Shell says we’re entering a ‘zone of uncertainty’ over oil supply – a frank admission it hasn’t a clue what’s going to happen. But within the industry there remains the same kind of blithe confidence in its ability to continue as before, propping up our economy and lifestyles, that governments just a few years ago placed in the banking system.
The existential crisis for the world’s nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world’s oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict. Even if the world navigates today’s crisis without an energy shock, a more intractable long-term crisis is brewing.
The tragedy of Fukushima is a tragedy for all mankind. We do not yet see it, but this event will be remembered as a turning point in the development of humanity. From this point forward, if nothing else, Fukushima will give pause to every politician, or technocrat in the future who holds up the torch of “nuclear power” as the great hope for our energy-starved planet.
In other words, if one traces a reasonable trajectory from current developments in the Middle East, the handwriting is already on the wall. Since no other area is capable of replacing the Middle East as the world’s premier oil exporter, the oil economy will shrivel — and with it, the global economy as a whole.