What Is Peak Oil?
Peak Oil is the maximum rate that we can extract oil. It occurs when the flows of oil can no longer be expanded, so oil comes out of the ground at a slower rate. This in turn means that there is less oil to go around.
Reaching Peak Oil:
“Even though abundant oil reserves may be uncovered with the passing of time, the ability to extract that oil will be limited physically and by the sheer cost of exploration and production” -ITPOES
This warning showed that finally, after 30 years of speculation, the world may be heading towards peak oil. This would mean the dramatic rise in the price of oil, and as a consequence they would have the ability to destabilise political, economic as well as social activity. Some argue that parts of the world have already reached ‘Peak Oil’, however others say that the worst is yet to come.
Postponing the Inevitable:
The International Energy Agency claims that oil demand will drop naturally over the coming years, with the development of renewable resources such as solar and wind power. IEA data shows that this may already be happening, with OECD countries currently using 45 million barrels per day, in comparison to 50 million back in 2006.
With Oil becoming unavailable due to its rising price, the answer may be simply to adapt to alternatives. Currently, transport accounts for over 95% of all oil use, therefore the focus should be placed on developing technology in order to make oil use redundant. In order to smoothly transition away from oil, work needs to start now in order to give technology a greater chance of success.
“Thousands of years ago, people invented ideas; they had ideas, innovations, technology—and the Stone Age ended, not because we ran out of stones. It’s ideas, it’s innovation, it’s technology that will end the age of oil, long before we run out of oil.” – Richard Sears, TED 2010