From Warming to Peaking, Reasons to Use Less Oil

This looks like a defining moment for action on the environment and energy supply.

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If you're looking for new reasons that we've got to get beyond oil, here are a couple. Check out the final report released this past weekend by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Fresh from winning its share of the Nobel Peace Prize, IPCC brought together its past work with new evidence, such as that from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, to reiterate that global warming is "unequivocal" and that scientists have "high confidence" it is due to humans. IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri told the New York Times that waiting until 2012, when the next round of Kyoto is set to begin (and the first term of the new president ends), will be too late. "What we do in the next two or three years will determine our future," he said. See Gristmill's good-news take-away here.

Two days after the IPCC report, the front page of the Wall Street Journal says the idea that the current 85 million barrels a day of oil that the world produces is about as much as it ever will be able to produce has moved well beyond the so-called peak oil theorists. Citing top executives of France's Total and ConocoPhillips, as well as a former Saudi oil chief, the Journal says, "Some predict that, despite the world's fast-growing thirst for oil, producers could hit that ceiling as soon as 2012. This rough limit—which two senior industry officials recently pegged at about 100 million barrels a day—is well short of global demand projections over the next few decades."

What better day for the peakers, who have been sounding alarms long before the Wall Street Journal, to post their latest analyses? On the Oil Drum, they try to discern not if worldwide oil production is peaking but how quick the decline rate is.