Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Canada Says Oil and Energy Shortages Could Cause Wars

Canada's Department of National Defence has just released an analysis thatsays that critical energy and water shortages combined with climate change could cause wars within the next 15 years. The news is from the Ottawa Citizen.

Maj. John Sheahan wrote in a draft version of the report "Army 2040": First Look "Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025,"  "This implies that (barring the discovery of significant new reserves, and barring the adequate adoption of substitute fossil fuels or alternative fuel and energy sources) critical energy shortages will develop in the time frame of (and perhaps prior to) 2025."

Peak oil: The analysis notes that alternative fuels and energy may not be enough to respond to rising demand for energy that is forcing oil production to reach its capacity, given ammunition to the "peak oil" crowd.

"There can be little doubt that unrestricted access to reliable energy supplies is a global strategic issue, one for which, recently, numerous nations have been willing to fight, and have indeed done so," "Thus the trend that envisions depletion of fossil fuels such as crude oil in coming decades may also contribute to international tensions if not violent conflict."
Water. The problems China faces with water are well known. The analysis warns that up to 60 countries may suffer from water scarcity or stress by 2050. Water is "a key source of power" or a "basis for future conflict."

Global warning: It adds that there "can be no further debate that global climate change is occurring." It would turn the phenomenon into a "shock" and not just a driver of change", with crop failures, mass migrations and starvation, rising sea levels from melting ice caps and other factors, would be among the impacts.

"These sorts of changes could lead to impacts resulting in the abandonment of large urban and cropland areas, further aggravating a broad range of existing resource scarcities,"
Melting Ice and Canada: The report mentions that melting ice in the North and the potential reserves equivalent to as much as 22% of the world's fossil fuels, could also create challenges for Canada in the Arctic.

Emerging Nations: The rise of emerging nations would also increase demand for resources in the coming years (with Canada being replaced as the main trading partner of the United States beyond 2030).

Human creativity: On the positive side, it mentions that humans could help avert potential disasters in the future.

"Collective human wisdom and judgment will be crucial in shaping (science and technology) progress and developments in ways that deliver the greatest benefit to humanity while avoiding conceivable catastrophes,"

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