photo: Mark Rain via Flickr/Creative Commons
Now if you've even gotten a small bit of knowledge about the state of the world's oil reserves and the concept of peak oil, the statement that we've got confidently just 50 years of oil left in the ground is hardly shocking--check out the video of HSBC senior economist Karen Ward delivering the lines below (around the 02:00 minute mark), h/t Climate Progress. But what is shocking to me is the calmness with which the line is delivered and how outside of specialist reporting such statements are seldom to be heard.
Fifty years is within my lifetime as in within the lifetime of many TreeHugger readers, yet when President Obama recently talked about transitioning off foreign oil and developing future energy policy, not once was even the possibility that oil itself will run out by mid-century and will become more scarce and more expensive far before that.Perhaps the President and other politicians have just ingrained the reports saying that even if peak oil happened now or in 20 years we're still unprepared.
But whatever the reason, the implications of peak oil for energy policy, development policy, the global economy, and without exaggeration even modern society as we've grown to know it over the past several decades, is so devastating, the calmness on the part of the HSBC economist and the silence about it US energy policy statements is disturbing.