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So far as I can tell a significant proportion of the UK's reserves are - er - still in the ground.

That would be consistent with "theory". The Hubbert peak is supposed to take place at around 50% depletion of reserves, and Scotland's North Sea production peaked some time around 2002 so one would expect about 50% of the reserves to still be there.

This is good news because it suggests that the UK isn't totally dependent on imports, so in the worst case some oil will still be available for essential services.

Peak oil is not about oil exhaustion but about limits to production. As Jerome pointed out recently, the fact that oil at $135 still is not making too much of a dent in demand indicates that so far we've just been consuming as much as we needed without regard to the price, but that is now changing and Oil is, for the first time in maybe a century, scarce.

Also, I don't think GDP is a good indicator of economic health or robustness. The UK has a faith-based, not an energy-based economy, and it's perfectly possible for the faith to disappear long before the oil does.

I agree, but we still define a recession in terms of economic growth rates over the short term, and the zeroth-order effect of an oil price spike is to eat away at GDP proportionally to the increased cost of imports.

I think you'll get a more accurate picture of the immediate effects by working bottom up - looking at median income and the percentage of that which will be eaten away by personal energy expenditure in the form of transport and heating.

The trouble is getting good data for that.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 05:01:59 AM EST
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