Climate change has made the world reconsider its reliance on oil and fossil fuels, but that hasn’t stopped governments and companies from opening new oil fields. Even the ones that have championed this idea, like the UK, are still pursuing new locations.
This raises two questions:
- Does the world really need new oil fields?
- When Can We Expect the Last Oil Field?
Let’s take a look into what many consider the hypocrisy of governments.
The World Still Needs Oil
Let’s face facts, the world is still going to need a healthy supply of oil during the transitionary years. Most of what will be taking place this decade is building the infrastructure needed to support an oilless future.
For instance, consider the global car fleet. Electric car sales have never been higher and they are poised to take over the market, but they only represent 1% of the global car fleet. Obviously, the other 99% of drivers are still going to need their gas.
The reality is that the major transition is only just beginning, and as countries begin to ban the sale of fossil fuel cars, that percentage will rise steadily over the years.
And this reality is true for just about every other industry.
The technology that will allow us to move away from oil is there, will work, and is achievable, but it’s going to take time. In the meantime, the world really does need more oil, but that doesn’t mean we have to repeat the same mistakes.
When Will The World Ramp Down Oil Usage?
Trying to figure out when the demand for oil will actually start to go down is no easy feat. That said, it hasn’t stopped researchers from trying to answer the question, and the IEA Oil 2021 report is a great place to start.
This report looks at the forecast of oil usage through 2026 and the results are somewhat positive from a climate perspective. The global pandemic, along with climate change awareness, has led to a dramatic reduction in the oil forecast.
But it’s not going to be evenly felt around the world.
The forecast states that the world will not return to 2019 oil demand levels until 2023. And by 2026, it will rise to 104.1 mb/d in comparison to 99.7 mb/d in 2019. While the old demand is still set to rise, it’s much lower than the previous forecast.
Another Sign That The World Is Not Doing Enough
The truth of the matter is that oil is going to be around for multiple decades. While governments can certainly do more to reduce the demand, history has shown they will not.
We have had multiple reports that highlight the fact that we are not transitioning fast enough. One of the most recent reports even declared that the Paris Agreement’s goal is no longer achievable.
Opening new oil fields is necessary, but the world cannot continue on this track.
The demand for oil needs to decrease and it will take more government intervention to achieve it. And the only way to ensure the decrease is for more demand from the people.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.