RPT-Peak oil to hinder world development -UK lawmakers

Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:26am EDT

(Repeats to remove duplication of story)

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - The looming peak in world oil production will set back international development and threatens to hinder efforts to make poverty history, a report by a group of UK lawmakers said.

While oil's rally to a record high is causing economic pain in developed countries, its impact on international development is being overlooked, the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and development groups RESET and Practical Action said.

"The deepening energy crisis has the potential to make poverty a permanent state for a growing number of people, undoing the development efforts of a generation," the report released on Monday said.

"Communities across the globe are more vulnerable than ever, living in an unsustainable present and facing an uncertain future."

A rally in oil prices, which hit a record $147.27 a barrel earlier this month, is leading to more interest in peak oil -- the controversial view that supply has reached, or will soon reach, a high point and then fall.

The parliamentary group, chaired by lawmaker John Hemming, was formed in 2007 to consider the production outlook and the consequences of declining supply for the British and world economy. It has 20 members.

Its report refers to warnings that peak oil is likely to occur "before 2015" and the current jump in oil prices is "a prelude to even more severe increases in the next decade," a statement issued with the report said.

Among its recommendations are the formation of a working group on energy security and international development, and funding measures in the humanitarian sector that boost local food production and energy security.

Peak oil has long been considered marginal and the theory has its detractors who say technology can extend the life of the world's reserves and point out that previous predictions of a peak have been premature.

Other critics of peak oil include British oil company BP Plc (BP.L), which argues that any peak in world oil production would be because of a decline in demand rather than constraint on supply.

But the report said the implications of peak oil within the next five years demand attention.

"It is clear that the current level of global energy consumption is unsustainable, from both environmental and geological points of view."

To see the report, please click on the following link
here%20of%20Peak%20Oil%20on%20International%20Development_final_20080708.pdf

(Reporting by Alex Lawler, editing by Anthony Barker)