Peak Oil Among 15 Big Ideas of 2005

But peak oil isn't just expensive. It's almost certainly revolutionary. And it's also at our doorstep.

Published: 30-Dec-2005

When gas hit $1.20 in August, SUV owners finally felt the pain. By October, car dealers across North America were admitting the obvious. The bottom had fallen out of the market for America's most notoriously overweight gas guzzlers. Instead, consumers were snapping up the lightest, most fuel-efficient vehicles they could find.

Experts say that this sudden reversal of fortune is a potent prelude to the transformative power of peak oil -- the moment when world oil production maxes out and oil prices reach a threshold that the market simply can't bear.

But peak oil isn't just expensive. It's almost certainly revolutionary. And it's also at our doorstep. Forget about the production capacity knocked out by Hurricane Katrina. The real story is China, as one-seventh of the world's population begins a wild, carbon-fueled ride towards western prosperity.

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'AT BREAK OF DAY all dreams, they say, are true.' So wrote the great English poet John Dryden (1631 - 1700) in his work entitled The Spanish Friar. The implication, of course, is that as the day wears on the press of reality prevents some dreams from being fulfilled. This is an article about airplanes, but it also concerns the dreams that animateprogress.

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