I have done a little research and by almost all accounts the oil and natural gas production of the world will peak sometime in this decade. Once this peak is straddled, oil and gas prices will begin to rise indefintely. Since the demand for oil continues to increase, prices will soon begin to rise rather rapidly. Then a drastic transition will begin to take place. Having not sufficiently pursued the development of alternatives we will have to turn to old standbys, mainly coal. Given increased demand for coal to offset the loss of oil and natural gas, we can expect about fifty more years worth of coal before the same phenomenon of peak production occurs to it. yet coal is is not as efficient, clean, or as versitle as oil. Therefore coal can only provide a partial offset. The bottom line? The global economy will suffer a major set back as transportation costs begin to sky rocket. Since no government power is willing to embrace this reality and actually prepare for the future, we can only expect a major world wide economic depression --a depression the likes of which we have never seen before. The Saudis have a saying:
My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet plane. His son will ride a camel.
Here's a sample of some of the shorter, but still informative, articles I read: