Peak Oil Facts And Renewable Energy

As the months pass there is more and more discussion about the looming Peak Oil crisis. It has moved from the field of theoretical to a real situation that is about to have major worldwide global effects.

The economies of developed nations such as the United States, many European countries, Australia now China, have been built or are being built on fossil fuels. Coal, oil and natural gas have fueled the development of production capacity and military strength, allowing those states to achieve a higher standard of living than previously known in the worldrenewable energy.

This situation may soon be in for an overhaul. Unless renewable energy sources are developed in a serious fashion, those economies that rely mainly on fossil fuels, particularly oil, will become unstable. So serious is this situation that the International Energy Agency is commencing a thorough study of the 400 major oil fields across the globe to assess the true status of the accessible reserves of oil.

There are good grounds for the IEA's concern about the status of oil reserves. Very recently the Saudi government stated that it will lift production by another 300,000 barrels of oil per day. This is not even close to the lift in production requested by the US Bush Administration. There are fears that the Saudis won't lift production above this level simply because they are unable to. This throws into relief the possible status of the reserves of OPEC countries, whose reserves are not monitored by any regulatory body. Since their ability to sell oil is tied by mutual agreement to their stated reserves and has been so since the mid 1980s, there is a widespread belief that they have grossly overestimated their reserves in order to capitalize on current high oil prices.

If this is indeed the case then the scenario of Peak Oil may be upon us very soon indeed. This is the point at which global production is unable to keep up with demand. This will have a significant impact on the global economy which is still geared toward continuous growth in order to achieve stability. It does not take much pondering of this situation before scenarios of resource wars, extreme nationalism and a global economic crisis come to mind.

The only way for this situation to be addressed in the immediate term is to look to other ways of generating electricity such as renewable sources or nuclear power. Nobody wants a nuclear reactor in their back yard, but despite the hype these reactors have a reasonable safety record and the current technology for nuclear power is well advanced.

Regardless of whether we opt for nuclear power as a stopgap or go all out for renewables like solar and wind power, the future of economies based on oil is grim. Globally we need a major investment in clean energy that is not just a top up to fossil fuels but a major source of energy on its own, regardless of the current ecological crisis of pollution from fossil fuels.

Roger Vanderlely
Find out more about fossil fuels, peak oil and Solar Power Facts at - Learn about the science involved, benefits of different systems, kids solar experiments and more.
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