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Peak oil is the belief that the peak level of oil production has been reached, or will be reached soon. After the peak has been reached, supply will be increasingly restricted, and the supply-demand balance will lead to dramatically increasing prices, as the declining reserves struggle to meet demand.
In April 2005 China surpassed Japan as the second largest world consumer of petroleum (behind the U.S. of course).
Peak oil and climate change
Note that peak oil is not the same as peak energy. The solutions to the two problems have much in common, but are not exactly the same, as oil is not the only major influence on climate change.
Other implications of peak oil
- Solving the problem by moving to biofuels can be expected to create competition between food crops and fuel crops, making life harder for the global poor.
- George Monbiot points out there are many decades of coal remaining, especially with potential new technologies. George Monbiot on Peak Oil and Transition Towns transitionculture.org, 10 Apr 2007.
- http://www.postcarbon.org/groups (archive) - Post Carbon Institute
- http://www.LifeAfterTheOilCrash.net/ (archive) - Life After the Oil Crash
- Peak Oil (WP) - lengthy article that surveys different viewpoints on peak oil. Lots of supporting references. The discussion page, which is longer than the article (and that's not including the archive!), is an interesting read.