xposted to: peakoilusa and peak_oil
It lubricates all our lives. But can we live without the black stuff, asks Heather Stewart
Sunday August 22, 2004
Sky-high oil prices are already taking their toll, eating into consumers' spending power and squeezing corporate margins; but the short-term economic pain is also a harsh reminder to the world's richest countries that they have never been able to kick their addiction to the sticky black stuff - and time is running out.
The world has about a trillion barrels of proven oil reserves left, according to the producers' cartel, Opec. At the current rate of global consumption, that should last us about 40 years: too long to bother the traders whose frenzied buying pushed up the price of crude to record levels last week; but not long enough to ignore. Natural gas will last a bit longer - perhaps 60 years at the current rate - but is still finite.
'We have a responsibility to our great grandchildren to do something now, in 2004,' says Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at Warwick University. 'The whole history of economics is of consumers being woefully short-sighted.'
Read the rest at the website...