CNN.com recently ran an article covering video game coming out called Frontlines: Fuel of War. A war tactics game, the story is driven by the scenario that peak oil is reached in 2006. Tensions rise as the cost of oil begins to escalate quickly, and the oil laden regions of the world including the Middle East, Latin America, and Russia become politically and socially unstable. Within 8 years, the international conflict leads to nuclear warfare, leaving all countries in a state of chaotic disarray. The result is the replacement worldwide of democracy with military governments whose primary goal is to obtain oil from the few regions still capable of production.
While the game is of course heavily dramatized, it's interesting that the energy crisis has become legitimate enough to be used as the premise behind a big budget video game. The article goes on to discuss the dissenting stances by different experts in the oil industry on just when peak oil will arrive. Though we hope that the when of peak oil will be later rather than sooner, the game presents a very scary situation. If we hit peak oil tomorrow, what would happen? In the midst of China's tremendous industrial growth, how would the United States be affected? I personally think that the game is a great way to spread awareness among younger people regarding our political relations that are built upon oil and gas ties and how serious the situation is. While peak oil may be decades away, it's important that we are prepared both nationally and internationally for diminishing opportunities to tap into near limitless amounts of oil reserves.
It's important to see that a call for change does not necessarily advocate swapping our dependence on oil to nuclear, hydro, wind and solar. Better engineering & developing technology is important for increasing oil recovery capabilities as well as developing transportation systems that have superior fuel economies. Better education will increase public awareness and increase conservation efforts. Many people in Texas would rather die than give up their gas guzzling pickup; it is almost a source of pride here to be obstinate in the face of conservationist. It will be interesting to see how this public sentiment would stand up if a situation such as that presented in Frontlines ever comes to pass.
The webpage for the game itself can be accessed here: