Confronting Peak Oil

The story of “Peak Oil”, the impending inability of the petroleum industry to continue to support our industrial society due to depletion of oil and natural gas reserves, is arguably the most under-covered story in the dominant media today.

While it has been generally accepted within the petroleum industry for more than a decade, and has more recently begun to drive international geopolitical activity by the powerful States, it is still largely unknown or discounted at the mass level.

This is a tragic state of affairs, well illustrated by the current “development” plans in Hamilton, which include:

Ongoing suburban sprawl development, with its attendant road construction
A dream of air travel and cargo transport (the least fuel-efficient, and thus most vulnerable, mode of travel) as a “wealth generator” for the city in the long term.
A willingness to take on what will become unserviceable levels of debt.

Proactive change at the local and regional level has the potential to ease the social shock of transition to a world of scarce and expensive energy, and its attendant long term economic decline. Critical to this, however, is the time frame over which the economic impacts of “oil peaking” take hold.

The following article, by oil industry consultant, and energy adviser to George Bush, Matthew Simmons, published in the February edition of “Oil World” magazine indicates that this may occur sooner than many had previously thought.