Update: For a more detailed analysis of the report's contents, check out Matt's post from last week.
Big Business Starts Warning of an Oil Crunch
While some in the business world have recognised and spoken out about the threat of peak oil — from Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer's prediction that energy depletion could hit us in 7 years, through to oil banker Matt Simmon's warning that the energy crisis could dwarf the financial crunch soon - in general the silence from corporations on this issue has been deafening. This is a particularly puzzling state of affairs when you consider how dependent our entire economy is on cheap oil. But there are signs that things are changing — a report, which Matt posted about last week, from the newly formed UK-based Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, has now been launched at the London Stock Exchange. The video above shows the kind of heavy hitters involved in this initiative - including Richard Branson of Virgin - as they aim to raise awareness of the threat, and what can be done to counter it. This from the group's website:
The availability and price of oil affects almost every aspect of our economy and our day-to-day lives: the way we travel, where we work, what we eat, how we power our homes and buildings; and how we manufacture goods here in the UK. The "easy oil" that makes up most of the existing capacity is declining fast, and the new capacity coming on stream — often from "not-so-easy" oil - will not replace it fast enough from 2011 onwards. Within modern cities, life in the suburbs will become extremely challenging without plentiful supplies of affordable oil.
The task force is currently made up of eight major corporations including Yahoo, Virgin, Solarcentury, ARUP, Scottish and Southern Energy, Stagecoach, Fosters and Partners and the First travel group (of course it should be noted that many of these companies have considerable investments in some of the most important solutions to peak oil). The group's initial report is free to download in PDF format, entitled The Oil Crunch: Securing the UK's Energy Future, and the group's website also features brief summaries of the threat and opportunity posed by peak oil for the economy, transport, energy, industry and food. Great to see such high level discussion finally getting under way — now it's time to start implementing the solutions.