From the Ecologist
Report reveals threat of civil unrest from energy shortages, which has been played down as 'alarmist' by ministers
The government was warned by its own civil servants two years ago that there could be 'significant negative economic consequences' to the UK posed by near-term 'peak oil' energy shortages.
Ministers were told it was impossible to know exactly when production might fail to meet supply but when it did there could be global consequences, including "civil unrest".
Yet ministers consistently played down the threat with the contemporaneous Wicks review into energy serurity effectively dismissing peak oil as alarmist and irrelevant.
The report on the risks and impacts of a potential future decline in oil production has just been published – but only after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) was repeatedly threatened under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act with forced disclosure.
The information is revealed at a critical time when oil prices have soared to historic highs of around $115 (£71) a barrel hitting motorists through higher petrol costs and helping to drive up household gas bills. The price of oil and gas tend to be linked due under the terms of many wholesale gas contracts.
This report admits it is not possible to predict with any accuracy when crude production will peak and go into steady but final decline.
But it goes on to say that 'if peak oil happened before 2015, this would have significant negative economic consequences for some of the main importers of UK goods and services resulting in a negative impact on the UK economy in the longer term.'
Civil servants from Decc argued that while global oil reserves were still plentiful, it is "clear" that existing fields are maturing and new production is being slowed by bottlenecks.
Yet it concludes that 'alternative technologies to oil will take a long time to develop and deploy at scale.' continued at ecologist