Xtra / Deadly Pursuit of Extreme Oil

Raping the Planet: Strip mining at Fort McMurray. Greenpeace / Colin O'Connor

The end of easy oil is over. From now on, all the oil we use will be difficult to obtain. So, since renewable fuels are available to us, it follows that we should be working hard to get off fossil fuels.  Instead we are cleaning up the mess that more oil has created and planning to get even more difficult-to-obtain oil. This is not just unnecessary — it’s dangerous and stupid. 

This is a recording of a very interesting and timely presentation that puts our use of oil in perspective, by expert, author and Hampshire College professor Michael Klare. He talks about the follies and dangers of our unwavering pursuit of extreme energy and describes the geopolitics of the energy crisis.

Oil is now actually “extreme energy” and unconventional rather than normal, because we are now getting it out of shale, from under miles of ocean water, and from tar sands in Canada, for example. It’s become “extreme oil”. We have passed peak oil, so oil is no longer readily available except by these extreme measures of extraction that push the very edges of what is possible. And while they are pushing those edges, some of the very nastiest environmental degradation and pollution is taking place. As a result, the Gulf of Mexico may have a permanent “dead zone” far bigger than anything imagined in the past, and it may not be cleaned up for a century. Is this really what we want to do to our planet for a little bit of energy that we will burn tomorrow and then it’s gone forever? It’s time to say No to fossil fuels and move on to something that makes more sense. Pursuit of extreme oil is a terrible government strategy.

Michael Klare’s entire talk can be downloaded here. Watch, if you want to see the slides, from here.

Klare’s latest book is Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet.

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