31. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO RICHARD "OLDUVAI" DUNCAN?
For the benefit of peak oil newbies: Richard "Olduvai" Duncan, PhD, is one of the ridiculous, alarmist parasites who have attached themselves to peak oil. Perhaps his most notable "prediction" is the following from March 5, 2001:
A previous study put the 'cliff event' in year 2012 (Duncan, 2001). However, it no appears that 2012 was too optimistic. The following study indicates that the 'cliff event' will occur about 5 years earlier than 2012 due an epidemic of 'rolling blackouts' that have already begun in the US. This 'electrical epidemic' spreads nationwide, then worldwide, and by ca. 2007 most of the blackouts are permanent.SourceI was thinking of slapping Richard around a bit on this one, and got to wondering what he's been up to lately. Did some googling, but it seems we haven't heard from Richard in a while. His website is dead, and the Institute on Energy and Man, of which he is the Director (and sole staff member :P) doesn't seem to have a web presence. Nobody knows (or seems to care) what happened to him.
Duncan's grandiosely -named "Olduvai Theory" is a variant of die-off theory, and a perennial favorite amongst the dead-enders. The theory is summed up in the following graph (click on the image for a clearer view):
Doomers like the theory because it gives specific, early dates for catastrophic mayhem. The following sketch, which was probably drawn by Duncan with his crayon set, is all over the web, and ubiquitous in peak oil circles (as usual, click for a better image):
Duncan's explanation of the diagram can be found here.
The most retarded part of Duncan's theory is the complete lack of a mechanism connecting peak oil with massive, permanent power outages. In the U.S., virtually all electricity is generated from coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables, as can be seen in the following pie chart from the EIA's Annual Energy Review 2003 (P. 222):
In exact figures, U.S. electricity generation by fuel is as follows (same source as above, P. 219):
Coal: 20.67 quadrillion btu
Natural gas: 5.51 quadrillion btu (i.e. quads)
Other gases: 0.12 quads
Petroleum: 1.27 quads
Nuclear electric power: 7.97 quads
Renewable energy: 4.13 quads
Oil accounts for only 3% of U.S. power generation, so peak oil will have no significant effect on electricity grids in the United States.
*) Update on "Olduvai" Duncan here: 255. "OLDUVAI" DUNCAN RESURFACES IN RACIST PUBLICATION