The New Economics of Oil

The concept of peak oil is very much alive and squeezing its hands ever more tightly around the throats of oil-dependent economies. In other words, it is not the dynamics of peak oil that are struggling to survive, but the industrial economies that are trying to ignore the implications of expensive oil. The new economics of oil also have alarming implications for climate change, suggesting that this is a subject we dismiss at our own peril.

This Issues Paper seeks to show that oil issues remain at the centre of global challenges facing humanity, despite recent claims of oil abundance, and that the challenges are only going to intensify in coming years as competition increases over the world’s most important source of fossil energy. The main issue, however, is not whether we will have enough oil, but whether we can afford to produce and burn the oil we have.

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Samuel Alexander

MSSI strives to inform and stimulate public conversation about key sustainability questions facing our society. Each MSSI Issues Paper aims to encapsulate the insights of a thinker or practitioner on a particular issue of importance to society. Although material is often closely informed by peer-reviewed academic research, the papers themselves are presented in a clear, discursive style intended for a broad readership.