Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Oil Apocalypse: Mega-Disasters -- History Channel
This ("Oil Apocalypse") is certainly one of the most sobering entities in the History Channel's Mega Disasters series. But this disaster is manmade. It is an economic and political unraveling (in the fictitious scenario here the year is 2012), leading to depression and possibly nuclear war, as demand for oil outstrips the ability of oil companies to provide it, especially after a postulated Al Qaeda attack on a major oil terminal in Saudi Arabia. The problem is made worse by the sudden increase in oil consumption by consumers in developing countries like India and especially China, after decades of doing without under (at least in China) totalitarianism. During the depression society unravels and becomes a "Mad Max Thunderdome" world ruled by motorcycle gangs whose bikes run on ethanol.
This scenario has been explored before with CNN's "We Were Warned" which postulates this scenario starting in 2009. The Red Envelope film "A Crude Awakening" also explores this, but more from just the mathematics of oil production peaking.
Again, this problem is related to but somewhat separate from global warming. If enough oil were generated (through other sources like oil shale or tar sands) the emission of greenhouse gases would continue. It's also true that other sources of oil like Venezuela and Nigeria have political stability problems.
There is some attention to hybrid cars and a discussion of the problems with hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The show mentiosn the book by Matthew Simmons, "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy".