On the future of global energy

A report from the first international Global Peak Oil Conference held in Koblenz, Germany, October 2004

By J. Keuskamp

Many people instinctively feel that patterns on earth are changing; climate change and other environmental issues are topics of discussion. Yet at the same time we are aware that whatever our individual opinions or desires may be, they are not going to solve any of these problems, something on a much larger scale is needed, something like a new world culture. Some people, because of their area of expertise or the job they do, are very close to these issues and know that a fundamentally new approach to the whole matter is needed.

A. Wöstmann, the Dutch founder of Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections, is one such person. He runs a successful information website for the global energy industry and has become increasingly concerned about how we use the earth’s resources. He has been aware of a lot of interest in the issue of Peak Oil, which prompted him to organize the first global conference on this subject last year. Peak Oil is the description given to the situation where the demand for this energy source will begin to exceed supply. Such a situation would influence almost every realm of modern life.

The oil, gas and energy industry is the indispensable life blood of most economies. Increasing economic development around the world has meant an increase in demand for energy which impacts on its availability and price, and has huge environmental consequences. Over the last 150 years a trillion barrels of oil have been consumed, the next trillion will be much harder to find and will be used up much, much faster. These issues have a contradictory nature because the demand for energy is constantly increasing, reserves are decreasing and there is less climatic tolerance for such things as car emissions. In the coming decades the oil will run out, and if we project the expected industrial development of large economies such as India, China and Brazil, then the planet will also run out of basic materials like some of the metals and, importantly, fresh water. We will begin to see the first serious shortages within the next 25 years. The present path of extreme industrialization may, at a certain point lead to implosion. For example, if certain seaways became unusable because of changes in the oceans, the whole system collapses, cities will have no food as they are dependent on food coming in from overseas. If we make a projection of all the energy and materials that will be needed in the future, and that will have to be mined and processed, the planet won’t be able to bear it. And even then it’s finished after ten years. In addition to this are the environmental and climate issues that go hand in hand with increasing industrialization. These are all well known issues, yet few people put all these facts together. This is pressing and we need to act now. We are facing a unique and unknown situation, a transition from the hydrocarbon age to a post-hydrocarbon age, which will need fundamental changes in the way society works, and this takes time. For a society to change its ways takes decades, so it is vital to start to raise awareness now and approach this issue with the urgency it needs.

At another level the world is currently going through dramatic geo-political changes. There are crisscross movements all over the planet. Since the end of 2004 India is networking all over the world, so is China. There are connections now between groups and nations that were not there before. What does that say about long term global energy policy? What does it need?

Peak Oil is an emotionally loaded, controversial subject, discussed in opposing camps. There are the ‘alarmists’ who expect an imminent shortage of energy supplies accompanied by increasing disasters that will affect every part of life around the globe, and the ‘flat earth economists’ who claim that ‘technology will save us’. These camps do not exactly seek to dialogue with each other. Wöstmann organized the Global Peak Oil Conference with the aim of creating a think tank that could allow new ways of creative thinking, and as a first principle would search for new perceptions. “What has driven me to get together with these people is to see if the ideas that we have about development might change; that we might come to some different concepts about human development, in which the idea of luxury living is less prominent. If we can start to think differently now in our world community, maybe we can help to reduce future suffering by bringing about certain changes that relieve tension on the planet. My hope is that if some economies could start to act more responsibly, then others will follow by recognition or by pressure. The present route needs a fundamentally different paradigm, based in new templates, about such matters as, what are the principles of a new society? The energy problem is part of a much bigger picture, and we need to look at what is possible there.’

Representatives of both camps were invited, together with experts on climate issues. Thirty four people from high echelons of the oil and gas industry, universities and governments in 14 countries responded to this first timer, such as C. Campbell, Founder Ass.Peak Oil; J.M. Bourdaire, World Energy Council; Dr K.Chew,Vice President Industry Performance and Strategy, IHS Energy, Switzerland; Prof. S.Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Prof E. Dos Santos, Univ. Sao Paulo; Mr. J. Vazhayilpathrose, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, India; Mr. Behuria, CEO of India Oil Corporation.

The intensive seminar was based upon technologies developed in the Template Network. Wöstmann, who has been active in the Template Network in Germany for 20 years said, “These issues need a specific setting because it is only by moving our thinking to a higher level that we can dissolve their contradictory natures. If Template technologies get involved in this very important subject, it may open the door to a different awareness, one that is not governed by money and politics as is currently the case. This needs a special ecology that allows people to speak in an elevated and neutral environment where everyone feels free and that it is safe to speak. A vital ingredient in this is to work with a team that takes care of the atmosphere and well being during group processes to support the use of specifically designed methodologies.” Supported by the international lecturer and trainer B. Frenkel (Plasma Team Israel), together with a groupteam of process advisers, R. Donovan, I. Stocksiefen and B. Singer, an unseen ecology assessment reader J.van Schaik and a technician/musician P. Moldovany, Wöstmann succeeded in making this conference a remarkable and special event.

What was so special about this conference? There were excellent speakers from different sides of the argument about Peak Oil, and it managed to lift the gathering out of the controversy that surrounds this subject. It approached the area as part of a bigger picture, and it created a special environment in which the best of each person could appear, and it did this by applying the method of ‘The Five Intelligences’ that focuses on asking the right kind of questions.

B. Frenkel says about this method, “The core concept is to create a plasma state, which is a state in which elements can form. In human intelligence it’s a state in which something can form up by finding the right questions. Intelligence is understood as seeing the need and acting upon it, it’s about originality and creativity and going into completely new territory, like Gandhi and Einstein did. It’s not about big brains, it can come through different faculties. For example there is a Scottish fisher boy who can smell the water, he’s more intelligent about fish than educated people are. Intelligence can change and increase, new brain cells can be activated by being in an enhanced plasma state. That’s where the need for special ecologies comes in, ones that provide an environment in which this plasma state can be formed so new intelligence can form up, providing that people are open to new learning. It needs an atmosphere of respect and humanity that allows a person to open up and not retreat into what is known, which by nature is dualistic like matter and anti-matter. We’re looking for the third vector, a neutral state, which can solve it. In this we work with the model of Five Intelligences which we have put a colour code to. This Five Intelligences model can be the third vector; it provides elevated platforms that lead to new intuitive thinking.

It begins with white cognitive intelligence. The white warehouse contains all others, it is verbal intelligence, facts, no bias, a filing cabinet. Red is doing active, it looks at the implementation of knowledge, experimentation, trying anything and the reasons to do, it is motor and practical intelligence. In blue you look at the limits, rules, regulation, carefulness, what not to do, the principles of life, general principles and personal standards -Thomas More is a good example of this. In yellow social interaction awakens, the fact that there are more people than just you, the family, tribal and global aspects, belonging to something bigger with a greater vision, it is the intelligence of working as a team, understanding feeling and morale, it’s visionary intelligence. In green we reach the platform of new creative intelligence, innovation, free thinking. Green energy is what many people are looking for in every area, it’s very versatile and out of the box, often simple, almost childlike in its ingenuity.

In a good debate questions are floated, not answered; this creates a state of questioning that attracts multiple intelligences, which can then flow down and be translated through the human attributes, first through the dimension of awareness, then through cognizance and then to live contact experience, where it can be put into further research and consolidation.”

During the conference, the seating was arranged in 5 groupings and each grouping was given one of these colours to work with. Each person went through all the colours over the days of the conference. ‘This has been a big encouragement and a very special way of working together. The Chinese symbol of ‘chance’ and ‘crisis’ is the same. That has been the spirit here’, reflected Mr. E. von Aaken, Human Resource Advisor, Germany.

Each group came up with the most important question in their particular colour, and these questions were presented as a small passion play to demonstrate why this was such a crucial question. It caused moving little theatres to occur that showed clearly that the participants were aware that this is about much more than Peak Oil. For example, one theatre mimed a farmer and his plough, representing a possibly easier or less stressful life in the post-hydrocarbon age. Others recognized that there is just one source for all the energy on earth, the sun, and that we need to learn to live on our interest rather than on our capital.

The questions come to in each of the colour groups were as follows:

The yellow and green sections were very moving, where the feeling that we are one human species on one planet was strongly present in the atmosphere, clear and evident for all to register. This is quite unusual in a conference with such complex and potentially conflicting subject matters. There was almost like a sigh of relief in the atmosphere about being able to talk together at last. These questions now will be taken up in the individual countries for further process and research.

The comments of participants confirmed that the event caused a deepening of perceptions that were not there before. Mr. A. M.Arora,( Secretary General Indian Petroleum Federation) stated, ‘Whether the peak has been reached already for global supply or no is not the limited issue, it’s a broader issue for humanity for its sustainable development’; and S. Vijayaraghavan (Ministry Of Petroleum And Natural Gas, Government of India) said, ‘The result of participation is the gathering of knowledge and optimism that the human intelligence, having no limitation for ‘creativity’, can overcome any impediment of the looming energy crisis and find solutions for improving the quality of human life for present and future generations. This is the message I would like to convey back at our place after our return.’ One participant stated he came because he wanted to know more about Peak Oil but now saw it to be a temporary issue, the bigger issue being that we’re running out of resources in 50 years. Another said that he had attended hundreds of conferences, yet working with this method had caused a sudden chain reaction and all the knowledge he’d gathered before suddenly integrated and enabled him to have a very different feeling and perception about what he’s doing, and that this was due to the atmosphere and the working of the Five Intelligences in him.

In conclusion, much inspiration could be found in the conference for a fundamental long-term change in that there are many individuals who are impelled to seek for a better world and world citizenship with more hope for all, and that there is a methodology like the Template available. Seeing what became possible in just two days demonstrates the valuable marriage and bridge that is possible between these specific codings and Template methods on the one hand, with people who have a need to be better at doing what they love to do in their jobs for the betterment of the whole on the other. Whatever this may lead to lies in the future, yet it gives a vision of groups of people putting their job and efforts in alignment to the bigger picture of consciously becoming a planetary citizen in a time of transition and thus sending out a signal for global change.

The success of this gathering led to the first follow-up in India in January 2005. The next worldwide conference will take place in Koblenz from 10 -12 October 2005 under the heading of ‘Towards the principles of a long-term energy policy’. Wöstmann says, “The motives behind this are like visions for me, knowing what happens if we don’t do anything and what could occur if we succeed in establishing something different. I’m driven by the hope that initially an awareness can happen that doesn’t exist yet, and that once it is there, you will see all kinds of things that confirm it and that will bring about many new ideas, because that new level of perception is suddenly in the world. This conference caused optimism and belief, and a mindset is forming of the will to change for something good in the world. I believe we have it to do and that it can be done”.

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