BBC Online: End of oil heralds climate pain

Climate Change

Here’s a bit of depressing thinking:

“Many people think that running out of oil, or ‘peak oil’, would be good for the climate. In his new book The Last Oil Shock, David Strahan begs to differ; he suggests it may bring catastrophe.

Many industry figures now accept the oil slide will begin soon. It is becoming increasingly clear that global oil production will soon go into terminal decline, with potentially devastating economic consequences.”

Gas has just crossed the $3/gallon mark here in Phoenix. It’s higher than this already on the West Coast. The rise is mostly due to a lack of refining capacity but nonetheless it reminds us that the question of climate change and peak oil are prowling around us like a lion in the night…

Read the rest here: BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | End of oil heralds climate pain

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Caelius Spinator says

    And the bad thing is that there’s a very high potential for both to hit anyway.
    Caldeira, K., and M.E. Wickett, Ocean model predictions of chemistry changes from carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans) 110, C09S04, doi:10.1029/2004JC002671, 2005.
    This paper describes models of ocean acidification based on carbon dioxide emissions scenarios. Some of the highest emission scenarios lead to 1000 ppm CO2 and sound quite ridiculous until the authors point out that we might be driven to alternative sources of hydrocarbons. Rev. Sam over Elizaphanian is skeptical of tar sands and clathrates, but I think he underestimates the efforts people will make to preserve their way of life.
    And even if we don’t exploit alternative hydrocarbons, we have coal in quantity and 30 years worth of oil in the most conservative estimates. That will mean ~445 ppm CO2 by 2037. I suspect Arctic sea ice will become unstable at ~420 ppm, though no one really knows. So by 2030, we could be facing a massive liquid fuels crisis combined with the beginning of a radical change in the atmospheric and oceanic circulation of the Northern Hemisphere.
    One of my friends was talking to Edward Teller’s chief disciple recently. Teller, of course, was a great optimist about our ability to deal with these kinds of problems with technology. My friend and Teller’s disciple agreed the species could survive the impending crisis but we’d pay through the nose for it.

  2. Have you ever read Sam Norton’s blog? Sam is an Anglican priest here in the UK and has long been reading and writing about the coming Peak Oil crisis.

  3. Thanks for the pointer to the paper Caelius. I think I’ve heard about the study, but I’ve not had a chance to read the paper yet.
    JP: No, I don’t know Sam’s blog. I’m headed over there right now!

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