Earlier this year that General Accounting Office of Congress announced that a majority of the world's petroleum geologists believe we are at or very close to an oil peak. Today the Internation Energy Agency, probably the biggest and most influential international energy research body announced that peak oil will almost certainly happen by 2012, and that without Iraq's oil (how much you wanna bet that Iraq will be peacefully pumping oil anytime soon), the head of the IEA announced the world will be petroleum crisis by 2015. Some links are here at Energy Bulletin (the original report is paywalled) http://www.energybulletin.net/31865.html.
Essentially, they are predicting oil shortages within five years. And since production capacity decline is 2-3% per year in the field, but more like 5% in actuality (as more oil goes to actually getting the oil out of the ground and nations reserve more for themselves), we can expect some significant difficulties. The 1970s oil shocks, complete with gas lines, recession and people freezing to death in their houses came from a shortfall of about 5% total - whereas we're expecting, worldwide, a 3-5% reduction in capacity annually.
Shocking news - guess what, we're using up the last of the cheap oil right now! If peak oil is a new concept to you, do some research. An excellent beginning is Gail Tverberg's very clear material on peak oil, including the oil quiz : http://www.energybulletin.net/31847.html and her explanation of the limits of alternatives : http://www.energybulletin.net/28051.html. You might also look at Matthew Simmons' (George Bush's former Energy Czar and head of Simmons and Assoc. investment firm), who is presently predicting that refinery capacity shortages will cause gas lines this summer or next. http://www.energybulletin.net/31847.html
Peak oil is really no longer a debate - the question is when, and how do we respond. And even when doesn't matter as much as we think - as long as we still dreamed there was hope that it was 40 years from now, we had an excuse not to get to work. But the difference between peak oil in 2005, 2010 or 2015 is insufficient. The US Department of Energy's Hirsch Report analyzed that we needed a minimum of 20 years *before* the peak to make a comfortable transition.
Peak oil is here. It is a real part of the everyday discourse now, not a marginal position. And it is about to be a real, everyday part of our lives.