If Oil Got Depleted Scenario
Oil is an extremely important commodity in the world today. All over the world, virtually everything runs on oil. The Transport, Production, and Entertainment among other industries have oil as their backbone. In the United States of America alone, over half of the oil used goes into the manufacture of gasoline for the transport industry. This percentage of oil usage is however unique to the United States. Every day, the world consumes over 80 million barrels of oil. With only 7 percent of the world’s population, the United States consumes over 25 percent of the global consumption. This shows that Oil is an extremely important product to the world and more so to the Industrialized nations. If Oil was depleted or is immediately eliminated, what would be the impact on the economies, lifestyles, and general state of the world? This Essay seeks to explore the importance of oil in the world today. It also seeks to ascertain what possible case scenarios would occur in-case oil was depleted or disappeared (“World Crude Oil Consumption by Year”, 2015). Such scenarios focus on the lifestyles of people, the outlook of economies and governments, and the effects on services among others. How would people cope with the absolute absence of oil? What changes in habits would have to be adopted?
The price of oil keeps increasing day in day out. People have to look to a future without oil. Alternative sources of energy will have to be developed so that there is a smooth transition between availability of oil and depletion. Many car manufacturers, for instance, are trying to achieve this. Many cars that run on solar panel, hydrogen or natural gas have been manufactured and tested. Gradual increase in the prices of oil makes these options of alternative energy sources more attractive. This has to take some years because people have to adjust. The transition may not be easy and may be a painful and difficult process. People will have to give up many basic needs and privileges.
While exploring this topic, it is important to appreciate how dependent people are on oil. The world extremely dependent on oil and it would be incapacitated beyond the imaginable if the oil were todisappear. If the need for oil were to be severed, the efficiency by which things run in the world would never be the same. It would however still be able to continue if people were to gradually reduce or eliminatethe need for oil. If oil just became non-existent, gas would stop existing, and so would many other modern conveniences. Some countries totally depend onexportation of goods as the main economic activity.Many other industries would also be affected. Mainstream media, including newspapers, radio, and television, depend on oil to deliver services to the people. With its depletion, the energy used for transport and machine operations would be unavailable. This would render other sources of information from the public, such as citizen journalism important in helping populations to stay in touch with the other parts of the world. Items that are made of oil, plastic, foods that are treated during planting and growth would no longer be available (Vidal, 2005).
Effect of Depletion of Oil on Various Sections of Society
Impact on the world economy
The severity of the effect of a declining availability of oil entirely depends on whether the substitutes to oil are found. For instance, there was hope that nuclear energy would provide a low cost energy option; however, the speed of the development of technology has been disappointing. If realistic substitutes for oil are not found before its depletion, the effects on the world economy could be severe. There would be rising prices and costs of almost all essential commodities, decreasing growth of the economies, lowering living standards, and people would struggle to access their energy requirements. The world is extremely dependent on oil that were it to be eliminated before a viable option for energy has been found, the world economies would be adversely affected.
Reduction in the wealth of Oil exporters
Countries that export oil earn billions of dollars every year. This is due to the high demand and use of oil across the world today. The wealth accrued from oil sales gives these nations economic and political power. If the demand for oil ends, these countries would encounter a fast period of change. They are likely to go through a tumble in riches, especially if they did not build growth in other sectors of their economies. The current challenge they face is that since it is very easy for them to get money from oil sales, other segments of the economy are profoundly underdeveloped as compared to industrial oil production. In an economy that is no longer reliant on oil, they would therefore struggle to adjust (Marrs, 2008).
Oil importing countries would be somewhat better off
Change in the need for and use of oil would result in an alteration of global economics and power. Oil Producing Countries currently possess a disproportionate volume of wealth as compared to those that do not mine oil. The countries that do not produce oil import it and struggle with the ever-rising price of oil. This distribution of wealth and power would completely change if oil was no longer the most important world commodity. This however relies on good alternatives to oil being found (Marrs, 2008).
Cost of Transport
The new optional technologies are less likely to be as economical as petrol powered cars used to be in the past. Transport will consequently be more expensive if this is the case. This would encourage other forms of transport, such as buses, bikes, and trains instead car. It would reduce our reliance on the car as a form of transport. However, it is difficult to predict the future and the future is very much an unknown. Availability of alternatives and price trends are not easy to predict. Currently, the available options are more expensive than oil based option. There may be cheaper options in future.
Effect on the environment
The use of oil has significantly contributed to pollution and global warming. One benefit of the increasing oil prices is the reduction in pollution in Europe, the US and many other parts of the world where machines and automobiles are used. This is because consumption is discouraged by higher oil prices. The alternatives to oil energy will hopefully be more efficient and environment friendly. However, while oil is not an environment friendly source of energy, the most preferred prospective alternatives are not yet known. Their degree of environment friendly is also not known. Elimination of oil is a sure way to reduce pollution however. It will reduce carbon emissions that are common to oil energy. It is also hoped that it will not be too late by the time the world makes the transition to an energy source that is not oil based.
Effect on oil Companies
Today, the world’s most profitable corporationsoften include oil companies. Such companies like Shell and BP may find it hard to transition into a world without oil. The oil company BP, for instance,operates with the slogan “Beyond Petroleum”. However, their ability to remain profitable from other energy sources is doubtful and remains to be seen. It is highly possible that these companies may collapse or morph into entirely different business entities in the event that oil were depleted or was no longer the main source of energy.
As seen in the examples of the effect of depletion of oil on many sections of society, unless alternative energy sources that are cheap are found, adjustment will be hard. Businesses, governments, societies, individuals and other entities that depend on oil as the main driving force for their activities will stall. One can therefore only hope that alternative sources of energy that are cost effective and efficient are found before oil is depleted.
Is it ever possible to reduce dependence on oil? While renewable energy sources are lauded to possess the ability tohandle power consumption, less than ten percent of the United States’ total power consumption can be attributed to the alternative. New technologies could be developed to increase the success and efficiency of renewable energy resources. People should realize that oil depletion is inevitable and that they need to find and explore alternatives before the depletion. There is tested and actual use of such alternatives in progress. Electric cars already exist, solar energy is used to power homes and institutions and wind turbines are used to generate power for institutions. These methods are however still too costly for average people to afford. The building location could also determine the availability of a certain option for power. Differences in policymaking and implementation procedures, competition between nations and institutions among other factors impede the development of natural energy resources as a source of energy (“Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age”, 2015). Developing countries are in a position to adjust better if they were to adopt Natural energy sources. This is because they are yet to develop a chronic dependency oil like the developed nations.
By the state and nature of activities in the world today, it is evident that no community can be wholly prepared for oil exhaustion. It is almost impossible for the United States for instance, to eliminate its dependency on oil before the oil actually runs out. Some of the most probable scenarios that can be predictedinclude riots, looting as soon as oil runs out, and chaos and anarchy would be the order of the day. It is possible that foreign policies would be discarded, imported supplies and goods would be a luxury if they ever existed, and most commodities would be from local areas. Oil depletion would clearly devastate the world. The world could survive after depletion of oil but such an occurrence would leave a mark on history. To avoid the degree of negative reactions to oil depletion, research of new alternative energy should be conducted andexisting ones should be improved.
The oil reserves are continuously decreasing in productivity. Countries like The United Emirates are realizing that their oil reserves are decreasing and are looking towards other economic alternatives. Dubai in particular is looking to become a prime tourist and leisure destination. There is projected to be a decline in air and sea travel in the next decades. This will mainly be as a result of the ever-increasing costs of operation that can be largely attributed to oil prices. Rising costs of fertilizer, agricultural products transport and farm machinery operations will cause industrialized agriculture to be phased out (Anderson, 2011). There will also be a decline in the manufacture of products requiring oil and gas chemical feedstocks. Growth in Gross National Product usually goes hand in hand with an increase in energy consumption. As the availability of gas and oil decreases, the Growth in Gross National Product will not be able to continue to grow. This will in return result in an increase in unemployment
Towards the end of the century, it is projected that the fossil fuels that sustain this civilization will be finished. Civilizations that have been built on a single resource in History have not survived. This was because they depleted resources in their regions. This civilization continues to deplete its essential resource, oil, from the earth. Oil as a resource can never be recovered once it is exhausted. Once oil has been reduced to extremely low levels, the current lifestyles will not be sustainable. This will be a source of daunting problems for the world’s population, which is projected to be above ten billion at that time.These problems, as indicated in the text before will entail: Being able to feed the people with foods grown without nitrogen fertilizers and delivered without bulk transport. People will also need cloth made from only natural fibers. Considering the population of ten billion and above, available natural resources will not be enough to cloth everyone. People will also have to do without oil or gas heat. There will also be need to sustain and satisfy millions of people who will be permanently unemployed. Such populations will be a source of riots and instability in society. There will also be a challenge to provide and distribute water in an environment that will have changed. Construction of structures will be challenging and hectic without oil and gas(Anderson, 2011). Another challenge will be lack of ability to conduct adequate information recording, to process the information and distribute it.
These problems and others that are identified have to be solved within the current generations, as oil continues to get used up. People also need to examine the general progression of civilizations through history so that they can be able to ascertain the adjustments they need to apply to their lives. This will help them handle the inevitable change that will result from depletion of oil.
Current Societies’ use of the world’s energy resources is resulting in production of a huge quantity of technical, scientific, cultural, and artistic knowledge. It the responsibility of the people using this energy to make sure that the knowledge gained is stored and available for future generations.Most of the items used today are directly or indirectly manufactured using oil. Printed information and records are on degradable material like paper. Information stored in machine-readable formats is stored on computer chips. It is important to note that this form of storing information is not permanent and may be destroyed soon. Some indestructible of recording huge amounts of data in a structure and language that can be directly read have to be developed
Anderson, R. (2011, August 1). When oil and gas are depleted. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
Marrs, J. (2008). Above top secret: Uncover the mysteries of the digital age. New York: Disinformation.
Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age. (2015, May 1). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.oildecline.com/
Vidal, J. (2005, April 25). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/apr/21/oilandpetrol.news
World Crude Oil Consumption by Year. (n.d.).Retrieved May 1, 2015.