Peak oil meets climate change

This article in the Vancouver Sun features a new report saying that we are not near “peak oil”:

In sharp contrast to popular doomsday scenarios in which an oil supply crash triggers a global economic crisis, a U.S. energy think tank says the world has almost four times the oil supply envisioned by the pessimists. Cambridge Energy Research Associates … estimates total global oil supply at 3.72 trillion barrels and “likely to grow” larger. That opinion contradicts peak oil proponents who say the world has 1.2 trillion barrels left in the ground.

Jackson pegs total global consumption of oil since the modern “oil era” began in the 1850s at 1.08 trillion barrels, and believes a shift to alternative fuel supplies will take place “in slow motion” with minimal impact upon the global economy.

Peak oil theory was first proposed 57 years ago by a Shell Oil geologist, M. King Hubbert, who correctly predicted that U.S. production of conventional oil would reach its peak output in 1970 and decline thereafter. Many scenarios based on Hubbert’s work have appeared since, suggesting the cost of energy will rocket as supplies dwindle. Proponents of this line of reasoning say an ill-prepared world could face rampant inflation, the collapse of national governments and global warfare.

While this is but an excerpt, what is striking is the absence of any mention of climate change in the article. With business as usual leading somewhere close to extinction, is this debate not a sideshow? For me, peak oil cannot happen soon enough, as it would precipitate the type of change we desperately need (we still would have lots of time to adjust; it would not be like falling off a cliff as the “peakers” would have it).

The fact that the quantity of oil in the ground is, minimally, more than all we’ve pumped out of it to date, and may be more than three times that amount if the report is to be believed, is frightening stuff. We are toast if we think we can burn it all.

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