Friday, June 27, 2008

Peaking into the future

Ian Sample does a good job reporting on pinch points and crisis scenarios for the global oil supply (Oil: The final warning). But he is overstating it to say all viable alternatives for transport fuels have hit the skids.

'All' that's needed are bold policies to: 1) ratchet up fuel efficiency standards -- the opposite, if you like, of the Bush administration's attempts to water them down and obstruct other actors such as the state of California; and 2) serious investment in low emission alternatives of which an early example may be the Tesla Motors roadster that 'can go 250km between charges at a running cost of less than 1 US cent per kilometre'.

These are big asks, but far from politically infeasible. A nasty, but not too large shock to the global system of the kind that Sample describes might be just the job to concentrate minds towards these necessary changes.

Failing that, further pressures on oil supply may have additional adverse consequences such as stimulating a boom in synfuels from coal, which is abundant but hugely polluting without CCS.

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