From: Lionel Badal, Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published August 4, 2010 08:57 AM

Policymakers recognise peak oil threat, now they need to deal with it

Most officials in both Europe and the UK still believe peak oil is a problem the markets will solve. That's a dangerous game to play with our energy supplies, says Lionel Badal

Two years ago, the British government was still confident that oil reserves were abundant enough to meet rising demand until at least 2030.


In other words, we should not worry. This cheerful message relied on the contested assessments made by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

However, ever since numerous academic studies and industry reports have demonstrated that sometime within this decade global oil production will start to decline. In short, we are about to reach Peak Oil, and we are completely unprepared. Brace for impact.

Who to believe?

To its credit, the British government, through the voice of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has recently changed its previous position. DECC now admits that, 'we don't know what the future of supply and demand will be, but we do recognise the risks'

Is Peak Oil happening next year or in 20 years? DECC just doesn’t know who to believe.

As a student working on this topic, earlier this year, I was able to meet officials of DECC and a team of experts from the European Commission's Energy Directorate-General. Those are the ones in charge of securing our energy supplies.

You will be glad to learn that DECC doesn't have the capacity to make its own assessments on oil production, or so I was told. Our societies may be totally dependent upon a finite resource, but the government has no idea when it will start to decline. This has a name: irresponsible behaviour.

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