The Patch

January 11, 2007

Thursday 11th January 2007

Filed under: International News — Phil @ 11:38 pm

It is with this post I show you all I am the least reliable member of The Patch so far, I shall make my day yet!

I have racked my brain today to try and work out what to write about it. then I was perusing BBC News and was reminded of the lifting of the Russia-Belarus Oil blockade. Intrest piqued, I started to write my article, but I ran out of things to say quite quickly, but it’s a good little leader into a far more important issue – fossil fuel usage.

There’s a number of issues regarding fossil fuels. the one which seems to have died off in recent years is quite how finite these resources are. According to the Oil and Gas journal, using the most optimistic reserve estimate, we have 32 years of oil left. So what happens when we run out?

Firstly, consider the economic impact. It’s one of the biggest commodities traded on the international markets today. In 2003, nearly 81 million barrels of oil were used every day. At the current price of $53 a barrel (which is the lowest it’s been in a while), that over USD 4 billion a day. Over a trillion dollars every year.

Then there’s transport. At present, there’s no reliable replacement for crude-oil derived products, such as petrol and diesel. And we’re not just talking about needing to cycle to work – our entire infrastructure is based on oil. There’d be no food, no clean water.

Then there’s power – we still rely on fossil fuels for power as well. Oil is a tiny contributor, but gas and coal make up 73% of the UK’s energy production, and whilst we won’t run out as fast, we’re still going to run out. Our options for replacing it are, at present, limited. The only current technology which could feasibly start to replace fossil fuels is nuclear, which has huge problems of it’s own – but that’s a whole new article.

Finally, and we’re still going off the top of my head, we have plastics. Look around you, count the things which contain plastics. I can see 15 separate and different things made of plastic without moving my head. That’s not including the plastics in clothes, the plastic which coats the cover of the book, the plastic in the sweets wrappers – none of which I thought when I was counting.

What I’m trying to say, is that our use of fossil fuels, crude oil in particular, is HUGE. And none of the above really contributes to my main point except as background reading.

And then there’s carbon emissions. If terrorism is the bogie monster, then climate change is the psychopath that’s actually hiding in your closet. I’m not going to patronise you and explain the issues, I’m sure you’re all aware. It’s naive to think there’s any genuine debate on this subject. Between 1998 and 2005, Exxon-Mobil alone spent USD 16 million on funding anti-global warming groups. Much like with smoking, the industry is the sole propagator of these arguments, and eventually the truth will come out. Unfortunately, the vital difference is that we can’t afford to wait this time. It will be too late.

Things need to change – we need to accept fossil fuels are running out, and we need to accept they’re ruining our world. What’s more, we need to accept it quickly. America needs to accept it has more control than any one else over this issue, they’re the single biggest user of oil in the world, one of the biggest polluters, and yet they refuse to do anything about it. Nobody can make them, they are the world’s policeman. The ordinary American needs to realise these issues aren’t that long term. This is about the world their children will live and die in. Whilst the people they elect are directly funded by fossil fuel industries, things wont change. Whilst they’re willing to allow the recent CEO of Halliburton and the former CEO of countless oil companies to be the men who have to make decisions on these matters, I’m terrified.



  1. Thank God for Phil! Well articulated and worth the wait ;)I’ve been reading books recently from a similar vien and it is pretty terrfying, so thanks for putting it out there to be thought about.

    Comment by Amie — January 12, 2007 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  2. I was gonna nudge you to see if you were going to post your thing, but I knew you’d remember eventually. Cracking article, btw 😀

    Comment by Claire — January 12, 2007 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  3. […] time. He was beginning to exercise more control over Russia’s lucrative natural resources and used it to gain increased power over Eastern bloc countries, such as Belarus and Ukraine. The issue of Putin’s increasing stronghold over areas of civilian life was documented by the […]

    Pingback by A Brief History of Modern Day Conflicts- You Got Served With My Kalashnikov, Bitch. « The Patch — August 14, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

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