ASPO is a network of scientists and others, having an interest in determining the date and impact of the peak and decline of the world’s production of oil and gas, due to resource constraints.
A brief background:
Colin J. Campbell: “It was in Germany that ASPO had its origin. On December 7th in the year 2000, I was privileged to give a talk on oil depletion at the ancient university of Clausthal in the Harz Mountains. The idea of forming an institution, or network of scientists concerned about the subject, developed. Next day, I took the idea to Professor Wellmer, the head of the BGR in Hannover, who gave it his support. The Norwegians were the next to join, followed by the Swedes. Today, ASPO is represented in almost all European countries.”
The next step forward came when Professor Aleklett organised the first International Workshop on Oil Depletion in Uppsala in May of 2002, to be followed by workshops in Paris and Berlin.
ASPO Belgium was born in 2007, when scientists from the University of Mons sent to the Belgian authorities a resolution acknowledging the challenge of Peak Oil and the need for Belgium to prepare a response and preparedness plan. Having a scientific background, the members of ASPO Belgium aim to clarify the debate about the peaking of fossil fuels production and solutions. As we lack knowledge and hindsight about a phenomenon that never happened in history and will happen only once at a worldwide scale, it is prudent to seriously consider the precautionary principle by studying the peak oil phenomenon in all its facets. The members of ASPO are convinced that balanced information will help the policy makers, the industry and the citizens to deal more effectively with the consequences of peak oil for the economy and society.
The main objectives of ASPO.be are the following ones:
- to evaluate world resources in fossil energies;
- to evaluate when fossil fuels productions peak, in particular oil and gas, and what will be the amplitude of the declines that follow the peaks;
- To study the consequences of declining availability of fossil energies;
- To inform and provide advices to the society about the reality of peak oil and gas, and the consequences;
- To urge the society, in particular the different levels of governance, to take measures to soften the effects of peak oil and gas.
Peak Oil results from complex interactions between many factors, such as geology, technics, economy, geopolitics, etc., and its consequences are felt in all aspects of the society such as agriculture, transportation, healthcare, education. Hence, the responses that peak oil can generate from the actors of the society are expected to be diverse, dynamical and interrelated. Each person, with his own vision of the mechanics of the world, vision inherited from education and past experiences, generally believes that a given set of solutions will prevail or must be developed in priority. For some people, it will be technology. For others, it will be societal adaptation. Still others think that the society will be shaken by economic and political crises. But all these responses are not mutually exclusive. They will likely happen simultaneously, with diverse intensities in function of time and countries, and influencing each other.
As we will be all impacted by peak oil, and as we can all act at our own level, the mission of ASPO Belgium will be fulfilled when the association will reach 11 million members, i.e. the whole Belgian population. But how can we promote the cooperation between so many people with objectives as different as to develop nuclear energy or bicycle commuting? And people from energy industries and from environmental associations that take seriously the notion of peak oil, what can they share? Not only people can disagree about the aims, but also about the means to reach them, which are often political. For instance, if one aims to reduce energy consumption in transportation, do we reach the objectives by information, incitations, sanctions, or other means?
In ASPO.be, we are committed to maintain scientific impartiality and excellence, which are necessary to study such a complex subject, but we are also open to the many actors of the society. To this aim, the association is composed of three categories of members:
- Adhering members, i.e. any person wishing to support the association.
- Full members, elected by the administrative board, and who present an activity program related to the aim of the association.
- Honorific members, selected by the administrative board, for their outstanding services either to ASPO.be or in line with the aims of the association.
The full members are the members who must maintain a neutral scientific position. Nevertheless, as in any discussion about proposals to face the consequences of peak oil it is difficult to avoid some doses of political or ideological orientation, we insist to say that these aspects are the responsibility of the authors only, and do not represent an official position of ASPO.be.
The policy of openness adopted by the association is illustrated by the presence of adhering and honorific members, as well as by collaborations with industries, universities, NGOs, and governments. These collaborations are mandatories to speed up the diffusion of the ASPO messages and to prepare the society to the peak oil effects, while allowing the association to be concentrated on his scientific expertise of peaking of fossil resources.