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Ladywriter

It's official: We're just a few years from peak oil

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By George Monbiot, Monbiot.com

Until this year's report, the International Energy Agency

mocked people who said that oil supplies might peak. Now

they've changed their tune.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/113047/

...

Around 2020. That casts the issue in quite a different light. Mr Birol's date, if correct, gives us about 11 years to prepare. If the Hirsch report is right, we have already missed the boat. Birol says we need a "global energy revolution" to avoid an oil crunch, including (disastrously for the environment) a massive global drive to exploit unconventional oils, such as the Canadian tar sands. But nothing on this scale has yet happened, and Hirsch suggests that even if it began today, the necessary investments and infrastructure changes could not be made in time. Fatih Birol told me "I think time is not on our side here."

When I pressed him on the shift in the agency's position, he argued that the IEA has been saying something like this all along. "We said in the past that one day we will run out of oil. We never said that we will have hundreds of years of oil … but what we have said is that this year, compared to past years, we have seen that the decline rates are significantly higher than what we have seen before. But our line that we are on an unsustainable energy path has not changed."

This of course is face-saving nonsense. There is a vast difference between a decline rate of 3.7 percent and a rate of 6.7 percent. There is an even bigger difference between suggesting that the world is following an unsustainable energy path -- a statement almost everyone can subscribe to -- and revealing that conventional oil supplies are likely to plateau around 2020. If this is what the IEA meant in the past, it wasn't expressing itself very clearly.

So what do we do? We could take to the hills, or we could hope and pray that Hirsch is wrong about the 20-year lead time, and begin a global crash programme today of fuel efficiency and electrification. In either case, the British government had better start drawing up some contingency plans.

big surprise not :nah:


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                                               Look at the flowers

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