The end of the oil age?
The current economic hysteria sweeping the globe has been triggered by the sudden slump in oil prices in the last 18 months.
But hold on a minute. In an oil based economy, surely these low prices should be driving massive economic growth, rather than a climate of fear? What is going on?
The answer is demand is low – and staying low, no matter what the oil price is. And investment in renewable energy continues to break records regardless of cheap fossil fuels.
Looking at the figures, it is too early to say the low carbon economy is taking over – yet. However I’m starting to wonder whether approaching a turning point where it’s starting to squeeze the brakes on the oil-fired juggernaut. Think of all those businesses which are investing in massive renewable energy installations, the drive for energy efficiency and the rise of the digital economy – we don’t need all those plastic CDs and DVDs anymore, thanks to iTunes, Spotify, Netflix etc. At some point it will happen.
The one thing we must avoid is talking ourselves into a recession because oil demand is stubbornly low. There are other forms of energy and new ways of using it – or not using it. The rules are being rewritten.