Hunt for Oil (Original In-Person Version from The Lead for the Planet Handbook; Online Version Below)
Length: 30-45 minutes
How much oil do we have on the planet? How much do we use? Assessment of oil supply typically depends on whom you ask. In this exploration, the class will look for currently recoverable reserves of oil on the planet. To be "currently recoverable," oil must be said to exist in a particular place, and it must be both technically and economically recoverable.
Working in pairs, scour the internet for opinions about how much oil is left on the planet. Then, using current statistics on world oil usage available at the EIA (Energy Information Administration of the US government), calculate how long that oil will last the world.
Share your calculations and sources with the class (as on a white board or electronic document) and describe your results.
The class compares their results and evaluates both the sources and the probable quality of their information. Introduce anecdotal information on oil availability in the future if you find any.
What are the current consequences of oil depletion? What ae the likely future consequences?
Identify sources that provide information on fossil fuels.
Assess the credibility of those sources.
Hunt for Oil (For Online Courses)
How much oil is there left in the world?
The online version of a short paper written by a small group.
1. Research and write this short paper for your professor:
In a small group to which you will be assigned, read about Practices 3 and 4 in Lead for the Planet and view Scott, Jared P. (2016). The Age of Consequences. (On the impacts of climate change on national security and global sustainability. 80 minutes.)
Use the sources provided there and other sources you identify to answer these two questions:
How much oil is left worldwide and how long is it likely to last given consumption patterns? (Show your math.)
What is the current strategic position of the United States with regard to oil resources and energy depletion?
Write a 750- to 1000-word summary of your findings with at least eight references.
Choose one group member to submit your MS Word document to your professor using Turnitin.
2. Post a summary of your findings to the class discussion board:
In 250- to 300-words, each group should state the number of barrels of oil they believe are left in the ground and their estimate of how long they think the oil will last.
Show all of your sources, describe why you think your set of sources represents a variety of perspectives, and reflect on how you chose the numbers that entered into your final calculation.
What standards did your group use to evaluate the sources?
What group process led you to your final decision?
You will not be able to see your classmates' comments until you make your initial post. At that point, review the class's findings (from their posted summaries) on how much oil is left. Consider Macalister (2016) and react to these findings as if you were an oil company strategizing for the next 100 years (which is part of what they do, in reality). Post your strategy for the class.
En-Roads for Online Courses
Using the En-Roads interactive climate simulation, anyone can draw on recent scientific data and modeling to predict global temperature changes. Go to the En-ROADS website. and try it out. Get a feel for what it will take to bring down global temperatures in the short and long terms (such as 2040, 2100).
Here's a video that walks you through one possible scenario: Testing "Keep It In the Ground" in the En-ROADS Simulator.
Although En-Roads offers a set of goals that can add up to keeping global temperatures "under control," it does not tell us how to achieve them. Imagine that each of its 18 interventions is matched with a probability of actually implementing it. How would the outcomes of the simulation differ?
Follow these instructions to discuss with your colleagues:
Consider what you have learned about taking action on climate change and plans (see especially "Designing plans that add up" in Andre, pp. 168-175, and "What's the plan?" pp. 211-221) and, in En-Roads, the 18 factors and the proposed actions modeled under each of them (click on, for example, 'Coal' or "Electrification" to see the details of the model.) Then complete the En-ROADS Goals Survey (created by your professor) to place each of the 18 proposed En-ROADs changes into one of three buckets (they do not have to be evenly distributed) according to whether you believe that, given Team Humanity's decision-making strengths and weaknesses, they are achievable.
In a post, describe your rationale for your ranking. (150-200 words).
You will not be able to see your classmates' comments until you make your initial post.
Post your initial response and respond to your classmates' comments.