While browsing in my community library yesterday, I noticed that a book that I had reviewed a year ago, The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New Future by Paul Roberts, had come out in paperback with a new afterword.
As the book’s title and subtitle imply, experts now recognize that demand for oil may soon exceed the production capacity of even the largest suppliers. The world’s economy is heading for a painful transition, and Roberts makes the case that we are unprepared for it.
The new afterword is hardly comforting. The evidence is mounting that we are approaching or have already reached “Hubbert’s Peak,” when world oil production will be at its maximum, yet the growth in demand continues unabated. The good news is that this seems to be accelerating the development of alternative sources of energy, but there is still no clear technological solution. The “perilous new future” includes not only problems with energy supply but also the possibility of geopolitical turmoil.
Last year, with gasoline prices approaching the then incredible $2.00 per gallon level in the U.S., the Dallas Morning News ran my review comparing The End of Oil with Out of Gas by David Goodstein, which was then picked up by a number of nonprofit websites dealing with energy, the environment, and politics.
Now as the price of gasoline is flirting with $3.00 per gallon, I recommend reading or re-reading Roberts’ paperback and its new afterword.