05 September 2010

Article: "Peak oil" may threaten survival of democracy, says German military

On 1 September 2010, the major German weekly news magazine "Der Spiegel" published on its English website an article by business editor Stefan Schultz titled "Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how 'peak oil' might change the global economy. The internal draft document – leaked on the Internet – shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis. The term 'peak oil' is used by energy experts to refer to a point in time when global oil reserves pass their zenith and production gradually begins to decline. This would result in a permanent supply crisis [...]. The issue is so politically explosive that it's remarkable when an institution like the Bundeswehr, the German military, uses the term 'peak oil' at all. [...] The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors [...] 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 study [...] 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. [...] According to the German report, 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.' The Bundeswehr prediction is consistent with those of well-known scientists who assume global oil production has either already passed its peak or will do so this year. [...] 'In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.' [...] The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil 'as a general systemic crisis.' This would create 'room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government.' Fragmentation of the affected population is likely and could 'in extreme cases lead to open conflict.'" (bold removed)

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