chrnb writes: Americans have long been fascinated by disaster scenarios, from the population explosion to the cold war to global warming. These days the doomers, as Mrs. Wilkerson jokingly calls herself and likeminded others, have a new focus: peak oil. They argue that oil supplies peaked as early as 2008 and will decline rapidly, taking the economy with them.
Located somewhere between the environmental movement and the bunkered survivalists, the peak oil crowd is small but growing, reaching from health food stores to Congress, where a Democrat and a Republican formed a Congressional Peak Oil Caucus.
And they have been resourceful, sharing the concerns of other âÅ"collapsitarians,âï½ including global debt and climate change ââ both caused by overuse of diminishing oil supplies, they maintain.
chrnb writes: "The group, meeting in Denver this week, wants immediate steps to avert economic ruin. The world is running out of oil faster than society suspects, and last year's $4.11 gasoline spike was just a bitter hint of the future, according to a "peak oil" theory whose key proponents will gather in Denver this week.
Though peak-oil theorists prompt scorn from many in the petroleum industry, they've attracted an audience in some political and financial circles with their warnings to avert disaster by conserving, diversifying and exploring at an urgent pace.
"Up until now, technology has delivered dazzling results to America and the world economy, in delivering oil from all around the world despite increasingly challenging environments," said Dave Bowden, executive director of the Denver-based Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA, or ASPO. "The harsh reality is, despite the best efforts of amazing technology, they're not finding as many of these big fields anymore.""
chrnb writes: "There is a "significant risk" that global oil production could begin to decline in the next decade, researchers said today. A report by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) said worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could "peak" and go into terminal decline before 2020 – but that the government was not facing up to the risk.
Falls in production will lead to higher and more volatile prices, and could encourage investment in even more polluting fossil fuels, such as tar sands, which "need to stay in the ground" to avoid dangerous climate change as a result of carbon emissions, the researchers said.
The new report said there was too much geological, political and economic uncertainty to predict an exact date for peak oil, which would not lead to a sudden decline but a "bumpy plateau" with a downward trend in extraction.
But Steve Sorrell, chief author of the report, said while those who forecasted an imminent decline had underestimated oil reserves, more positive forecasts suggesting oil production will not peak before 2030 were "at best optimistic and at worst implausible"."