For more than a decade, English petroleum geologist Colin Campbell has been sounding the warning bell about the coming of peak oil and its disturbing ramifications for the world. Since 2005 Dr. Robert Hirsch has been giving specific warnings for the United States through a series of Department of Energy-sponsored reports outlining the dangers to America if the peak finds us unprepared. And in the past year, the GAO, the National Petroleum Council, and scores of other organizations and governments around the world have reported on the severe consequences the world might incur once the peak has been achieved.
The issue is not simply a concern that we will have to pay outrageous prices for a gallon of gas. If that were the worst of it, the situation would be difficult but manageable. The reality, however, goes deeper and is much more troubling. There are multiple problems affecting the world that are having a decidedly negative net effect: a global rise in demand for crude oil, the plateau in the production of crude oil (which may indicate the peak has already been reached) and continued global population growth. Together, these three factors are serving to shove the world into a crisis that has ominous possibilities.