On March 29th, Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Tom Udall (D-NM), co-chairmen of the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, convened a news conference with Mark E. Gaffigan of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
On the agenda was a new embargoed report by the US GAO confirming that the vulnerability of the United States to disruptions to oil supplies is due not only to political and economic factors, but especially due to the imminent reality of peak oil. The report is the first time a US government agency has officially admitted the inevitability of an imminent peak in world oil production, with consequent ramifications in the form of "irreversible declines for oil fields, regions, countries and eventually the world."
The report finds that the majority of expert projections expect the peak to occur without warning any time between now and 2040. Most disturbingly, the report emphasises that the US federal government has failed to explore any preventive or mitigating measures to tackle the problem and associated implications of peak oil, even though, as the report warns, "an imminent peak and sharp decline in oil production could have severe consequences, including a worldwide recession."
The publication of the GAO report, despite offering a grave warning of the necessity of immediate urgent action to prepare for the impact of the peak of world oil production, has received relatively little coverage in the press considering the import of its findings. Although most peak oil experts predict that the peak of world oil production is most likely to hit at around 2010, some evidence suggests it may already been breached.
According to David Strahan, a former BBC financial news correspondent and author of The Last Oil Shock, "There are currently 98 oil producing countries in the world, of which 64 are thought to have passed their geologically imposed production peak, and of those 60 are in terminal production decline."
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