Peak Oil is here – action on fossil fuel is no longer a choice
carbon, solar, recycle, climate, renewable

The latest research from Deutche Bank, reported in the FT, warns of high price volatility in both oil and electricity as the environmental agenda, bankruptcy of the car industry, ongoing war and global oil supply challenges affect the market.


The bank doesn’t yet seem to accept the peak oil theory, but rather believes that there will be a shift away from oil towards natural gas, that the impact of hybrid cars will grow strongly and that confusion over government green policies will disincentivise investment in oil.  The reality is however that if the price of oil is going to continue to become increasingly volatile, we're going to need a new way to look at our energy environment.


Back in the fifties M. King Hubbert, the Shell geologist who came up with the concept of peak oil said:


 “We now are moving away from a period of smaller populations, lower levels of technology, and dependence on non-renewable resources. It appears therefore that one of the foremost problems confronting humanity today is how to make the transition from the precarious state that we are now in to this optimum future state by the least catastrophic progression. Our principal impediments at present are neither lack of energy or material resources nor of essential physical and biological knowledge. Our prinicpal constraints are cultural. During the last two centuries we have known nothing but exponential growth and in parallel we have developed what amounts to an exponential-growth culture so heavily dependent upon the continuance of exponential growth for its stability that is incapable of reckoning with problems of non-growth.”


The thing we need to remember is that oil isn’t produced, it’s extracted. What we’ve been doing for the last hundred odd years is removing all the easily accessible oil, the stuff lying near the surfact (relatively speaking). In the early days of oil extraction, for every barrel of oil used in the exploration or extraction of oil, another 100 were discovered.  


Even if there is new oil to be found, it is going to become increasingly difficult to extract economically if, as some believe, our engineering capacity to extract oil is reaching its limits. That means it will take more money and energy to extract, refine and transport it until, at some point, when it takes the energy of a barrel of oil to extract a barrel of oil, further extraction becomes pointless, no matter what the price.


What peak oil really means is:

1.       The world will run out of accessible fossil fuels at some point fairly soon; and

2.       These resources are likely to become more expensive until then


And when you boil it down to basics, what that means is that whether you believe that climate change is a problem or not, we’re going to have to find ways of using alternatives to oil. That means putting alternatives such as renewable power, and increasing energy efficiency, ahead of any alternatives. We’ve got to begin a structural change within our economic systems if we’re going to get through the coming crunch.

Posted via email from Conquering Carbon


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