11 Jul 2013:
‘Peak Oil’ Concerns Overstated
As Demand Will Fall, Study Predicts
Researchers say concerns that humanity will inevitably reach a moment of “peak oil,” which would be followed by a crippling decline in supplies, are unwarranted because global demand for oil is approaching its own peak
. Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology
from Stanford University and the University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) say that dire projections of peak oil mistakenly assume that an increasingly wealthy planet will continue to rely heavily on oil. On the contrary, they say, the link between economic growth and oil is breaking down as a result of increased energy efficiency, lower prices for alternative fuel sources, urbanization, and limits on consumption by the wealthy. While the researchers project surging global demand for airline travel and various forms of freight transportation, there will be less reliance on oil, with conventional oil demand declining after 2035. “We’ve seen explosive growth in car ownership in countries such as China,” said Adam Millard-Ball, an assistant professor at UCSC and co-author of the study. “However, those cars will be more efficient than those of the past, and travel demand will eventually saturate as it has in rich countries such as the United States.”
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