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Page added on June 29, 2008

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The challenges of peak oil

We may not be doomed, but we also may not be ready for all of its effects


Americans are feeling serious pain at the gasoline pump, and scratching their heads as to why. Part of the answer may be that we are approaching peak oil sooner than many people would have guessed.


Peak oil refers to a key turning point when global oil production peaks, signaling a future of slowly decreasing world oil production. No one can say when peak oil will arrive, but one fact at least suggests that it may come sooner rather than later: Until recently, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries barely tried to stem the rise of oil prices from $50 dollars per barrel in February 2007 to more than $130 per barrel today.


In the past, OPEC, and especially Saudi Arabia, have often increased oil production to try to prevent prices from rising high enough to trigger alternative energy exploration; a Western political backlash; and the ire of the gendarme of the Persian Gulf



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