Jeremy Leggett (United Kingdom)
Executive Chairman - Solar Century Holdings Ltd.
The two great oversights of our time: peak oil meets global warming.
The oil industry's general contention is that the peak of oil production lies far off in the 2030s or beyond. It doesn't. The peak is imminent, and will happen this decade. When it arrives, it will send the oil price soaring beyond today's already dangerous level. This will trigger the worst-ever energy crisis, which itself stands to create severe economic dislocation. Meanwhile, global warming caused by oil, gas and coal burning is in danger of running out of control. Society will be forced, albeit in deplorable economic conditions, to solve oil depletion with a crash programme to accelerate alternative-energy sources. Whether it will do so with the technologies that can also solve global warming and save the planet is an open question.