Frequently Asked Questions

After watching the BBC¹s Money Programme on the upcoming Oil Crisis, I found your site and am very interested and concerned. There are a couple of points I would like to mention.

Question: Could the Oil Crisis actually be a blessing in disguise? We are all aware of Global Warming and it is hard to see countries like the USA cutting back on oil usage willingly. Maybe a large increase in oil price and a following shortage will force the world to combat Climate Change through necessity. It would be hard, of course, but not as bad as the risks of Global Warming.

If humanity survives the oil crisis, we will have global warming to worry about. But the first step will be to get through the oil crisis.

You describe the transition as likely to be "hard". Would you say World War II was "hard"? I don't think that adjective does justice to either phenomenon. The transition from oil is likely to be the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, far worse than WWII. I'm not saying it will be all out war, but even that could happen. If it doesn't turn into war, just the same, billions (not millions) of people are likely to starve to death. In the industrialized world, we use 10 calories of oil to deliver a calorie of food to our tables. The starving is not likely to be limited to Africa and Bangla Desh!

In a word, we haven't been doing our homework. If we had, it could be an uncomfortable but workable transition. As it is, we've been living for the moment, so humanity will very likely get caught by surprise.

The UK is likely to be hit first. See

Just the same, there is a viable path to the future. See
Question: Where can I find the values of the cost of a barrel of oil, and countries¹ oil production so that I can keep track of the changes. Do newspapers list the values as they do shares, or is there a website?

A good website for this kind of data is at

After you get a set of data (columns of numbers), click on "gif chart" to get a useful graphic of the data you are considering.

updated 2000 March 1