Peak of the Devil: 100 questions and answers about Peak Oil

Peak oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil 'production', meaning extraction and refining (currently about 85 million barrels/day), has grown almost every year of the last century. Once we have used up about half of the original reserves, oil production becomes ever more likely to stop growing and begin a terminal decline, hence 'peak'.

— From Energy Bulletin


Peak oil. It’s a harsh, unpleasant subject that few people want to think about, if they know what it is. However, ever since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the news a few years ago, there is little doubt that most people will want to know something. After peak oil, almost everything we know, the life we know, will change. There’s a chance that one hundred years from now will look like one hundred years ago, if we are very, very lucky. So why in the world are we introducing a book that seems to make light of the end of the world as we know it?

Although virtually every aspect of our lives will change in the years to come, we have, almost universally, managed to keep our heads in the sand about this one. The few brave people that have tried to tell the world what might be coming have frequently been painted as fools and kooks, or worse . . . doomsluts. You want to laugh? Then let’s have a really good laugh because it’s NOT the end of the world, only the end of the world we know. If we lose our sense of humor, then that’s the end of the world.

Despite the dark vastness of the subject, or maybe because of it, we are all in this together. Our knowledge (or anyone else’s lack of knowledge) does not grant us immunity from the proceedings. We’re all in the same boat. We may as well row over the falls with a smile, all laughing together.

And remember, ignorance is not really bliss; it's just ignorance.

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