At some point in the near future, worldwide oil production will peak, then decline rapidly, causing depression-like conditions or even the starvation of billions across the globe.With growing world demand in places such as India and China and a decrease in supply, at the very least we are looking at economic upheaval not seen on such a large scale in world history.
That's the worst-case scenario for subscribers to the "peak oil" theory, who generally believe oil production has either topped out or will do so in the next couple of years.
Richard Heinberg, a research fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and author of three books on peak oil says world production of regular crude oil actually peaked in May 2005. He also says production in 33 of the 48 largest oil producing countries is in decline, and that global oil discoveries peaked in 1964.The Bush administration has done nothing to move us to alternate sources of energy in fact they have started a war to steal the resources of another nation. Alan Greenspan, the former head of the Federal Reserve has said that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil. Where is the leadership on this issue? As long as Big Oil has friends in high places, people will keep dying over oil and the world will move ever closer to economic devastation.
Most importantly, he says reserves in the Middle East, where EIA predicts the bulk of new supply will come from, have been "systematically overstated."
"Everyone just takes their figures at face value," Heinberg said. "But they are national oil companies, they can't be audited."
Instead of production ramping up to 118 million barrels per day, Heinberg sees a plateau over the next few years, then gradual declines beginning in 2010.
By 2015, he says the rate of decline will accelerate as field after field runs dry and few new supplies are found. By 2030, the world could be looking at powering its economy on 30 million barrels a day.
"It's going to be an enormous shock to the global system," said Heinberg. "We're talking something on the order of the Great Depression, perhaps much worse."
We ignore "Peak Oil" and the discovery of new energy sources at our own peril.