advertisement
advertisement

Study: Speed Up Adoption of Petroleum Alternatives, or Else

The seemingly endless stream of breakthroughs related to biofuels, electric cars, and other oil alternatives won’t be enough to wean us off oil before the wells run dry–at least at our current rate of innovation.

oil jack pump

advertisement
advertisement

The seemingly endless stream of breakthroughs related to biofuels, electric cars, and other oil alternatives won’t be enough to wean us off oil before the wells run dry–at least at our current rate of innovation, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The study, published this week in Environmental Science & Technology, claims that global oil supplies will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready if we keep moving at today’s pace of research and development.

The UC Davis study examined activity from investors (i.e. stock share prices) as well as dividends of publicly owned oil companies and alternative-energy companies to make their analysis. Similar techniques have been used successfully for sports, finance, and politics predictions.

“Sophisticated investors tend to put considerable effort into collecting, processing and understanding information relevant to the future cash flows paid by securities,” Nataliya Malyshkina, the study’s co-author, said in a statement. “As a result, market forecasts of future events, representing consensus predictions of a large number of investors, tend to be relatively accurate.”

advertisement
advertisement

There are still variables to take into account. The study explains:

We acknowledge that some of the difference between the estimates for
the time until oil replacement and the time until oil depletion could
be reduced in response to changes
over time…We would expect that new
reserves of conventional and unconventional
oil may become available for exploration due to geological exploration
and advances in oil extraction techniques or that extraction from less
feasible oil fields
becomes more economically attractive. We would also expect
that oil consumption would decrease due to energy-saving measures and/or
due to responsiveness of demand to higher oil prices.

But these aren’t reasons to become complacent. Better alternative energy policies have to be put into place now, or we risk living in a world paralyzed both economically and socially by its lack of fuel options. The stock market has spoken.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

More