PMEL Seminar: "Peak Oil and Climate Change", Dr. James Murray (UW)

Start Date/Time: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 1:30 PM
Location: NOAA Sand Point Campus, Bldg 3, Room 2104

"Peak Oil and Climate Change"
Dr. James Murray, UW Oceanography

The argument of Peak Oil is that production of oil, a finite non-renewable geological resource, will ultimately reach a maximum and then decline. There is no debate that this will happen, but there is disagreement about when it will occur. Peak Oil does not mean "running out of oil" but when the peak has been reached, about 50% of the oil that will be ultimately extracted will have been used.

The production and resources of coal can be assessed with similar tools and David Rutledge (Cal Tech) has recently assessed the ultimate resources of coal available both regionally and globally.

There are both short term and long range issues. We see the manifestation of the imbalance between supply and demand in the rapid increase in the price of oil over the past 5 years. The most significant long term impacts relate to the IPCC scenarios predicting CO2 production from now to 2100.

Energy is passing climate change as the "hot button" issue. We need to solve the energy issue in order to move forward on climate. The solutions are the same - burn less oil: make less CO2.