UK Task Force on Peak Oil By Chris Nelder

UK Task Force on Peak Oil: Shortages by 2015
By Chris Nelder
The first bombshell was actually dropped on February 10, when the UK Industry Task Force on Peak Oil and Energy Security issued a report called “The Oil Crunch: A wake-up call for the UK economy.” I only mentioned it in passing at the time, but it was a stern warning that “oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilise economic, political, and social activity potentially by 2015.”

It only made the news because Sir Richard Branson personally endorsed it; but the fact that the task force comprised top UK executives and energy experts lent it enough weight to be rather widely circulated in the press.

The British government, including energy minister Lord Hunt, responded by staging a closed-door summit meeting with the taskforce on March 22. As the UK’s Guardian reported, the government intended to develop an action plan to contend with a near-term peak, and to “calm rising fears over peak oil.”

Veteran peak oil analyst and taskforce member Jeremy Leggett explained: “Government has gone from the BP position — ‘40 years of supply left, the price mechanism works, no need to worry’ — to ‘crikey’.” He urged the assembly to properly assess the risks of peak oil, and to immediately begin preparing for the end of globalization and an era of oil shortages in the West.

According to reports from attendees, the summit yielded some important conclusions:

  • Peak oil is either here, or close enough.
  • Prices will have to go higher as demand outstrips supply.
  • Governments will be forced to intervene to maintain critical levels of oil supply, and limit volatility.
  • Rationing measures may be unavoidable.
  • Electrification of transport must be pursued in order to reduce demand.
  • Communities will need to work quickly to reorganize around walking instead of driving, producing food and energy locally instead of importing, and generally try to reduce their need for oil.

UK Task Force on Peak Oil By Chris Nelder

Graham Mewburn

Tweed Heads South, Australia

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Oil: Shortages by 2015


peak oil

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