The story of how our civilization’s addiction to oil puts it on a collision course with geology. In 1956, when geophysicist Dr. M.K. Hubbert predicted that the U.S. would reach its peak of oil production in the 1970s, he was almost laughed out of his profession. At the time, the U.S. was the world’s largest producer of oil. But Hubbert turned out to be right. Today the U.S. imports more than two-thirds of its oil and has only 2 per cent of the world’s oil reserves.
Dr. Hubbert also predicted that the world peak would come in the late 1990s. Experts suggest that the date has been pushed back by a few years, due to the worldwide recession that followed the 1970s oil shock. But, as cheap, abundant oil starts to run out, the world is set to change in the next 20 years. What happens then?