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The Three Peaks Ahead: Peak Oil / Peak Auto / Peak Population
[ “You say what should be said” - GK, A free subscriber who just became a paid subscriber. If you agree, that I write about important topics, please consider becoming a paid subscriber to support my work. Thank you!]
Peak Oil has always meant the time that at least half of all the oil in the ground has been drawn out of the Earth. Therefore, the amount of oil available would decline. It is hard to ultimately determine this as it is hard to know what is unknown, which would be how much is left to extract.
I was taken with this theory close to 20 years ago. It seemed to me that while the easy oil – reserves close to the surface and easy to find and extract – would peak soon, the real issue was how much more expensive oil existed. There is oil at the bottom of the oceans and elsewhere which would be more expensive to pump relative to the then oncoming rapid increase of clean energy.
For this column and the ones about these three peaks, I am going to revise the definition of “peak”.
Peak means the year of peak production. The year after would see a decline in production and continue to decline after the “peak” year.
So Peak Oil is the year after which oil production would decrease globally.
Peak Auto is the year after which the total number of autos on the roads globally would decline.
Peak Population will be the year the greatest number of people are alive at one time on Earth.
To a significant degree, all three are related. Peak Oil and Peak Auto are intertwined as a bit more than two-thirds of all oil extracted goes to gasoline or diesel. These two will occur much sooner, and closer together, than Peak People, which is further out.
Tomorrow, in a post for paid subscribers, we will take a look at each of these three peaks and when they might occur, and why. Then I hope to write columns on each peak with greater depth in the coming weeks.