In a frightening bit of news, the U.S. Joint Forces command recently issued a Joint Operating Environment report warning that surplus oil production capacity could vanish as soon as 2012, leading to serious oil shortages by 2015. Dire consequences, they predict, could follow quickly.
What they are essentially predicting is the onset of “peak oil”—the point at which the demand for oil will always be higher than the actual supply.
While it will be hard to predict exactly what will happen in the face of such a drastic sea change in the world’s energy supply, the report says “it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds.” It may cause fragile states to become failing states and failing states to collapse, while also causing major problems for overpopulated oil-guzzling states such as China and India.
Here in the U.S., the possibility of at least a difficult recession is very strong. The report notes, “One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.”
If this were one study, it would be scary enough, but the report’s conclusion aligns with a peak oil study from Kuwait as well as an estimate done by billionaire Richard Branson’s energy taskforce.