Saturday, May 10, 2008

How will next President deal with Peak Oil?

From Conrad via email:

On February 2005, the US Department of Energy published the document Peaking of World
Oil Production: Impact, Mitigation, and Risk Management, which many refer to as the Hirsch Report named after the Lead Author, Robert Hirsch.

Here is the first paragraph:

"The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented
risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs
will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides,
but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking."

In summary, world oil production will not be able to meet world oil demand. When that
occurs, the consequences will be very, very bad. The decline could be very abrupt. The Enhanced Improved Oil Recovery technology will not really help that much. It is highly
unlikely that new oil field discovery will help us. We can conserve and develop alternatives
to oil, but it will take two decades of preparation to prevent any problems. If we prepare one decade ahead, there will be some problems. If the peak occurs before we have been
prepared, we will have severe problems. Even though starting too early may be considered
a waste of resources, the hardship of starting too late make it is a wise to start a crash
program now.

The US government has not started a crash program. The Hirsch Report projects the peak
to occur in 2016. The Association for the Study of Peak Oil projects it in 2010. A few experts have commented that world oil production may have already peaked in 2005.

I have talked to my sister about this issue. She and her husband have already purchased and installed a solar panel. She plans to get a hybrid car, and to start growing food in her backyard.

Here is the pdf version:

Here is a HTML version:

It is over ninety pages. I felt grim and horrified while reading it, but the Hirsch Report
is a clearly written document that should be read by more people.

[Use links above to read the entire document]


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