Peak Oil and national security

Here’s a note from Tom Whipple.  In it, he describes a leaked report from the German military.  He raises two interesting points: what happens when oil is a political tool, not a market commodity? and why is it that the free-world’s military that is strongly pointing out the dangers posed by peak oil to national security and not politicians?

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Last week a draft study of the impact of peak oil on the global economy prepared by an in-house German army think tank leaked to the Internet. The report, which has not yet (if ever) been endorsed by the German government, says that world oil production may peak as early as 2010 and impact Germany’s security situation 15 to 30 years later. However, the report lays out a number of scenarios that are more far-reaching and alarmist than is to be expected from a government study.

The report foresees the growing political strength of oil exporters, particularly Russia, and politics replacing free markets in oil exports. Shortages of petroleum will lead to the failure of many industries and a shift into planned economies from market capitalism. There will be a global chain reaction that will lead to crises of political legitimacy and a rise in extremist and ideological alternatives to existing forms of government.

This study follows closely on one formally released by the US Joint Forces Command concluding that by 2012 the global surplus of oil production capacity could disappear and that a shortfall in global oil production could reach 10 million b/d by 2015.

While the German study predicts systemic collapse in 15 or 30 years, the US report predicts some sort of problems 2-5 years from now without going into the implications of such a shortfall.

It is interesting that the uniformed military, who don’t have to face voters to keep their jobs, and who are sworn to protect their nations from future threats are willing to talk and publish openly about the threat of peak oil than elected officials, the major media, financial, and industrial organizations, all of which fear a public backlash from too much talk about peak oil.

Of the major global powers, so far only the British and perhaps the Chinese seem to be studying the implications of global oil depletion at the ministerial level, albeit mostly in camera. Many other governments likely understand the threat, but are hoping that no serious consequences will erupt during their terms of office.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Peak Oil and national security

  1. Ernie Yanarella

    The book on the increasing militarization of climate change in Europe and the US is Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats. It mixes plausible scenarios of the future under different policy regimes responding to greenhouse gas levels with first-rate analyses of where science researchers are in studying the phenomenon and offering possible answers. While it leans toward geoengineering as almost inevitable due to elite political resistance to taking the necessary steps soon and collectively, it does so reluctantly and with due consideration of political obstacles inhibiting timely action. Vanda Shiva, without reading the book, savaged Dyer on an episode of “Democracy Now!” She did this without recognizing that Dyer was not endorsing the militarization of climate change, but merely noting the trend and warning what the implication would likely be if a timely collective program was not negotiated.

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