This is a piece Walter Kohn (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, UC Santa Barbara) and I wrote in June of 2009. It's message is even more timely than ever.
We are being lulled to sleep by temporarily low oil prices caused by the global financial crisis. In fact, low prices may lead to an increased level of consumption and accelerated exhaustion of oil reserves.
“Peak oil,” the point at which global oil production peaks and then rapidly declines, is still not sufficiently on the minds of the American public and policymakers. We don’t know exactly when peak oil will arrive, but it is very likely to occur within ten to twenty years. Some say that it may even be here now – the US Army Corps of Engineers, for example, wrote in a 2005 report: “We are at or near a peak in global oil production.” Peak oil should be at the forefront of everyone's mind – here’s why:
As soon as the global economy recovers, we can expect oil and other fossil fuel prices to shoot right back to where they were last summer, and probably far higher. The International Energy Agency (IEA), formed in the 1970s to act as an energy watchdog for western nations, stated in its 2008 World Energy Outlook:
Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable …The future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the two central energy challenges facing us today: securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy; and effecting a rapid transformation to a low-carbon, efficient and environmentally benign system of energy supply.
This is a call to action of the most urgent kind and we dare not ignore it.
Read the rest at Renewable Energy World.