“All species expand as much as resources allow and predators, parasites, and physical conditions permit. When a species is introduced into a new habitat with abundant resources that accumulated before its arrival, the population expands rapidly until all the resources are used up.”
– David Price, Energy and Human Evolution
Then they die.
It has been demonstrated on numerous occasions that all species suffer population collapse or species extinction if they overshoot and degrade the carrying capacityof their ecology.
For instance, in 1944, 29 reindeer were brought to St Matthew Island . Initially there were abundant food sources and the reindeer population increased dramatically. There were no predators to cull the population.
About 20 years after they were first introduced, the reindeer had overshot the food carrying capacity of the island, and there was a sudden, massive die-off. About 99% of the reindeer died of starvation.
The human race has its own St Matthew Island – it is called Earth. We have no predators to keep our population is check, so we self-regulate in a very limited way by occasionally carrying out our own culls through the self-designed joint mediums of war and disease.
The reindeer on St Matthew Island ran out of food – and although we are also running out of food, it is oil and gas that we regard as our most precious resource. Just like the reindeer which died after munching their way through the very last bits of moss, we are about to pump and burn our way through the last droplet of oil and final whiff of gas .
The reindeer of St Matthew island will have ended their days scratching at the earth looking for moss in places where they had never looked before. No doubt they would have found scraps which kept them going for another few days.
When a commodity has a high-enough value, it is worth looking for it in places where you possibly would not have bothered when there was lots of it available.
THE ANTARCTIC OIL
Two years ago, Ali Bakhtiari, a former senior adviser for the National Iranian Oil Company, said at a meeting of international Antarctic specialists in Hobart that pressure to drill in Antarctica could soon become irresistible – and he was right.
“I hope it will not happen because that would create enormous difficulties, but when you have the enormous price increase that I can foresee governments and companies will want to find oil anywhere,” he said in 2006.
“There is now only one frontier province left and that is Antarctica,” he was quoted as saying by Australia’s national news agency AAP.
Bakhtiari predicted the world’s oil production rate would peak at 81 million barrels per day and decline to roughly 55 million barrels per day by 2020, pitching oil prices to “stratospheric levels“.
Even two years ago , he could not have foreseen the damage that a combination of supply (OPEC’s intransigence, Nigeria’s instability and America’s untidy foreign policy), speculation (George Soros and his troupe of keyboard-bashing monkeys) and demand (India, China), could do to the current (2008) price of oil.
In 7 or 8 years about one-third of the world’s remaining oil supply will be gone and the “stratospheric” price of oil and gas will probably cause a world recession on such a scale as to endanger our lives. Hopefully that will signal the wake-up call that stops us all being so parochial and we develop a concept of cross-border responsibility which is not driven by charity and the West’s brand of one-sided economics, waste and ugly self-interest.
Seven countries have made territorial claims in Antarctica, but not all countries recognize these claims. No change there !
The 1961 Antarctic Treaty established the legal framework for the management of Antarctica and has 28 decision-making members, including the seven that claim portions of the continent. Imagine Antarctica as a large cake with seven greedy schoolboys gathered round it – who will get the biggest piece?
The Magnificent Seven are Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and Britain.
The United States and Russia have reserved the right to make claims and the US does not recognize the claims of others. The playground bullies know that no-one will dare reach for a slice of cake until they have given permission!
Antarctica is protected from mineral exploration under the Madrid Protocol, which bans mining, but the prohibition can be changed at any time if all 28 signatory countries agree.
We can look forward to lots of countries sticking lots of flags in the snow. That will be followed by lots of flags being kicked over and moved and more meetings.
THE ARCTIC OIL
Currently, it looks as if both the top and bottom of the earth are about to be plundered because an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered but technically recoverable oil — three years of world consumption — lie north of the Arctic Circle, the U.S. Geological Survey reported this week.
While the oil, along with vast quantities of natural gas, will be extremely difficult to extract, the promise is enough to make the frozen north the new — and maybe last — frontier for world energy producers.
According to geology and probability, undiscovered oil and gas are thought to be present . If they’re further confirmed, they will become reserves and (hopefully) some of OPEC’s smugness will fade.
Currently, the five nations that border the Arctic — the United States, Russia, Denmark, Canada and Norway — all have their eyes on what geologists say is about a quarter of the world’s undiscovered but technically recoverable oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.
According to the new survey, the Arctic Alaskan Province, which includes offshore seabeds, has the greatest potential for undiscovered oil – an estimated 30 billion barrels.
Mark Myers, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said he hoped that the new estimates would contribute to future energy decisions.
“Before we can make decisions about our future use of oil and gas and related decisions about protecting endangered species, native communities and the health of our planet, we need to know what’s out there,” he said in a statement. They always say stuff like that just before digging holes.
Look out elks and Inuits.
Geologist Donald Gautier, who led the study, added, “In our judgment, the Arctic Alaska Province is the most obvious place to look for oil north of the Arctic Circle right now.”
While Arctic Alaska has the greatest undiscovered energy potential, other big stocks are thought to lie in the Amerasia Basin north of the two continents and also east of Greenland.
The West Siberian Basin contained the most undiscovered natural gas, with 651 trillion cubic feet, followed by the East Barents Basins, with 318 trillion cubic feet, and Arctic Alaska, with 221 trillion cubic feet.
The geological survey didn’t consider the cost of recovery, but will publish an economic analysis of likely costs next year, said Brenda Pierce, the coordinator of the agency’s Energy Resources Programme.
Energy companies have already identified more than 400 oil and gas fields north of the Arctic Circle. High energy prices and global warming are making the forbidding region more inviting than ever.
The next ten years-or-so will prove challenging. There will be reports, commissions, meetings, summits, signatures and threats.
That will be followed by the USA declaring a “war on ice” and attempting to take what it needs.
China will then look up from its workbench, flex its muscles, crack its knuckles and then we’ll all find out if that bloke who predicted Armageddon was right.