Would peak oil solve the climate change problem ?

oil_well.jpgThis was the question David Straham asked himself on his blog. I already talked about him when I reviewed his oil depletion atlas. (cf. Peak oil is near… around 2015 ! )

Unlike what one might think, the depletion of oil resources aren’t due to solve global warming, but is more likely to increase it.

Indeed, to the journalist, less oil would mean more coal. As the latter emits more greenhouse gases this would prove to be bad.

The journalist is at first puzzled by the fact that ecologist NGOs do not mention peak oil when talking about the threat of climate change. To him, both issues should be natural allies as they serve the same goal, ie. decreasing oil consumption in a massive way.

Averting both climate change and peak oil could be done by the same means : improving energy efficiency and changing behaviours.

What is it about climate change campaigners and peak oil – the two words you almost never hear them utter? The idea that global oil production will soon go into terminal decline ought to be a godsend; it makes the kinds of things they have been lobbying for all the more urgent and compelling. Yet most of the big NGOs continue studiously to ignore the idea.

(…) Most peak oilers accept global warming without question, but the feeling is evidently not mutual. They ought to be such natural allies. For every climate argument there’s a strong peak one to reinforce it. The climate change campaigner wants to reduce food miles and encourage local agriculture in order to cut carbon emissions; the peak oiler wants the same to secure the food supply when fuel runs short.

(…) The massive fall in oil-related emissions – the result of oil production slumping 40 million barrels per day – is simply overwhelmed by continuing growth from gas and coal, which are not so immediately resource-constrained.

(…) And you are quite correct that the US could make a huge difference by concentrating on conservation. I calculate that if the US double the average fuel efficiency of its cars from the current 24 miles per gallon, it could save 5 million barrels a day – more than half its daily petrol consumption.

Saving five millions barrels per day would decrease by six percent the global oil consumption as it is of nearly 85 millions barrels per day.

You can access the full version of his interesting thinking on Straham’s website.

Direct link here : Who’s afraid of oil depletion?

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