Listening to Nine to Noon on National Radio this morning I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the words "Peak Oil".
Kathryn Ryan interviewed the chief economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Dr. Fatih Birol.
Interestingly this was followed immediately by a discussion with Australian correspondent Ray Moynihian on climate change and responses to it it Australia.
Dr. Birol acknowledged that the production of crude oil has already peaked, and put the crisis down to a combination of:
1) Demand from rapidly developing nations such as China and India
2) Geological constraints - ie. Peak Oil
3) Geopolitical considerations such as conflict in North Africa and the Middle East which make the markets nervous.
He does say that demand exceeds supply and that the "age of cheap oil" is over. He does say (only when cued by the interviewer) that we need "four new Saudi Arabias" to make up the shortfall which he says is "a tall order"
I was slightly bemused to hear this as well as the claim that the IEA were the "first" ones to make a serious study of oil supply. I heard the quote about 'four Saudi Arabias' from Michael Ruppert in his movie Collapse and he got it from the late Matt Simmons in 2002 who correctly identified what was coming some years back.
I suppose we will have to forgive Dr Birol from claiming the credit for belatedly acknowledging Peak Oil, but there are other huge holes in what he has to say.
Having said that we need four Saudi Arabias he goes on to repeat the nonsense that we can replace oil with more "efficient" use of transport, electric cars and biofuels. He does say that this is "challenging".
He does make some connections with the state of the world economy which he describes as being "on fragile ground"; he seems to think that the answer to this is to somehow increase the amount of oil being drilled, to increase the amount of oil and to release nations' emergency stockpiles. This, he says will "increase oil in the market" and "comfort the market".
All of which confirms what the Peak Oil movement has been saying all along.
P.S. There has also been an article reprinted from the Independent in todays New Zealand Herald
This is what he said to the Guardian's George Monbiot back in the beginning of 2009