[ME8422]
The main column here is especially important for how it identifies the primitivity of our mentality and thus-far openended government/economies -that there is, in fact, a crucial need for a properly scientific government to begin constraining our 'natural rights and freedoms' to being more in line with 'what the system can bear'. Democracy is not 'The best of all possible worlds'; it is, rather, our right to remain 'the new stone age people' we are, to eat as much as we can as fast as we can, the right to vote our ignorance -and failing that, the right to be hosed into doing so -overpopulation -Soylent Green around the corner: "The seas are dying". Global warming, for example, is natural, but we have no idea what that 'naturalness' is because everything we are and do is in the way of trying to understand it -so much for science -and scientists too, who, for the most part, have belief systems of their own coddling them.

'nuff

perryb
4 Minute Audio on Continuing Human Existence
April 22, 2008 Morning Edition, National public radio
Economy
Oil Has Two Potential Futures, Shell Strategist Says

As oil prices hit $117 a barrel this month, a forecast from Shell Oil outlines two very different possibilities for the future of the world's energy supply. Looking out to the year 2050, Shell strategist Jeremy Bentham says demand will go up, while oil supplies will be harder to find. But how nations and companies react is harder to predict.
   "We anticipate that you'll begin to see a plateauing of easily accessible conventional oil and gas around about the 2015, 2020 type of period," Bentham tells Steve Inskeep.
   Bentham outlines two outcomes — one a "scramble" and the other a "blueprint" scenario — for addressing energy needs.
   In the scramble scenario, he says, "a focus on supply security drives a lot of decision-making." For example, China is worried about its future supply of oil, so it decides that it needs to be friendly with Iran. Or the U.S., worried about its supply of oil, holds intensive talks with Saudi Arabia.
   "That can kick off a dynamic where the tensions are perceived to be a fight between nations and hence a scramble for supply. The demand side is postponed, in terms of being managed, in that scramble outlook," Bentham says.
   So, a fear of shortage of supply builds up, and the steps to manage the whole energy system holistically aren't taken, Bentham says. Instead of considering conservation or alternatives, people just grab for oil and other forms of energy.
China Photos


People buy diesel oil at a gas station on November 19, 2007 in Wuhan of Hubei Province, China, the world's second largest oil consumer. Getty Images

   The "blueprint" scenario, on the other hand, recognizes that forces can combine to affect change. "You see emerging coalitions coming together at the state level but also cross-border" to find solutions, Bentham says.
   He points to climate-related legislation in California as an example.
   "A set of interests were recognized among technology entrepreneurs and farmers and shrewd politicians which led, in this country in 2006, to the climate-related legislation in California," he says.
   That legislation influenced thinking in other states, which in turn influenced thinking at the federal level. "So you get this spreading awareness and spreading regulatory activity; you get a set of actors who influence the national agendas," Bentham says, and a patchwork of standards and regulations begins to emerge.
   "You don't get global agreements," Bentham says, "but you get a critical mass of sectors and countries having, for instance, some kind of carbon dioxide pricing in the blueprint scenario." And that approach would grow over time as people recognize the benefits, because it promotes energy efficiency and new technology developments, he says.
   Shell has a preference for blueprint-type outcomes that address demand, supply and environmental issues together, Bentham says, because "it's better for society at large, but also it's better for business and investment."

[TRANSCRIPT]
Shell’s Chief Strategist: Two Scenarios in Oil’s Future
April 22, 2008 from Morning Edition

STEVE INSKEEP, host: If you’re anxious about oil selling at $117 per barrel, consider this: might get worse in a decade. A strategist for Shell Oil says demand will go up while oil supplies get harder to find.

Mr. JEREMY BENTHAM (Forecaster, Shell Oil): We anticipate that you’ll begin to see a plateauing of easily accessible conventional oil and gas around about the 2015, 2020-type of period.

INSKEEP: That’s Jeremy Bentham, who’s a forecaster for Shell. His latest report looks out to the year 2050, and it outlines two very different possibilities for the future. As we’ll hear in a moment, one scenario doesn’t seem so bad. But then there’s a scenario that Bentham calls the scramble.

Mr. BENTHAM: Well, it’s an evocative term around the dynamics in which a focus on supply security drives a lot of decision making.

INSKEEP: I want to try to define supply security as you understand it. What you’re saying is China’s worried about their future supply of oil, so they decide that they’d better be friendly with Iran. Or the United States is worried…

Mr. BENTHAM: Or the United States. Yeah.

INSKEEP: …about a supply of oil and talks with Saudi Arabia.

Mr. BENTHAM: Yes. And so that can kick off a dynamic where the tensions are perceived to be a fight between nations, and hence a scramble for supply. The demand side is postponed in terms of being managed in that scramble outlook.

INSKEEP: Instead of worrying about conservation or alternative energies…

Mr. BENTHAM: That’s right.

INSKEEP: …people just grab what oil there is.

Mr. BENTHAM: That’s right. Not just oil, but other forms of energy as well.

INSKEEP: When you use the term scramble, the first thing that comes into my head, anyway, is this historic term the Scramble of Africa, which, I’m sure as you know well, was a period in the 1800s when the world’s great powers were all very excited about grabbing as much land as they possibly could and everybody was afraid they were going to get shut out of Africa.    And this led to immense problems that are still with us today. Is that they kind of scramble you’re talking about, only with energy instead of property?

Mr. BENTHAM: Well, that’s a dramatic way of putting it, but it’s that set of dynamics. There is a fear of shortage of supply which builds up, and the steps to actually manage the whole energy system holistically aren’t taken. So we talk about three hard truths. One is the demand surge, the other is the struggle for the easily accessible conventional supplies to grow at the same rate, and then thirdly the environmental stresses.

INSKEEP: So, what’s the other scenario you’ve got?

Mr. BENTHAM: Well, the blueprint scenario actually recognizes that forces can combine. You see emerging coalitions coming together at the state level, but also cross-border. Just to give an example of something that was unthinkable not many years ago, a set of interests were recognized amongst technology entrepreneurs and farmers and shrewd politicians, which led - in this country in 2006 - to the climate-related legislation in California. It’s influenced the thinking in several other states. That’s influenced the thinking at the federal level.    So, you get this spreading awareness and spreading regulatory activity. And so you get a set of actors that influence the national agendas.

INSKEEP: I want to make sure I understand this. You’re saying that the state of California, or a handful or states…

Mr. BENTHAM: Yeah.

INSKEEP: …or an industry or a city basically say we’ve got a supply problem. We’ve got a demand problem. We’ve got a global warming problem. We need to attack them all at once by diversifying supplies, conserving more, dealing with carbon in the atmosphere.

Mr. BENTHAM: That’s right.

INSKEEP: And they’re trying to figure out solutions to all these things that work for their local area?

Mr. BENTHAM: That work for their local area and their local political situation, as well. So what then begins to happen is you get a patchwork of standards and regulations beginning to emerge. You don’t get global agreements but you get a critical mass of sectors and a critical mass of countries having, for instance, some kind of carbon dioxide pricing in the blueprint scenario.     It grows over time, as people recognize the benefits of having it because it is promoting energy efficiency. It’s promoting new technology developments as well.

INSKEEP: Can I just mention, you’ve got two scenarios here. One has national leaders reaching out and grabbing out resources in a way that they always have.

Mr. BENTHAM: Grabbing or pushing their own local resources. Yeah.

INSKEEP: And the other scenario has local people or corporations or other entities coming up with their own solutions until it creates pressure for even more solutions. Neither of these scenarios seems to have national leaders of the United Nations or somebody getting together in a room and negotiating a treaty that just solves all this thing in the next few years. Mr. BENTHAM: Well, wouldn’t that be wonderful? If there was an outbreak of global leadership or an outbreak of global altruism that created the conditions for that, that would be wonderful. But we don’t think that you need to rely on that.

INSKEEP: You don’t think it’s going to happen. You don’t even need to forecast that as a scenario.

Mr. BENTHAM: So, what we look at is, are there forces that can come together to create the same kinds of outcomes?

INSKEEP: I want to come back to what you say are basic facts. Seven to twelve years from now and from then on, oil and gas is just not going to provide nearly as much of our slice of energy as it does today. Alternatives are essential. Are you saying that?

Mr. BENTHAM: Let me put it in quantitative terms. By 2050, you could have - with the development of population and the economies - up to twice as much energy being used as today. So energy’s going to grow. Currently, well over 80 percent of that energy is fossil fuel. And as we look out to 2050, it’s still going to be 60 percent. But there’s then a huge amount which is non-fossil, on a base…

INSKEEP: Solar power…

Mr. BENTHAM: …that is much bigger…

INSKEEP: …wind power, any number of other alternatives.

Mr. BENTHAM: The biofuels, the solar, the wind, the nuclear. All of these play a role.

INSKEEP: I do want to ask one question that is going to be on the minds of people who are deeply skeptical of oil and gas companies. When you talk with us about alternatives, are you simply trying to provide political cover so that a company like yours can basically go right on selling oil and gas for a lot of money, as you have for many, many years, quite successfully?

Mr. BENTHAM: We’ve been developing scenarios for 40 years, and we seek to be successful in all the outcomes. That’s why we do it. We have a preference for blueprints-type outcomes, and there are two reasons for that.

INSKEEP: You mean you prefer for people to be coming up for solutions to global warming in different places.

Mr. BENTHAM: Not just global warming. It’s…

INSKEEP: And every other energy problem.

Mr. BENTHAM: …a demand, supply and environmental issues together. And the reasons for that is, one, the issues are not dealing, for instance, with the climate risks until late in the period, leave you in a much more volatile world in the second part of the century. So it’s better for society at large. But also, it’s better for business and better for investment because there is a smoother transition in dealing with the tensions rather than knee-jerk volatility enforced on you in a few years’ time.

INSKEEP: Jeremy Bentham, thanks very much.

Mr. BENTHAM: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

INSKEEP: A glimpse at the future from Jeremy Bentham of Shell Oil.


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