The Economist declares that the notion of "peak oil" is being dealt a death blow in its latest special report on energy and technology.
There is no shortage of hydrocarbons in the Earth’s crust, and no sign that mankind is about to reach “peak technology” for extracting them.
That of course, is a short-term view. We are living off the past with hydrocarbons, and as large as the planet is, and as long as the past is, hydrocarbons are a finite resource. Cutting dependence on this finite resource that has long term negative consequences to sustaining a planet as we know it. And here, the Economist helpfully suggests curbing subsidies that encourages dependence on hydrocarbons.
For now, though, low oil prices put money in consumers’ pockets and give a bit of breathing space to governments, making it easier to cut fossil-fuel subsidies (and perhaps even tax carbon emissions). In 2013 some $550 billion was spent on subsidising fossil fuels, a policy of extraordinary wrongheadedness that favours the rich, distorts economies and aggravates pollution.
While oil prices are dropping, policies should target subsidies at renewable energy sources. The boost in renewable capabilities and capacity would certainly prepare us for when oil prices return to their highs.