Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Interview with Kjell Aleklett, one of the Peak Oil 'founding fathers'

An interesting interview with Kjell was published a couple of days ago, where he sets out the story so far on Peak Oil. Good to hear it from one of the pair who coined the term originally. A few quotes:

How have attitudes shifted since you first made your predictions?
Attitudes have changed considerably. Traditionally, economists have stated that if the price of a commodity is high, you should be able to produce more of it. However, this doesn’t necessarily hold true for a finite resource. Previous IEA and EIA estimates suggested that by 2030, oil production would have reached 120 million barrels per day. They have since revised their estimates to 95 million barrels per day: a reduction of 25 million barrels per day.
Do you think that sufficient measures are being taken by policymakers to plan for our transition to the second half of the age of oil?
No. It is clear that in this respect, we have a big problem. It is very difficult for any politician to admit that something is wrong, and that we might need to do something about it. If they were to do this, another politician would come along and say, ‘There’s no problem; vote for me and we can carry on as we are’.

This is the democratic dilemma. Drastic action is necessary, but it is very difficult to achieve. Education will be crucial if we are to succeed in implementing the required measures. Alternatively, it might take a crisis to precipitate change.
This last point is key - how can a politician get elected by telling people that they must consume less and pay more for it? Or is a crisis the only option?

You can read the full interview at Science Omega.

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