Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Peak Oil Debate

This article by Laurel Graefe in the November 2009 issue of the Federal Researve Bank of Atlanta's Economic Review (Volume 94, Number 2, 2009) finds that a "number of factors cloud the energy outlook: Estimates of remaining resources are typically given as a range of probabilities and are thus open to interpretation. Variations also occur in estimates of future oil production and in the ways countries report their reserve data.

The lack of a common definitional framework also confuses the debate. The author provides definitions of frequently used terms, delineating types of reserves
and conventional versus nonconventional resources. She also discusses how technological innovations, government policies, and prices influence oil production.
Regardless of the exact timing of peak oil production, the world must address
the challenge of adapting to a new model of energy supply.

Perhaps the world would be better served, the author notes, if the peak oil debate could be more solution-oriented, focusing on discovering the best way to transition to a world with less conventional oil rather than locking horns about discrepancies in terminology."

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