Crude Impact: Summarizing the argument against peak oil.
Crude Impact presents an alarming message about our current energy situation. The documentary presents statistics, stories, and experts supporting the argument against peak oil. One of the experts in the film is Kenneth S. Deffeyes. Deffeyes, in his book Beyond Oil, states, ???World production has ceased growing, and by the year 2019 production will be down to 90 percent of the peak level.??? Though Crude Impact neglects to present the importance of oil production, it does support Deffeyes??™ claim by presenting statistics of oil consumption, stories of corporate corruption, and the effects of oil exploration.
In the last 50 years mankind has consumed approximately half of the world??™s oil supply. Growing technology and population are the causes for oil depletion. The world uses about 84 million gallons of oil per day, summing up to about 1.3 trillion gallons per year. Most of this oil is being consumed by wealthy and industrialized nations. The United States uses about 25 percent of the world??™s oil, and the United States only represents about 4 percent of the population. In Crude Impact Journalist Richard Heinberg states that, ???the world does not have the resource base for us to maintain our way of live.??? Heinberg was directing this statement towards the American life specifically. Crude Impact states that M. King Hubbert, a geoscientist, predicted that the USA oil production would peak in 1970. In 1972 the Texas Railroad Commission stated that they had no unused production capacity; the United States had to start depending of oil imports.
The United States requires so much oil in order to sustain its sovereignty that we??™re dependent of foreign countries. According to energyrefuge.com the top three oil suppliers to the USA are Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Crude Impact shows the report of the USA making a deal with Saudi Arabia, a monarch type government, in which they provide us with oil and we protect the dictatorship. Most of the countries we get our oil from have very poor human right policies, and since we do business with these countries America is viewed as a supporter of oppressive governments. The citizens of these countries experience high levels of malnutrition, infant mortality, dictatorship, and poverty. The current war in Iraq has been argued that the only reason we are over there is because of oil. This dependency on foreign oil sets America up for disaster. Any political action, industrial accident, and/or terrorist attack can send our economy into a nose dive. There will be massive unemployment, ridiculous gas prices, starvation, and riots.
Not only are the government??™s actions for oil production causing harm, but major oil companies are causing harm. Crude Impact shows how two companies affected the environment they drilled from. In 1964 Texaco began drilling for oil in Ecuador; in an effort to save money Texaco dumped waste, that was left over from production, into the Amazonian waters. These waters were the life line for the villagers that lived near it. Now, because of what Texaco did, thousands of villagers are being exposed to carcinogens, many have being diagnosed with cancer, and many more have already died. The Shell Corporation did the same practices in Nigeria. Shell polluted the waters and the land that was inhabited by the Ogoni people. The Ogoni people, led by activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, started to protest against Shell. These protests angered Shell, and Shell lobbied for the Nigerian government to do something about the Ogoni people. The Nigerian government sent troops to destroy Ogoni villages and kill its villagers. During the raids the military arrested Ken Saro-Wiwa. Saro-Wiwa was sentenced to death by the government; though Shell was asked to stop the sentence, Shell did nothing. Saro-Wiwa was ultimately hanged for his protests.
Deffeyes, in his book Beyond Oil, tells us what will happen if trends in oil demands continue. There will be war, famine, and death; Deffeyes??™ prediction is slowly becoming a reality. In Crude Impact Author Thom Hartman states, ???Peak oil has already caused a global catastrophe.??? Carbon dioxide through oil combustion is melting the ice caps; as well, causing severe hurricanes, tornados, and thunderstorms. Through our continue exploration for oil, we are indirectly causing the extinction of other life forms. We accomplish this by destroying habitats and polluting the water and air. Crude Impact compares the extinction we are causing to that of natural extinctions; such as, the extinction of the dinosaurs through some natural catastrophe. We are causing starvation in third world countries by our increased demand in ethanol fuel. Ethanol demand is raising the price of corn for these countries to a price many cannot afford. We too will experience starvation if oil is depleted because 16 percent of oil consumption is in food production. These effects to the world will continue to worsen as other countries increase their oil demand. China is becoming an industrialized nation at a rate quicker than any country in history. If China consumed oil as much as the United States, we would need six Earths to meet the demand. With over a billion citizens, China can easily control the global oil economy in the future.
It makes sense that in order to deter the disaster that comes with peak oil; we need to take steps now to conserve the remaining oil inventory. Much more research needs to be done for alternative energy; such as, natural gas, coal, and biofuels. We need to become politically involved; ask our representative to act or elect individual who will. We need to bring the population back in balance with the environment. We need to start conserving energy by taking public transportation, riding a bike when possible, and turning off any unnecessary electronics and lights. We need to support local organic farmers for food; thus reducing the need to transport food over a far distance. Crude Impact presents an alarming message about our current energy situation. It??™s time to do something before it??™s too late.
??? Crude Impact. Dir. James Jandak Wood. Vista Clara Films, 2006
??? Deffeyes, Kenneth. Beyond Oil. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005
??? K, Ethan. “Where does the U.S. get their oil from”. Energy Refuge. 3/16/2010