Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Peak Oil Debunked?

Since we often point to sources that support the theory of Peak Oil, I thought it was only fair to point to a blog that believes the contrary.

Thanks to Rob McMillin, the Peak Oil Optimist, for the link.

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16 comments:

Paul Primavera said...

I am glad that NEI Nuclear Notes has given a balance between the opposing viewpoints of Peak Oil and Peak Oil Optimist. I suspect that the truth is somewhere between these two points of view. (1) Recoverable oil as a resource is being depleted, but (2) Peak Oil's pessimism is unrealistic.

There are a number of good articles both for and against the theory of Peak Oil at the Energy Pulse web site:

< http://www.energypulse.net/centers/topics/article_list_topic.cfm?wt_id=46 >

Having read many of these, I walk away a bit confused since not even the experts can agree.

This is similar to the theories of global warming vs the coming ice age when the Gulf Stream stops. Again, not even the experts can agree.

But two things are certain: (1) fossil fuel emissions are bad for public health and the environment, and (2) fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas will be depleted long before uranium and thorium are depleted.

Nuclear energy as well as renewables such as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and tidal, and (hopefully) clean coal must all be a part of our energy mix for the sake of the environment and public health.

Peter said...

Be leery of so-called "debunkers" who blog anonymously and don't provide any info on their qualifications to comment.

Paul Primavera said...

Peter,

Your advice is wise. However, others have written essays also criticizing the Peak Oil Theory and the Hubbert Model. For example:

The New Pessimism about Petroleum Resources: Debunking the Hubbert Model
(and Hubbert Modelers)
by
Michael C. Lynch
President, Strategic Energy and Economic Research, Inc., and Research Affiliate, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

< http://www.gasresources.net/Lynch(Hubbert-Deffeyes).htm >

Yes, oil is a finite resource, but the question is how finite.

Oil companies would like us to believe that the Peak Oil Theory is all nonsense so that we won't transition to a nuclear-hydrogen economy and ruin all their profits.

Anarchists and Environmentalists would like us to accept on blind faith the gloom and doom of the Peak Oil Theory and abandon technological civilization to the 19th century horse and buggy days.

But your point is quite valid, nevertheless.

Peter said...

There's no clear-cut answer. After doing my own research, I'm taking Peak Oil seriously. The Peak Oil crowd says that we have already hit the top of Hubbert's curve. The anti-Peak Oil crowd says it won't happen till about 2030, give or take 5 years.

The thing to keep in mind is that it will take the world a good twenty to thirty years to shift away from oil as its primary energy source. So even if the most optimistc scenario is correct(i.e., Peak around 2030), we will need to get off our behinds right now and start a massive migration program to renewable energy platforms. I don't see that happening. Moreover, people like Lynch are lulling the public into a false sense of security.

BTW, I recommend www.theoildrum.com for a very balanced and pragmatic approach to analyzing what's actually happening with oil production in various countries. If you are partial to statistical analysis and graph, you'll love the site.

JD said...

Be leery of so-called "debunkers" who blog anonymously and don't provide any info on their qualifications to comment.

LOL. Heinberg doesn't have any qualifications. He's a musician. Savinar's an unemployed lawyer. Kunstler is a novelist. Ruppert is an ex-cop. Simmons is a financier/lobbyist. None of them have any technical qualifications.

Also, FYI, I don't have any position on when peak oil is going to occur. I don't make predictions.

The folks who are all shrill about "doing something now" are going to get totally played by every industry lobby out there. "Doing something now" is going to smoothly synch into gutting environmental regulations, and pork projects like handouts to the ethanol industry and refiners.

Peter said...

"LOL. Heinberg doesn't have any qualifications. He's a musician. Savinar's an unemployed lawyer. Kunstler is a novelist. Ruppert is an ex-cop. Simmons is a financier/lobbyist. None of them have any technical qualifications."

Like I said earlier, read www.theoildrum.com. Forget the others.

JD said...

Like I said earlier, read www.theoildrum.com.

Of course. They have all the highly credentialed contributors with real names like "Professor Goose" and "Dave" and "Bubba". If you look up Bubba's credentials, you get a link to his political rants with a picture of Elvis as "Bubba-Hotep".

Granted Stuart has a real name and some bona-fide degrees, but he's not very pessimistic

Peter said...

Have you read this? http://www.theoildrum.com/special/about

I have heard Stuart interviewed on radio. I doubt that someone as intelligent as him would have joined the Oil Drum crew and be posting under his real name, if they were moonbats.

Peter said...

JD,

Okay, I figured out who you are, JD. So what are your credentials to run your debunking blog? I looked at your profile and there's nothing there. Nothing. I'm not saying that you aren't qualified to speak out on Peak Oil, but it's a lot easier to take four guys with Ph.D.s seriously than it is an anonymous blogger.

JD said...

peter,
Two of those Ph.D.s are in the social sciences, and Stuart's qualifications in physics, statistics and computer science are tangentially related at best. I personally have corrected him on matters of fact on a number of occasions.

Peak oil is a horrendously complex topic. As Stuart himself has written: "The relevant disciplines include at least geology, petroleum engineering, economics, sociology, urban planning, international development, climatology, demography, political science, mining engineering, military strategy, archaeology, history, chemistry and chemical engineering, physics, statistics, biology, ecology, agricultural science, and electrical engineering."

So I think you're fooling yourself if you think anyone is "qualified" to analyze it.

Don't get me wrong. The Oil Drum is a great source, and I read it too. But I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy, and I put no stock whatsoever in credentials. I evaluate peak oil arguments based on hard data and evidence. Credentials are a crutch for those who aren't competent to evaluate arguments on their own.

Peter said...

JD said: "But I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy, and I put no stock whatsoever in credentials. I evaluate peak oil arguments based on hard data and evidence. Credentials are a crutch for those who aren't competent to evaluate arguments on their own."

Sorry man, but that's not a very good response. Almost anyone with a doctorate will be well-versed in analyzing data--even if it's from a field different from their original discipline. Moreover, these guy are analyzing the "hard data".

If forced to choose between these 4 Ph.Ds and a "nuts and bolts guy" (whatever that is), I'll go with the former.

Think about putting some info about yourself on your blog to build your credibility.

Then you said: "So I think you're fooling yourself if you think anyone is "qualified" to analyze it." Followed by:"Credentials are a crutch for those who aren't competent to evaluate arguments on their own."

What makes you think that you are qualified to analyze the Peak Oil situation then? Why is your analysis more accurate than theirs?

Right now, you are just a mysterious blogger basically stating that everyone is wrong and you are right.

JD said...

Thanks peter. Maybe I should have made myself clearer: I have ZERO interest in people's credentials. Credentials are a boring, trivial side issue for lightweights. Maybe we'll talk again sometime if you ever get off the pot and make a substantive point about peak oil.

Peter said...

"Credentials are a boring, trivial side issue for lightweights."

Well, we all know what the English translation of this is.

Peter said...

For anyone interested in a Peak Oil primer this hour long talk with Jim Puplava, James Kunstler, and Richard Heinberg is a good start. http://www.financialsense.com/Experts/roundtable/021806.html

By the way, Heinberg is a college professor and not a musician. (At least that's not his day job.)

JD said...

College professor? That's rich. First of all, Richard Heinberg never even graduated from college. He studied painting and the violin at the University of Iowa before he dropped out. Then he played electric guitar in rock bands for seven years, and lived in a few "spiritual communities". Now he's a "core faculty member" (not professor) at a flaky hippy "college" in California offering master's degrees in highly demanding subjects like writing & consciousness, and women's spirituality.

Richard Heinberg has a high school diploma. That doesn't particularly bother me, because I don't care about people's credentials. I read what people write, not their resumes. I've read "The Party's Over", and it's pretty good. I agree with some of it.

You, on other hand, do care about credentials. So logically you should reject Heinberg, because he's not qualified to talk about peak oil. You don't, though, because you don't have any integrity.

Anonymous said...

JD,

How about revealing something about your qualifications? You have to be the most secretive person in the PO space.