The planet is running out of oil and heading toward a future that could trap Canada in a violent spiral of economic and environmental decline, a Canadian military special research unit predicts.
This "global quagmire" is one of the teams four possible future scenarios; its developing a plan for the army of tomorrow.
In a best-case scenario, they predict that Canada could be at the forefront of a prosperous green economy, in which clean energy and environmental protection are priorities and living standards improve around the world.
Two other scenarios fall in between, but all four alternatives conclude that energy security and global environmental change are the most serious and unpredictable factors that could radically alter society and the role of Canada's army.
"It all depends on what kind of steps are taken today that could lead to various futures," Peter Gizewski, a strategic analyst on the team.
The team said that climate change in particular could have a wide range of consequences and oil shortages in a world with no alternative sources of energy.
"I don't think anybody would claim that we're all doomed in the sense that we're all going to face the same level," said Gizewski. "But parts of the world. . .where armed conflict could occur that are particularly vulnerable to these things."
The team also noted that the world is now consuming oil faster than it's discovering it.
"Globally, we find more [oil]. . .but we haven't actually found as much as we've used in a given year since 1985," said Researcher Major John Sheahan.
The global quagmire scenario predicts a world ravaged by climate change and environmental degradation wherein "markets are highly unstable," but the team said energy security and environmental change have the highest potential impacts and greatest uncertainty.
Energy-Starved Future Looms
Source: Vancouver Sun, Mike De Souza (4/18/11)
"Canada's military drafts four possible scenarios about global energy supplies."