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A finite and diminishing energy source

A man walks past a storage area for oil barrels in Shanghai

Oil is a finite resource. If current rates of production and consumption remain constant, the world's proven reserves are expected to run out sometime in the 2050s.

Peak oil – the point at which global oil production reaches its highest point, after which it can only decline – is expected to occur much sooner, though exactly when is the subject of some debate. The UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security estimates that peak oil will occur around the year 2015, while the International Energy Agency predicts that it will not occur before 2030.

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