Here’s an interesting article from the Guardian (thanks Donald). It’s entitled ‘Peak oil is the villain governments need’ and suggests that the arrival of Peak Oil and the accompanying rise in price for a barrel will quell our addiction to the black stuff ensuring we use less of it thus reducing our C02 emmissions. Therefore Peak Oil becomes a sort of Trojan Horse for the Climate Change movement.
This is interesting because it suggests that it’s going to be good old hard cash that drives the Climate Change agenda rather than any desire to be green. This is a bit ‘Route One’, although of course, money is always a significant variable in any decision about goods and services. It’s also a bit depressing to think that the thing that will be the major variable to swtich behaviour will be cost, rather than some desire to do the right thing for the greater good.
However, I think that here are a number of issues with all of this and the concept of Peak Oil:
When will Peak Oil actually happen? It’s been talked about for years and still hasn’t happened. If they’re thinking of drilling the Arctic, then they’ll be thinking of drilling in the Antarctic and that could put Peak Oil back a few years. And of course this will lead to an environmental disaster there, but then when has an environmental disaster ever stopped us drilling for oil? They’re still at it in the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, I think our desire for oil will always trump our concern for the environmental consequences. Although I hope I’m proved wrong.
Peak Oil isn’t the end of oil anyway. You’ve got all that energy inefficient oil shale and oil sands to get through first, if you can lobby and get past the Climate Change agenda.
The price of energy is vastly underpriced (in my opinion). Say you pay £50 a month to heat your house in winter. How much would you actually be prepared to pay to have a warm house when it’s below zero outside? £50 a weekend? The price of petrol and other forms of fossil fuels seem underpriced and they’re fairly inelastic so the price per barrel can go a lot higher, I reckon. But then, the higher the price, the argument is less about what people are prepared to pay for oil, but rather the viability of making money out of other, alternative energy-generating solutions. But that’s a whole other thing.
Anyway, I’m sure that there are lots of other thoughts to come out of the article, but it’s a good ‘un.