Economic imperatives will dictate policies on fossil fuels

The future of the global economy, rather than the environment, will influence government action on the use of fossil fuels for energy.

In the January 26 issue of Nature, two scientists have argued that the consequences of an economic fallout from a rapidly flattening oil supply will ultimately trump concerns over global warming as a reason to decrease the consumption of fossil fuels.

Historically, oil production and global economic growth have been strongly linked. Figures from the IMF suggest that to achieve 4% growth in the global economy, oil production must increase to about 3% a year. However, the authors note that oil production is actually declining between 4.5% and 6.7% each year, resulting in volatile prices.

The authors suggest that prospects for future economic growth rest on the ability of governments to wean societies off fossil fuels.

Read more at University of Washington, University of Oxford