Oil is the ubiquitous underlying issue of our time.
Oil production has peaked in all major suppliers outside of the middle east. Africa has some substantial undeveloped oil but in the scheme of current and future world demand it becomes trivial. Some near Asian nations such as Iran have peaked already as well. The first half of the fossil fuel civilization is either already over or will be within decades at best.
What I find most interesting about this topic is that we have yet to find as a race any clear alternative to maintain our ever growing demand for cheap energy. This ever growing production and use of cheap energy is one of the most powerful and defining characteristics of the first half of the fossil fuel civilization.
It is quite an amazing time we find ourselves in. We are living at the peak of a fossil fuel civilization that the world has never seen and will never see again. Unless a new innovation in energy technology is discovered we will have witnessed the peak of human civilization in terms of energy production and consumption. This is an event not to be squandered or taken lightly.
I think the importance of this issue is under appreciated by too many. We need a more aggressive policy towards searching for replacements for cheap oil energy and more preparation for the possibility that we may not find one. We are far better off facing both of these challenges while we have the time and energy that oil provides us. The longer we wait the more difficult the challenge becomes.