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The latest measurements confirm that the world's oil and natural gas supplies are running out too fast. At some time between 2010 and 2020 the world's supply of oil and gas will fall below the level required to meet international demand.

The US government is aware that we are about to endure a disastrous international energy shortage. According to Dr James McKenzie, a senior member of the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, USA: "That's why we went to war in Iraq."

We always knew the world's oil reserves would run out eventually. The oil was formed by natural geological processes which occurred over millions of years. Oil consumption presently exceeds 25 billion barrels a year and demand continues to spiral upward, out of control. The outcome is inevitable.

In the 21st Century we rely on oil (petrol) and gas for transport - cars, lorries, ships, aircraft - as well as electrical power. We cannot survive without oil and gas, and when the supply runs out the great engine of Western civilization will finally grind to a halt. We are heading for an event that will be remembered as one of the great disasters of human history, and life is going to get harder for everybody as the day of reckoning draws nearer.

In the years ahead, wars will be fought over oil and fuel as the oil-dependent superpowers struggle in vein to preserve our unsustainable way of life. We are entering a period of great change and there are be difficult times ahead. The process has already begun. Students of prophecy will be familiar with certain relevant verses from Christian scripture concerning the signs of the end times (Matt. 24.8; Mk 13.8, Rom. 8.22; Rev. 12.03, 21.1-4). As it was translated in 1961 in the New English Bible: "With these things, the birth pangs of the new age begin" (Mt.24:8; Mk.13:8). Whether you are religious or secular, you should be aware that the tide of history is turning.

In North America, where we use far more oil than anywhere else on Earth, the vast majority (71%) of electrical power generation is entirely dependent on fossil fuels - coal (52%), gas (16%), and oil (3%). The world's natural gas is running out along with the oil, and the coal supply is not unlimited either. Nuclear energy contributes only one-fifth to the US power network, and 7% of power is hydroelectric. Only 2% of US electricity production is from renewable sources. As we continue to burning up the world's dwindling fossil energy sources at a terrifying rate, we simultaneously unleash catastrophic damage to the natural environment.

The Insider recently reported a wave of four major electrical power outages which struck the US; then the UK; followed by Denmark and Sweden; and then Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France. The effects only lasted a few hours, but each case was the biggest power failure in the history of the affected country. These massive power cuts were separated by a matter of days. The governments were only practicing this time. This is just the beginning.

It would be prudent to pursue alternative energy sources before it is too late, but the oil corporations will never allow this to happen. So important is oil as a resource that it brings great wealth and power to those who control it. Consequently, our corrupt politicians, whose power is lavishly funded with oil money, prefer to serve the short-term interests of greedy oil executives than the long-term interests of ordinary people like you. But as long as we have food in our bellies and entertainment to keep us busy, why should we care? Thus, it is the immorality and indifference of our species that ultimately leads to our own demise.

Nothing lasts forever. Like all the great civilizations in the past, ours has a limited life-span. A few years from now the Westernized world will reach the point where there is no longer enough fuel to sustain civilization in its present form. This will literally be the end of civilization as we know it.


The Independent (UK), "Oil and gas running out much faster than expected, says study", p 5, 02 October 2003.
[ http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=449053 ]
    WORLD OIL and gas supplies are heading for a "production crunch"
sometime between 2010 and 2020 when they cannot meet supply, because global
reserves are 80 per cent smaller than had been thought, new forecasts
    Research presented this weekend at the University of Uppstala in Sweden claims that oil supplies will peak soon after 2010, and gas supplies not long afterwards, making the price of petrol and other fuels rocket, with potentially disasterous economic consequences unless people have moved to alternatives to fossil fuels.
    While forecasters have always known that such a date lies ahead, they have previously put it around 2050, and estimated that there wuld be time to shift energy use over to renewables and other non-fossil sources.
    But Kjell Aleklett, one of a team of geologists that prepared the report, said earlier estimates that the world's entire reserve amounts to 18,000 billion barrels of oil and gas - of which about 1,000 billion has been used up so far - were "completely unrealistic". He, Anders Sivertsson and Colin Campbell told New Scientist magazine that less than 3,500 billion barrels of oil and gas remained in total.
    Dr James McKenzie, senior assistant on the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, said: "We won't run out of oil - but what will happen is that production will decline, and that's when all hell will break loose."
    Present annual oil consumption is about 25 billion barrels, and shows no signs of slowing. That would suggest a "production crunch" - where consumption grows to meet the maximum output - within the next couple of decades.
    Dr McKenzie said that on this topic the argument split between economists and geologists. "The economists think it will just force the price of oil up, which will mean it will become economic to extract it from all sorts of unusual places, such as tarry sands or deposits which are 90 per cent rock and 10 per cent oil. But the geologists say - you tell us where the deposits are and we'll find them. We've looked and we can't."
    One side-effect of having lower oil reserves might be that the worst predictions of climate change would be forestalled - because there would be less fuel to burn, and therefore less carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas, produced.
    The Uppsala team's estimates are lower than any considered by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose minimum estiimate for the total reserves was 5,000 billion barrels.
    But Nebojsa Nakicenovic, an energy economist at the University of Vienna in Austria, who headed the IPCC team that produced the reserves forecasts, said the Swedish group were "conservative", and that his team had taken into account a wider range of estimates. Dr Nakicenovic added that, if oil and gas began to run out, "there's a huge amount of coal underground that could be exploited".
    Dr McKenzie said: "We have to accept the fact of oil and gas production peaking, and get concerned with substitutes. It's not when will we run out, it's when will production be unable to meet demand.
    "And 97 or 98 per cent of transport depends on it. You can use coal to make methanol to power your cars or buses. But the reality is that it's all about where the oil is."
    The Gulf countries - Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - produce about 25 per cent of the world's oil at the moment, and hold 65 per cent of the world's oil reserves.
    "That's why we went to war in Iraq," said Dr McKenzie. "Gas might have comparable reserves to oil, but it's not in the right place and we don't really have the infrastructure to transport it."

CNN (US), "World oil and gas 'running out'",
[ http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/02/global.warming/ ]
        Global warming will never bring a "doomsday scenario" a team of scientists says -- because oil and gas are running out much faster than thought.
    The world's oil reserves are up to 80 percent less than predicted, a team from Sweden's University of Uppsala says. Production levels will peak in about 10 years' time, they say.
    "Non-fossil fuels must come in much stronger than it had been hoped," Professor Kjell Alekett told CNN.
    Oil production levels will hit their maximum soon after 2010 with gas supplies peaking not long afterwards, the Swedish geologists say.
    At that point prices for petrol and other fuels will reach disastrous levels. Earlier studies have predicted oil supplies will not start falling until 2050.
    Alekett said that his team had examined data on oil and gas reserves from all over the world and we were "facing a very critical situation globally."
    "The thing we are surprised of is that people in general are not aware of the decline in supplies and the extent to which it will affect production.
    "The decline of oil and gas will affect the world population more than climate change."
    According to the Uppsala team, nightmare predictions of melting ice caps and searing temperatures will never come to pass because the reserves of oil and gas just are not big enough to create that much carbon dioxide (CO2).
    Alekett said that as well as there being inflated estimates, some countries in the Middle East had exaggerated the amount of reserves they had.
    Coal-burning could easily make up the shortfall. But burning coal would be even worse for the planet, as it would create even more CO2, he said.
    Predictions of global meltdown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sparked the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an agreement obliging signatory nations to cut CO2 emissions.
    The IPCC examined a range of future scenarios, from profligate burning of fossil-fuels to a fast transition towards greener energy sources.
    The Uppsala team say the amount of oil and gas left is the equivalent of around 3,500 billion barrels of oil -- the IPCC say between 5,000 and 18,000 billion barrels.
    Alekett said his team had now established what they called the "Uppsala Protocol" to initiate discussion on how the problems of declining reserves could be tackled -- protecting the world economy but also addressing the problem of climate change.
    The conclusions of the Uppsala team were revealed in the magazine New Scientist Thursday, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, of the University of Vienna who headed the IPCC team said it was standing by its figures.
    He said they had factored in a much broader and internationally accepted range of oil and gas estimates then the "conservative" Swedes.
    A conference in Russia this week heard a warning that global warming kills about 160,000 people through its effects every year. The numbers dying from "side-effects" of climate change, such as malaria and malnutrition, could almost double by 2020, the climate change conference in Moscow was told.
    "We estimate that climate change may already be causing in the region of 160,000 deaths... a year," Andrew Haines of the UK's London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said.
    Most deaths would be in developing nations in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, says Haines. These regions would be worst hit by the spread of malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria as a result of warmer temperatures, droughts and floods.

Department of Energy (US), "Statement of Robert S Kripowicz Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy ... to the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, and Climate Change Committee on Environment and Public Works, US Senate", 29 January 2002.
[ http://www.fe.doe.gov/news/testimony/02/02_krip_senenviron.html ]
[ http://www.fe.doe.gov/images/general/epw_elecpie.gif ]
[ http://www.fe.doe.gov/images/general/epw_econ_growth.gif ]
    As the pie chart shows, fossil fuels supply about 70 percent of the Nation's requirements for electricity generation. Coal, alone, accounts for more than 50 percent of the electricity Americans consume.
    Primarily because of the power sector's use of abundant supplies of American coal and natural gas, consumers in the United States benefit from some of the lowest cost electricity of any free market economy.
    America's economic progress and global competitiveness have benefited greatly from this low cost electricity.
    Electricity is an essential part of America's modern economy.
    As this chart shows, while the Nation has made dramatic progress in "decoupling" overall energy consumption from economic growth, increased economic activity remains closely linked to the availability of affordable electric power - and is likely to remain so for well into the future.
    The Nation's demand for electricity is projected to grow significantly over the next 20 years. Between now and 2020, the United States will likely have to add from 350,000 to 400,000 megawatts of new generating capacity to meet growing demand. This is equivalent to adding the entire power generation sectors of Germany and Japan, combined, to the U.S. power grid. Or put another way, to keep up with demand, the United States will have to build 60 to 90 new generation units of typical size each year for the next 20 years - in other words, adding more than one new plant every week.


The Guardian (UK), "Oil cut puts heat on Brown", p 22, 25 September 2003.
[ http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1049161,00.html ]
    Motoring organisations yesterday called on Gordon Brown to defer next week's expected rise in fuel duty after a surprise production cut by oil exporting countries sent crude prices rocketing.
    With prices at the pump already up 2p a litre since July, analysts warned of further increases in store for drivers following Opec's announcement that it intends to shave nearly a million barrels off its daily output to keep crude prices from sinking over the winter.
    Prices rose on the decision, causing jitters in global stock markets. In London, benchmark Brent crude for November delivery rose by $1.21 to $26.73 a barrel, while in New York US light, sweet crude was trading at $28.40 a barrel, up $1.27.
    Mr Brown is expected to announce a 1.28p a litre rise in fuel duty ahead of next week's Labour party conference. The increase was planned for the Budget but delayed for six months by the volatile state of the markets in the aftermath of the Iraq war.
    "This is very much a triple whammy for the motorist and even a quadruple whammy if you happen to drive a diesel-powered vehicle," said RAC Foundation traffic and road safety manager Kevin Delaney. Lorry drivers' organisations said the rise would add 500 a year to the cost of running a heavy goods vehicle.
    "The government must take a sensible and flexible approach to road fuel taxation and make tax decisions in the light of the prevailing oil prices rather than treating road users as the taxpayer of last resort," said Freight Transport Association chief economist Simon Chapman.
    But, with the public finances stretched and a delayed duty increase built into the arithmetic, Mr Brown is not expected to forgo the extra 300m in revenue.
    Opec said it had decided to act "preemptively" to stop the hoped-for recovery in supplies from Iraq depressing prices. Yesterday's announcement will cut 3.5% from Opec's daily 24.5m barrel output, restoring quotas to pre-Iraq war levels.
    Opec pumped up supply during the war to offset the loss of Iraq's supplies and a strike which crippled Venezuela's industry. Iraq's interim oil minister, Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, attended the meeting, the first time his country's seat has been filled since the ousting of Saddam Hussein.
    With the UK-US governing coalition promising further increases in Iraq's exports, Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh called the cut a possible "first step" and did not rule out a further reduction. "It is better that we start before we witness a very bad situation in the market."
    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 122 points to 9,454 within minutes of the opening bell. In London the news checked an early rally but the FTSE 100 index still managed to break a three-day losing streak to close up 14.7 points to 4,236.4.
    The Opec decision "caught everyone by surprise", said Peter Dunay, chief market and options strategist at Wall Street Access in New York.

The Independent, "British Energy nuclear stations could go for 1 each", p 23, 2 October 2003.
[ http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/story.jsp?story=449024 ]
    British Energy's eight nuclear stations will be taken over by the Government for a nominal payment of 1 each should yesterday's 4bn rescue of the embattled company fail to secure its future.
    The deal, finally clinched after all-night negotiations with bond-holders, will see shareholders emerge with just 2.5 per cent of British Energy and the company's 3.9bn in nuclear liabilities offloaded to the taxpayer.
    Creditors owed 1.2bn will receive 425m in new British Energy bonds and 97.5 per cent of the equity. The lion's share of the bonds, 170m worth, will go to the banks which financed British Energy's ill-fated purchase of the Eggborough coal-fired power station. But bondholders will emerge with 52.3 per cent of the equity.
    Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner, Roger Higman, said: "This agreement may save ministers' blushes but it shouldn't hide their shame. This whole sorry episode highlights the economic madness of nuclear power."
    Tim Yeo, the frontbench Conservative trade and industry spokesman, called on the Government to end the "dithering" over the future of nuclear power. "Until ministers decide whether there is a role for nuclear power in Britain's long-term electricity generation needs, expertise will drift away and British Energy will operate in a climate of uncertainty," he said.

Daily Telegraph (UK), "Deal keeps lights on at British Energy", p 33, 2 October 2003.
[ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2003/10/02/cnben02.xml ]
    British Energy, the UK's stricken nuclear power generator, avoided bankruptcy yesterday but left its creditors to gamble about 900m on the firm's survival in the coming year.
    Lenders agreed to forfeit the 1.3 billion they are owed in return for 425m worth of bonds and 97.5pc of the restructured energy company's equity, gambling on a turn-round in the group's fortunes and it surviving a European Commission investigation into the rescue package.
    The company, which provides a fifth of the country's power, plunged to a 4.3 billion loss last year as the market price for electricity fell below the company's generating costs.
    Under the terms of the deal, taxpayers will foot a 200m-a-year bill to cover the group's decommissioning and nuclear waste disposal programme over the next decade.

Daily Telegraph, "National Grid promises to keep lights on this winter", 15 October 2003.
[ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2003/10/15/cngrid15.xml ]
    The UK's national electricity grid should endure the winter without any blackouts, the energy regulator Ofgen said yesterday.
    Ofgem said the grid's operator, National Grid Transco, had advised it has sufficient capacity to sustain the coldest of winters, although was seeking to increase its "cushion" of power reserves.
    In its annual winter operations report, National Grid has put a series of proposals to Ofgem to increase the "cushion", which is a spare capacity of electricity that can be generated quickly in an emergency.
    The reserves, which have been a source of concern among many parties in the energy industry, are currently running at 17.7pc above the maximum anticipated power demand.
    This level of reserves is lower than previous years, but Ofgem has accepted the National Grid's assurance that all demand will be met.
    The operator is seeking to increase the level of reserves through a number of measures, which are being considered by Ofgem.
    Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan said yesterday's report should calm most fears about power supplies over the winter.
    A 40pc collapse in wholesale prices in 2000-2001 saw many plants being "mothballed" or recording substantial losses like those of British Energy. But Ofgem said yesterday a 25pc rise in wholesale prices over the past 12 months had begun to reverse this trend.
    Mr Buchanan said the rise in prices had been a product of increased demand for power. "The initial indications (of the price rise) is that the market is responding like a market should," he said.

The Guardian (UK)- "UK and US in joint effort to secure African oil", 14 November 2003.
[ http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1084958,00.html ]
    Initiative has already brought 'substantial benefits'
    "The government [of poor Africa] is helping the [Rich] US to secure a guaranteed supply of oil from new sources in Africa and elsewhere, official documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
    According to an internal memo to George Bush and Tony Blair, cooperation between the two governments has already delivered "immediate... substantial benefits".
    The decision to act was taken at a private summit at the president's Texas ranch in April last year.
    The joint initiative may be formally announced by Mr Bush and Mr Blair at their summit in London, which starts next Wednesday. "
    "The big British and American energy companies have been given favoured access to the discussions between the governments, taking part in meetings with officials.
    Both governments are keenly aware that, while the demand for oil is likely to rise, they cannot depend on the volatile and hostile Middle East as a safe source.
    Africa owns 8% of world oil reserves. "We have identified a number of key oil and gas producers in the west Africa area on which our two governments and major oil and gas companies could cooperate to improve investment conditions, good governance, social and political stability, and thus underpin long-term security of supply," according to the document."

BBC News, "British Gas puts up energy prices", 8 December 2003.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3301413.stm ]
    Domestic customers of British Gas are to face increased prices of 5.9% because of "cost pressures", the company announced on Monday.
The increase will take effect from 10 January for 12.5 million customers and on 1 March for 2.5 million pre-payment customers.
    It comes three weeks after Powergen said it was raising energy prices.
    Mark Clare, managing director of British Gas, said: "Underlying wholesale energy costs have risen since the summer and continue to rise.
    "Like other suppliers, we are being forced to reflect these increased costs in our prices.
    "Over the last few months we have been absorbing these additional costs ourselves, but unfortunately we are no longer able to do so."
    British Gas said underlying wholesale gas prices have increased by 15% over the past year, with predictions of a further 21% rise in 2004.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 19 October 2003.

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