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12.02.2010

Peak oil and the end of growth: we need to start planning now

Published in Times and Transcript, December 2, 2010
By Michel Desjardins, Post Carbon Greater Moncton

A few weeks ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2010. The IEA is an organization established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974.

For the first time in its history, the IEA admitted that crude oil production (conventional oil) peaked in 2006 and will never ever grow again.

It also projected that the bulk of any new crude production needed just to compensate for the depletion of existing fields will come from fields "not yet discovered." That's the good news!

The bad news is that the IEA is notorious for overstating its energy resource projections, often bowing to pressure from some of its members who fear market panic.

What cannot be overstated, however, are the massive implications of this peak in oil extraction.

First, you can expect sky-high oil prices in the not too distant future. Of course, that will be painful at the pump. But it's just the tip of the iceberg. Think about it. Most food we eat today traveled from far away on fuel-propelled machines.
Petroleum products are used in the production of everything we wear, from our sunglasses to our shoelaces.

More expensive energy will make it harder to run our hospitals and our schools, heat our homes, let alone enjoy our yearly winter vacation in sunny Varadero.

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