told by the likeable, friend-down-the-street newsreaders and why should they? Surely those lovely, familiar people dispensing the news from their familiar desks wouldn’t lie to us? They’ve been our family friends for decades…
Peak Oil: Media Manipulation
The Deep Horizon oil disaster has had a devastating impact on the environment.
A great example of how oil companies manipulate the media occurred last year during the Deep Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Millions of gallons of oil were pumped into the sea as the result of an explosion on board a deep water rig meaning that the well head was uncapped and free to spew raw, crude oil into the sea at a devastating rate.
Thousands of people were affected by the spill; families losing their age-old fishing businesses and homes, as well as gas prices rising all over the country.
Animal life was decimated with deep sea life unable to survive and surface feeders suffering because the chain was broken.
One of the worst victims was the Global Conveyor Belt which carries thermal convections on currents around the planet, pulls valuable minerals from deep water as cooling surface water sinks and pushes deep water to the surface, and most importantly of all, keeps continents like Europe from becoming glacial masses. The damage has been noticeable this past year with lower temperatures and monsoon-style rain storms wreaking havoc in Britain and France.
BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is still causing problems with the global climate and wildlife.
BP who own the Deep Horizon rig and who are responsible for the spill used the media to try and cover up the disaster at first, then, when that wasn’t washing with the public they tried to play down the scale of the problem with propagandist broadcasts and press releases which diverted our attention away from the real issue.
According to my observations they were largely successful and only a handful of people (relatively speaking) still campaign for them to be brought to justice. Sadly BP were ‘backed’ by US congress and as yet no punitive measures of any lasting or meaningful purpose have been imposed. Any fines were, for want of a better analogy, a drop in the ocean to one of the richest companies in the world.
BP got away with it.
Peak Oil: The Truth is Out There
Watching excellent documentaries like The End of Suburbia, Gas Hole and reading books like Richard Heinberg’s The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies have done nothing to persuade me that peak oil isn’t happening and I have watched fuel prices with great interest for the past few years.
Diesel used to be the cheapest fuel after unleaded petrol but with the advent of higher performance diesel engines for mass produced cars the price rocketed and is now actually more expensive than petrol. But the dramatic rise in price of a fuel which cost only two thirds the price of the less economical petroleum only a few years ago still doesn’t seem to have set alarm bells ringing with consumers.
Blame it on wars and national debt or just about anything you can think of but the fact of the matter is simple; while consumers are happy to pay, the oil companies are happy to hike the prices for no particular reason other than greed.
Consumer pressure is the only way to force companies into making 100mpg cars like Axon's prototype.
Given that independent mechanics and engineers have found ways to get over 100 miles per gallon of petrol, and we’re talking about men who tinkered in their home garages in the 1960s and 70s, surely the motor industry could develop an engine that produces comparable figures. This is true, they could, but what’s the incentive? The oil industry has a grip on motor manufacturers and they call the shots. We’re seeing modern cars and vans with better performance (faster, smaller engines) but with the same fuel consumption figures as economy cars which are five or ten years old.
So, what the car manufacturers are doing is making the consumer feel slightly happier while keeping the oil companies sweet because they cash in on the consumers’ need for their product while still producing enough to maintain a powerful cash flow and web of influence.
Peak Oil: Media Momentum
Al Jazeera English today released an article called The Scourge of Peak Oil which discusses the subject as if it was something new. Al Jazeera is one of the few major news groups that I trust yet their late show for the peak oil party has raised a few questions.
There is no doubt that when the major companies can no longer hide their production inadequacies there will be massive coverage in the media, but articles such as Al Jazeera‘s make me think that we’re perhaps about to see a steady influx of related material pointing towards the end of cheap oil (peak oil).
Many believe we're already on the downward slope of the bell curve and the future is not looking good.
As long as there are countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya producing good quantities of oil there won’t be too much of a panic but when they start to dry up due to more cars on the roads, more food being shipped worldwide, more flights at cheaper prices, more automated food production and industry, more people needing more medicines and plastic consumables, there will be social unrest on an unprecedented scale. You only have to go back a few years to see what one or two days of fuel deprivation does to society.
Is it a coincidence that wars have erupted in all of those countries in the past decade? Another time for that discussion, perhaps.
In the meantime, we need to address our own fuel usage and bear in mind that the food we eat is produced in a factory hundreds if not thousands of miles away, is then frozen or refrigerated, shipped in a fleet of huge container lorries and often overseas where it is then carried by another fleet of lorries to your local store where it lives on a refrigerated shelf or in a cooler cabinet – all of which requires oil products.
We also need to remember that many of our homes are powered by coal or oil generators, both of which require oil products to build and maintain, to ship the coal or oil and even to extract said fuels and refine them.
For now, think about what you’ve read here and do some digging for yourself, but most of all, keep watching the prices on those fuel pumps and see for yourself how quickly the rug is being pulled from under our feet.
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