"Humanity is not entering a period that will be dominated by renewables. Instead, it is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas ... It’s true that ever more wind farms and solar arrays are being built, but here’s the kicker: investment in unconventional fossil-fuel extraction and distribution is now expected to outpace spending on renewables by a ratio of at least three-to-one in the decades ahead ... In addition, as the IEA explains, an ever-increasing share of that staggering investment in fossil fuels will be devoted to unconventional forms of oil and gas: Canadian tar sands, Venezuelan extra-heavy crude, shale oil and gas, Arctic and deep-offshore energy deposits, and other hydrocarbons derived from previously inaccessible reserves of energy. The explanation for this is simple enough. The world’s supply of conventional oil and gas - fuels derived from easily accessible reservoirs and requiring a minimum of processing - is rapidly disappearing. With global demand for fossil fuels expected to rise by 26% between now and 2035, more and more of the world’s energy supply will have to be provided by unconventional fuels ... Today, petroleum supplies about 97% of all energy used in transportation worldwide ... Thanks to the technology of oil, the U.S. was able to accumulate staggering levels of wealth, deploy armies and military bases to every continent, and control the global air and sea-lanes - extending its power to every corner of the planet ... According to the IEA, the major fields that currently provide the lion’s share of global petroleum will lose two-thirds of their production over the next 25 years, with their net output plunging from 68 million barrels per day in 2009 to a mere 26 million barrels in 2035 ... Unconventional oils tend to be heavy, complex, carbon laden, and locked up deep in the earth, tightly trapped between or bound to sand, tar, and rock ... And here’s another problem associated with the third carbon age: the production of unconventional oil and gas turns out to require vast amounts of water - for fracking operations, to extract tar sands and extra-heavy oil, and to facilitate the transport and refining of such fuels ... Barring unforeseen shifts in global policies and behavior, the world will become increasingly dependent on the exploitation of unconventional energy ... We remain deeply entrenched in a world dominated by fossil fuels, with the only true revolution now underway involving the shift from one class of such fuels to another. Without a doubt, this is a formula for global catastrophe."

Zum Artikel von Prof. Michael T. Klare auf TomDispatch (8. August 2013) »