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“The Oil Machine” and the Changing Climate.

“The Oil Machine” and the Changing Climate.

Released smartly in time for the COP27 climate change conference, the film “The Oil Machine”, presents a stark picture of the imperative to cut our use of fossil fuels, in particular crude oil, but moreover of our utter dependency on the “black gold” for practically all aspects of modern civilization. While it is clear that further licenses should not be permitted for new oil exploration and production, in line with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 roadmap, it is likely that oil companies would need to be accordingly compensated for their losses. However, although the UK government appears set to grant another 100 licenses in the North Sea, this would not necessarily guarantee energy security for the UK, since much of the production there is in the hands of foreign agencies.

A tricky dilemma is nonetheless presented, as European nations scramble to get hold of hydrocarbons from alternative sources, in part to avoid supporting Putin’s war machine, but also now that there is no Russian gas coming to Europe down the Nord Stream 1 pipelines, which have suffered damage from deliberate sabotage, although it is not yet clear exactly who put the explosives there for the job. While the finger of blame seems to oscillate in its direction, depending on exactly who is pointing it, efforts to maintain current levels of oil and gas through this winter and beyond, strengthen their grip, while renewable energy is pushed onto the proverbial back burner.

The film admirably emphasises the extent and complexity of the oil and gas pipeline network under the North Sea, and on land too, which is conveniently but deceptively out of sight and hence out of mind; yet it is this sprawling and fragile infrastructure whose bounty underpins the mechanics of our daily lives…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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