Peak oil is still on the way and it’s not going to be pretty. At least, this is what a recent study examining oil production across the globe has found. The report comes from a multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed study which seems to shoot down recent claims made by oil industry insiders and other sources. In fact, the study’s results are so dire that its authors plea for both private and public sectors to address the coming crisis.
Another recently released report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that the United States will become the world’s top oil producer by 2015, according to Canada Free Press. The recent explosion in shale gas exploitation in North America has led many analysts to declare the threat of peak oil indefinitely defeated. However, a new study out of the University of Maryland says peak oil production has only been delayed, not avoided.
The study says that hopes surrounding hydrofracking for shale gas in North America are unrealistic. Shale wells reach peak production much faster than other fossil fuel extraction methods.
When is the peak oil crisis expected to hit? The study says that conventional oil production, such as crude oil, will peak by 2030. They note, however, that there is a “significant risk” that this peak will be hit before 2020. Shale production, the study finds, will not be enough to offset the crippling costs of post-peak oil production, according to The Guardian.
The study warns of severe economic disruptions that could occur if the fuel economy continues on this course. They point to the economic downturn felt across the globe in 2008, which they say was partly caused by high oil prices at the time. Because so many things are dependent on oil prices, including food growing and transportation, few if any sectors of the US and world economies will be spared.
The study isn’t all doom and gloom, however. It offers some suggestions on ways to lower economic vulnerability from a peak oil-caused economic crash. They urge a switch from artificial fertilizers to organic techniques as well as a turn to producing food and goods locally, to reduce their need to be transported long distances.
The study highlights the risk of an impending peak oil crisis and the increasing need for governments and industries alike to look to a post-carbon economy.
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