What is peak oil and why worry?
About 27 years ago, a well-respected geologist by the name of Hubbert proposed a radical new theory now known as ‘peak oil‘ which basically says that at a certain point in the late 20th or early 21st century or thereabouts, the amount of easily recoverable oil on earth which had been used by humans was greater than 50% of ALL the oil on earth. He theorized that after this so-called ‘Hubbert’s Peak’ the availability of oil would decrease dramatically. Not because there was no oil, but only because we got all the things that is simple FIRST. What would be left would function as really hard and expensive to take out deep sea oil, oil derivatives mined to deposits that are unprofitable.
Whilst this does not sound too bad think about it like this: If we assume the first motor car appeared around the dawn of the 20th century then we used half the available oil in about 80 years. However, it must be remembered that for the major part of that 80 years, most of the people on earth had little or no access to motor vehicles. China for example was just a developed country for most of that time. America has little reservations of its own and uses about 25% of all the oil created on world. It is almost entirely dependent on imported oil. China’s extraordinary growth in the last ten years has seen an explosion of domestic wealth with the demand for motor vehicles increasing at an astonishing rate. With a populace of over double the U.S. there is no way that China has access to 50% of the worlds oil!
Many eminent petroleum experts have debated Hubbert’s theory however, many others agree with him. Some experts say we reached peak oil in 1984/85, some 2005. However, the civil argument about whether or not we have achieved ‘peak oil’ seethes and is for the most part denied by the worldwide oil organizations. In any event, the fact is that the price of oil is steadily increasing and along with that so is the price of petroleum and almost every other product we use. Many see the problem as manifesting itself in the fight for the remaining major oil reserves in the Middle East. To the consumer like you and I, it will mean ever increasing prices with the cost of running a motor vehicle being just too high to contemplate. Another major cost for us these days, is the cost of power for your home or business. Imagine a world where the power is only available on certain days or at certain hours. Some poorer nations live with this reality right now. Its not science fiction!
Global Warming In the Age of Oil
I have read various reports that predict that the age of oil will be a very small blip on the timeline of human history. It may last for 200 years, probably not even that long. However, the debate on the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels rages almost every day in newspapers and on television around the globe. Whilst it seems that for every expert proclaiming the effects of global warming, there is another equally qualified expert who loudly decries the very same effects. It does appear however that most of us now recognize that the century of pumping hydrocarbon emissions into our atmosphere has had some form of derogatory effect on our natural ecosystem. We cannot continue to spew effluent into the air and hope it will not impact us. This is another reason why alternative sources of energy need to be developed which are renewable and have little or no environmental impact. The most obvious sources of clean green renewable energy are solar and wind power.
Well What Can I Do?
Firstly, the only thing we can do about our dwindling oil supply is to use less of it both as individuals and for the whole human race across the board! The other solution is to find much more efficient means of converting oil to energy for our cars and power stations. Another solution is to GO SOLAR! We found a ton of information on a site from one of the leading Visalia Solar Companies that blew us away. If everyone in the US were to switch to solar, we would be saving over 2B tons of Co2 emissions each year. Now that’s just crazy!
On a personal level, it would be prudent to take some steps to provide your family with some energy ‘insurance’. What I mean by this, is think about generating your own power. The basis of solar and wind power generation has been around for many years. There are commercially available solar power systems and wind turbine power systems which work very well, are well designed and will provide years of free green power. For most of us however, the initial cost of commercially manufactured and installed systems will be prohibitive. But that need not put you off. There are lots of do it yourself manuals, guides and videos on the internet which offer a much more cost effective way of insuring your family’s energy future. Shop around and if you’re keen, you’ll find that the solutions are pretty simple. It just needs motivation, a bit of handyman skill and not only can you save yourself some money but you can do your bit for a greener, more energy efficient world.