What happens when one day you go to the petrol station and find that there is no more petrol? One of the main worries in many countries these days is that the oil is running out.
All the while, political leaders and corporate tycoons will avoid addressing the principal issue that can slow down global warming and save fast-depleting oil and gas reserves. That is, they will avoid questioning our model of economic growth. For that would mean looking at corporations and the powerful influence they have in brain-washing entire populations that their activities are sustainable.
We are going down a road that is not sustainable and can only lead to darkness and chaos in the future. Let us do something about our wasteful lifestyles. Let us question the power and influence of corporations and the assumption of unending economic growth before the oil dries up and we are forced into a nuclear energy nightmare.
In this piece for the Herald in February, I argued that our economic growth model is seriously flawed:
Rather than turning to conservation and looking at other alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind-power, we are hell bent down the path of producing and consuming even more. That is not surprising given that our whole political-economic-corporate edifice rests on that basic assumption, which is never questioned, of annual economic growth ad infinitum.
Energy Minister Lim Keng Yaik says there is a need to diversify our energy sources, but that does not address the energy requirements of the next generation of Malaysians.
The scary thing is that more and more countries will be tempted to resort to nuclear energy when the oil, gas, coal and hydropower is not enough to meet people’s unquenchable demand.
Even in Malaysia, already we can hear talk of nuclear energy as a possible future source, although Lim dismissed the possibility of that in the immediate future especially in view of the surplus electricity from Bakun Dam in Sarawak. Plans are underway for surplus electricity from Bakun to be channelled via undersea cables to the peninsula while the rest will be taken up by energy-guzzling and polluting aluminium smelter plants in Sarawak. (That is another debacle, too long to go into in this piece.)
Meanwhile, we see the United States already involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they are sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq while the thump of war drums for a possible strike against Iran grows louder. Some analysts say that the US military will pretty soon be turned into a force to protect its energy security needs, including oil wells and pipelines around the world.
Alliances will be formed between countries to address their energy needs and countries will be forced to take sides. We saw how upset a top United States lawmaker was when he found out that a Malaysian firm was involved in a huge energy deal with Iran to develop offshore gas fields in south-eastern Iran and establish liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants. So upset was he that he called on the US administration to suspend discussions for a Free Trade Agreement between Malaysia and the United States. This just goes to show that by signing an FTA, Malaysia would be expected to fall in line with the United States not only in trade matters but also with larger US “strategic goals” anywhere in the world. Meaning, their enemies will become our enemies.