'Peak Oil' Advocate: World 'Desperately Needs' New Energy
The Middle East is always a worry. Once the can of democracy was kicked open, the ways in which this will change things in the region can only be guessed at. Regime changes are rough and rarely run smoothly. Policy changes mean changes for investors, and there are many groups in the region that have little love for the United States or for many of the countries of Europe.
Oilprice.com: If energy demand around the world continues to grow at current rates, how do you imagine the future? Will it lead to war? Large differences between the top and bottom echelons of society? Wide spread starvation? Etc.
Dave Summers: Sadly, wars have been fought over resources since the beginning of time, and in the last few decades human nature has not changed that much. The impact of mass communication, and its global reach may make it easier to tell the people on both sides the "truth," which is always adjusted as a function of who is telling it, and the possible impact of fabricators over conventional manufacturing might, however, make more of an impact faster than currently anticipated.
The mass elevation of people into the middle class in Asia cannot be reversed, and the pressures that this will bring can provide unyielding momentum that leads to conflict, particularly where there is some control over communication.
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There have been enough breakthroughs in agriculture that the risks of mass starvation are fading, though the availability of water is a constant concern in a number of countries. Spreading information, and providing assistance at the lowest levels of production will come about with the spread of electronic communication and this will have a beneficial impact.
Oilprice.com: How has media manipulation figured in the climate change debate?
Dave Summers: As long as journalists are advocates rather than reporters the true story will not emerge. The lack of journalistic challenge in the mainstream media to the deliberate deception employed in hiding the decline in temperature prediction accuracy with the tree rings which dropped just as temperatures were rising, thus invalidating the "hockey stick," was an early indication that media manipulation was going to be a critical factor in this debate.
How long must global temperatures remain relatively stable before someone brings this up as a front page story? The amount of money involved with those who espouse anthropogenic causes of climate change dwarfs the funding that has gone to those who raise questions when so many papers so this "may" happen, and that "might" occur. And those who pay the bills . . .
Oilprice.com: Lockheed recently came out with a statement predicting that they will have a working nuclear fusion reactor within the next 10 years. If this prediction does come true – do you see this having any meaningful impact on the energy sector?
Dave Summers: Um! Nuclear fusion has been the next great thing in energy production for the full extent of my professional life. It is likely to continue to be so through the professional lives of my children, and likely grandchildren.
Oilprice.com: What are your thoughts on nuclear power? Is it essential to meet our growing energy demand?
Dave Summers: Nuclear power has a considerable potential to help solve some of the shortfalls in energy that are now appearing on the horizon. Unfortunately the long delays in construction, some of which are due to permitting issues that have become political footballs, make it a hard investment to justify.
The move to construction of smaller reactors may well have considerable benefit, and the development of thorium has also got its place. But to make progress requires political will, and that is sadly lacking, and will remain so until energy demand rubs the noses of the body politic in the reality that there is no ideal, only the viable.
Oilprice.com: Dave thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Hopefully we will have a chance to catch up later in the year.