This was the most significant news of 2008 and I'm sorry for not posting it sooner. Life's been pretty crazy. Since the price of oil has collapsed I feel it makes the report even more important.
I'll keep it simple. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has historically been very optimistic on the ability of the world to continue meeting its liquid fuel needs as demand increases. Such as saying peak oil is real, but won't happen until 2030. As the years go by, they have been becoming much more realistic.
This latest report shows total energy liquids which appears that energy availability is growing, but the top part is natural gas liquids (yellow), which is not used by the average person for transport, biofuels (green) make up a small percentage, the most important and largest part is the dark blue section.
The dark blue is existing fields in production of crude oil, which is used to make gasoline and diesel which is what makes our civilization hum and purr along. The shocking news is that this graph shows a potential 4%-9% decline THIS YEAR, unless we have new investment into existing oil discoveries (light blue). Since the price of oil has dropped so low, these investments have been put on hold because they are no longer profitable (all the cheap stuff has been tapped).
Furthermore, even if we do invest everything to develop all the new fields, plus find new ones (the red section, which is pure hope), we will only be able to keep a plateau of supply until 2015, which means demand will be required to stay constant or decline, if this does not happen then there may be shortages and/or prices will increase rapidly again and stay there, until demand declines again to keep up with supply.
Once supply declines and we are past the peak of oil production then there is no going back and prices will stay high no matter what, with potential shortages and/or wars without proper global governmental co-operation and global demand reduction of oil consumption matched to the global supply decline rate. Good news Obama is in office, since I feel he'd have a kinder and much more co-operative approach to diplomacy than our previous president.
Regardless of where things go, I encourage everyone to reduce their dependence on imported goods and energy for their livelihoods. Sure, enjoy life while you can and be extremely grateful for what we have. But please think ahead and be proactive. We must take this seriously and start creating our local economies. Life as we know it is about to change drastically.
The sooner we start on this inevitable change, the easier it will be for all of us.
Much love to everyone who is being the change!
To read more about this report, check out the summary over at the oil drum.