PEAK OIL: Coming Oil shortage
PEAK OIL....Jane Bryant Quinn warns this week that we may be running out of oil:
Princeton geology professor emeritus Kenneth Deffeyes, who's writing a book due in 2005 called "Beyond Oil," waggishly names an Armageddon date: "World oil production will reach its ultimate peak on Thanksgiving Day 2005," he says. Then the long, slow decline begins.
Deffeyes is talking not about the amount of oil in the ground, but about the maximum daily pumping capacity of oil. The problem is that even as we continue to find new fields, old fields start to decline. When the decline becomes greater than new discoveries, total oil production starts to fall. This has already happened in the continental United States, which reached its peak capacity in 1970 and has been declining ever since, an event famously predicted in 1956 by geophysicist M. King Hubbert.
This is not a controversial point. What is controversial is the actual date of the global production peak. Deffeyes predicts the peak will come next year. Colin Campbell, perhaps the best known of the peak oil theorists, predicts a peak in 2008. The chart below shows Campbell's most recent calculations....