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Fossil Fuels

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects the production of (a) oil, (b) gas and (c) other fossil fuels to peak globally; what steps he plans to take in response; and if he will make a statement. (233211)

The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not estimate the precise timing of peak global oil, gas or coal production. However, we consider the world’s fossil fuel resources to be sufficient to prevent the global production of each peaking before 2030, subject to sufficient investment in and efficient operation of production capacity. The exact timing of the peaks depends on a number of factors, including the rate of demand growth, the rate of investment in fossil fuel extraction, and technological developments in finding and producing fossil fuels. More information on oil and coal reserves is available in the Government’s “Energy Markets Outlook 2007” at:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file41995.pdf.

The 2008 edition will be published shortly.

As the supply of fossil fuels becomes less abundant, relative to demand, rising prices will provide an incentive to shift to alternative sources of energy. However, this process needs to be supported by governments. The UK Government are already putting in place policies that will help ease the UK economy away from fossil fuels as part of initiatives to combat climate change and reduce the UK’s import dependence. Our energy efficiency policies, support for the European Emissions Trading Scheme, endorsement of new nuclear, encouragement of renewable energy, piloting of electric vehicles and introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation are all intended to reduce both our CO2 emissions and our dependence on any one type of fuel from any one set of countries, increasing the diversity and hence resilience of our energy system.