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Peak Oil Futures: Same Crisis, Different Responses

Author: Jorg Friedrichs
Organisation: University of Oxford
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Global
Sector: Petroleum
Method: Forecasting
Theme: Energy
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Peak oil, Historical peak oil experiences, Japan, North Korea, Cuba, Energy crunch

Peak oil theory predicts that global oil production will soon start a terminal decline. Most proponents of the theory imply that no adequate alternate resource and technology will be available to replace oil as the backbone resource of industrial society. To understand what may happen if the proponents of peak oil theory are right, the historical experiences of countries that have gone through a comparable experience are analyzed. Japan (1918–1945), North Korea (1990s) and Cuba (1990s) have all been facing severe oil supply disruptions in the order of 20% or more. Despite the unique features of each case, it is possible to derive clues on how different parts of the world would react to a global energy crunch. The historical record suggests at least three possible peak oil trajectories: predatory militarism, totalitarian retrenchment, and socioeconomic adaptation.
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