It's Time to Prepare for Coming Peak on Global Oil Production

OpEd by associate professor of oil and energy economics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks urges his community to begin planning for the envitable impact of oil depletion.

Published: 30-Dec-2004

sp;recently saw the movie "The End of Suburbia" at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, sponsored by the Interior Alaska Outpost of the Post Carbon Institute (Alaska.postcarbon.org). The Post Carbon Institute is a national grass-roots organization that educates citizens about the imminent oil crisis.

I only wish that when I was a student such an organization existed. They are committed to talking about energy scarcity problems--problems that every single one of us will have to face in the next few years. The movie and the organization are about looking to the future to see what we as a civilization will do when oil prices start to increase substantially. "The End of Suburbia" offers insights on how our economy depends on oil and why world oil production will soon peak and cause high prices.

I concur with their analysis. In my own book, "Scarcity and Growth Considering Oil and Energy," I highlight other, more complex, arguments behind the peak, but nevertheless a peak in world production will soon be upon us and will hit today's economy even as hard as the 1930s Great Depression. In fact, I predict that an oil price shock will happen in one to five years.

Another organization, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, also supports this timeline. Unfortunately, most government and nongovernment reports support a 10- to 30-year time frame before oil shortages occur. Even so, we must start preparing now for that eventuality, and organizations like the Post Carbon Institute are helping people to do that.

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