A recent Mother Jones article explored our new energy-centric world order, in which "the price of oil will dominate our lives and power will reside in the hands of those who control its global distribution."
The intro explains that energy lies behind front-page headlines that might seem to be about an unrelated topic. For example, energy issues can explain the current food shortage and riots. Too many acres turned over to corn for biofuels; a drought in Australia and other climate change-induced weather; China's growing middle class's desire for meat, a food which uses much petroleum to produce — all contribute to the current food crisis.
Author Michael T. Klark says there are five key forces in a new energy world order that will change our planet. Including:
- Intense competition between older and newer economic powers for available supplies of energy. These rising economic powers (think China) will have to compete with the mature economic powers for access to remaining untapped reserves of exportable energy.
To see the rest,
- The insufficiency of primary energy supplies. Global supplies of existing fuels will not meet higher demands.
- The painfully slow development of energy alternatives. To meet soaring energy demand, we would need a massive influx of alternative fuels, which would mean equally massive investment.
- A steady migration of power and wealth from energy-deficit to energy-surplus nations. Surplus states will be able to get increasingly beneficial terms from the much wider pool of energy-deficit nations dependent on them for vital supplies of energy.
- A Growing Risk of Conflict. Throughout history, major shifts in power have normally been accompanied by violence.
Mother Jones features Klarke's very informative essay, exploring each factor and the new challenges facing the world. I suggest you take a look.
Do you think oil rules the world? What can non-oil-producing countries do to kick the habit?