Earthtalk: Is the World Running Out of Oil?

Earthtalk is a forum for readers to ask the editors of
E/Environmental Magazine important questions. And what
could be more important than inquiring about the supply of oozing
black gold that keeps our cars running, our industries pumping, and
our egos inflated? Allie Knopf, of Kansas City, MO, who wrote in
with the question, ‘Is the world running out of oil?’ has reason to
be alarmed. E/Environmental Magazine replies: ‘According to
renowned petroleum geologist Colin Campbell, who has worked for
Texaco, BP, Shell, and other major oil companies, world oil
discovery peaked in the 1960s, while world production is set to
peak about six years from now. Campbell predicts ‘the onset of a
chronic long-term shortage’ by 2010.’

Can’t we just march into Alaska and feast away on its natural
resources, since that would eliminate the need to deal with the
unstable, fanatical OPEC nations? Apparently, that would only be a
temporary solution, aside from the ecological ramifications.
‘According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), part of
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the United States has 22.7
billion barrels of ‘proven’ oil reserves as of January 2004, about
20 percent less than we had in 1990. ‘Proven’ refers to estimated
amounts that can be recovered in upcoming years with reasonable
certainty.’

No problem, right? Why not just elect an eco-friendly U.S.
president who promotes investment in renewable resources like solar
energy and wind power so that we rely less on oil in the future?
Statistics cited here prove that such a transformation would be
easier said than done. ‘According to the International Energy
Outlook, released this year by the EIA, world demand is expected to
increase by 1.9 percent annually, from 77 million barrels per day
in 2001 to 121 million barrels per day in 2025, with much of the
increased consumption projected to occur in the United States,
China, and other developing nations in Asia. More than 19 million
barrels of oil were consumed per day in the United States alone in
2003.’

How will you drive to work the Day After Tomorrow?
Jacob Wheeler

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Earthtalk: Is the
World Running Out of Oil?

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