I have been giving this subject quite a bit of thought of late, and it disturbs me. I have been trying to write this post for two days now, and I just kept getting depressed. The big question I have been pondering is “What happens when global oil demand outstrips global supply?” There is only a finite amount of dinosaur juice tucked away in the nooks and crannies deep below our feet!
The human race uses about 84 million barrels of oil a day, and a barrel equals 158.987295 litres, so we use 13.354 trillion litres of oil a day to run our civilisation! To get things in perspective, the USA uses about 25% of that each day and China and India are catching up. To cap it all off, global daily supply is also 84 million barrels of oil a day! What happens when we need more?
It is predicted that Peak Oil will be reached between 2005-2020, and some say it is already upon us. Read here for what Peak Oil means. In my words, Peak Oil doesn’t mean we are going to run out all of a sudden, it is just that the oil is harder to get out of the ground, and demand will be greater. Peak Oil has the ability to pass Climate Change as the number one issue this century.
So, what, I hear some of my readers saying. you will just drive less you say? The fact is that oil is everywhere, from toothpaste to our medicines, to fertiliser and food production. All of our transport services use oil to get the food from the farms all around the world to your dinner table. All of our technology is based on oil, the plastics in your PC, the metal on your motherboard was all produced using vast quantities of oil, and without it you wouldn’t be reading my blog. Even my solar panels were produced using oil, the minerals were mined with huge machinery run by oil. Our civilisation is based on cheap oil being available in ever growing quantities.
Why can’t we use Bio-fuels you say? Well if we convert all of the available land to bio-fuel production we still couldn’t make enough to match our current daily needs, not to mention we would starve the human race in the process. The price of vegetable oil crops are already soaring because of bio-fuel production.
So what can we do? Not a lot, so I have learned. All we can do is prepare for the inevitable. I do remain optimistic in light of all this negative information. There will be no silver bullet for this issue, but I know that the human race will survive, as we have in the past. I will leave you with a few videos to help you understand further.
Sorry for the negativity this post, but I had to mention it.
P.S. There is hope. Read this article.
it gives food for thought dad
Sharon J says
It’s certainly a scary thought but sadly one that most people seem to just push to the back of their minds, hoping that either it won’t happen in their time or that ‘the powers that be’ will have come up with a solution in time.
I’m trying hard to cut back on my oil usage but as you say, it’s all around us so it’s very difficult. We can all do at least a little though, and hope that the delay will at least help.
Hi Gavin, Just come across your blog. It is fantastic! I didn’t know anything about Peak Oil until I read Adrienne Langman’s book ‘Choosing Eden’ that Gardening Aust Mag mentioned. With a 1 year old & 3.5 year old it certainly makes you sit up and start to take notice of everything and what we are going to leave behind for them. Keep up the ‘Greening’. Cheers Rebecca
Thanks, yes it is a bit scary, but now you know and can prepare!
Thanks for reading,
I’ve been aware of peak oil since I read Kunstler’s The Long Emergency many years ago. I find it puzzling that the concept is not talked about more widely. Peak oil tells us that there is a curve to oil discovery and production — that oil and other fossil fuels will become increasingly difficult, expensive, and energy intensive to obtain — that some day, we will no longer be able to drill into the ground and have oil come bubbling up. We will have to resort to squeezing oil from oil sands or shale, or go out into the deep waters of the oceans or Arctic to drill, or crack the earth open and inject it with a chemical stew in order to extract natural gas. Of course, I’m being facetious, but the point is, we are already on the downside of the curve and yet it is still an obscure topic with wide-ranging implications as you so eloquently pointed out.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Linda, as you pointed out, the issue hasn’t gone away. We are now at the end of the plateau of Peak Oil and starting down the slippery slope of depletion and are scraping the dregs of the barrel so to speak.
So many things will pan out in the next few years, and most will find it as a massive shock.