Middle East Power Keg

July 31, 2007 · Filed Under news · Comment 

The above heading has been seen many times over the last 60 years, but it as never been more true then it is today, nor has middle east instability ever been so dangerous to the rest of the world. We have allowed our entire way of life including our food production to become reliant on finite oil and natural gas and because these fuels have been so cheap, we have not developed technologies to use them sparingly, nor have we properly researched and developed efficient methods of collecting the abundant energy of the sun.

As a result, consumption in the west is so massive that we have squandered a large part of our own reserves and increasingly need more from unreliable countries such as Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela and the dangerously unstable region of the middle east. The middle east contains about 60% of the worlds remaining conventional oil and it’s supplies are absolutely vital for the continuation of our civilization and for life itself.

For that reason, the west has tried to stabilize the middle east by helping friendly governments, however dictatorial they have been, and in some cases sought regime change if it was thought to be needed.

In the case of Iraq, disposing of Saddam Hussain was fairly easy but it has not led to stability. The sunni’s and shi’ites are killing each other and only the presence of U.S. Troops is preventing for now, a full scale civil war that could spread to the entire region. It now looks as if the U.S. will soon reduce troop numbers and will come under pressure to pull out all together.

That alone would be bad enough but there are many other problems looming. Extreme Islamists are working hard to bring about an Islamic state encompassing the entire middle east and beyond. One way to bring this about would be to gain control of a nation just outside the middle east, Pakistan. President Musharraf’s support of the war on terror has helped al-Qaeda and other extreme groups to become stronger. If an islamic government eventually takes power, as seems likely, Pakistan’s atomic weapons will make it impossible for the U.S. to police the region and keep the oil flowing.  In addition, terrorists now see the destruction of oil facilities as the most effective way of damaging the hated west.

We really should be taking urgent measures to cut  our consumption of oil and gas so that we can survive when the flow from the middle east stops.

Dubai’s The World Development is not sensible

July 30, 2007 · Filed Under peak oil · Comment 

Dubai is investing $14 billion in building The World (a collection of luxury tourist resorts and private estates built on man-made islands). They are diversifying because their oil is in decline and it is expected their oil revenues will run low in 2016. But is this a sensible plan? In the future when the world is short of energy, the associated air travel, water purification and shipping of supplies will become ever more expensive so only the super-rich will be able to afford to live or holiday there. I believe the present construction is a waste of finite resources and the resorts will be mostly deserted in the future.

Without cheap and plentiful supplies of fossil fuels, Dubai will not be a pleasant place to be. Under natural conditions it would only support a small population of people used to the harsh conditions. As Dubai’s oil goes in to decline, it is expected that the same thing will be happening to other oil suppliers, making oil very expensive as supply fails to keep up with demand.

So to build a massive resort in a place that will need extraordinary amounts of energy to fly in the visitors, desalinate the water, bring in the food and keep everyone and everything cool in the normally unbearable heat seems a strange way to prepare for the decline of oil.2 Responses

  1. debbie Says: