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Are we addicted to oil?

09:46 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010

Oil has been escaping into the Gulf of Mexico since a drilling rig leased by BP exploded on 20 April. Are we too dependent on it?

North America uses around one quarter of the world's oil but countries such as India and China are increasing their demand.

This has led to companies facing greater technical and cost challenges in order to access the product from risky environments such as the bottom of the sea bed.

As well fuelling cars and other motor vehicles, oil is used to heat buildings and produce electric power. It also contributes greatly to farming and food processing.

How can we tackle our reliance on oil? Should more money be spent on research and development into replacement products? What would you suggest?

What do you think of BP's action?

Watch some of the testimony of BP chief executive Tony Haywardhere as he appeared before a US Congress committee

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

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Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but when our planet is operating at 350% its safe capacity - expected to peek at about 450% - this is the problem we face. Renewables don't generate the energy we need for that sort of overpopulation.

    We either have a future of controlled population numbers or we have no future at all, and if that sounds fascist - I don't care. I'm stating a cold hard unpleasant fact.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'd say this is THE most important issue the World faces. Research into renewable energy sources should be the priority / responsibility for all MEDC's.

  • Comment number 3.

    If we want to cut oil requirements we need to take a serious look at the cars on our roads, probably the largest wasters of oil byproducts we have. Car manufacturers, understandably, promote their more profitable high end, fast, large engined gas guzzlers far more than cheaper more practical cars.

    Stand by any gridlocked City Street and you will see many large vehicles with single occupants doing trips that could be done in a smaller vehicle or even on public transport if it were not so expensive. Huge vehicles are simply not needed by the vast majority people.

    If we want to cut oil product use we need a cheap reliable public transport system and cheap reliable small vehicles.

  • Comment number 4.

    It's a bit like asking if we're addicted to food. Oil is needed so heavily in food production and transportation, that many would starve if we were cut off from supplies for too long, and the economy would simply collapse.

    We certainly need a plan B, but so far all we've seen are a few meager investments in renewables. In the long term, it won't be enough; we'll need a huge rollout of nuclear plants for a start, not just replacing the ones we're shutting down. We also need electrically-powered HGVs, or an emergency plan to prioritise oil towards goods transport ahead of ALL emergency services. There's little point in taking people to hospital if they're going to stave to death there.

    Let's not forget, around half the world's oil comes from the middle-east, a region not exactly known for its stability. So we might not know we're going to be cut off until it's too late.

  • Comment number 5.

    Are we addicted to oil?

    The word 'addicted' implies that we are over-using a substance that we don't really need, just because it feels nice.

    Thats not really the case with oil - its a substance we have to have in order to live the lifestyles we do.

    Its obvious that as a global community we need to develop clean, renewable fuel sources, but that won't get us completely off the hook - we will still need oil to manufacture the plastics that are such a huge part of the modern age.

  • Comment number 6.

    No, just dependent on it. Until the cost makes the alternatives viable.

  • Comment number 7.

    We are prepared to send our soldiers to die in foreign wars for oil, You can't get more addicted than that.

  • Comment number 8.

    1. At 10:05am on 17 Jun 2010, 23 years 11 months and counting wrote:
    "I know I sound like a broken record, but when our planet is operating at 350% its safe capacity - expected to peek at about 450% - this is the problem we face. Renewables don't generate the energy we need for that sort of overpopulation.

    We either have a future of controlled population numbers or we have no future at all, and if that sounds fascist - I don't care. I'm stating a cold hard unpleasant fact."

    It doesn't sound dascist, it sounds defeatist. True renuables can't currently produce the energy needs but there is no reason why with the right investment they can't in the future. To get any significant change in population in less than several generations, you are suggesting genercide. Very little is impossible

  • Comment number 9.

    Oil? Never touch the stuff myself.

    Isn't the addiction the power and control that ownership of oil brings? That is why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a clear mind to get at all that filthy lucre lying underneath Iran too. That is why the major players are multi-national companies with a host of 'friends' in all the "right, political places".

    Nature has a wealth of resources that can be partly harnessed and utilised without any dangerous game playing in the middle or at the edges, but serious investment requires a breaking down of the status quo in business, in politics, in control and in power. Huge corporate interests could collapse and take all of the "oil diggers and investors" with them.

    This isn't anything to do with saving our planet, it is just a simple exercise in moving on to a different and largely unknown era where humankind live on a much more level playing field and in much less exotic luxury and extremes. Better get a move on because the population is increasing out of control every day we delay.

  • Comment number 10.

    Of course we are too dependent on oil...but nowhere near as dependent as the USA.
    We should move as quickly as possible to hybrid/electric vehicles. Vehicles which can be recharged via domestic electricity or by home-based electric-powered hydrogen generators (which are now a reality) can use far greener sources of fuel than petroleum...or coal.

    We ought to be investing massively in renewable energy reources to replace existing power stations. Wind and Tidal...we are probably the best placed nation on earth to benefit from both.

    Nuclear is not an option...at least not nuclear fission. It takes 10-20 years to properly survey and construct a current nuclear power plant. We will hit the energy gap way before that. Far better to wait for viable nuclear fusion plants which ought to be available in about 20 years. In the meantime, plug the gap with wind and tide. Even if we have to build temporary wind turbines all over the place, at least their only legacy is an easily removable concrete base...not fission plants that take 50+ years to decommission; with radioactive waste that needs to be safeguarded for millenia.

    Build barrages across the Severn estuary, the Thames and many of the firths. Yes, it will impact wetlands and wildlife...so construct new wetlands elsewhere. Sea level rises will likely do it for free. In any case, the environmental impact is likely to be far less than that currently seen along the Gulf Coast...which will be coming to a shoreline near you soon...as the oil runs out and we are driven to ever greater extremes in order to procure it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, and unless we change the way we generate and use energy, we're heading towards very serious problems.

    But I do hope the BBC won't start lecturing us, the way it did on Climate Change/Global Warming.

    The BBC's own travel policies are questionable. It seems very keen on sending reporters and camera crews on no doubt enjoyable, but not particularly useful, trips.

    And it is turning a very blind eye to population growth, because of its support for immigration.

    That makes it unable or unwilling to question housing policy in the UK. Those millions of new houses we're having to build to accommodate immigrants are being built away from the big cities. People living there will commute - meaning more fuel use.

    PS - when are we going to have a thread on the environmental dangers of population growth, the REAL environmental issue?

  • Comment number 12.

    Is it a case of addiction or simply the fact that we need it to run machines? Is there an alternative natural resource to oil that'll do the job? If not then it can hardly be called an addiction.

    And yes I think we should be spending far more on researching alternatives, it’s not as if oil is a limitless resource or for that matter a clean resource.

  • Comment number 13.

    Oil companies and the car manufacturers have a vested interest in prolonging the use of carbon-based energy, and all governments have been content to go along with this cosy arrangement as being the easiest option.

    It has been tantamount to sticking one's head in the sand, never facing up to the time when the oil - a filthy substance - becomes too costly to extract. The major nations should have got together years ago, and researched natural alternatives in anticipation of that time. It surely cannot be beyond our brainiest scientists to come up with practical solutions - after all, just look at the revolution in technology when applied to mobile communications, harnessing solar power and energy efficiency. There is no reason why, given time, the average vehicle should not run on some modest-sized rechargeable battery that is automatically replaced in a similar way to refuelling with petrol or diesel.

    Regrettably, however, the sheer muscle of the car manufacturers will ensure that any change will be at a snail's pace.

  • Comment number 14.

    Addicted is the wrong word. Necessity is nearer the mark. The industrialised nations of the world would collapse without oil, while the so called third world countries would get along just fine.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes we are addicted and probably doomed. When South Africa borrows money to build coal fired powerstations instead of investing in solar energy then it is clear that fossil fuels are still too cheap. A company in Scotland is trying to build a new coal fired powerstation in Ayrshire with the promise of carbon capture but that is just a red herring to get it through planning. Where are they going to dispose of the carbon captured they are the wrong side of the country to pump it into the empty North sea oil fields. Oh and Carbon capture uses up to 30% of a powerstations generated output, add that to the current 35% efficiency rating of coal fired boilers in the UK and the whole thing is very unappealing cost wise. Renewables are still too expensive in a global economy based on profit.

  • Comment number 16.

    "We are more than addicted to oil we in the western world ,would not funtion with out it our farms, and industry ,and lifestyle is only possible because of cheap oil? but this will now be short lived, we had a long run but now at an end, as the rest of the world are buying up the oil surplus and keeping the prices' high. Without other sorts of cheap power we will all suffer in the future .

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes we are addicted to oil simply because it is too cheap - that doesn't mean we should abandon it, it just means we should be diversifying of sources of energy. Unfortunately this means that alternative energies need to be subsidised until oil becomes more expensive.

    The other unfortunate thing is that nearly all companies won't move from oil unless there are real incentives to overcome the excess costs since the main (and their) infrastructure for power supply depends on others to change too.

    I personally would like to see more domestic micro-grids - home wind generators, solar panels, hydro power etc but they are still too expensive.

  • Comment number 18.

    You might look at the article in Nature, 3rd June, page 532-533 which points out that oil from the Deepwater Horizon well is likely to be entrained in the Loop Current, which is an offshoot of the Gulf Stream. Much of the oil could be pulled into the Loop eddy and stay there for months, lessening the effect on coastal ecosystems. All we, the public, are seeing on TV is that ubiquitous lone pelican covered in oil.

  • Comment number 19.

    I work at a computer all day...at home. So I need to take exercise regularly. I've just been out for a half hour bike ride around the small dormer town in which I live. There are b***y cars all over the place. What are they all doing at this time mid-morning? If they are of working age, why aren't they at work? Driving doesn't constitute work...not unless your a taxi/delivery/bus driver. Otherwise it's commuting...at 10.30 in the morning???
    If they're past working age, why aren't they digging their garden or something on a nice day like this instead of clogging up the roads? They can't all be going to Sainsburys to buy vuvuzelas.

    Seriously, we tend to be superior about American car usage; but I've spent a long time in the States and a comparable roads over there would be almost devoid of traffic at this time of day. The Dutch would be out in force on their bikes...a ratio of several bikes to every car, not what I've just experienced; maybe 50-100 cars for every bike.

    People need to get off their backsides and stop making so many unnecessary car journeys....and they clearly are unnecessary, as you don't see this in many other developed nations.

  • Comment number 20.

    As usual the comments section is providing a better story than the article/s that spawned it. It gives me hope for mankind.

    "How can we tackle our reliance on oil? Should more money be spent on research and development into replacement products? What would you suggest?"
    - Take an interest in politics, starting with your household and expanding from there. Practice what we preach.
    - If they're better, yes, always.
    - Horses? Yeah, maybe we should go back to horses.

  • Comment number 21.

    Go over to using solar and wind power and leave the oil behind. If we all supplied our own power we would not be held to ransom by foreign powers.

  • Comment number 22.

    No. I'm addicted to chocolate.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oil is not in any way an 'addiction' - it is a necessity of life! Practically everything we take for granted as necessary for our daily existence is dependent on oil in some way or other! If we were to stop using oil our civilisation would arrive at an abrupt end! Without oil and other fossil fuels we would be reduced to a pre- industrial revolution existence! As for 'green energy' it is nothing of the sort - most forms of such energy requires vast amounts of 'fossil fuel' input in order to create the means of producing or using such energy.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yes

  • Comment number 25.

    Addicted? No. Over-dependant. Yep. Relying on oil, a non renewable source of energy, is what you call "putting all your eggs into one basket". It makes you realise just how risky and short-term this strategy is and I really cant believe that we're only just beginning to think about this as an issue. We should have invested heavily in alternative sources of energy a long while back. I'm just glad that people are finally beginning to realise, even if it is a little late in the day.

  • Comment number 26.

    With renewables we're currently where we should have been 30 years ago. Sadly, the government of the day was driven by fastbuck big business and the nuclear lobby. We have been playing catch up ever since.

    We are blessed with shallow, windy seas to the East and South, tidal estuaries with the world's greatest tidal ranges, and an ocean with massive waves to the North and West. Could we have it any easier?

    Sure we need oil for plastics, but wait till the price of scrap thermoplastics rises to that of scrap copper or lead, and see how much re-cycling goes on then.

  • Comment number 27.

    No we do not need oil to run machines you can use vegitable oils to lubricate and water is also a lubricant. as for powering engines we can liquify methane gas, we can use rape seed oil in engines and all kinds of other vegitational oils so now we do not really need crude products it just needs a political will investment, and applied phsycology to ween everyone off the drug of hydro carbons

  • Comment number 28.

    Algae produced biofuel can be produced in a home environment for next to nothing and is carbon neutral, it's good enough to run ground-vehicles off of.
    The technology is readily available today.
    It gets no coverage because it's not a money maker, and it can't be taxed.



    It's not that we're addicted to oil, it's government addicted to oil-related money.

  • Comment number 29.

    At this point in time yes. The price is starting us on the 'cold turkey' route.

    What I find surprising is that there is no joined up thinking in the energy debate. It keeps getting hijacked by the global warming religion. It needs to be looked at as a business opportunity based around carbon replacement in order to stimulate proper r&d rather than lets build another wind farm.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes - I think we are addicted to Oil - DOH !

  • Comment number 31.

    *slaps forehead* not this discussion again! The simple answer is yes, of course we're addicted. We all know the oil companies will extract every drop of oil the planet has and 5 minutes before it runs out will probably announce "oh look, we've cracked Nuclear Fision, problem solved!" A multi $trillion industry is not going to sit back and allow any alternatives until the viability of drilling for the black stuff becomes a no go area. That I'm sorry to say, is not for many years to come. We were all told there was only 30 years of oil left 30 years ago, google for it we have 100 years left. This alone is a rediculous arguement as it depends on cost and as yet undiscovered reserves.

    The best way to get anyone or any company to do anything is with incentives. At present at least solar is too expensive, wind is also expensive and too unreliable (what if it isn't windy?) geothermal I think could work as well as fields of wave generators. But let's cut to the chase, until Nuclear Fision is up and running whether using lasers or accelerators, oil will be number one.

  • Comment number 32.

    I dont believe we in the UK are addicted, the tree huggers have been spouting propoganda for years, which has caused our ever so PC previous government to blight the countryside with wind farms which have got to be one of the most inefficient means of generating power.

    And why? All because the tree huggers would have a collective fit if we built the ten nuclear power stations that we really need to supply all of the countries energy needs for the next 25 to 35 years. And who knows what technology we will have by then to replace the nuclear power stations.

    Let me repent my words and go hug a tree right now.......

  • Comment number 33.

    Quote "" 21. At 11:01am on 17 Jun 2010, adelaide wrote:

    Go over to using solar and wind power and leave the oil behind. If we all supplied our own power we would not be held to ransom by foreign powers. "" / end Quote

    At best the use of solar and wind power (for the UK) would produce electricity for 5 to 15% of our homes, and that would involve massive investment in wind farms and solar fields spread across most of our green and pleasant land, the "NIMBYS" wouldn't allow it, nor would the planners.

    The solution and probably the only one is to use Nuclear Power to replace Gas and Oil fired power stations, and to start using Coal again.

    Neither of the above are popular, but we have the safest Nuclear plants in the world, and our coal reserves are estimated at over 300yrs.

    If the UK went down that road now, and stopped selling our own oil and gas production to other countries (limited though it is) we could extend the life of our own oil by at least double and possibly more.

    The bonus on the back of this, is that it would actually provide Jobs, high skill, high value jobs that will put more money into the Tax pot to reduce our deficit.

  • Comment number 34.

    Its nice to see the "Do what I say crowd" come out again.

    You can have a car as long as I approve of it attitude, you must have more than one person in the car, why dont you live in a city where you can use public transport and the shops are just around the corner attitude.

    I buy the vehicle I want and do not need nor will I obtain your approval for it. I pay duty and VAT on my fuel and I pay my road fund licence which goes to subsidise the treasury and not roads.

    Until you are putting money into my vehicle don't tell me what I can drive and how many people I can carry.

    If you want a vehicle powered by a windmill feel free to use it but when you do not have enough power to go down the road or stuck in the snow don't look to me for a tow.

    Addicted to oil, no I'm addicted to tax.

  • Comment number 35.

    There are too many of us for the planet to support. We need to find a nice way to reduce the birth rate. Food, heat and other "necessities" are processed using oil. So, as well as working to reduce the world population, we also need to reduce our energy usage! I am worried that we will fail on both counts.

  • Comment number 36.

    1. At 10:05am on 17 Jun 2010, 23 years 11 months and counting wrote:
    I know I sound like a broken record, but when our planet is operating at 350% its safe capacity - expected to peek at about 450% - this is the problem we face.
    -----------

    I didn't know Earth had a capacity rating.

    Please tell me where you founnd the specification chart of Earth, I'd like to double check those figures.

    Alternatively, could you please provide me with the Earth's capacity ratings for: Bacteria, Grass, Plankton, Bears, Gorillas, Chimps, ...

  • Comment number 37.

    Yes we are addicted to oil. Remember it isn't just used as an energy source, it is also a key component of plastic, and many other products.
    I am typing this on a keyboard that has keys made of plastic, my computer and mouse casings are also plastic as is my telephone casing. The list is endless. I am also in the process of painting some windows and I am pretty sure that Oil is an ingredient of the paint.
    I am sure however that as the price of oil increases as it starts to run out that other materials will become more cost effective and be used as substitutes.
    I do agree with one of the earlier commentees in that the root of the problem is population growth. We have way to many people on the planet, and there are finite resources.

  • Comment number 38.

    The questions that should probably be considered are as follows:

    Why does the UK export OIL at all, when we could use it, and reduce our own imports of Oil?

    Why has the UK only got the capacity to store (roughly) a weeks worth of oil products?

    Why is the UK Government not buying Oil and storing it for future use?

    Whilst it is available on the world markets, buy it, and store it in huge new oil storage depots.

    That would provide construction works initially and Facilities management and maintenance jobs.

    Not a cheap option, but it is better than the alternative.

  • Comment number 39.

    Are we addicted to oil? Absolutely.

  • Comment number 40.

    Are we addicted to oil?

    What a completely rediculous question!

    Oh Yes! I regularly "jack up" with a syringe full of Super Octane High Performance Unleaded!

    There are no descent, viable, cost effective alternatives - from the point of purchasing a vehicle and the fuel to run it and its availability.

    Get that sorted and I'll use less oil.

  • Comment number 41.

    I wouldn't say that I am addicted to oil but I would not like to do without it until some other new means of generating power comes along. Before electricity was discovered we all had to rely on candles and parafin lamps - remember that was only just over 100 years ago! We human beings can be so arrogant in presuming to know all the answers to the wonder of creation and what are its limitless resources. What lies in store is known to God and God alone - who is the author of creation and who loves everyone the same.

  • Comment number 42.

    There's a lot of people here who don't seem to read the news....

    Firstly British troops withdrew from Iraq last year. We're not "fighting their for oil". Secondly if anyone had bothered to check they'd find that virtually no US or UK oil company got a look in when the Iraqi govt sold the oil tenders. Afghanistan has no oil, however Nigeria (the Detroit bombers homeland), Libya (allegedly behind the Lockerbie bombing and certainly funder of the IRA), Saudi (home of the 9/11 hijackers and Bin Ladin himself) plus Burma & Darfur (constant sources of trouble) have lakes of the stuff, yet we haven't invaded them.

    As to 'why we use so much oil'... maybe it has something to do with 'enviromentalists' like Sir David Bellamy doing everything he can to stop wind and tidal schemes being built. Have a look at what he was up to on Saturday. We can't have nuclear because its 'unsafe', we can't build windmills because they chop up birds, we can't have tidal barrages because they 'upset the balance of delicate coastal ecosystems' and we can't have hydro because the 'dams flood areas of natural beauty'. Oil is all thats left.

  • Comment number 43.

    We have to accept that, as long as we use oil on the scale we do today, we will have the occasional environmental disaster. I don’t think that we will get rid of our dependence on oil any time soon, but there are loads of things we can do today to reduce that dependence.

    And contrary to popular belief we don’t need new technologies to achieve that. We need political choices. For example: we have cars with hybrid engines driving around today. The technology exists and works perfectly. Why don’t all new cars have hybrid engines? It will not move us off oil completely, but it will significantly reduce our reliance on it. We will probably have to live with oil spills for some time to come, but even if we can reduce the number of them by 20% or so, that would be a huge win.

    President Obama is spot on in his efforts to hold BP to account for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But it is his country that is the biggest consumer of the stuff, and that is best placed to reduce our reliance on it. So come on Mr Obama: the time is right for some far reaching green policies!

  • Comment number 44.

    It's not addiction to fossil fuels, it's dependence. And this dependence is on four levels.

    1 - Transport - almost all vehicles we use are powered by fuels sourced from oil. If I go out during the day to the city centre I will see 1-2 electric delivery vehicles with the rest being petrol/diesel powered.

    A solution here is a combination of purely electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, the latter using the combustion of hydrogen to generate power for electric motors which then drive the vehicle. However, until fossil fuels lose their economic viability as a widespread fuel source due to increased scarcity this is likely to be nothing more than a vision.

    2 - Electricity - the majority of our power comes from coal fired power stations. There are renewable power sources, however these are both in the minority and mostly intermittent in generating capacity. The shutting down of nuclear power stations is possibly the worst thing any government could do with regard to power supply.

    A solution here is to massively increase our renewable energy generating capacity while maintaining our fission power facilities. Only decommission the fossil fuel plants once the replacement generating capacity is in place from these other sources, and once fusion power becomes economically viable, implement it in place of the fission power facilities.

    3 - Gas - This is mainly used for home cooking and heating of buildings.

    A solution would be to phase out gas-powered cooking appliances and heating systems in favour of electric ones.

    4 - Plastic - Don't forget that all the plastics that are used are sourced from oil.

    As for a solution, I'm not entirely sure as many of the current applications for plastic can't really be fulfilled by another material. For example, wooden materials would degrade, metal is too scarce and rock is too heavy. Perhaps someone could enlighten me with regard to a viable non-fossil fuel sourced plastic replacement.

  • Comment number 45.

    BP could donate money to ecological interests in the Gulf of Mexico. They work every day to preserve plants, fish, birds, and mammals.

  • Comment number 46.

    It's currently the dominant fuel, before that we had gas, then coal, then wood. Each having it's own peak period. Oil will never run out before a new energy source takes over, there so much of it, but it does get more inaccessible.

    The main problem is population creating the demand for both fuel and food.

    However, energy companies should not be left to solely develop new fuels, we should be investing government money into science, and politically in a world effort to reduce the world population.

  • Comment number 47.

    28. At 11:16am on 17 Jun 2010, Rob wrote:

    Algae produced biofuel can be produced in a home environment for next to nothing and is carbon neutral, it's good enough to run ground-vehicles off of.
    The technology is readily available today.
    It gets no coverage because it's not a money maker, and it can't be taxed.

    It's not that we're addicted to oil, it's government addicted to oil-related money.

    -------------------------------

    I think the biofuel you mention is the one my partner is looking into at the moment at university. They are reproducing the calculations to get the quality/time ratio for this algae to replace petrol for land vehicles. Unfortunately it falls short of the mark and doesnt produce enough.

    Apparently this is on the cutting edge of scientific study at the moment and while the biofuel could produce some (I dunno how far short of the mark but it sounded promising), it would not be a viable replacement.

    If this was the route they went the gov would definately tax it. To get the best production requires pretty specific controls (something to do with the amount of salt in the water and light, etc).

    Nice to know people are following the latest science though.

  • Comment number 48.

    To my mind there are two answers to the question:

    1 - Yes, we are addicted to oil in as much as we cannot conceive of a time when we might have to stop global travel, or even reduce our local travel such as daily commuting.

    2 - No, but we are enslaved by it, and by the massive companies who control it. It is not in the interest of these companies to find alternative energy sources.

    A news story a couple of years ago highlighted a breakthrough by a British inventor, who had developed a plastic that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. At around the same time an engine was being developed by Honda that runs on hydrogen and oxygen, giving energy and a waste product of water. It's all been quietly buried, because we could have VERY CHEAP and reusable fuel that would allow us to truly move around without hurting the environment, but at the cost of bankrupting several major oil companies. There are many other discoveries whose patents have been purchased and shelved in the short-term interest of money.

    So I believe that we're not really addicted to oil, but rather to the uses of that oil, and that we're being held hostage by multinational companies for their bottom line instead of a more altruistic environmental approach.

  • Comment number 49.

    To be honest i think it would of been best to live with horse & carts so less pollution.

  • Comment number 50.

    NO, But the government is addicted to the extortionate amounts of tax it can collect on forcing us to travel to work by car. Jobs are far and wide apart, hours flexible (for the employer) and public transport a joke and set to get worse with the coalitions cuts in transport funding.

    Tax when you buy your car, tax when you service it, tax when you MOT it, tax on road fund license and now they want to tax it when you park at work. When you think about it, its just a protection racket on jobs, no wonder the Kray twins were locked up for life, they were competition to the Mafia that sit in Westminster.

  • Comment number 51.

    Putting solar panels on the average single garage in bedford produces enough Hydrogen to power a dual fule converted car 90% of the average daily comute.

    The car needs to be started on petrol, and switched over the hyrofgen once warmed up, these a 10% loss of power when driven on Hyrodgen, and when you run out you switch back to petrol.

    The trial of the system 10 years ago propved the system and gave a dozen of so lucky drivers 90% reduxtion iun their fuel bills, pay back then as 2years for the cost of converting the car and the solar panels and H-generator. Unfortunatly G.Clown went after them for using none-dutied fuel and charged back taxes!

    Simples

  • Comment number 52.

    This is a joke question, yes?

  • Comment number 53.

    The fact that we are over reliant on fossil fuels is old news. At least 30 years old.
    Rumours abound that the car and oil multinationals for have held for years patents on technology that could have reduced our dependancy. How much truth there is in this only they know.
    At the time we stopped deep mining in this country we were reported to have 300 years supply and our household gas came as a biproduct of producing coaking coal. North sea oil and gas had a life span of around 30 years.
    This doesn't answer the question on pollution but it does beggar the question of what did we do with the profits from North Sea oil and what was the real reason for closing so many pits?
    The profit from both these industries could have been invested in investigating and producing alternative energy production.
    Where did it go?
    Not to benefit the masses and prevent our overdependance on fossil fuel that's for sure.

  • Comment number 54.

    "3. At 10:13am on 17 Jun 2010, angry_of_garston wrote:
    Stand by any gridlocked City Street and you will see many large vehicles with single occupants doing trips that could be done in a smaller vehicle or even on public transport if it were not so expensive. Huge vehicles are simply not needed by the vast majority people."

    Its cheeper fopr me to drive from central kent to london, pay the congestion charge and for parking, than for me to drive to my local station, pay for parking and the train. And thats even if you include the total costs of car ownership in the calculation.

  • Comment number 55.

    Over the last 100 or so years we have learned how to turn oil into almost anything we need or want.Things like a hot house, a cold house, food, a nice tropical holiday, golf clubs, clothing, drugs, building materials, the list goes on and on.
    The majority of the planet's human population is dependant on oil for most things.As people have already said there are people dying throughout the world because of oil dependance and the lack of supply. Yes, a relatively small amount of western armed forces, but then thousands if not millions of men women and children throughout the developing world who have not got access or the ability to pay for the life basics now globally dependant on oil for their production and supply.
    Are we addicted to oil? Yes, the majority of the worlds population is physically dependant on oil for their existance. Can we break that addiction? Not while selfishness and greed are the predominant characteristics of humankind.

  • Comment number 56.

    "North America soaks up around one quarter of the world's oil..." - The average US citizen uses about double the oil of the average European. Not surprising then that they were prepared to licence highly risky deep sea drilling operations.

  • Comment number 57.

    No. The governments are addicted to the income it generates. They deliberately hold back the progress of other energy sources in order that they make as much as possible out of what's already there.

  • Comment number 58.

    Not sure that addicted is the correct word. We're certainly over dependent on the stuff.

    Personally I believe that we should be investing in other ways of generating electricity, especially nuclear. Increased use of 'green' generation and even of coal - once the carbon capture/storage technology is fully developed. (BTW. re nuclear: I believe that we're far too fearful of this - I spent the first 40 odd years of my life living about mid way between the Trawsfynydd and Wylfa nuclear power stations and I don't glow in the dark!)

    And above all, we should be investing much, much more into researching battery technology (public money preferably so that nobody attempts to gain a monopoly). Currently the research seems to be into developing batteries which can make cars travel at Ferrari-like speeds for very short distances. IMO we should be going in the opposite direction and attempting to develop batteries which can propel a family car for 500 miles per charge at normal motorway speeds and which are small enough and flexible enough to allow for a normal sized boot together with an easy swap for fresh batteries at fuel stations.

  • Comment number 59.

    "Are we addicted to oil?"

    Me? Alcohol, cigarettes and heroin, yes, but not oil. If I could smoke it or inject it, possibly.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Maybe it is time that we lived in smaller communities again. Small or medium sized communities where there are enough jobs created by helping each other with our talents, where we could work the land to grow enough food for that particular community. That way we would not need to commute and could be happier as a result.
    Communities where we learn how to make solar panels and work on developing natural energies.

    We are living on a dynamo with a network of energy grids and we have a huge nuclear plant nearby called the sun!!!!!

    I do not agree that the earth is overpopulated, just badly organized. Except maybe overpopulated with greedy scheming elite who will do anything for power and money.

  • Comment number 62.

    Am I dependent on oil?

    I suppose so, I drive a lot and I fly a lot, and I really enjoy doing so, I am never happier than in a departure lounge in an airport or ferry terminal.

    However there are alternatives years ago there were experiments with a safer form of hydrogen, what happened to those. Back in the twenties there was actually a petrol substitute that worked, but of course the guy who invented it disapeared, obviously he upset the oil barons.

    Regarding climate change and global warming etc, again I go into my favourite rant which is scientificaly factual.

    Stop chopping down rain forests, they are the worlds air con system, they breath in carbon and exhale oxygen, yes it is that simple!

    I think I will now go for a nice drive in the country.

  • Comment number 63.

    Yep we are too reliant on oil; and the UK government knows it and is using it to fleece us left right and centre.
    I'd like to see the world slow down a bit and stop being hounded by big business to do more work, faster and for less money.
    That would reduce fossil fuel usage and allow the adoption of renewable alternatives which do not re-generate as quickly as we can haul oil out of the ground.

  • Comment number 64.

    #44 "3 - Gas - This is mainly used for home cooking and heating of buildings.

    A solution would be to phase out gas-powered cooking appliances and heating systems in favour of electric ones."

    And what exactly powers the electrical generation? probably gas or coal!!!!

    What you're suggesting is that I spend £3-4,000 getting my heating system and cooker replaced with electric, spend more on utility bills (because per unit electric is more expensive than gas) yet still be using gas ultimately to heat my home and food.

    Mind you its not quite as insane as some of the other posts here (about hydrogen fuel that violates the first law of thermodyamics by needing less energy to produce than it generates by burning...it doesn't. That would effectively be a perpetual motion machine) or the daft notion that such a fuel would be surpresed to keep the oil companies from going bust. As if the oil companies with their huge network of refineries, filling stations tankers etc wouldn't leap at the chance of producing a cheap fuel which they'd sell at huge profit and NOT have to deal with the Saudis or pay mega-compensation everytime there was a leak!

  • Comment number 65.

    tax the car out of everyones equation - walk, bus or bike it. Tough. Every house to have light sensors which only permit lights to be used below certain levels. Grade A washing machine and fridge freezers only, solar pannel heating on every house. Full insulation and double/trebble glazing doors and windows. Food packed in freezer style bags, biogradable within 3 months - no polystyrine packaging of any type. Material/cloth child nappies only. Then, we are begining to do something towards cutting down the excess.

  • Comment number 66.

    49. At 11:39am on 17 Jun 2010, sarahm wrote:
    "To be honest i think it would of been best to live with horse & carts so less pollution."

    Ignoring the fact that cattle at least are a major source of greenhouse gases (methane - 30x more potent than CO2 pumps out of their back end constantly) I doubt you'd welcome a horse drawn ambulance.... I can recommend Zimbabwe if you DO want such a society though.

    #57 "57. At 11:52am on 17 Jun 2010, its_dave_here wrote:
    No. The governments are addicted to the income it generates. They deliberately hold back the progress of other energy sources in order that they make as much as possible out of what's already there. "

    Can you explain what would prevent the govt slapping 200% duty on your 'other energy source' if such a thing was viable? They have no problem taxing everything else to the hilt!

  • Comment number 67.

    56. At 11:52am on 17 Jun 2010, SeasideSteve wrote:

    "North America soaks up around one quarter of the world's oil..." - The average US citizen uses about double the oil of the average European. Not surprising then that they were prepared to licence highly risky deep sea drilling operations.

    ------------------------------

    They do however have further to drive for most things. I accept they have bigger cars but there built to do the job our dinky things dont. i cant make excuses for some of their over the top engines but generally the US has further to drive than most countries I have seen.

  • Comment number 68.

    Does peanut butter oil count?

  • Comment number 69.

    What an alarmist and rediculous question!! Are we addicted? BBC should know better what the term means! Are we totally reliant on oil, due to our current way of life...........Absolutely yes. Not only for fuel but for many other products like plastics, road surfacing, solvents and many many more. What is the purpose of the BBC's header? It only served to down grade the intelect of those responsible for this forum. Next you'll all be wearing your Base Ball caps back to front. Totally unimpressed.

  • Comment number 70.

    Oil is not the problem.


    Overpopulation is the problem (and one which is currently exploding).


    Until overpopulation is "solved" there can be no solution to energy issues (whether from oil, coal, gas, wave, sun, wind or pink flying elephant energy).


    That's the inescapable truth.

  • Comment number 71.

    The first step in treating any addiction is admitting you have a problem.

    I can't help but notice how many posters say we aren't addicted to oil but we are dependent or reliant upon it.

    Really, what's the difference?

  • Comment number 72.

    It is absolutely incredible that a company the size of of BP
    did not have contingency plans to deal with an incident of this nature.
    We are addicted to oil because we do not have much choice, I suspect if the truth was known the oil companies do not want us to have choice.

  • Comment number 73.

    Of course we cannot rely on oil for much longer. However the problem arises from the power of the oil companies and oil producing countries. They have so much power that they frighten Governments. No one can tell me that somewhere in the world there are no scientists capable of producing a non oil reqirement motor engine. There MUST be someone, somewhere who can do it. In relation to other uses for oil, yes there are alternatives but we seem to produce the most unfriendly versions, seemingly designed to turn off the public. I am not a conspiracist, but come on, something ain't right. As an aside, break the power of oil and you break the power of much terrorism.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yes we need Oil. It is an unfortunate fact that we need it so sorry to the Greens but nothing as yet comes close to taking it's place. So no matter what reductions we take as people of the World we will continue to need it. It is a fact of life.

  • Comment number 75.

    As with the recent bank fiasco this is another failing of capitalism - the guaranteed way to make a lot of money wins. Find oil and you'll make a lot of money, say you are forgoing oil and will focus on renewable research (not guaranteed to pay out as well) and your investors will disappear to the oil company around the corner and your share price will fall faster than BP in a broken lift.

    It's not tricky maths, we have X amount of oil on the planet (X may be smaller or bigger than we estimate but it's finite what ever the value). It is replenished at Y per year and Y is very small as oil takes millions of years to form. Ergo, we use more than Y amount a year, we run out as X is finite. So lets prioritise, we do have viable alternatives to powering petrol vehicles, electric, it may not produce cars that float Mr Clarksons boat, but lets be honest who wants to see his boat being floated?! We don't have a viable alternative to aviation fuel so that will have to stay for the moment. Plastics is another problem area but there is research going on and being successful in biological production of plastics so more investment there please. We could instantly cut the oil we use, not to zero, but to a point where we are only using it for processes we have no alternative to and we plunge lots of research dollars/pounds/euros into these to find other ways, and there will be other ways.

  • Comment number 76.

    The reality (which a lot of people like to ignore) is we HAVE to use oil and their is no alternative to it (or for the majority of it uses) in the foreseable future without MAJOR impact on our way of life and economies. In fact demand will go UP. We can REDUCE its use in some areas (fuel use) but not all. Its OK for people to play politics with big oil and 'green' issuses but it has many dangers as people start to think their ARE alternatives. I am afraid away from your armchairs and in the real world kiddies, their are not and it will be long time until one is found (not in our lifetime)

  • Comment number 77.

    We will always need oil for some things. There is a danger that when people think of oil consumption they think of it only as fuel for vehicles or power stations.
    The reality is that when broken down it is essential to pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of circuit boards and other technologies and a thousand other things we don't even think about from day to day.

    There are some things we NEED oil for. But there are some things that we use it for that we could find alternatives for. The internal combustion engine is top of that list.
    We NEED to move away from wasting what is left in this fashion. If you compare the car industry to the technology sector its truly shocking that we are using BASICALLY a 100 year old technology to power our cars.
    The fact that we are not using hydrogen fuel cells is a disgrace.

    Essentially what we need to do it look at the areas where we use oil where there are alternatives available. If you take cars running on petrol out of the equation, then suddenly we have many more years of oil that we thought we did. Which gives us longer to find alternatives in other sectors where currently it is NEEDED.

    In short that's what we must start to do. Look at where we NEED oil and where we just use it because that's what we have always done.
    Make what we have last longer.

  • Comment number 78.

    8. At 10:24am on 17 Jun 2010, And_here_we_go_again wrote:
    It doesn't sound dascist, it sounds defeatist. True renuables can't currently produce the energy needs but there is no reason why with the right investment they can't in the future. To get any significant change in population in less than several generations, you are suggesting genercide. Very little is impossible

    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    Unfortunately with the current world population of 6 billion and the most blue sky estimates of "renewable energy" generation we'd need more than 3.5 Earth's to support that 6 billion in a pre-1930's lifestyle.

    Now factor in that we're rocketing to 9 billion people on the planet by 2050 and that "renewable energy" is likely to produce less than the most optimistic predictions (in the same way we're not flying around in rocket cars as they thought we would in the 1960's by now) and we're likely to need 5-10 Earth's to support 9 billion people in a pre-1930's lifestyle.



    The numbers just don't add up, and it's basically the plague numbers of Humanity causing them not to do so.

    The UK for instance would need 20-30 million people to be "sustainable", not the 60 million we have and certainly not the 70 million we'll have within 10 years.

  • Comment number 79.

    Yes, we are far to dependent on oil, when there are numerous other alternatives, liquid hydrogen, oil seed rape and methanol being the obvious ones for powering all kinds of engines (including jet engines).
    They are all better for the environment than crude oil products.
    Time to move out of the 19th century and into be 21st.

  • Comment number 80.

    It is not a question of being "addicted" to oil. I hate paying £1.16 a litre as much as the next person does, but there is no alternative. We don't have time to walk the kids to School. Public Transport in my area is expensive and unreliable. Roads are too dangerous to cycle, and there aren't enough cycle paths. Alternative fueled vehicles are far too expensive becasue no-one will invest in the research. The Government also make far too much money on Pterol to promote anything else. Tell me then, what is the alternative to oil?

  • Comment number 81.

    Of course we are. Unless and until we need to, we will carry on draining the planet of all essential but finite fossil based fuels. We won't stop until it's too late. It may not be in our time but it will occur in our grandchildrens.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    At 12:07pm on 17 Jun 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    56. At 11:52am on 17 Jun 2010, SeasideSteve wrote:

    "North America soaks up around one quarter of the world's oil..." - The average US citizen uses about double the oil of the average European. Not surprising then that they were prepared to licence highly risky deep sea drilling operations.

    ------------------------------

    They do however have further to drive for most things. I accept they have bigger cars but there built to do the job our dinky things dont. i cant make excuses for some of their over the top engines but generally the US has further to drive than most countries I have seen.

    --------------------------------

    That is true, they do drive more that we do - often by necessity.
    But if you have to drive further and more often that does not automatically mean you need a huge car with a massively overpowered engine.
    What you need is a car that is - reliable, efficient and (very importantly) comfortable.
    3 things that do NOT describe any American car I have seen in a long time.
    American cars are terrible - lets not kid ourselves. They are not nice places to sit, full of cheap looking plastic and bits that fall off. They are NOT comfortable, the ride quality is laughable in most. And they are in no way efficient. They install enormous engines which somehow manage to produce a feeble (compared to European cars) amount of horsepower for the engine capacity.


  • Comment number 84.

    Tony Dixon wrote:
    We are prepared to send our soldiers to die in foreign wars for oil, You can't get more addicted than that.

    Yawn..... Take off your red tinted glass Tony. The red flag stopped flying last century. OUR soldiers are fighting for you and me NOT for oil.

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes, it provides most of the chemical building blocks of industry. When it was fist analysed to molecular level by a Russsian Chemist he concluded that, "It is far too valuable to burn!"

  • Comment number 86.

    I agree with the comments @ #1 regarding population control - sooner or later the debate on climate change/energy requirements needs to swing towards population control as a big part of the solution to our energy problems and fossil fuel emmissions.
    Electric cars are NOT the solution and we should not be subsidising development of this complete dead end. The long term solution for road vehicles is fuel cell, which Honda have already got a vehicle the FCX Clarity operating in California - yes it needs development to get the cost per unit down, but offers a true solution. Electric just moves the problem (power generation) from the tail pipe to the generating station, and that's before you take into account the expensive and noxious chemicals used in battery manufacture.
    We (the Western nations) should be putting every effort behind alternative energy primarily to reduce our dependence on unstable and odious regimes such as Saudi Arabia.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    Energy policy in the 1970s was based on cheap oil from the Middle East - no more need for coal reserves. Our whole way of life; cars, public transport, machinery, food, electricity, heating, lighting, plastics, building products, road construction etc. all depend on hydrocarbon feedstock. We have neglected and failed to plan for nuclear, tidal, clean coal, solar and low efficiency wind generation for decades. Hydrocarbons are no longer cheap and will continue to rise in cost due to sour reservoirs and remote locations such as deepwater, arctic and other environmentally sensitive areas. Time to stop wasting it by eliminating unnecessary journeys and wasteful heat loss. A balanced energy portfolio is an absolute must have or the lights really will go out.

  • Comment number 89.

    Shouldn't the question be 'Do governments get too much money from oil companies exploiting the planet to give a damn about the consequences?'

    Big oil coprps will carry on drilling and polluting as long as they are allowed to by governments. They will also pay lip service to alternatives while the Billions £££'s keep rolling in.

    We're all doooooooooooomed, doooooooooooomed I tell ya!

  • Comment number 90.

    No, we are not addicted to oil, we are addicted to energy of which oil is just one current part.

    We are also more seriously factually addicted to wasting time, importantly and especially the timeframe in which our planets resources and natural abilitys can maintain our existance as we use them up at an increasingly faster rate.

    We are in such a rush to create more time for ourselves individually and also maintain our present personal waste of time to "enjoy life", that we use more and more energy and resources to achive this.

    Whether it is plane flights, trains, other transportation or even spraying our garden fences with preservatives, LOL.

    I find it hysterical that we even put so much energy and resources into a simple thing as spraying garden fences with preservatives while the VERY action of doing so DECREASES the preservation of our world. Its beyond comical, enough to make a meerkat do continuous hysterical somersaults for an eternity or at least a minimal googolplex!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    Living in North Wales we have to rely on oil for our heating, there is no mains gas. During the winter months we can easily spend six hundred pounds a month on heating oil.

    The biggest problem we face is that the property in within Snowdonia national park, an Quango who can spend our money without any comeback. Snowdonia National Park in their wisdom refuse to let me double-glaze the property, as it would not be in keeping with the character of the building. Despite the plethora of plastic windows in virtually every other nearby building

    When we are constantly being told by the government, the media and every pressure group I can think of that we all have to reduce our carbon footprint, how much longer will the government allow national parks to destroy the planet.

    Every national park authority should be disbanded now, saving the taxpayer millions of pounds a day and giving us the people a chance to help save the planet.

    It is no wonder we are dependant on oil, what choice do we have


  • Comment number 92.

    This is human nature, it will never change until we're faced with a harsh reality. It will change under two options
    1) We experience first-hand the destruction we cause on our planet, by then it might be too late.
    2) We find an adequate replacement to oil; clean energy. Perhaps after we run out of natural resources.

  • Comment number 93.

    8. At 10:24am on 17 Jun 2010, And_here_we_go_again wrote:
    "1. At 10:05am on 17 Jun 2010, 23 years 11 months and counting wrote:
    "We either have a future of controlled population numbers or we have no future at all, and if that sounds fascist - I don't care. I'm stating a cold hard unpleasant fact."

    It doesn't sound dascist, it sounds defeatist. True renuables can't currently produce the energy needs but there is no reason why with the right investment they can't in the future. To get any significant change in population in less than several generations, you are suggesting genercide. Very little is impossible"

    I accept most of what you're saying and yes, my post was defeatist in tone, but based on the geopolitics of the last century-and-a-bit sadly it's the only conclusion I could reach: it would be great to have the global co-operation that would right the ship, but that's not likely.

    And this sounds ecxeptionally morbid, but genocide is not - and never has been - an effective means of population control, and neither has any other act of war, because wars inevitably result in baby booms for both victorious and defeated alike. The best way to tackle the population timebomb is simply to give people incentives not to have children!
    ------
    "36. At 11:26am on 17 Jun 2010, Rob wrote:

    1. At 10:05am on 17 Jun 2010, 23 years 11 months and counting wrote:
    I know I sound like a broken record, but when our planet is operating at 350% its safe capacity - expected to peek at about 450% - this is the problem we face.
    -----------

    I didn't know Earth had a capacity rating.

    Please tell me where you founnd the specification chart of Earth, I'd like to double check those figures.

    Alternatively, could you please provide me with the Earth's capacity ratings for: Bacteria, Grass, Plankton, Bears, Gorillas, Chimps, ... "

    To answer the first part of your reply, I accept carrying capacity is a very contentious debate utterly devoid of consensus and yes, it's only an estimate. I could be out by 10 million, 100 million, a billion or more but it's important to understand that in a world where population growth is exponential and resources are not, there is a carrying capacity to worry about.

    I'm not going to answer the second part because I don't see what species which don't intentionally overshoot their carrying capacity have to do with this.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yes we are, and there's not much anyone can do about it. Correction: There's not much anyone WILL do about it. All the time there are massive profits to be made from oil, it isn't in anyone's financial interest to invest and come up with newer, non-oil-based technology. The only time anyone will do that is when oil is running out and costs start to rocket even more than they have already done. Nuclear energy is the only way to go at the moment because the AGRs are reaching their sell-by dates and even the 'off-the-peg' EPRs take time to build and get going. We need to stop pontificating and start building now - both the stations themselevs and the long-term geological storage facilities for the waste that everyone keeps deferring.

    We are not far from the time when oil gets too expensive to burn, and we will need other energy sources such as electricity to run our cars. If you calculate the amount of energy needed to run our transport system (cars, lorries, buses, trains etc.) and add that to our current demand it's quite plain that the existing generation and distribution system couldn't cope with everyone plugging in their cars at night. We need the baseload generation that nuclear can give us and we need to top this up with wind/wave and other renewables. We will still struggle even then, and we will need to consider if it's time to use the four-letter c-word that everyone hates... coal.

  • Comment number 95.

    We are addicted to the people who sell us the oil. This applies to the US where Obama prefers to buy from his middle east pals rather than open up safe areas for oil exploration. As for the UK - a long list of PMs of which Cameron is the latest base both internal and external policies on appeasement to the oil suppliers. Time we stood up to them.

    To the doom and gloom participants on HYS - remember the experts telling us that all fossil fuels on Earth would be exhausted by the mid 1980s. So, in the words of the next US President, 'Drill baby drill'. And tell the oil producers who hate us where to get off.

  • Comment number 96.

    1. At 10:05am on 17 Jun 2010, 23 years 11 months and counting wrote:

    Okay, pull out the rifles lads, time to cull the masses!

    These silly rhetoric sentiments are so typical of those who are ignorant. It isn't about how many people there are, it's how wasteful these people are. China comprises of 1/5th of the world population (ie every 1 in 5 person in the world is Chinese) and has 4 times the amount of people than the US, yet manages to burn less energy.

    We all know who the mass energy burners are, particularly oil, but unless the US do something about it, then there's nothing that can be done.

    Funnily enough, the US produces the largest amount of energy too, but also has debts that amount up to it's own Gross National Product. 2 and 2 together, we might be on to something.

    The US need to cut out a serious amount of it's energy liberation... Less of Nascars, less of blowing stuff up, less of shipping and exporting. A great deal less would mean a great deal more for everyone else.

    And if you question my sources, I get them from the Wiki, Google, and many global newspapers. Realise the facts, and deal with them!

  • Comment number 97.

    Humanity, across all societies and civilisations have increasingly been enslaved by use of all fossil fuels since the 19th century birth of the industrial revolution?

    In the 21st century, different countries are at different stages of industrial development and repeating the same 19th century model - the only common factor is fossil fuels available to mine and burn for power to run factories to generate 'growth' and more stuff to buy at cheaper prices?

    Satanic mills are still with us; factories abroad that encourage displacement of whole communities to manufacturing hubs and exploitation - it's just history repeating itself in different places for the same dream?

    We are all guilty of contributing to this by buying too much stuff that feeds the cycle of deprivation elsewhere?

    Believe me, our family use a car to get to work on time and home again safely as public transport on shifts are unreliable and often unsafe. Plus, we need to buy cheap clothes to help meet council tax and basic utility bills.

    But, we increasingly donate to and buy clothes from Charity shops too.

  • Comment number 98.

    @23 years 11 months and counting wrote: "I know I sound like a broken record, but when our planet is operating at 350% its safe capacity - expected to peek at about 450% - this is the problem we face. Renewables don't generate the energy we need for that sort of overpopulation.

    We either have a future of controlled population numbers or we have no future at all, and if that sounds fascist - I don't care. I'm stating a cold hard unpleasant fact."

    ------

    I could not agree with you more. David Attenborough said as much, but his views were not aired on TV, just some 'minor' BBC Radio 4 programme a while back.

    Does anyone recall all this environmental concern some 10 years ago,
    reducing the need for the car? Well that was about as influential
    as zero itself.

    I'll sound like a socialist now, but capitalism and it's game of mass
    consumption will only continue this trend until the end, taking
    consequences with it and all. Backup up by the human drive to populate
    unabated, is going to lead us to times, which make the horrors of WWII seem like chicken feed. May not happen in our lifetime, but it will happen.

  • Comment number 99.

    Back to steam, here we come!

  • Comment number 100.

    At 11:12am on 17 Jun 2010, DaveRN wrote:
    No we do not need oil to run machines you can use vegitable oils to lubricate and water is also a lubricant. as for powering engines we can liquify methane gas, we can use rape seed oil in engines and all kinds of other vegitational oils so now we do not really need crude products it just needs a political will investment, and applied phsycology to ween everyone off the drug of hydro carbons

    1. Water as a lubricant, only on a wood to wood bearings.
    2. whale blubber was used on cart wheels.
    3.Where do you think Methane comes from????
    4. just so you know, Methane is one fo the most simple Carbon / Hydrogen compounds.
    5.Many veg oil lubricants are banned due to carcenogens.
    6. Animal fats (chicken oils) are used as replacements for machine cutting fluids, what do you think the Vegi lot think of that?
    7. There is a gathering concern that if farm land was turned over to growing veg for fuels the poorer nations would struggle to feed their populus and the farmers would profit significanlty toppling the balance in thise poorer nations.
    8. There is also a train of thought that if growing fuel crops were made more lucrative than drug crops, we could have a safer world and less drug trafficing etc, what do you think that would do to the fuel prices for "green" produced fuels?

    The only certainty is the you and I will be at the back of the queue for any benifits or enrichment.
    9. Stop listening to propeganda and hype and start doing your own research, you've obviously got an computer and are not too stupid to use it. You'll be absolutely amazed at what you find out and what nonsense you're being fed.

 

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