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Wed Apr 4, 2012, 10:15 AM

Peak oil denial: How does this help?

Published Apr 3 2012 by Transition Voice, Archived Apr 3 2012
Peak oil denial: How does this help?
by Rich Turcotte


There are people who care about facts. And then there are peak oil deniers.

Whether or not peak oil is true cannot possibly be in doubt. Within anything other than a geological frame of time, oil is a finite substance. When it is burned, it is gone. Without stretching our brains very far, it is easy to conclude that anything that is finite and consumed will someday be gone.

Peak Oil, then, is really an observation, not a theory.

If only! What most four-year olds would agree is not much more than minimal common sense continues to confound some, who just cannot bring themselves to accept facts and a reality contrary to a carefully-crafted storyline where facts are inconvenient at best.

The latest foray into the fact- and stats- and context-free world of denying the obvious comes courtesy of Canadian economist Sherry Cooper, whose basic premise about the invalidity of Peak Oil seems tempered by the many troublesome production facts contained in her essay. What follows are assessments and observations she offered in leading to her conclusion:

(Conclusions - "Big Claims ... lots and lots of Happy Talk ó unquantifiable, context-free buzzwords from the official Denierís Playbook, yet not one single statistic, fact, or context to substantiate any of this."

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Reply Peak oil denial: How does this help? (Original post)
polly7 Apr 2012 OP
BobbyBoring Apr 2012 #1
jade3000 Apr 2012 #2

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Wed Apr 4, 2012, 03:35 PM

1. Dick Cheney only said one thing I believed.

He said we hit peak oil around 2003 as I recall. He would know~

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Response to BobbyBoring (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 4, 2012, 04:46 PM

2. The problem is not will we run out of oil. It is what we do with this information.

Yes, there is a roughly finite amount of oil in the world. (Of course more oil is produced each year as long dead organic matter is slowly converted into more fossil fuel deposits, but that process is MUCH slower than our use of oil.) But the problem that many environmentalists and peak oil worriers have is that they overstep and make incorrect claims based on that basic insight. See Cheney's statement (although he's obviously not an environmentalists). According to the above, Cheney claimed peak oil will hit in 2003. That was obviously false since global oil production in every year since 2003, except 2009, has been greater than that 2003.

See also the classic bet of John Holdren & Paul Ehrlich vs Julian Simon. Holdren & Ehrlich are somewhat prestigious scientists, and Simon was a rather pedestrian economist. But Holdren & Ehrlich lost the bet on the future price of various scarce metals, and Simon won. Why? Because prices, supply, demand, etc., are determined by political economy in the short and mid-term. Regarding oil, strange as it may sound, the earth will almost certainly never run out of oil. Why? Because as it gets scarcer & more expensive, people will switch to another fuels.


Let's not concern ourselves with scarcity, with running out. Let's look at environmental impacts. Let's look at wars perpetrated to control oil. Let's look at the human toll. Let's look at jobs. We can move to renewables and energy efficiency without relying on the peak oil argument.

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