oil production is reaching a plateau
In 2006 – according to the International Energy Agency* – conventional
crude oil production reached a plateau. This appeared to confirm what many had long suspected and feared: that the driver
of humanity's progress for the last 150 years was now finally being
exhausted.* There were major issues
the IEA's report failed to address, such as where the crude oil for the next
25 years was expected to be discovered (to even maintain a plateau), the energy return on energy invested, the quality of energy from newly developed
fields, the likely recession from higher prices, the political sensitivity
of remaining reserves, and much more.*
By 2008, a combination of the falling U.S. dollar, Middle East tension, peak oil concerns and price speculation had led to a massive spike in the price of conventional crude oil. From only $30/barrel in 2003, it rose to $147/barrel in July 2008, contributing in part to the global financial crisis of that year.
Crude oil production began to recover in 2009, but at a slower rate than in earlier decades.* A revolutionary uprising in the Middle East – the Arab Spring of 2011 – added
further uncertainty over supplies.
Global oil production as reported by the International Energy Agency
Twitter.com was launched in July 2006. This new method of social networking and micro-blogging
grew rapidly. Within a few years, it was comparable with
Facebook in terms of prominence. Many celebrities were using it
to keep in touch with fans, while news outlets and businesses could give instant updates to followers. By 2012, Twitter had 500
million users, was generating 340 million "tweets" a day and
handling 1.6 billion searches.
is demoted to "dwarf planet" status
its discovery in 1930 until 2006, Pluto was considered the Solar System's
ninth planet. In the late 1970s, following the discovery of minor planet
2060 Chiron and the recognition of Pluto's very low mass, its status
as a major planet began to be questioned. Later, in the 21st century,
many objects similar to Pluto were discovered in the outer Solar System,
notably the scattered disc object Eris, which is 27% more massive than
In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union defined the term "planet"
for the first time. This definition excluded Pluto, instead adding it
as a member of a new category – "dwarf planet" – along
with Eris and Ceres. After the reclassification, Pluto was added to
the list of minor planets and given the number 134340. A number of scientists
continued to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet.
Size comparison of Pluto and Earth.
Korea conducts its first nuclear test
Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on 3rd October, six
days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning
of its first nuclear test. The blast was estimated to have an explosive
force of less than one kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected.
An official at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing told a South Korean
newspaper that the explosive output was smaller than expected. Due to North Korea's secretive nature and the small yield of the test,
there were questions as to whether it was an unusually small successful
test, or simply a dud.
case, international condemnation of this test was almost unanimous – including from North Korea's ally, the People's Republic of China.
On 14th October 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously approved military
and economic sanctions.
West African black rhino is declared extinct
the start of the 21st century, there were four subspecies of black rhino.
In 2006, the World Conservation Union announced that one of the
four subspecies, the West African Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis
longipe), had been tentatively declared extinct. Despite an exhaustive
survey across Africa, none could be found, and there were none being
held in captivity anywhere. The remaining three subspecies were
Hussein is executed
execution of Saddam Hussein took place on 30th December 2006. He was
sentenced to death by hanging, after being found guilty of crimes against
humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites
in the town of Dujail in 1982, in retaliation for an assassination attempt
Hussein was President of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when he was deposed
during the invasion of Iraq by a U.S.-led Allied Coalition. After his
capture in ad-Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit, he was incarcerated
at Camp Cropper. On 5th November 2006, he was sentenced to death by
December, he was taken to the prison to be executed. The Iraqi government
released an official videotape of the execution, showing him being led
to the gallows, and ending after his head was in the hangman's noose.
International public controversy arose when an unauthorised cellphone
recording showed him falling through the trapdoor of the gallows. The
audio – which was not in the official video – revealed taunts between
Saddam and his executioners, many of whom were supporters of
Muqtada Al-Sadr. The unprofessional and undignified atmosphere of the
execution drew criticism from nations around the world.
December 2006, Saddam Hussein's body was returned to his birthplace
of Al-Awja, near Tikrit, and was buried near the graves of other family