Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Scientist urges world to get serious about oil crisis


November 30, 2005

The world's politicians should act decisively to help reduce the wasteful use of oil, as a growing gap looms between demand and supply, Swedish physicist Kjell Aleklett says.

Speaking yesterday at the trans-Tasman Solar 2005 energy conference hosted by the University of Otago, Professor Aleklett of Upssala University, Sweden, who is president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, warned that big problems would result from the peaking of world oil production .

A combination of declining supply from existing oil fields, and rising global demand for oil meant there was already a potential shortfall of about five billion barrels of oil a year.

Beyond 2008, a growing gap between supply and demand was likely to be felt, he said.

Many nations faced a "democratic dilemma" over dwindling oil supplies.

What was now needed was for politicians to warn about potential problems, and to advise that things might be even worse unless necessary changes were made.

Improved telecommunications meant people could now communicate electronically rather than always travelling to distant locations for face-to-face meetings, he said.

Working more collaboratively with other nations would also be important in future, given that most of the remaining large oil and gas resources were in Islamic countries.

Prof Aleklett will address a commission considering peak oil matters at the US House of Representatives in Washington DC on December 7.

About 120 people - including Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons - are attending the three-day solar energy conference, which ends today.



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