The Response to Peak Oil

Many schemes are being put in place in place to respond to the challenge of peak oil at the global and national levels. Transition Initiatives constitute a local, community response, and complement these schemes by making sure that the changes they require are put into practice on the ground.

The Global Response

The Oil Depletion Protocol is an international agreement designed to enable nations of the world to cooperatively reduce their dependence on oil. It was proposed by Dr. Colin Campbell, a prominent petroleum geologist and founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO), in 1996.

By agreeing to reduce oil imports and exports by a specified amount each year, suggested at about 2.6 percent, signatory nations will help mitigate the negative consequences of an over-reliance on cheap oil and help prepare for a global decline in the world’s oil supply. The premise of the Protocol is inherently straightforward: oil importing nations would agree to reduce their imports by an agreed-upon yearly percentage, referred to as the World Oil Depletion Rate, while oil producing nations would agree to reduce their rate of production by their National Depletion Rate. This simple and sensible formula will produce, in effect, a global rationing system. If the entire world adopted the Protocol, global consumption of oil would decline by almost 3 percent per annum, thus stabilizing prices, preserving the resource base, and reducing competition for remaining supplies.

The Oil Depletion Protocol is a program managed by Post Carbon Institute.

Contraction and Convergence (C&C) is a proposed global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Conceived by the Global Commons Institute in the early 1990's, the Contraction and Convergence strategy consists of reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases to a safe level (Contraction) where the global emissions are reduced because every country brings emissions per capita to a level which is equal for all countries (Convergence). The Global Commons Institute was founded in the United Kingdom in 1990 by Aubrey Meyer and others to campaign for a fair way to tackle climate change.

Contraction and Convergence is intended to form the basis of an international agreement which will reduce carbon emissions to avoid climate change. It is expressed as a simple mathematical formula. This formula can be used as a way for the world to stabilize carbon levels at any level. The supporters of Contraction and Convergence anticipate that future negotiations would focus solely on what that final level should be.

The National Response

Energy rationing schemes appear to hold the greatest promise for reducing oil consumption at the national level. An example is the Tradable Energy Quota Scheme (TEQS), a system that enables nations to address the dual problems of peak oil and climate change, and to ensure fair access to energy for all. TEQS supplies the incentive for citizens, industry and Government to work now on achieving the necessary rapid transformation in the way we use fuel into the future. It empowers localities and individuals to be able to make a tangible difference. It is fair, simple and practical, and gets results by bringing everyone together in a single scheme and uniting them in the common purpose.

Other names for Tradable Energy Quotas include: Domestic Tradable Quotas (DTQs), Personal Carbon Allowances (PCAs), Personal Carbon Trading, Carbon Quotas, Personal Carbon Rationing and Tradable Permits.

The Local Response

This is where Transition Initiatives play a significant role. In essence, this is a process of relocalizing all the essential elements that a community needs to sustain itself and thrive. It builds local resilience in the face of the potentially damaging effects of peak oil while dramatically reducing the community's carbon footprint. In this way, it addresses both peak oil and climate change.

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