Peak oil, peak coal, peak gas and projected fossil fuel use

It is interesting how much difference there is between targets and projections. The United Kingdom has an ambitious target to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050. For this figure to be realistic we have got to cut them by 60% by 2030, because the easiest gains in emissions reduction come first. Of course there is little sign of the United Kingdom making any emission reductions for the time being, but that is another story. Continue reading

Biofuels – we drive and the world starves


Sometimes you can only see a picture clearly if you step back from it, so you can see the whole canvas. So it is with energy. Without any doubt we are heading for an energy crisis. The oil will probably peak – that is to say reach its maximum production in ten years time. Oil companies are discovering smaller and smaller fields – not by chance or by accident or a run of bad luck, but simply because there is less oil in the ground to be discovered.


The same scenario exists with coal, natural gas and uranium. These will probably all peak at around the same time (give or take a decade) as developing countries ape the habits customs and lifestyles of the developed countries. With this in the back of some politician’s minds (and in the forefront of others) many developed countries are looking for new sources of energy which are, in the current jargon, sustainable.


Biofuels – that is fuel made from growing crops – seemed like a good idea at the time. Continue reading

Peak Coal – when will coal run out?

The concept of “peak oil” is well known; there is a stage when we have less oil in our world’s reserves than we have used. It does not take much imagination to understand that this is not good. M King Hubbert was a geologist working for Shell in the 1950s.

He proposed that the rate of oil production is determined by the rate of new oil discoveries and if new oil discoveries rapidly decline there will be insufficient oil left to service the world’s energy requirement. He created a way of graphically representing this. It showed a bell shaped graph with production on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. Continue reading