Peak oil or the Hubbert peak is the date when production of oil and natural gas comes to a peak and goes into decline. The original theory was advanced by American Geophysicist M. King Hubbert It is usually attached to the theory that this will occur within most of our lifetimes - before the next generation matures.
This has demonstrably occured within the continental USA, as oil output sharply declined, and appears also to have occurred in Saudi Arabia. Today, globally, about two barrels are burned for every one found. Around 53% of an historically proven reserve, the amounts retrieved tend to decline. But also technological improvements have tended to offset that though these methods also take much more energy.
The real debate is whether this is actually an issue or not.While most "peakers" (those who assert that the above is a looming catastrophe) believe that this means that oil supply will itself be curtailed, this is demonstrably not true: As fuel oil and gasoline equivalents can be made with coal to oil or biomass or tar sand, none of which are running out in any sense, the so-called peak oil event is strictly with regard to liquid oil. It will cause prices to rise, period, but it puts no inherent limits on use of fossil fuel in this or even the next human generation.
Also, the numbers that peakers rely on, constantly change and are not accurate representations of the molecules in the ground. Michael Lynch points out correctly that these estimates have been revised often.
[+] has it occurred?
[+] does it matter?
[+] is it a dangerous distraction?
energy conservation save energy localization local economy voluntary simplicity industrial strategy green tax shift local tax shift home insulation dirty subsidy
[+] efficient use of fossil fuel
[+] new sources of oil
[+] other energy sources
[+] criticisms of specific Peak Oil scenarios
- Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas(ASPO) (technical information about the coming oil production peak.)
- ASPO's recommended links
- Beginner's guide
- The doomsday scenario
- Optimist's view
- Strategies for sustainability
- NZ Greens co-leader on NZ's survivability under Peak Oil