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Peak oil has ‘already happened’

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Energy industry experts fear the worst, reports SIMON WEBSTER.

Anyone wondering how far we are from peak oil might want to listen to Fatih Birol.

Birol is a worried man. He says crude oil production has probably peaked already –  in 2006 – and if we want supply to keep up with demand over the next 25 years we’re going to have to somehow find and develop another four Saudi Arabias. 

Such talk has been heard before, but not from the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, which has long played down the idea that peak oil was imminent.

You can listen to or read Birol’s comments on Radio National’s Science Show here.

Of course, the prospect of fuel prices going through the roof, and the subsequent effect on food prices and availability, is yet another reason to grow your own. Or at least buy from organic farmers, who use less oil than conventional farmers, according to this long-running study.

It might also be time to watch (or re-watch) The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. This 2006 (funnily enough) documentary tells how small-scale organic farming not only helped Cuba survive its own experience of peak oil, but emerge from it a better place.