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15 Int'l J. Child. Rts. 181 (2007)
Children and Peak Oil: An Opportunity in Crisis

handle is hein.journals/intjchrb15 and id is 187 raw text is: Ta INTo AO
U B L S B R S  InternationalJournal of Childrens Rights 15 (2007) 181-197  www.brill.ni/chil
Children and Peak Oil: An Opportunity in Crisis
Paul Tranter and Scott Sharpe
School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University College,
University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy
1. Introduction
Major social upheavals and crises are notorious as catalysts for the re-evaluation of
values and the erosion or augmentation of human rights. In the contemporary
global setting, scarcely any issue causes more anxiety, either directly or indirectly,
than the production and consumption of the world's energy resources. From the
war in Iraq, to rising fuel prices, to global warming attributed to the burning of
fossil fuels, energy consumption has been a central theme. This paper argues that
the current concern about energy resources, particularly oil, provides an opportu-
nity for a re-evaluation of our conceptualisation of children and children's rights.
Despite the transition from industrialism to post-industrialism, western soci-
eties are no less dependent on fossil fuels. Whilst post-industrialism usually indi-
cates a decline in the manufacturing sector and a rise in the quaternary sector,
underpinning post-industrial societies is the global movement of goods and serv-
ices. Globalisation has assumed, and has been made possible by, a new depend-
ency on transport networks, which are in turn dependent on cheap fuel. However,
as the most casual observer may have noticed, when filling up their car at the
petrol station, cheap fuel is no longer something that we can take for granted.
In this paper, we explore the concept of peak oil. Peak oil is the term used to
describe the peak of oil production on a global scale. When this peak occurs, the
global demand for oil will exceed our capacity to extract it. Some experts believe
that oil has already peaked globally, while others believe it will peak soon
(Campbell and Laherrere, 1998; Deffeyes, 2005; Goldie, Douglas, and Furnass,
2005; Roberts, 2004; Rutledge, 2005). Although there is no consensus on when
the peak will occur, even the conservative International Energy Agency (IEA) now
believes that the peak could occur as early as 2013 (Vidal, 2005), and few expert
analysts expect the peak to occur after 2020. There are currently no alternative

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007

DOI: 10.1163/092755607X181748

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