What was an unwavering empire that controlled the world’s economy is now turning obsolete. Oil, the natural resource that took over the world by storm in early 20th century will now succumb to the test of time. New, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy sources are now cheaper than their fossil fuel alternatives, rendering the oil industry useless in our modern age. So, this begs the question: what would a world after oil look like?
On the positive side, we are seeing a polluting industry fall apart. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fossil fuel that is industrially processed accounts for 65 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Its downfall could be a defining moment for the world’s quest to attain a sustainable way of living as the oil industry contributes for a majority of our excess gas emission. These new energy sources will significantly reduce our carbon footprint on Earth and may break the ice for new ways of thinking comprehensively about our planet.
The financial sector has also been verging towards the demise of the fossil fuel industry. According to Environmental Working Group, the stock values of the top four oil and gas firms have been halved since 2010. Low rankings in stock trading and diminishing investment opportunities is crippling any growth for this sector. After asking 41 institutional investors that manage a cumulative of $25 trillion, the investment advisory firm Morrow Sodali concluded that “sustainability, social and government risks were at the top of their lists, with 86 percent naming climate change as the greatest risk.”
With the influential rise of electric vehicle, energy sustainability and recycling in addition to the increasing global awareness for climate change, the oil industry is facing unbeatable odds. So, countries that rely on fossil fuel to sustain their economy are now at risk of major social distress.
The Organization of the Petroleum Countries (OPEC) has been the major regulator for oil exportation. Members of this organization include Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo. They all are faced with a crucial ultimatum, either continue the mass production of oil and let their economy crumble or diversify by relying on other ways to generate income.
Venezuela’s economy collapsed partly due to the fact that the country was over reliant on its oil industry. This could be a grim fate that many OPEC countries could face, especially when stacked against powerhouses like Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. So, societal unrest due to financial crisis will probably become a reoccurring theme in oil countries if they do not attempt to move away from this industry before its too late.
In today’s age, we are witnessing influential shifts in the world order. The industry that engrained itself so deeply into our everyday lives is now slowly fading away. Oil as an energy source is now being replaced by solar and aeolian energy. Although, such a global force leaving the main stage will not go without consequences. Countries will fall, systems will change abruptly, people will lose their livelihood and so forth. However, the cost of this progression will not surpass the potential cost of nature’s degradation if we kept on using fossil fuel as our primary energy source.