More Signs That Peak Oil Thinking Has Become Mainstream


A new report, produced jointly by Lloyd’s of London and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (aka Chatham House), concludes that “we are heading towards a global oil supply crunch and price spike … companies which are able to plan for and take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences.”

The report focuses on business risk perspectives, and doesn’t elaborate at length on the dire social and civilizational consequences of Peak Oil. It does note, however, the increasing difficulty of oil extraction, a fact much on everyone’s mind in the wake of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster:

“Much of the world’s energy infrastructure lies in areas that will be increasingly subject to severe weather events caused by climate change. On top of this, extraction is increasingly taking place in more severe environments such as the Arctic and ultra-deep water. For energy investors this means long-term planning based on a changing – rather than a stable climate. For energy users, it means greater likelihood of loss of power for industry and fuel supply disruptions.”

Most writings on Peak Oil emphasize the looming catastrophe of massive price increases in ubiquitous oil-based products as well as untenable shipping cost increases in a global economy dependent on cheap transport.

The ultimate result of Peak Oil, then, would be an unwinding of globalism and a return to primary dependence on local economies.

When I first understood the significance of Peak Oil, I was frightened, and began to think about stocking up on food and other emergency supplies.

In time, though, I came to realize that the only real security is working in community. At the neighborhood level, it does make sense to stock up on food and other emergency supplies (for instance, see the Food Readiness Project). It also makes sense to share other tools.

Our focus must be on re-building our local communities to be more resilient, self-sufficient and sustainable.

Nevada County is fortunate to have among its citizens a group of people who have been thinking about the Peak Oil problem for years, and are working to prepare for and mitigate its most dire consequences. I speak, of course, about the Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy (A.P.P.L.E.) and its Sustainability Center.

Spend a few minutes perusing the websites for those two organizations and you will notice a wonderful thing: both are primarily focused on positive local solutions and much less on the looming disasters in the global economy.

In the years ahead, we will have more and more reason to be grateful for the work of this small but rapidly growing local cadre of concerned citizens.

The following is a 2-minute 49-second video summary of the Lloyd’s-Chatham House report by one of the authors,  Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Development Programme for Chatham House.

More Peak Oil Resources

Peak Moment TV

Produced by Nevada County videographers and A.P.P.L.E founders Janaia Donaldson and Robyn Mallgren, Peak Moment shines a bright light on local sustainability projects in North America. After several years, this series now represents an amazing body of work and is increasingly recognized nationwide as an important contribution to the Peak Oil literature.

Energy Bulletin

A reader’s digest of the best writing on Peak Oil: Writers such as Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, Sharon Astyk, Bill McKibben and many others.

Post Carbon Institute

Peak Oil Think Tank and activist organization. Conferences. Papers. Books. Community organizing.

ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas).

Think Tank and research institute. Conferences. Papers. Charts.

The Oil Drum

Online journal. “Discussions about energy and our future.”

Life After the Oil Crash

Online journal and discussion group.

The Oil Age Poster

“A Brilliant Tool for Examining the Geologic Realities and Social Ramifications of the Modern World’s Most Prized Resource.”

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One Response to “More Signs That Peak Oil Thinking Has Become Mainstream”
  1. Jeff Pelline says:

    Thanks Don for an informative writeup. We enjoy being members of the Sustainability Center. Last time I stopped by they were holding a “dry run” of the lecture/discussion on Peak Oil.

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