Future Shock: End of the Oil Age
In Future Shock: End of the Oil Age, RTÉ's Chief Economic Correspondent George Lee brings us to the heart of one of the biggest challenges that Ireland faces in the future - life after Peak Oil.
Peak Oil refers to a point in time when, with remaining reserves beginning to diminish, world oil production will reach its maximum point. The crossing of this simple threshold will be one of the biggest events in modern history: every day that passes after Peak Oil, there will be less oil available. The ensuing and inevitable rise in oil prices will be only the first of the continuing shocks for Ireland and the developed world.
In this, the second of RTÉ Television's Future Shock programmes, George Lee examines how close we are to the end of the oil age and how dramatically life may change in Ireland as the wells begin, finally, to dry up.
The Celtic Tiger thrived on a diet of cheap fuel. Indeed, the whole of Ireland's trading economy, from our labour supply to our civic structures, from our ever-expanding suburbs to our lifestyle and leisure patterns, are all based on cheap fuel and maximum mobility. Without this steady supply of cheap oil, many of the presumptions behind our very standard of living itself may require rapid re-evaluation.
After the oil crash, even Ireland's geographical position as an Atlantic island could become a defining, and isolating, factor in Ireland's future.
George Lee is Chief Economics Correspondent for RTÉ News and Current Affairs, reporting for both RTÉ Radio and RTÉ Television.