Peak Oil part 2: situation confirmed July 17, 2008Posted by Al in : educational,future,interesting,politics,scary,science , trackback
It appears that I’m not the only one to be worried about the whole Peak Oil scenario, not that I ever thought I was. Dave Cohen, from Energy Bulletin, has read the same report as me, and using additional information he has, has come to the same conclusion: Peak Oil is here now, or in the next few years. With OPEC sources finally topping out production, and so unable to meet the expected increased demand, and with non-OPEC sources having dramatically revised targets, it would appear that Peak Oil is just about on us. This is not news as the Oil Drum carried a similar story in March and May, but this recent data add extra credence to their report.
There is, however, a lot that we can do to try to avert this situation. It is scary to think that California’s oil consumption (for transport, at least) is more than that of China – so 3,700,000 people use more oil than 1,3000,000,000 people, which is absurd if you think about it. Part of the problem, in the US at least, is that car manufacturers have failed to make any noticeable improvements to their products recently, whilst Japanese and European manufacturers have worked hard on fuel efficiency for at least 30 years. This has lead to General Motors, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world, to be significantly at risk of bankruptcy at the moment. Car sales worldwide have slowed recently, with car usage also showing significant drops as people take to foot, bike or bus to beat the rising cost or fuel. Over the next few years, as oil prices remain volatile and generally head upward, it is likely that only those manufacturers who can provide viable alternative energy sources for their vehicles will be able to ride out the coming storm.
As I have mentioned previously, the entire Peak Oil aftermath can be avoided if we can provide alternative methods for producing energy and for transport. Hydrogen fuel cells are a good option, and appear far more likely than cold fusion, but hydrogen fuel cells are usually only invoked for transport solutions, and electricity supply is possibly far more important than transport. It really is time to ask your government representative when the nuclear option is going to re-evaluated and increased, and it needs those NIMBYs who have tried to prevent nuclear power stations from being built to shut up and face facts. If a nuclear power station is built on your doorstep then there is a small chance that it will fail and cause terrible problems for you (remembering that if you take 2 weeks holiday a year then that’s 4% of the time you won’t even be in the vicinity); however, a lack of nuclear power stations at this time, when there is still no real viable alternative to oil for power generation, is certain to lead to some very drastic doomsday scenarios once Peak Oil is reached – which won’t be long.