free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 38. IS PEAK OIL SCIENTIFIC?

Saturday, August 20, 2005


ANSWER: It depends on what you mean by "peak oil". If by "peak oil" you mean the inevitable peak and decline in natural/conventional oil, then yes: it's a settled scientific fact which no one disagrees with. That much cannot be refuted. But I think it's a little disingenuous to claim that "peak oil" means nothing but that. In fact, "peak oil" is a huge mountain of doomsday religion, survivalism, luddism, anti-capitalism, conspiracy theory, democratic politics, radical environmentalism, fascism, nationalism, eugenics, authoritarian depopulation programs, goldbugs, oil speculators, shit-talking market bears and every other agenda under the sun, all trying to advance themselves under the cover of that tiny pinpoint of scientific fact.

Consider these positions:
"There is no techno-fix." OR
"The worst thing that could happen would be the discovery of a source of unlimited, cheap energy."

Are those positions part of "peak oil"? Are they scientific?

How about the luddite, anti-technology (sometimes even anti-agriculture) agenda of the doomers? Is that part of "peak oil"? Is that scientific?

How about proposals to adopt eugenics, and involuntarily euthanize burdensome humans, like we find in the ASPO newsletter (see #29)? Is that science? Or is that just plain ol' fascism masquerading as science?

Peak oil is a serious problem, and there are many honest people who are concerned about it. I'm one of them. It is critical, however, to think clearly and separate the science from the bullshit. The stubborn attempts by the doomers to portray their fearmongering and ideologies as science are a menace to clear thinking.


At Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 2:45:00 PM PDT, Blogger James Shannon said...

I resent the fact that you name Democrats as part of the PO troublemaker brigade. The policy of the current Republican administration has done more to worsen energy issues than any other administration in history.

To be fair, most Beltway Dems are complicit with this agenda.

Politically, it will take a combination of conservative (not being afraid to look for more oil resources) and progressive policies (willingness to explore alternaive energy sources) to achieve positive gains with regards to PO.

At Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 4:51:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PO is the ultimate in soft science. For a start, no one on the planet actually knows, for sure, how much oil there is, let alone anticipates future technological discoveries and how people might actually react or efficiencies that could be made. Most POers hijack suitable commentary to fit their world view and conveniently ignore the other side of the story. It would be bad enough if this was mere journalism, for any science it would be unforgivable.

At Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 3:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger Baba McKensey said...

June 6, 2008
Who's to Blame for High Gas Prices?

For several decades, the Democratic Party has pursued policies designed to drive up the cost of petroleum, and therefore gas at the pump. Remarkably, the Democrats don't seem to have taken much of a political hit from the current spike in gas prices. Probably that's because most people don't realize how different the two parties' energy policies have been.

Congressman Roy Blunt put together these data to highlight the differences between House Republicans and House Democrats on energy policy:
ANWR Exploration House Republicans: 91% Supported House Democrats: 86% Opposed

House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration
House Republicans: 90% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
House Republicans: 81% Supported
House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery Increased Capacity
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 96% Opposed


91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas.

86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

PAUL adds: It's useful to keep this sort of thing in mind when we hear (on something like a daily basis these days) that the Republicans have run out of ideas or that Republican ideas didn't work. The truth is that most major Republican ideas weren't tried because the Democrats blocked them. Increasing the domestic production of oil and gas (a move so obvious it barely meets the standard for being an idea) is hardly the only example. Social security reform and school choice also come quickly to mind. Republican-backed policies for increasing the number of Americans with health insurance were also blocked by Democrats. And so forth.

To comment on this post go here.

At Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 3:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Baba McKensey said...

The Democrats did it.

Last month, the U.S. Senate's Appropriations Committee voted 15-14 to kill a bill that would have ended a one-year moratorium on enacting rules for oil shale development on federal lands (which is where the best oil shale is located). Most maddening of all - at least to someone like myself not steeped in the wacky ways of Washington - the swing vote on the appropriations committee, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., voted with the majority even though she actually opposes the moratorium.

"Sen. Salazar asked me to vote no. I did so at his request," Landrieu told The Rocky Mountain News. A Landrieu staffer contacted by Fortune doesn't dispute this, but notes that Landrieu did propose a compromise which Republicans rejected.


She was speaking of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., who has emerged as the Senate's leading oil shale opponent. Salazar inserted the aforementioned moratorium into an omnibus spending bill last December, and in May he proposed a new bill that would extend the moratorium another year.

Salazar's efforts have essentially pulled the rug out from under Shell (RDSA) and other oil companies which have invested many, many millions into oil shale research since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the original framework for commercial leasing of oil shale lands. (Last year, oil shale represented Shell's single biggest R&D expenditure.)

At Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technology is not an energy source. Technology may help use energy sources more efficiently and it might discover a new energy source, but people seem to think technology will save the day. This thinking is largely because we live in an era of technological innovation, but the reality is that technology might not ever find a new source of energy. People put unrealistic expectations on technology and think it is going to solve all our problems.


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