|"There's No Tomorrow", Seq.1 - Introduction.
Script, References & Further Reading.
This is the earth, as it looked 90 million years ago. Geologists call this period the 'Late Cretaceous'.  It was a time of extreme global warming,  When dinosaurs still ruled the planet.  They went about their lives, secure in their place at the top of the food chain, oblivious of the changes taking place around them.
The continents were drifting apart, opening huge rifts in the Earth's crust. They flooded, becoming seas. Algae thrived in the extreme heat, poisoning the water. They died, and fell, in their trillions, to the bottom of the rifts. Rivers washed sediment into the seas, until the organic remains of the algae were buried. As the pressure grew, so did the heat, until a chemical reaction transformed the organics into hydrocarbon fossil fuels: Oil and Natural Gas. A similar process occurred on land, which produced coal.  It took nature about 5 million years to create the fossil fuels that the world consumes in 1 year.  The modern way of life is dependent on this fossilised sunlight, although a surprising number of people take it for granted.
Since 1860, geologists have discovered over 2 trillion barrels of oil. Since then, the world has used approximately half. 
Before you can pump oil, you have to discover it. At first it was easy to find, and cheap to extract.  The first great American oilfield was Spindletop, discovered in 1900. Many more followed.  Geologists scoured America. They found enormous deposits of oil, natural gas and coal.  America produced more oil than any other country,  enabling it to become an industrial super-power. 
Once an oil well starts producing oil, it's only a matter of time before it enters a decline.  Individual wells have different production rates.  When many wells are averaged together, the combined graph looks like a bell curve. Typically it takes 40 years after the peak of discovery for a country to reach its peak of production, after which it enters a permanent fall.
In the 1950s, Shell geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted that America's oil production would peak in 1970, 40 years after the peak of U.S. oil discovery. Few believed him. However, in 1970, American oil production peaked, and entered a permanent decline. Hubbert was vindicated.  From this point on, America would depend increasingly on imported oil. This made her vulnerable to supply disruptions, and contributed to the economic mayhem of the 1973 and 1979 oil shocks. 
The 1930s saw the highest rate of oil discoveries in U.S. history. In spite of advanced technology, the decline in the discovery of new american oilfields has been relentless.  More recent finds, such as ANWAR, would at best provide enough oil for 17 months.  Even the new "Jack 2" field in the gulf of Mexico would only supply a few months of domestic demand.  Though large, neither field comes close to satisfying America's energy requirements. 
Evidence is now mounting that world oil production is peaking, or is close to it.  Globally, the rate of discovery of new oilfields peaked in the 1960s. Over 40 years later, the decline in the discovery of new fields seems unstoppable.  54 of the 65 major oil producing nations have already peaked in production. Many of the others are expected to follow in the near future. 
The world will need to bring the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia into production every three years to make up for declining output in existing oilfields.  In the nineteen sixties, six barrels of oil were found for every one that was used.  Four decades later, the world consumes between three and six barrels of oil for every one that it finds.  Once the peak of world oil production is reached, demand for oil will outstrip supply, and the price of gasoline will fluctuate wildly, affecting far more than the cost of filling a car. 
Modern cities are fossil fuel dependent. Even roads are made from asphalt, a petroleum product, as are the roofs of many homes. Large areas would be uninhabitable without heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. Suburban sprawl encourages people to drive many miles to work, school and stores.  Major cities have been zoned with residential and commercial areas placed far apart, forcing people to drive.  Suburbia, and many communities were designed on the assumption of plentiful oil and energy. 
Chemicals derived from fossil fuels, or Petro-chemicals, are essential in the manufacture of countless products.  The modern system of agriculture is heavily dependent on fossil fuels,  as are hospitals,  aviation,  water distribution systems,  and the U.S. military, which alone uses about 140 million barrels of oil a year.  Fossil fuels are also essential for the creation of plastics and polymers, key ingredients in computers, entertainment devices and clothing. 
The global economy currently depends on endless growth, demanding an increasing supply of cheap energy.  We are so dependant on oil and other fossil fuels, that even a small disruption in supply may have far-reaching effects on every aspect of our lives.
REFERENCES & EXTRA READING
 Late Cretaceous:
late cretaceous timeline
cretaceous maps of USA
late cretaceous global map
 Late Cretaceous warming:
 Late Cretaceous dinosaurs:
 Fossil fuel formation:
 400 years of fossilised sunlight:
nature: calculations illustrate fossil-fuel crisis
 Oil discovery:
hirsch report [PDF]
net energy (EROEI)
 U.S. discovery peak:
 Early 20th century oil production:
wiki article on the petroleum_industry
"In the first quarter of the 20th century, the United States overtook Russia as the world's largest oil producer."
 Oil and coal; 19th and 20th century American industrial expansion:
 Peak Oil:
hubbert peak oil theory
stuart staniford (an interpretation of peak oil as a "slow squeeze")
 Average 40 year lag from discovery to production peak:
 M. King Hubbert:
 1973 oil embargo:
 U.S. discovery:
USGS anwar reserve estimates
anwar production estimates
 Jack 2:
 Annual oil consumption/production statistics:
 World oil production forecast 2009:
 Peak Oil primer (and discovery graph):
 List of countries past peak:
david strahan interactive map
 Future Oil Requirements:
IEA: 6 new saudi-arabias required
IEA economist warns of oil shortfalls
 Oil used vs. oil found (1960s):
 Oil used vs. oil found (present):
 Peak oil and financial crisis:
oil caused recession in 2008, not wall st.
 Suburban Sprawl, Driving, Health Effects:
suburban sprawl linked to chronic health ailments
wiki article on zoning
kunstler: home from nowhere
 Suburbia and Car Dependency:
ruinous debt to create futureless suburbia
 Fossil Fuels in Agriculture:
 Healthcare and fossil fuel decline:
 Aviation and fossil fuels:
 U.S. military use of oil:
water distribution (19% of California's electricity is used to move water).
 Growth/debt based economy: