One big piece of news was rather quietly reported this past week. It was mentioned a bit more loudly in the British press than the American press. What came out was a WikiLeaks report in the Guardian that exposed diplomatic cables between the US and Saudi Arabia indicating that the Saudis had overestimated their Known Reserves of oil by 40%. That is, they led the world to believe that they had more oil than they really possessed. While this was already suspected, the ramifications are alarming because the Saudis can no longer pump enough oil to keep prices low. It also means the the world is at Peak Oil, where it has used up roughly half of all the oil that had ever been underground and that production now becomes increasingly difficult, expensive and environmentally risky. The BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010 and the terrible environmental impact of the excavation of tar sands in northern Canada are only the earliest examples of the lengths to which society will need to go if it does not divest its reliance on fossil fuels. Yet American oil companies are funding efforts to get the public to stop believing that some of the adverse effects, like Climate Change, are even taking place. For more information, check out this great series of videos produced by The Nation.
Climate Change and Peak Oil