(It's worth noting that the oil optimists almost always make the argument that the peak is far away, and therefore, we have plenty of time to prepare for it. They never, in my experience, claim that if the peak is soon, the marketplace will solve everything. This is a tacit admission that the lassiez-faire marketplace solution will turn out to be disastrous under a scenario that includes an imminent peak.)
The authors of the report entitled "Forecasting the availability and diversity of global conventional oil supply" believe that despite the uncertainty inherent in the predictions which range from 2004 to 2053, given the scale and seriousness of the problem, we shouldn't wait to prepare:
The market can be powerful thing, but they [price increases] must be efficient enough to spur development of these alternatives and end-use technologies in time to offset falling conventional production. Given that the oil prices needed to spur this development at the necessary scale [aren't] likely until the time of peak, assuming that markets can ensure timely transitions seems unwise....For an explanation of why market prices may not signal an impending peak until shortly before it occurs, see my previous post, Faith-based economics II: The case of oil's sudden scarcity.
The prudence of the precautionary principle seems self-evident here - especially so because most of the oil necessary for the peak to occur in 2037 has not yet been discovered....
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