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wednesday :: june 23, 2004
oil peak: the most pivotal challenge facing modern civilization

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas (ASPO) is a network of scientists, affiliated with European institutions and universities, having an interest in determining the date and impact of the peak and decline of the world's production of oil and gas, due to resource constraints.

The declared missions of ASPO are as follows:
1. To evaluate the world's endowment and definition of oil and gas;
2. To study depletion, taking due account of economics, demand, technology and politics;
3. To raise awareness of the serious consequences for Mankind.

>from *The Association for the Study of Peak Oil&Gas site*.

"We, the members of the educational and scientific communities involved in the study of the worldwide peak of oil production, offer the following statement on the problem and its implications for our future:

Oil is a finite resource.
...more than 95 percent of all recoverable oil has now been found... As of this statement, we have consumed approximately half of the recoverable oil... Since 1981 we have consumed oil faster than we have found it, and the gap between our growing consumption and shrinking discovery continues to widen. Oil is now being consumed four times faster than it is being discovered, and the situation is becoming critical.

Oil is our most important energy source.
Oil is the fuel that enabled the growth of modern civilization, and all industrialized countries now rely on it to an extraordinary extent. Oil provides 40 percent of all primary energy, and 90 percent of our transportation energy... In short, oil is the lifeblood of the industrial world.

Worldwide oil production is peaking.
After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil has reached, or is extremely close to reaching, the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by 'oil peak.' With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin an irrevocable decline...

Oil peak is a powerful force of global destabilization.
The foreshocks of the impending oil production peak are already impacting our economies, our environment, and our geopolitics...

Solutions must be grounded in science.
The laws of thermodynamics and physics, as opposed to business and economics, must guide us through this crisis. Open markets are not equipped to cope with depletion of a critical resource, as they cannot foresee the serious technical limitations of various replacement technologies. Natural gas, for example, is itself a finite resource, and is already in decline in North America. Hydrogen is a commonly cited panacea, but rather than being a primary energy source, hydrogen is only an energy carrier – much like a battery. As such, hydrogen is strictly an energy loser. Replacing oil with a sevenfold increase in nuclear energy, would pose a serious and expensive waste problem. Renewable energies including solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass must be encouraged, and their potential for large-scale deployment must be assessed. Other technologies still in the laboratory, either proven or as yet unproven, may be extremely difficult to deploy in the timeframe and scale dictated by this problem.

We call on all governments of the world to address this issue very seriously. Oil peak is an inevitability... We now ask that the call be heard. A first response must include decisive cuts in consumption, and a thorough reassessment of the size of the world’s oilfields. Communities everywhere must be apprised of this issue so that they may take part in creating a sustainable future.

Oil peak is the most pivotal challenge facing modern civilization. It is time to come together and acknowledge our collective vulnerability, and begin working to change the structure of our culture and civilization in ways we've never attempted before. We do not underestimate the magnitude of the task, nor the consequences of a failure to act. Please join us in adopting this statement, and become part of a growing community working to respond at every level.
>from *A Statement On Global Oil Peak*. Citizens Committee on Oil Peak And Decline (COPAD). March 22, 2003

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