Energy Beyond Oil: Turning the World Upside Down

Could you live with the same amount of energy now available to those in the third world? A dramatic change such as this is likely within fifty years as present energy sources are used up. So future generations will have to manage with just a third of the energy we use now.

The World Today Updated 19 October 2020 Published 1 December 2004 4 minute READ

Paul Mobbs

Independent consultant, researcher and writer on environment and development issues

Oil is a finite resource. more significantly, studies dating back to the mid-fifties show that production begins to drop off significantly as a field reaches about half its productive capacity. The 1970 peak in United States oil production, and its subsequent decline, were predicted in 1956. Likewise the peak in the North Sea foreseen some years ago, occurred in 2000 and 2001.

The application of these same techniques to global oil production has become controversial. Various studies put the peak in world production at between 1996 and 2035. However, most predict a date between 2008 and 2016. Recent price rises are, in part, a result of a decline in production relative to demand. This is the trend we would expect immediately before a peak in global pumping. However, whether or not we are experiencing ‘peak oil’ will not be clear for some time. It will take a number of years of production statistics to demonstrate this.

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