Peak Oil News: Get Ready for the Peak Experience

Monday, August 30, 2004

Get Ready for the Peak Experience

AlterNet: EnviroHealth

Two new realities are fast converging on the public consciousness with what may be serendipitous timing: climate change and peak oil. After years of controversy and denial, there finally seems to be a solid consensus that climate change is here; that it threatens everything from agriculture to human health; and that it will probably turn out to be even worse than predicted.

"Peak oil" is a still-obscure term you will soon be hearing a lot more about. It simply refers to the peak of oil production. Oil was made over millions of years as ancient life was crushed and buried under the earth, and they ain't making any more of it – at least not on any timescale that is meaningful to us – so like any limited commodity (think Picassos or antique porcelain), the supply will rise to meet demand and then begin to fall. As supply falls, prices will go up, perhaps drastically.

Like a hiker climbing through clouds, we can't know where the peak is until we reach it and feel the ground falling away beneath our feet. But wait – why are there clouds? Why can't we see the peak before we get there? Don't we have monitoring agencies that exist to make predictions about things like when the oil supply will peak?


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