Tuesday, 28 September 2010

"World Energy Systems are a Mess"

New book on Peak Oil by Hirsc, Bezdek & Wendling out in Oct, 2010

Robert L. Hirsch, who authored one of the first studies into the mitigation of the effects of Peak Oil, has written a new book on what the decline of oil production means and what will be the likely high level effects of that.

While many books on Peak oil have concentrated on what it is and why it is happening, only a few have tried to analytically tackle the high level view of what are the possible consequences. Some take the effects for granted, while others linger in doom-and-gloom scenarios of total civilization collapse.

Thus, the new book 'World Energy Mess' is a welcome overview for those who have not keenly followed the depleting liquid fuel production issue for the past years.

What is the summary of the authors then? Shortly:

  • Within next 2-5 years world liquid fuels production will begin to decline most likely
  • There are no quick fixes to remedy this downfall in production
  • Societal adjustments will be dramatic, sweeping and pragmatic rather than just or optimal

For the technically minded, they forecast the start of decline (end of plateau) by 2012-2015, with an aggregate overall decline rate of 2-4% p.a., worldwide GDP reduction for next 10years after the peak (perhaps in the order of -20% to -30% combined). His quick list for preparation  are listed in his ASPO-USA interview: interest bearing annuities, gold, close to markets/mass transit, fuel efficient transport. Sounds very reasonable.

In an interview with a French journalist, Mr Hirsch also states that all of Bush and Obama administration are aware of peak oil, but that Department of Energy has been actively discouraged not to research or to talk about the issue any more.