This graph was prepared for a US Dept. of Energy meeting in spring, 2009. Check these links for more details:
The United States Joint Forces Command forecasts production from presently existing conventional sources will plummet from its present 81 mbpd to 30 mbpd by 2030, a 63% drop in a 20-year period:
The United States Joint Forces Command concludes: of all potential future energy sources, “None of these provide much reason for optimism,” and that, “The discovery rate for new oil and gas fields over the last two decades (with the possible exception of Brazil) provides little reason for optimism that future efforts will find major new fields.” http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2010/JOE_2010_o.pdf
The rate of discovery of new conventional oil has been steadily dropping now for 40 years despite ever-more searching with ever-more-sophisticated technology. The lag time between discovery and bringing to full production of a field is 30-40 years, which means that even if there were huge “new oil discoveries” they would barely change the graph above between now and 2030.
A few topics to think about:
- How to replace oil as an essential fuel in electricity production.
- How to replace oil in its exclusive role of transporting people, agricultural produce, and manufactured goods.
- How to replace oil for preserving millions of miles of roads without asphalt.
- How retool suburbia so it can function without gasoline.
- How to manufacture and install millions of furnaces to replace home oil furnaces, with little time to produce the infrastructure necessary to carry out that task.
- How to replace US military establishment’s dependence upon oil.
In The Long Emergency, James Kunstler writes: “The human race living off the draw-down of non-renewable fossil fuel resources is the equivalent of algae in a pond enjoying a temporary rush of nutrients in one brief session.”
Ed Ayres, the Editorial Director of the World Watch Institute, articulates the problem best: “We face something so outside of our collective experience that we don’t really see it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.” (Source)