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The Coming World of "Peak Oil Demand," Not "Peak Oil"


The Coming World of "Peak Oil Demand," Not "Peak Oil"

Michael T. Klare

Sunday, April 17th was the designated moment. The world’s leading oil producers were expected to bring fresh discipline to the chaotic petroleum market and spark a return to high prices. Meeting in Doha, the glittering capital of petroleum-rich Qatar, the oil ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with such key non-OPEC producers as Russia and Mexico, were scheduled to ratify a draft agreement obliging them to freeze their oil output at current levels.


Peak Oil? Peak Oil Demand? Wait for Peak Fresh Water!


Or a breathing fee for the use of air. But some of the seemingly better informed writer critics of the oil economy, like James Howard Kunstler, whose book "Peak Oil" put the issue in the table and has said that what is coming into short supply is affordably extractable oil.

A recent entry in his Clusterfuck Nation blog has this to say:

"The oil picture has bamboozled both the broad public and the smaller cohort of supposedly sentient observers. I maintain that the deflationary contraction underway worldwide is largely due to the fact that the world has run out of a particular form of oil: affordable oil. Turns out the peak oil story is still true, just playing out differently than a lot folks [including Kunstler himself] predicted. We’re at the mercy of a pretty basic equation: oil over $75-a-barrel destroys industrial economies; oil under $75-a-barrel destroys oil companies. There is no “just right” Goldilocks place on the gradient . . . We can’t seem to face the fact that our techno-industrial paradigm was designed to run on cheap oil, which is just no longer available."

Maybe he's wrong, maybe all the pessimistic prognosticators including me are wrong and some civilisationable breakthrough will come along to save the day and ease the impossibly complex complicated transition away from carbon based fuels to some other way of life that can keep seven billion plus of us fed and housed in endurable temperatures. I will be only too glad to say how glad I am my pessimism was mistaken.


Peak oil demand cannot happen soon enough. What we really need to speed it along is a carbon tax on all Fossil energy sources. OIl, Coal, Nat. Gas ( CH4) all of them need to be tightly regulated like tobacco. Tobacco style taxes need to be increasingly levied on all those that want to cling onto these sources of energy. The very fate of humanity and most other species on this planet depend on us rapidly cutting back on using any and all of these types of energy. The transition will be and already is painful, but it's going to be far worse up ahead if we don't act now. If even the friggin Saudis see the handwriting on the wall you have to ask yourself what the f*ck is wrong with the US Congress? Of course everyone here knows exactly what is wrong with it. What we really need in the US is peak political $$ to happen sooner then later.


Seadog has good points. In addition, how about oil based plastic consumption/waste/environmental poisoning products? Would a modern society be possible without plastic?