“Crude oil output… never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006.” IEA World Energy Outlook 2010 executive summary .
“You know, everybody can understand peak oil, but very few people actually do.” Chris Martenson, November 16, 2010 .
“One of the more interesting occasions each year is learning just how far the International Energy Agency has come in the last 12 months towards publicly admitting that days of boundless cheap oil are over, just how high global oil production will ever get, and when the inevitable decline in production will set in.” Tom Whipple .
The International Energy Agency (IEA) was formed in 1974 after the 1973 oil crises. It was established to assess world oil supply and to advise member nations about energy. It has failed miserably. In the 2009 report “peak oil” is not mentioned. The 2010 report announces that peak oil occurred in 2006; some warning (see figure 1). The IEA has consistently underestimated the capacity of alternative sources of energy and overestimated conventional fossil fuel supplies.
According to the European-based Energy Watch Group, the IEA predicted in 1998 that global wind electricity generation would total 47.4 GW by 2020, but a EWG report observes that this level was reached by the end of 2004.
Last year, the British daily newspaper The Guardian, citing an unidentified senior IEA official, claimed that the United States, during the Bush Administration, had been pressuring the agency to deliberately downplay the risk of peak oil. We can assume that the administration did not want to call attention to the coincidence of peak oil and our invasion of Iraq lest people got the idea that our invasion of Iraq was after all about oil. The peak oil community was never confused about why Bush and Cheney invaded a country that was no threat to us but may have the world’s largest remaining supply of cheap conventional oil. Kjeil Aleklett, whom I wrote about previously , claims that IEA reports are indeed “political documents.”
This report vindicates M. King Hubbard who originally forecast in 1974 that the peak in world oil production would occur not too long after 1995 provided current trends continued. The Limits to Growth authors Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William Behrens III as well as the entire peak oil community have likewise been proved correct.
The goats in this narrative in addition to the irresponsible Bush administration and the IEA, include all the neo-classical economists as well as anthropogenic global warming theory deniers. Since the solutions to peak oil are the same as the solutions to global warming, it appears that global warming denial has been as whimsically irrelevant as it has been baseless. If you think we are not in serious trouble, recall that we’ve just elected the most clueless and ignorant congress in our nation’s history. Don’t expect them to do anything that would avoid a prolonged and severe depression, far worse than what the Bush administration has already caused.
Figure 1 IEA World oil production scenario