Peak Oil is back in the news. Ugh.

Peak Oil

Well. This isn't good news at all. I'd been hoping that my inherent pessimistic attitude had wrongly convinced me that the world's oil supply was going to be getting significantly tighter. According to a report today, that's not the case.

The reason that the topic of Peak Oil hasn't been in the news of late isn't just the fact that the price of oil had dropped, or that gasoline wasn't as expensive as it was a couple of years ago. It's apparently because of a number of folks who decided that discretion was the better part of valor right now, because telling the truth would likely annoy the Americans.

And who knows what the Americans might do in response.

To whit, The Guardian, reporting on the decision of a group within the IEA to keep the news quiet:

"In particular [the secret keepers] question the prediction in the last World Economic Outlook, believed to be repeated again this year, that oil production can be raised from its current level of 83m barrels a day to 105m barrels. External critics have frequently argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.

[…]'Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources,' he added.

A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was 'imperative not to anger the Americans' but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. 'We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad,' he added."

Read the full article here.

I'm not terribly surprised by this news, but I'd hoped that the economic downturn was going to lesson the conflicts I expect to be caused as we run out of this important resource. If it's true, we're going to have to reinvent most of our economy.

And it's going to change church life significantly…

(Hat tip to Slashdot)

The Author

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


  1. LaVerne Zuk says

    I am even more relieved that I traded in my gas guzzler for an economically sound vehicle. I wonder what more I can do as one lonely person? Hints and tips are welcome.

  2. Hey Laverne – I saw the pics of the car. It’s look great!
    You folks are probably in a good place for the moment. I think long term though we’re going to see more people moving back into city centers, more walkable cities and more local commerce. The days of the big mall surrounded by a sea of cars is probably near an end.
    The problem for us is that we may be forced to shift to a new local economy rather than a big-box economy just at the same time as the economy is really sputtering and the capital we’d need for the change is becoming harder and harder to come by.
    It’s going to be even tougher going for churches I’m afraid…

  3. I loved the graph of oil production in 2030 released by the IEA… Total production was only slightly above today’s levels (apparently China and India decided to go on holiday for several years)yet 2/3 of the production was labeled “Oil yet to be discovered”.

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