Peak oil is an important concept for the oil market. Peak oil is the moment in time at which the maximum extraction rate of oil is reached. From this moment on, production will decline. Basic economics tells us that the oil price will tend to rise from then on (unless demand were to fall faster), but the complexities of the demand and supply for oil dictate that there will not be a simple inverse relationship between the supply of oil and the price. In the articles below George Monbiot interviews Faith Birol, the Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency and the Asia Times article looks at the extent to which world economies rely on oil for energy and other needs. Oil prices may be low at the moment and the market may be awash with excess oil and not enough demand for it, but this is a short term phenomenon; there is little doubt about the long-term direction of the price.
When will the oil run out? Guardian (15/12/08)
Be careful what you wish for Asia Times (15/1/09)
- Write a short paragraph explaining what is meant by peak oil.
- Using diagrams as appropriate, explain the changes that took place in the oil price in the last six months of 2008.
- Analyse the likely impact on the UK economy of arriving at peak oil output in (a) the short term and (b) the long term.
- Discuss when peak oil is likely to arrive.
March 2007 has seen a lot of activity in government circles relating to the environment and environmental legislation. The EU has agreed a renewable energy target for all members while the UK government has released its own climate change bill. The Carbon Trust has then released a one-year pilot of a carbon labelling scheme, with Walkers Crisps being the first brand to bear the carbon labels. The aim is to increase consumers’ awareness of the carbon footprint of the goods they are buying. The articles linked below look at all these issues.
EU agrees renewable energy target BBC News Online (9/3/07)
EU seeks converts to eco-stoicism BBC News Online (9/3/07)
Navarra embraces green energy BBC News Online (9/3/07)
How Europe can save the world Guardian (11/3/07)
Carbon labelling scheme launched BBC News Online (15/3/07)
Labels reveal goods’ carbon cost BBC News Online (16/3/07)
New law in the climate jungle BBC News Online (13/3/07)
||Explain the difference between private costs and external costs. Identify five external costs that arise from the generation of electricity by conventional means.
||Using diagrams as appropriate, show the impact on the market for energy of increased use of energy generated from renewable sources.
||Evaluate the likely effectiveness of the carbon labelling scheme introduced by the Carbon Trust.