‘The 2008 crude oil price, $147 per barrel, shattered the global economy. The invisible hand of economics became the visible fist, pounding down world economic growth to match the limitations of crude oil production.’ Kenneth Deffeyes (Petroleum geologist)
Richard Heinberg’s excellent new book ‘The End of Economic Growth’ has an excellent chapter called ‘Earth’s Limits: Why Growth Won’t Return’. He has a great website/blog at
We have heard a lot about Peak Oil: the idea that oil production will peak and shortages develop long before oil actually runs out. See
Basically it is possible we are already at Peak Oil or quite close to it, and what Richard suggests, is that as a result we will find it almost impossible to re-start and sustain global economic growth, because as it resumes, oil prices will rocket, choking off economic growth.
But what is even more interesting, is that Richard lists the other Peaks we are currently facing in equally vital resources. So if you have the stomach, here are some other peaks:
- Peak Coal: 2020
- Peak fresh water TBD but not too far away
- Peak grain per head of the population 1985
- Peak phosphorus for fertilizer to feed us: around 2030, though only China, the US and Morocco have much and the former two have no restricted or banned export
- Uranium 2042
- Most of the major other minerals vital to industry have 25-30 years left if global growth resumes and China continues its meteoric rise.