IMPACTS, MITIGATION, & RISK MANAGEMENT looked at peak oil and its potential effects on the American economy. One year on and the weakest part of the report, it not making predictions as to when peak oil will occur is mute. We are at peak oil now give or take a year or so, only time will tell exactly when the peak occured.
Some of the developments the Hirsch report sees as making life in a post peak oil world much worse are listed below:
- World oil production peaking is occurring now or soon.
- Middle East reserves are much less than stated.
- Terrorism increases and concentrates on damaging oil facilities.
- Political instability in major oil producers results in unexpected sustained oil shortages.
- Large sustained Middle East political instability hinders oil production.
They read like a summary of the events of the past year. Perhaps the post-peak world will be even worse than feared.
One thing the report makes clear is that most oil is used in transport, the percentage and absolute amounts are still increasing. The long time required to replace transportation (cars, light trucks, etc.), only about half are replaced in 10 years or more. This replacement costs trillions of dollars. One risk is that an economic slowdown caused by peak oil will not leave enough capital to replace the transportation stock with something more fuel efficient.
When it comes to mitigation options, most of them are on the supply side, which is of cause not good news for global warming.