Slow News: Peaked Oil

The UK’s Investment and Business News web site carried an article on peak oil back in March 2010. It’s an overview sort of story, meant for those who are unfamiliar with the term. Here’s the first paragraph:

Peak oil is meant to describe that future time when the supply of oil goes into permanent decline. It’s the date some fear; others dismiss it, saying it’s a very long way off indeed. But both sides of the peak oil debate agree on one thing. The day it arrives will be a bleak day. And now a taskforce has claimed that peak oil is less than ten years away, and could even descend upon us during the lifetime of the current government. Is it time to panic?

Yesterday, a policy advisory organization of which the US is a founding member came out with this announcement: “International Energy Agency Says ‘Peak Oil’ Began in 2006”

I’m not particularly panicked by the announcement since this’s hardly unexpected, but I am, while unsurprised, more than a little depressed by the lack of coverage in the United States media.

That UK site immediately announced “Peak Oil Has Already Arrived”.

Well, just a few hours later another story emerged, this time from the International Energy Agency, which said we have in fact already passed peak oil; that global oil output peaked in 2006. It said that the onset of global recession, leading to a fall in demand, was the only reason why oil did not carry on rising once it passed $140 back in the summer of 2008.

That’ll change though. A little global economic collapse ain’t gonna stop the world from guzzling. The IEA, that 28 nation intergovernmental policy organization, also said this on November 12:

Global oil demand growth will slow in 2011 after a brief accelerated burst at the end of this year. “Across the board in the OECD, we’ve seen stronger demand. The thing is we think that these upwards revisions are transient”, said David Fyfe, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division. Overall, global oil demand will still be higher next year at 88.51 million barrels per day (bpd) compared with 87.32 million bpd this year. [emphasis added]

Meanwhile, searching for US coverage of all this, I found that only the American military seems to be concerned. Energy Summary in their Joint Operating Environment report put out way back in February of 2010 said this:

To generate the energy required worldwide by the 2030s would require us to find an additional 1.4 MBD. . . . By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD ” (29).

Meanwhile, as our military frets, the American press puts out little tidbits like this Nov. 15, 2010, Detroit Free Press blog entry: titled “Ford’s Heavy-duty Truck Sales Surge.”

Now why do I continue to think we’re doomed? Maybe I should buy a new truck to cheer myself up. It’s the American way.



One Response to “Slow News: Peaked Oil”

  1. There Will Be Critical Thinking « Uncommon Scolds Says:

    […] to the matter of peak oil, my own post of November 19, 2010, “Slow News: Peaked Oil” is related to the Krauss-Astyk discssion in that the International Energy Agency, a policy group […]

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