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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, by the way, . . . LOOK OUT!

Satirical image created in Photoshop to illust...Image via WikipediaBritish government quietly admits oil could peak in five years
Tom Whipple, Falls Church News Press, VA - With little fanfare, a press release appeared last week on the website of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security. The release said that during a meeting between Chris Huhne, the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and representatives of ITPOES, an agreement had been reached that Her Majesty's Department for Energy and Climate will collaborate with ITPOES on a joint examination of concerns that global oil supply will begin to fall behind demand within as little as five years. This collaboration is seen by the British government as the first step in the development of a national peak oil contingency plan.

There are many implications buried in this seemingly innocuous announcement. First, American readers should note that the British government recognizes that energy policy and climate change are inextricably linked so that you cannot formulate policies for one without the other. The major step forward, however, is the official and semi-public recognition by a major government that global oil supplies will fall behind demand in as little as five years. After years of official denial this is indeed a breakthrough worthy of note.

Gone is the rhetoric about the billions of barrels of oil remaining that will last for so many decades that nobody alive today needs to worry. Official recognition has been given to the concept that the remaining oil will be so expensive to extract or will be locked into the earth by intractable political disputes, so that it simply will not be available in the unlimited quantities or at the prices we have known for the last 100 years.   Also implicit in the announcement is that ever-rising real energy costs will destabilize nearly all of the world's economies and that economic growth in the form we have come to know it will no longer be possible. . .
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