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Peak oil is happening now, according to a German military report By Zachary Shahan

The think tank that conducted the report is the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, "a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military," according to SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The military report doesn't try to sugar-coat the scale of the issues, and is actually quite dramatic in discussing them. As Stefan Schultz of SPIEGEL ONLINE writes:

The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the "total collapse of the markets" and of serious political and economic crises.

The report has been confirmed as authentic, but, apparently, it isn't finished or approved for public sharing yet, and it is doubtful that the German military or German government will release it without cutting and editing some of the dramatic statements and predictions.

The study, whose authenticity was confirmed to SPIEGEL ONLINE by sources in government circles, was not meant for publication. The document is said to be in draft stage and to consist solely of scientific opinion, which has not yet been edited by the Defense Ministry and other government bodies.

The lead author, Will, has declined to comment on the study. It remains doubtful that either the Bundeswehr or the German government would have consented to publish the document in its current form. But the study does show how intensively the German government has engaged with the question of peak oil.

Peak oil concern is sneaking out of the back rooms of other world-leading governments as well. The UK Energy Minister held a "Peak Oil Summit" earlier this year, for example. But this report may contain the most forthcoming statements of any major government on the topic and risks of peak oil.

Main Findings of Leaked Peak Oil Report

The report concluded that there is "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later." This fits the predictions of other scientists' studying peak oil, many of whom say that peak oil has already passed or will do so within year.

Some of the problems expected to result from peak oil include:

  • Oil-rich countries, some of which are quite unstable and unfriendly to the United States, will gain more and more international power (for a relatively short time);
  • Market failures are expected to occur and economies could even collapse;
  • Due to the highly interlinked nature of the global economy and global society today, these crises wherever they occur would create a strong ripple effect around the world — it is unlikely that any nation would be unaffected by such crises.
  • The German report even brings up the possibility that democracy itself will collapse.

With "Peak Coal" also perhaps happening as early as 2025, these concerns only get amplified if we don't make a quick transformation to a clean energy economy.

For more information from the report and further discussion on this topic, check out SPIEGEL ONLINE story, "'Peak Oil' and the German Government: Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis."

Photo Credits: JFabra via flickr; Tennessee Journalist via flickr

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