This site is full of people who are intelligent, value critical thinking and follow an evidence based scientific approach to reality and so i am hoping you can show me why i am being an idiot for believing in some very worrying information i have found on the internet.
This issue mainly has to do with the theory of peak oil. At first i thought it was just another fringe conspiracy theory as if this had any basis in reality i would expect it to be posted all over the news and a major campaign speaking point in elections.so then to counter an argument for this i began researching it. And lets just say the information i have found is not what i expected.There seems to be overwhelming information from credible scientists in fields pertinent to the situation that support it, There is also a number of reports commissioned by governments and the military which also support it and which i will post links to shortly. And ontop of that there is a video by a physics professor which has shown me how little i understood about the exponential function in relation to growth and just how bad my intuition on the subject was.
To start off let me talk of capitalism and its relation to the exponential function. The reason these two are related is because capitalism relies on steady growth to function, when growth stops you have a recession. For this reason i have heard of capitalism being referred to as the new flat earth theory as it is fantasy to expect exponential growth within a finite system, ie our earth. To put this into perspective we are currently increasing our energy needs by about 2.5% per year( which under decent conditions will increase as china, india, brazil etc become increasingly industrialized and want the american way of life) now 2.5% a year does not sound like much at all but at this rate the doubling rate is 27.72 years. ( 69.3/2.5=27.72. 69.3 is 100 divided by the natural logarithm of 2) so in 28 years, at this growth rate ,we will need double the energy that we use today. in 56 years we will need four times the energy we use today at this growth rate.if you extrapolate this for 280 years we will need over a thousand times the energy we use today.
This just shows how unfeasible steady growth is in a finite world. I would advise you to watch this university lecture on the exponential function. It is an hour long but does directly tie into the peak oil, or even peak everything theory.
Now for peak oil. Peak oil is when our production of oil reaches its maximum and then steadily starts to decline. This is usually once we have used half the resource though is not necessarily the case as oil becomes harder and more time intensive to pump. an analogy is if you inherit a million pounds but can only withdraw 500 pounds a month. you might technically be a millionaire but cant live as one. Now as that video i linked said it is estimated that we have 2000 billion barrels of total oil that was ever in the ground and at that amount we would have extracted and reached peak oil in 2004. But lets say that number was under by 50% so we actually have 3000 billion barrels. that is a huge increase and would then push back the peak all the way to 2019. But lets even say we have double that, a whole 4000 billion barrels. that would only push the peak all the way to 2030. so within our life time we will have reached peak oil, if we have not reached it already.
Now there does seem to be good reasons to believe that we have already reached peak oil. since 2005 the total oil production has been stuck around 73-75 million barrels a day despite increasing demand and record prices crude oil production( the price per barrel of oil in 1998 was 10 dollars and is currently hovering around 100 dollars). also there is the US military report on peak oil that says we will have reached peak by 2012 and by 2015 demand will likely outstrip supply by upto 10 million barrels a day. This is not immediately obvious as OPEC has relatively recently started counting all hydrocarbon fuels( biodiesel, crop to ethanol, gas to liquid and coal to liquid etc etc) in its supply. There is also serious debate over current estimated reserves (Graph of OPEC reported reserves showing refutable jumps in stated reserves without associated discoveries, as well as the lack of depletion despite yearly production.)
"Dr. Ali samsam Bakhtiari, a former senior expert of the National Iranian Oil Company, has estimated that Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have overstated reserves by a combined 320–390bn barrels and has said, "As for Iran, the usually accepted official 132 billion barrels (2.10×1010 m3) is almost one hundred billion over any realistic assay." Petroleum Intelligence Weekly reported that official confidential Kuwaiti documents estimate reserves of Kuwait were only 48 billion barrels (7.6×109 m3), of which half were proven and half were possible."(this is from Wikipedia but only because they have it nicely summarized there. This information is available from far more reputable resources though not as nicely summarized)
The US military report on peak oil says at current consumption growth rates and current oil field decline rate ( even ignoring inflated oil reserves) we would need to find an extra Saudi Arabia and bring it online every 7 years to keep up with demand until just 2035. and the fact is that since the 1960's new oil discoveries have gone way down
Links to government and military studies
the Hirsch report from 2005 report
The US military report from 2010 article ( you can skip down to the part dealing with energy but the rest of the report is also interesting)
The German military report translated to english article. This one is interesting as it was leaked to the public before the PR department could get to it.
I just want to add that i know of the unconventional oil reserves. tar sands/shale. biofuels etc and these don't fix the problem. They all have low EROEI (,energy returned on energy invested, this is how much energy it takes to mine them. conventional oil is about 10 to1 upto 16 to1. tar sands is about 1.5 to 1, upto 4 to 1. and biofuels are actually an energy drain. There is also the fact that they take a long time to process, need large and complicated refineries , cause large environmental damage and produce far more green house gasses. not to mention they use lots of fresh water which might also be a problem in the not too distant future