Kevin Drum writes about our oil peak problem, which isn’t as potentially grave and significant as our greenhouse gas problem, but beats any other contender.
Oil production will almost certainly surpass 84 million barrels per day as new fields come online in the future, but demand is going to increase right along with it. Thus, unless there’s a global economic shock of some kind, it’s likely that demand is now permanently equal to supply. There’s no spare capacity left, and there never will be again.
This mean that we’re now living in a different world. I’m not sure what all the ramifications of this are, but one thing is pretty certain: the next oil shock ? and there will be one eventually ? is going to be worse than any previous shock. Fasten your seat belts.
By an odd coincidence, I stumbled upon this quite topical Andrew Brown post from March today:
Where in Europe would you want to live, if there were no oil and no Gulf Stream [which will make northwestern Europe much colder]? Of the three really huge catastrophes impending in the next century, it seems improbable that we can avoid more than one or two. The oil will run out, and energy will become very much more expensive, with huge consequences for trade and agriculture. The world will warm and may well warm so much that the Gulf Stream stops. The population of Europe and Northern Russia will fall, unless replaced by immigration, which will be resisted. (It’s possible of curse that this effect will arise from the other two, as well as from the demographic trends we now have).
So where would you want your children to live, in a Europe that has neither oil nor gulf stream? Choose now, while we still have the political structures in place to make movement easy. Certainly not England, cold, miserable, overcrowded.
My first instinct would be for Sweden. It’s reasonably well-governed, harmonious, and has plenty of room for farming. But if the gulf stream goes the effect on the climate might be horrible. It certainly will be in Norway. I need to think about that. Second choice, France. Lots of room in the countryside, defensible borders, nuclear power, efficient, not very corruptible government.
But what does the team think?