Crude – the incredible journey of oil is a very informative documentary which charts the path of a typical carbon atom, circulating in the biosphere. It becomes trapped deep beneath the earth as part of an oil deposit, before being pumped out and burnt, returning to the biosphere. The documentary looks at the consequences of humans burning the world’s oil supplies, with rising oil prices as demand increases and the resource becomes increasingly scarce, the effects on the economy, and the consequences of the extra carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
From the food on our tables to the fuel in our cars, crude oil seeps invisibly into almost every part of our modern lives. It is the energy source and raw material that drives transport and the economy. Yet many of us have little idea of the incredible journey it has made to reach our petrol tanks and plastic bags.
Coming in the wake of rising global concerns about the continued supply of oil, and increasingly weird weather patterns, Crude spans 160 million years of the Earth’s history to reveal the story of oil; from its birth deep in the dinosaur-inhabited past, to its ascendancy as the indispensable ingredient of modern life.
Filmed on location in 11 countries across five continents, the program’s award-winning Australian filmmaker Richard Smith consults the leading international scientific experts to join the dots between geology and economy and provide the big-picture view of oil.
Crude takes a step back from the day to day news to illuminate the Earth’s extraordinary carbon cycle and the role of oil in our impending climate crisis. Nearly seven billion people have come to depend on this resource, yet the Oil Age that began less than a century and a half ago, could be over in our lifetimes.
In the last 150 years we have released much of the ancient carbon from oil back into the atmosphere as CO2, driving the now familiar greenhouse effect. But things could get far worse. Ironically, it seems that as we burn our way to the end of oil, the CO2 we’re returning to the atmosphere could recreate the supergreenhouse conditions that would heat and poison the oceans, once again laying the conditions for depositing oil.
It took a super-greenhouse earth to create our richest oil deposits. Ironically, by using oil up we may recreate the toxic conditions necessary to form new supplies. Oil lives on. But will we?
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