Does Peak Oil Signal The End ?  

Posted by Big Gav

There is no shortage of peak oil related news around today, with tonight's SBS News broadcast talking to Colin Campbell on the subject. At this rate even the commercial networks might be talking about the topic in a week or two.

The argument that oil supply is running out is one that is running hot in business and scientific circles but is only just starting to gain attention in the Australian media.

Peak oil is the name applied to the theory that after half the world's oil has been drilled, oil prices will spiral out of control, leading to mayhem for the global economy.

With demand for oil rising globally, particularly from China and India, the frenzied search for new oilfields has largely come up empty.

At the same time, many older fields have gone into decline, with more effort put into producing less oil.

"We've come to the end of the first half of the age of oil, not to the full end of the age of oil, just the first half of it," said Colin J Campbell, oil geologist and chair of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

Dr Campbell is considered one of the leading world authorities on the subject.

"But the significant point is, during the first half we've seen the rapid expansion of industry, transport, agriculture, and indeed financial capital, which has allowed the world's population to grow sixfold, exactly, in parallel with this growing oil supply," he told SBS.

It is not known when peak oil will occur, with estimates ranging from next month to 2025. But many experts say it is not the date that matters, but rather what we do as we enter the downslope of oil availability.

The main issue at stake is not so much concern over oil running out, but rather, that there will not be enough to keep oil-dependent economies — including Australia's — functioning properly.

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