The concept of peak oil is gaining traction in the public sphere. Results from recent Gallup and Pew Research polls show that a large majority of Americans are concerned about energy production shortfalls and three in ten believe fossil fuels will run out in the next 25 years.
Simply put, Peak Oil advocates or “Peakniks” point out that oil is a finite natural resource and after we hit the peak of oil production, it means the world will have to do with less and less each year. The problems associated with that scenario are profound, since our entire culture is predicated on limitless growth which has been fueled by cheap and easily obtained energy sources.
A terrific primer on Peak Oil can be found at the EnergyBulletin.net. The EnergyBulletin.net is also a good source for up-to-date articles and news on the issues related to Peak Oil.
Many books have been written on the topic as well. Irma’s favorites are:
- Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows,et al
- The Party’s Over and Powerdown both by Richard Heinberg
Ira recommends reading the Hirsch Report. Named after the prinicipal investigator, the Hirsh Report is actually a research document contracted by the Department of Energy that outlines three scenarios in the event of Peak Oil. It’s a pdf download and begins with the rather stirring (for a government document) paragraph:
- “The era of plentiful, low-cost petroleum is approaching an end. The good news is that commercially viable mitigation options are ready for implementation. The bad news is that unless mitigation is orchestrated on a timely basis, the economic damage to the world economy will be dire and long-lasting.
Here in Tompkins County a group of citizen volunteers, known as TCLocal, are pooling their collective research and writing efforts to come up with a set of recommendations for our community in advance of the Peak Oil phenomena. The project outline for the TCLocal (Tompkins Country Relocalization Plan) effort is available online.
Recommended web resources on Peak Oil and Energy Descent include: