Peak oil - are we sleepwalking into disaster? - Public Service Europe: "Like climate change, peak oil is often perceived by the more pessimistic analysts as one of those apocalyptic conundrums where we are already past the tipping point – meaning that any solutions human ingenuity can deliver will simply mitigate the worst-case scenario. Certainly, oil-field discoveries have been in sharp decline since the 1970s. And there is a consensus that peak oil has already been reached, at some point between 2004 and 2008. This does not bode well at a time when huge emerging nations like China and India are experiencing energy-hungry industrial revolutions. China's economic growth was 11 per cent last year and in India, it reached 9 per cent. Increased demand could soon outstrip depleted supplies.
But unlike climate change, politicians seem unwilling to encourage public debate about the ramifications of peak oil. There has been no shortage of government-commissioned reports into the problem, but most have been kept from public view – Britain and the US, for example, have maintained the cloak of secrecy by not publishing many findings. This could be because politicians are concerned that doom-laden messages - like the prediction that ordinary families will only be able to use their cars for emergencies within 10 years because of spiralling fuel prices – will cause panic and civil disobedience on the streets. Or, a more cynical view, might suggest that governments and oil companies are so deeply entwined – in some cases like Saudi Arabia and Iran they are, indeed, the very same thing and we all know about the intimate connections between BP and the political world here in the UK – that educating citizens on the need to move towards conservation and away from consumption would damage business and tax revenues and possibly, even, the foundations of capitalism itself..."