Whistleblower, or just an anonymous source for The Guardian? The story is very similar to last year, as the International Energy Agency releases its annual World Energy Outlook. Is it just a clever tactic to get more media attention to an issue that governments do not want to talk about?
But first, look at the graph. What do you actually see here? The only "real" oil is the darker blue field. The reality is we will not be having even half of the petrolium in just 20 years. The graph says, start reducing consumption, now.
The increase in "other" forms of oil or energy is just a mirage. Note that the real oil supply is now officially expected to drop - a lot. This is not a graph made by "peak oil theorists" but based on official figures and estimates. Finally, we are being told the truth. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the big story of this week...
Actually, in February 2009 a very similar story hit the news, and I wrote about it over at Treehugger: Peak Oil: So Now It's Official (Or Not?) and almost exactly a year ago there was another whistleblower story related to the IEA (also promptly denied): World Will Struggle To Meet Oil Demand, Says International Energy Agency
Indeed, a strange case of anonymous tips to media, which then are used to slowly tell the general public something important.
China will never be able to "reach" the kind of oil consumption levels that the US or Western Europe had until now. But Japan is currently hoping that China's economy will continue to grow, and that they will continue to increase consumption. That's a model not based on reality. (Exporting Shinkansen technology is still a pretty good idea, but make sure the Chinese are building the trains rather than shipping them from Japan).
For Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, countries that rely to such a large degree on imported oil, we know it is time to start changing lifestyles. Buy a very good bicycle and forget about government incentives to buy a new "Eco-car" because car companies will not be able to handle this: there are no environmentally friendly cars. We will not even be able to maintain our asphalt roads (they need a lot of tar, another oil-based product that we take for granted in the era of cheap imports from the Middle East). Thinking of buying an expensive flat in a "Mansion" high above the ground? Probably not such a good idea - expect prices to fall as people want to move away from cities. Most important: start supporting your local farmers, and talk to them about how to grow food in a sustainable way, without a lot of chemical fertilizer (they need a lot of natural gas, also in increasingly short demand, to make NPK), and stop buying so much imported cheap stuff. Another thing to do is - prepare yourself mentally for your "kurashi" here in a very different Japan.
For example, The Asahi notes that METI's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has prepared a gasoline rationing system using magnetic cards, to be used in a crisis. Note that their global energy predictions are still assuming increased oil demand, which, as we are now seeing, is not going to happen in reality.
But back to The Guardian's remarkable article:
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The Guardian: Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower
TIME: After the Recession, Will the World Face an Energy Crisis?
CNBC: Peak Oil Closer Than IEA Forecasts Show: Report
The China Post (Taiwan): IEA 'whistleblower' says peak oil nearing
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe