My last day in Glasgow dawned damp and iron grey, but my fellow Trading Tales writer Diana McCaulay and I were undaunted by the promise of rain. We set off for the riverside...
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Peak oil won’t save us
George W Bush, March 5, 2008: “We gotta get off oil, America has got to change its habits...It should be obvious to all, demand has outstripped supply, which makes prices go up.” Hubbert peak oil theory: Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline.
Peak oil would save the day and introduce the age of sustainable, clean energy. No more CO2 pollution to drive climate change; no more oil spills; no more wars of aggression for control of resources; no more economic instability due to energy scarcity. Rising energy prices would make clean energy development a competitive reality. Within a decade or two the world would switch from outdated fossil fuels to the sustainable fuels of the future: wind, solar and tidal energy, with a bit of geothermal energy thrown in for good measure.
But, while one day we will hit peak oil, it won’t be soon enough to solve the problems associated with fossil fuels. Here are some reasons why clean energy won’t become a reality without government subsidies during the transition phase from fossil fuels: Economic interests are at play: When countries invest in new power plants, the economic life of that investment is 30 to 40 years. That’s the period of time needed to recoup the investment and make a tidy profit to invest in new technology.