Global oil production could begin to decline as early as this year, a leaked German military document warns.
And drastic consequences – including market collapses, extremist regimes and all-out war – might only be 15 to 30 years away.
The report comes from the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think-tank tasked with analyzing security trends for the German military.
Theories about “peak oil” are nothing new. The first serious analyses appeared in the 1950s. But an increasing number of military agencies worry peak oil -- and its attendant consequences -- is quickly approaching.
Oil is needed in some way to produce 95 percent of industrial goods. Since nearly all transportation depends on fossil fuels, severe tax hikes could cripple international trade, the report warns.
“In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse,” reads an English translation from German news agency Der Spiegel.
As the market threat of peak oil grows, more states will seek to secure energy supplies. That will in effect funnel political and economic power to oil-producing nations. The report notes, for instance, how Germany will likely have to be more accommodating to Russian foreign policy.
Even still, the markets of many poorer nations will crash under most scenarios. Economic collapse could open “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government,” the report reads. This could “in extreme cases lead to open conflict.”
News of the report was first printed last week by Der Spiegel. No mention has yet appeared in Canada’s major media outlets.
In late August, news reports surfaced explaining how the UK government is keeping documents secret that show concern about an impending energy crisis.
Earlier this year, the U.S. military warned about peak oil-type scenarios in its analysis of global security trends.
“One should not forget,” the Joint Forces Command report stated, “that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.”
Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.