Steve LeVine at Foreign Policy discusses a near-term scenario that Big Oil deems all too plausible:
Royal Dutch/Shell says that in 2020, energy supplies will be so tight that they will tip the world into a full-blown crisis in which governments will force their populations to reduce driving, use less electricity, and pay an extremely steep increase for what they do consume. There will be a massive, decade-long economic slowdown, and geopolitical power will shift dramatically to energy-producing nations, the company says. Shell's forecasts, contained in a thought-provoking report on its view of the world through 2050, are based on current economic and energy-use patterns around the world. In previous weeks, we've heard almost identical energy-consumption projections from ExxonMobil (here is Exxon's neat slide show) and BP -- the world will use about 40 percent more energy by 2030.
For those more inclined to worry about global warming, there's plenty to despair over:
Shell's 52-page report says that in just four years, our usual sources of fuel are not going to meet growing global demand, so that there is going to be much switching to dirty coal, plus more use of agricultural-based biofuels.