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Mar 11 / Jonathan

US report acknowledges peak-oil threat

I’d like to call your attention to a disturbing article by Adam Porter, who has covered the peak-oil beat for the BBC, US report acknowledges peak-oil threat. This story has gotten essentially no mainstream coverage.

The subject of the piece is a report from major government contractor SAIC for the US Department of Energy.

“World oil peaking is going to happen,” the report says. Only the “timing is uncertain”.

The effects of any oil peak are similarly not ignored. Specifically, the impact on the economy of the United States. “The development of the US economy and lifestyle has been fundamentally shaped by the availability of abundant, low-cost oil. Oil scarcity and several-fold oil price increases due to world oil production peaking could have dramatic impacts . . . the economic loss to the United States could be measured on a trillion-dollar scale,” the report says.

The authors of the report also dismiss the power of the markets to solve any oil peak. They call for the intervention of governments. But also they rather worryingly point to a need to exclude public debate and environmental concerns from the process. They say this is needed to speed up decision-making.

“Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. But the process will not be easy. Expediency may require major changes to . . . lengthy environmental reviews and lengthy public involvement.”

And what kind of “expedient” solution does the report envision? Here’s a clue: the report mentions “coal” 65 times; “oil shale” 17 time; “nuclear” six times. “Solar” or “wind”? Twice. “Climate change” or “global warming”? Not even once.

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