In the past I’ve made fun of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for their inexplicably optimistic projections for oil
production mining supply capacity. And in similar fashion, the IEA has made fun of us gloomy ‘peakers’. Well, click on the image above, and look for the video titled ‘Fatih Birol’ — he being head of their Economic Analysis Division. In it he, on behalf of the IEA, concedes for the first time that conventional oil mining has already peaked; five years ago, in point of fact — back in 2006. Many of us have been pointing at around that date as being the beginning of our supply flat line for some time now….
It’s rather astonishing to watch Mr. Birol respond to the interviewer’s question:
So, do you think a lot of governments… are in denial? — ABC interviewer
Before you read Mr. Birol’s answer, consider something significant here. This is the IEA. The IEA’s key (almost sole) reason for existence is to keep as accurate an inventory of oil supplies as possible, and to create the best projections on future supply and demand levels, and to present this to world governments so as to enable them to make better policy decisions. Without even a blush, or a nervous clearing of throat, Mr. Birol simply says:
I think governments, in general, are not well prepared to (sic) the difficulties we are going to face in the oil markets…. — Fatih Birol
Why are the world’s governments "not well prepared", Mr. Birol?? Could it be because governments have been relying on the IEA, and the IEA has been consistently overly optimistic — and this with a topic where misplaced optimism is deadly dangerous?
The ABC interviewer, near the end, after Mr. Birol advises that this "will be definitely very bad for our economy and for our daily lives", asks:
And how urgent is this? — ABC interviewer
Again avoiding taking any responsibility for failing to help prepare the world for a key, defining and destructive moment in the history of mankind, and for having nonchalantly brushed off the warnings of those who endeavoured to do so, Mr. Birol comes out with:
I think it would have been better if the governments… er… have started to work on this at least ten years ago — Fatih Birol
Welcome to the gloomy ‘peaker’ table Mr. Birol….
Now, the question is, what’s to happen next? My prediction, if I may, is that the almost universal desire to maintain business as usual will lead governments and corporations to do anything and everything they can to keep oil — the lifeblood of their precious economies — flowing. This means greater emphasis on unconventional fossil fuel supplies: tar sands, coal to liquids, shale oil, gas fracking, etc. We’ll also be wishing the icecaps would melt just a bit more, so we can get at the cheddar there as well. All who know just a little about these sources of energy know they’re far more destructive than present oil and coal mining. In other words, as I’ve said before, instead of peak oil marking the beginning of a new era where we begin to power down, and where environmental conscientiousness has a better chance of becoming widespread and ingrained, it will instead mark an intensification of ever more frantic, and hence ever more careless, environmental destruction. In our bid to ‘survive’ we’ll fail to notice, or choose to ignore, that we’re well into an exponential curve in society’s ignoble bid to undermine our own viability.
We either begin to cooperate and share ways to get through this in one piece, or we continue on the present Easter Island trajectory.
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- Jeff Rubin – $225 p/barrel Oil in 18 Months and the End of Globalisation
- Staring at the Future from the Top of the Slippery Slide