We were hearing a lot about peak oil last summer when the oil price went to $147 a barrel. Since when, of course, the price has fallen through the floor, back down to 2005 levels, and, lo and behold, stories about peak oil have dropped off the radar.
But the issue refuses to go away and at least one serious commentator, Steven Koppits, suggests that we may have already passed the peak oil moment and that the global recession is the result.
Ultimately, the inability of the oil supply to keep pace with global demand proved to be a key contributing factor to the current recession. I would note, however, that the proximate cause of the recession is China, not peak oil. China ultimately provided both the financial liquidity and the commodities demand which brought down the global economy. Were China not so large and not at its current stage of development, peak oil could pass without anyone noticing for some time. As it was, China hit its stride just as the oil supply was stumbling. The issue was not, therefore, peak oil in and of itself, but rather the supply/demand imbalance caused by the inability of the global oil supply to adjust to China’s incremental demand.
It’s a very interesting, thought provoking piece and, to me, it makes a lot of sense.