People don’t talk much about peak oil these days, now that the U.S. is enjoying a shale boom and crude oil prices are down about 30% from the 2008 peak.
Yet world oil production has basically stalled, with prices still high and emerging market demand rising, meaning the risk of a major energy crisis is still out there.
Actuary Gail Tverberg has a leading voice in the peak oil camp for years, notably editing The Oil Drum. She explained the risks of an energy crisis in a recent presentation at the Casualty Actuarial Society In Focus: Elephants in the Room conference.
In short, oil supply limits could suppress growth from here on out, moving the world from the stagflation era to 20-50 years of crisis. She advises other actuaries that “financial models in general are wrong” and “failure of financial institutions is likely.” The only alternative she sees is the discovery of a “miraculous cheap new energy” — and alternatives and nuclear have a long way to go.