free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 401. WRONG TOMORROW

Thursday, April 02, 2009

401. WRONG TOMORROW

Short post today. I just want to call everyone's attention to a new site called WRONG TOMORROW. The site is self-explanatory, and all the regulars here will quickly perceive its value. It's accountability time for the tidal wave of self-styled "prophets" now infesting the Internet. Spread the word, and let's give Maciej a helping hand in this important work.
JD

114 Comments:

At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 5:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

That will be an interesting site to follow.

I wonder if they are going to go back and add older predictions that have been obviously wrong. Like Simmons saying oil is going to $500/barrel. Maybe have a "Wrong Yeserday" section or something.

Good site, though.

DoctorJJ

 
At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 8:29:00 AM PDT, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

Wow, what an ingenious idea. I'll have to submit some flopped predictions from the doomer douchbags to his list. There's so many to choose from. Ruppert's predictions alone might crash the database.

 
At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 10:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

An interesting site, although I wonder about some of the "predictions" listed. There's a difference between concrete predictions like the ones spouted by Kunstler ("Dow 4000 before the end of the year"), Celente ("by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation"), and Jim Cramer (Google will be "back to $500 in no time"), and predictions of the more equivocal kind.

To wit: Simmons didn't say that we would see $10/gallon gas by winter, only that we could see it. When Mike Hickey talks of a PlayStation 3 price cut, he's not saying that it will happen, just that it could happen. Al Gore refers to the possibility of an ice-free arctic within five years, not the inevitability of such an event.

Yes, I know that a number of these people are just being vague in order to CYA. Simmons, in particular, has had no problems making concrete claims at other times. But, at the same time, a certain degree of humility should be a requirement for anyone in the predictions game. No one knows, with 100% certainty, the future, and anyone who either thinks they do, or is willing to engage in hyperbole to give that impression, should not be trusted.

The problem with a site like this is that it essentially demands black/white certainty. I think that calling someone out for a predicting that such-and-such will happen is quite a bit different from chastising someone for suggesting that such-and-such might happen.

 
At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 11:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Drewboy said...

Nice. Thanks for posting it JD.

 
At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 12:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous mrJim said...

Good idea

I've posted some of the predictions made on this site

..it's accountability time after all :D

x

 
At Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 1:25:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

Simmons has been predicting major gasoline shortages since at least 2005. In fact, just yesterday he said, "We're on the verge of having a shortage and that would really send the prices soaring,". Also, don't forget his calls for natural gas. Those were classic.

I think he just gets off on seeing his name in the papers. Narcissism at its finest.

 
At Friday, April 3, 2009 at 2:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger Richard said...

Rather off-topic, but relevant to this post. I wish I could remember the name of the Mozilla developer I met in a Mozilla chatroom one day. I was telling him how Mozilla as a browser could really benefit from using tabbed browsing features, as was available in other gecko-based browsers such as Galeon. His response was :


"Mozilla will have tabbed browsing over my dead body".


I can only assume that this guy is now dead, so won't be embarrassed by me revealing his self-absorbed, short-sighted stupidity, but it still would make funny reading.

 
At Friday, April 3, 2009 at 5:33:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Sam M said...

I wonder if it might be worthwhile for it to show predictions which have proven to be true at a date later than that specified by the person who made the call? After all, some of these calls have come true, even if it's a few years later than expected.

 
At Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:15:00 AM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"After all, some of these calls have come true, even if it's a few years later than expected.'

To me, and maybe I'm just being difficult, I still think that is a wrong prediction. If I say the sun is going to supernova in the next 10 years and it doesn't until 10 million years, was I still right? Obviously not. Of course that is an extreme example, but the principle remains. Kunstler, for example, seems to predict, pretty much every year, that the Dow will hit 4000 before the end of the year. One of these years, he may be right, but it obviously won't be because he is some kind of Nostradamus.

DoctorJJ

 
At Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Hmmm... hard to say. Predicting a big earthquake in California is easy, getting the date right is the hard part. Also predicting the end of society... it'll end sooner or later one way or another.

I'm not sure how much leeway to cut... for so many of these guys, it's a constant game of vague predictions that could sort of happenish at some point. Contrast this with those like Ron Paul who predicted based on the Austrian School of economics that the Fed's actions would result in a housing bubble crash made worse by the Fed's actions. I would argue that's basically true, but I don't if he ever made any specific calls as to when.

 
At Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:22:00 PM PDT, Anonymous mdf said...

Sam M: After all, some of these calls have come true, even if it's a few years later than expected.

Well, if my predicted lottery numbers come up for the draw a week late, do I still get to claim the prize?

Or what if I make 14 million lottery number predictions -- one per possible number -- can I claim a glorious victory in prognostication?

wchfilms: I would argue that's basically true, but I don't if he ever made any specific calls as to when.

Well, are you even allowed to? Maybe it's a religious thing: see Matthew 24:36 or Mark 13:32.

But many other people have been predicting a wipe-out for some time. This, however, is like predicting the sunrise: bad times always follow good times.

As for Austrian economics:

http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/bcaplan/whyaust.htm

Wherein he shows there is nothing special about the Austrians. More than likely any predictions made can be dredged up from 'normal' economics too.

 
At Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 7:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Thanks for the heads-up, JD; the vast fields of dopey, Hindu cattle never runs out of moronic livestock for slaughter, so I’m sure we can add to the “Hall of Shame.”

I recently saw a gem of Mr. Simmons (they're all gems, of course!). He stated some of the oldest oil fields were depleting at an annual rate of 20%. Twenty-percent!? Even Cantarell isn't giving up the ghost that quickly! I respect the man's business know-how; but in terms of his understanding of the oil industry, his displayed technical knowledge, his grasp of petrophysics, his production forecasts and such, the man has been nothing short of a complete idiot.

"The King of Peak" is truly “Wacko Jacko the 2nd.”

 
At Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 12:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

"Wherein he shows there is nothing special about the Austrians. More than likely any predictions made can be dredged up from 'normal' economics too."

I don't think all economists agree, so I'm not sure that shows anything. Read what Ron Paul said in 2003: Link.

Whether it's 'Austrian' or 'normal' economics (neither is mentioned) isn't really relevant. His point was that the very existence of Fannie and Freddie greatly magnified the housing bubble by creating implicit government guarantees, thereby seemingly removing risk, encouraging more and more risky behavior. He doesn't talk quite as much there about it, but he believes the Fed's (Greenspan's) endless inflationary process magnified the crash while seemingly for years preventing it.

Seems like he was pretty dead on accurate to me on these two main points. In terms of the concept of this thread, the question is 'how accurate is this prediction' and I would say pretty darn accurate, given that no time frame was established. But it's also more of a philosophical argument than an out and out prediction anyway.

 
At Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 12:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Freddy Hutter said...

Dr JJ brings up a phenom surrounding futurists that has become a developing hybrid to my acid test


The best forecasters: (a) are not always correct but certainly better than most of their peers, and (b) have a very low level of false positives.

The last point weeds out those annual prognosticators that by default will have to be right "some day" ... the broken clock is right twice-a-day factor.

At TrendLines, i make no secret of those who i despise in the debates of Peak Oil Depletion, macro economics and climate change. In March our website also became more proactive in exposing the ambassadors of the Lunatic Fringe.

 
At Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 7:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

If you haven't been to Freddy's website, you should. It is excellent.
Trendlines

If you haven't been lately, go back and check it out. Lots of updated stuff.

DoctorJJ

 
At Monday, April 6, 2009 at 11:41:00 AM PDT, Anonymous MacT said...

To be fair,

I hope this site will also include all the bad predictions for the hydrogen and electric car revolutions. I strongly suspect there are more missed predictions on that side than there are for PO related

:)

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 7:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

MacT,

Oh, I'm sure the sword cuts both ways: Robert Rapier, for instance, has done a pretty good job calling out many of the ethanol cheerleaders over on his blog. But I think it'd take a lot to beat some of the whoppers thrown out there by the McPeaksters like Simmons, Savinar, Deffeyes, and Kunstler.

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 12:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

MacT,

I somehow doubt that. While there are a lot of blown tech calls out there, armageddon types are usually the most prolific in the "blown call" category.

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 1:36:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Peak Silly said...

MacT -- People have been predicting Peak Oil even before the first Model-T rolled of the assembly line! Unfortunately the Peak Oil community regularly "cleanses" the Wikipedia to to pretend that it all started with Hubbert in the '50s. In reality bad predictions about Peak Oil go back to the 1800s.

 
At Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 1:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Peak Silly said...

In case you think there's no way the fascists of the Peak Oil movement could possibly be so dishonest as to invent or delete history in support of their view - here's an example of what they have deleted ie the 1855 predictions of the end of "Rock Oil".

In any case I will be delighted to add to the Wrong Tomorrow site as I find time.

 
At Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 7:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous JL said...

Hi all,

Last posts about electric vehicles were very informative. Thanks for the effort, JD and Ari.

I also think that electric vehicles have a big future.

Now, some questions for you and the readers of this blog. If you have already discussed about this, please send me the link.

1. How is the situation of the lithium reserves to build batteries for electric vehicles?

2. Are there alternative batteries to the Lithium ones?

Thanks for your future answers.

 
At Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 3:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

JL,

http://www.prlog.org/10062026-world-lithium-reserves-found-to-be-abundant-in-new-report.html

Here's one article. My take on it is that lithium, being a previously less-than-highly demanded commodity, is probably not a serious issue. The one report that's commonly circulated amongst the interwebs mistakes reserves with "how much lithium there is on Earth."

http://www.ecoworld.com/blog/2009/03/27/gms-volt-lithium-batteries/

It seems to me, just based on the "back of the napkin" figures on that site, that lithium is not a huge concern. That's based on KNOWN reserves. What's more, it can be recycled.

Now, what does it do to the environment when it's mined? That's a different issue, really.

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 12:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous JL said...

Ari,

Thanks for the links.

From the figures in those two articles, and considering that Lithium reserves will probably be much higher than the known reserves (I guess there was not much interest until recently in searching for Lithium), the future prospects of Lithium batteries look bright indeed...

Good weapons against any possible "peak lithium" arguments; in my discussions with people about electric vehicles, I have been confronted also with the argument that there would not be enough Lithium to change the vehicle fleet to electric, hence my previous questions.

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 5:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Maciej Ceglowski said...

I run the website.

DoctorJJ: "Wrong Yesterday" is a brilliant idea, and I will add it as a section of its own. I do want to keep old predictions separate, since otherwise I'm guilty of selection bias in picking out old predictions to feature.

Sean: I have tried to distinguish between predictions where the author is genuinely communicating uncertainty, and authors who decorate their predictions with a few qualifiers like "possibly" as a hedge for being wrong. I feel like the latter habit is very common and should not grant the predictor immunity against being held accountable. If you really are so uncertain... then why not just skip the predicting?

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

JL,

I think it's also important to note that lithium is not necessarily the first or last thing to be used in batteries. I suspect that there will be newer chemical inputs years from now, if not a move toward some other way to store energy.

In the medium-term, however, lithium is by no means "running out," "scarce," or a limiting factor for mass electrification of personal transportation. Again, it's another case of people confusing "reserves" with "how much is in the ground." Never mind that lithium can be recycled, unlike gasoline.

Maciej,

Your site is brilliant, and you deserve many kudos for your contribution to airing out the "good" predictions from the "bad" predictions. Many many kudos to you, sir!

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 2:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Sean: I have tried to distinguish between predictions where the author is genuinely communicating uncertainty, and authors who decorate their predictions with a few qualifiers like "possibly" as a hedge for being wrong. I feel like the latter habit is very common and should not grant the predictor immunity against being held accountable. If you really are so uncertain... then why not just skip the predicting?

Oh, no doubt. There's definitely a difference between positing a real, but by no means certain, future development and using weasel words to ensure that no one holds you accountable when you're wrong. A lot of peak oil zealots (well, to be fair, zealots regarding any issue) are responsible for the latter.

I'm not a big fan of blanket predictions, right or wrong, though. If all you're going to do is state that such-and-such will/might happen, then the reader is left to either trust you or not on your word alone. Responsible predictions explain their methodology and the facts leading to their conclusion. The reliability of said prediction can then be judged based on the accuracy of those facts and the plausibility of extrapolations made from those facts.

A key example, I think, is Simmons's Twilight in the Desert, where he goes into admirable detail explaining the logic behind his predictions. The obvious problem, of course, is that many of his facts are outdated, his logic is suspect, and he routinely showcases a lack of understanding necessary to make his conclusions (the infamous "fuzzy logic"/"fuzzy numbers" mix-up). But at least he puts his reasoning out there to be judged on its merits, which is something many contemporary futurists either fudge through dizzying leaps of logic and appeals to emotion, or don't bother to do at all.

All that aside, though, I love the site. Great work.

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

If you haven't been to Freddy's website, you should. It is excellent.
Trendlines


It is a good site!

I am confused by one thing though. If it is believed, as stated on Trendlines, Saudi could very well peak in 2009, how could we have a higher world peak in 2030? I may have missed the info on the site, as I just skimmed it. There is a lot of reading to do there!

 
At Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 6:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

To be fair,

I hope this site will also include all the bad predictions for the hydrogen and electric car revolutions. I strongly suspect there are more missed predictions on that side than there are for PO related


Why? Predictions of electric cars & hydrogen do not try to whip the masses into a frenzy like the predictions of doom and gloom do. That is why, in my opinion, such predictions like those that the peakers make should be held to a higher standard.

I will give you an example. One of the last messages I read at LATOC was by someone new to peak oil and he was having his 'oh shit' moment and said he was having suicidal thoughts. They basically replied that they agreed and saw no reason why he shouldn't go ahead with it since the future was so bleak and there was no point. To make matters worse, the doomers did nothing to sway him to feel otherwise, in fact they almost encouraged him. Of course there were a few voices of reason, but the vast majority enforced his feelings of helplessness. That is when I realized people that almost thrive on such doomy predictions are in fact psychopaths and not persons concerned with resource depletion.

I have not been able to find that post by searching. So hopefully the mods wised up and deleted it. I won't even get into all the posts to parents saying how they will see their children die before adulthood. And let me tell you, those were sooo awesome to read when I was 9 months pregnant and new to peak oil.

Anyway, all this rambling is to make the point that, to my knowledge, the prediction of an electric car has never lead to someone being suicidal. On the other hand, some of the predictions doomers throw out, definitely have.

 
At Friday, April 10, 2009 at 10:13:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The largest lithium reserve in the world is on the surface.

i.e. equivalent of Saudi Arabian Oil.

We haven't yet started looking for any deep reserves.

DB

 
At Monday, April 13, 2009 at 3:26:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW Simmons says we have 3 to 6, maybe 9 months till oil price armaggeddon arrives.

Damn. I better order some turkey MREs from Savinar since I'm clearly doomed before thanksgiving.

DB

 
At Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous AndrewRyan said...

I made this same post on the Ghwar Guzzler blog, but there's big news today.

CNN - MoneyThe IEA released a report today stating that world oil demand was estimated to drop 2.4 million bpd this year. Another money quote from the article: "A separate inventory report last Wednesday showed U.S. oil supply is at its highest levels since July 1993.""We don't have any evidences of glut -Matt Simmons, Dec 19th, 2008

 
At Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:20:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

"Sean: I have tried to distinguish between predictions where the author is genuinely communicating uncertainty, and authors who decorate their predictions with a few qualifiers like "possibly" as a hedge for being wrong. I feel like the latter habit is very common and should not grant the predictor immunity against being held accountable."

Yeah, I just today some article on Yahoo Finance about some guy saying the recession/depression "may" go on for 20 years. Really? The internet does facilitate wide dispersals of absurdities. Clearly the guy was simply painting (with some clever numbers) scenarios of a long long recession and then glossing it over with a 'maybe'. Well, 'maybe' the recession lasts 2 more years, or 'maybe' it lasts 200 years. How many economic predictions are accurate to any significant degree? Could someone really have predicted in 1988 that there would be a massive housing bubble that would collapse and nearly sink the entire world's economy? Ridiculous. (Not to mention the intervening dot-com and commodities bubbles)

 
At Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

This site is so slow lately. Everyone didn't become secret doomers, did they?

 
At Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 1:24:00 PM PDT, Anonymous benny "centipede glut" cole said...

I hope nobody notices my $10 a barrel predictions. Although I guess I still have the second half of this year...and Russia did sell oil to China at $12 a barrel...

 
At Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 6:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

OptimisticDoomer,

Are you kidding? I've been stocking up on my Mad Max supplies! Check me out.I didn't know that housebreaking a gun was so difficult, though.

 
At Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 7:31:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"I hope nobody notices my $10 a barrel predictions. Although I guess I still have the second half of this year...and Russia did sell oil to China at $12 a barrel..."I don't think it will make $10/barrel, but I always took that statement as a hyerbole anyway. Still though, there really is NO reason for oil to be at $50/barrel right now and NO reason for gas to be $2/gallon. Part of me is glad that it is holding at these levels (for all the reasons we've discussed before), despite the fundamentals, but I think it may still come crashing down later than you/we expected.

DoctorJJ

 
At Monday, April 20, 2009 at 8:34:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Hey, JD, it seems that someone at TOD noticed your space based solar panels and is making fun of you. While the post isn't necessarily sarcastical, the comments are.

Any thoughts?

 
At Monday, April 20, 2009 at 5:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Barba,
I have a post idea on that topic, and quite a few others, but all my time is getting consumed by the real world at the moment. I'll definitely be back posting when I get more time, so I hope you (and all my other kindly readers) will drop by from time to time.
JD

 
At Monday, April 20, 2009 at 9:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

Good one Ari lol!

This is how I personally see most doomers, haha

 
At Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 7:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

No problem, JD, I've got you bookmarked in Google Reader :). I understand the needs of "Real Life" quite well myself. I stopped writing my own blogs for the same reasons...

But that's not the main reason why I wanted to comment.

Did anyone else noticed at Engadget this jewel of news?

Bee.One electric car to be tiny, cheap, and cuteBritish start-up Bee has just dropped some details on its forthcoming uber-affordable electric car, the One. This five-door affair will have a top speed of around 80 miles per hour, with a maximum range of 200 miles before needing a recharge. The car will run on two battery packs stowed under the floor, and will be easily swappable in case charging stations start popping up all over the U.K. The One will also have a constant 3G connection for management and performance system software monitoring and updates. The most exciting detail about the car, however (besides its adorable attitude) is likely to be its pricepoint: £12,000 ($17,700) plus the recent government subsidy of £5000 ($7400) for electric car purchases will bring this puppy down to about £7,000 -- or just over $10,000. Sure -- it's not Tata-cheap... but this one's electric! The One is scheduled to go into production during 2011 with an initial run of about 12,000 vehicles.I say FTW! This is it folks, pack your stuff, but don't go to the hills. Instead, join the 21st century!

 
At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 6:41:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Barba,

Good catch! I saw this in today's WSJ:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124033688090439773.html

SHANGHAI -- Chinese auto makers are unveiling a slew of battery-powered cars and other energy-efficient vehicles at this week's auto show here that could make them more globally competitive and eventually help address the air pollution that chokes many Chinese cities.

Alternative-fuel cars were some of the hottest items on display at the Shanghai auto show from homegrown companies like Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Co. and Chery Automobile Co.

Some of the new and updated models, such as a battery-powered version of Geely's Panda hatchback, may hit the market as early as October, and in some cases they might carry price tags low enough for farmers and other rural residents with limited financial means.

Electrics are becoming more and more mainstream every day...

 
At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Observer said...

I hope nobody notices my $10 a barrel predictions.It was noticed.

Followed by DoctorJJ

I don't think it will make $10/barrel, but I always took that statement as a hyerbole anyway.Hmmm… When the debunkers are wrong it’s hyperbole. When PO guys are off, those guys are @#$@#@ “bad”.

Does anyone else see the irony?

 
At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Observer,

"Doomers" are calling for what will essentially be a large wave human misery and pain. There's a big difference between being wrong about that and being wrong about most of the things that get thrown about in optimistic circles.

That said, at least Benny has tacitly admitted that he didn't get the call right. That's more than can be said about guys like Kunstler and Simmons, who just get more shrill each time they're incorrect.

 
At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Sam M said...

Well that really depends, doesn't it? If it's intended as hyperbole from the start, then no, there's no irony because it was never meant to be an accurate prediction. If it was meant to be a prediction and it's being declared hyperbole in retrospect, then yeah, it's a cop out.

Personally, I never took Benny's $10 as a serious prediction. If it was, then I don't agree with it. Easy as that.

 
At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 4:51:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"Hmmm… When the debunkers are wrong it’s hyperbole. When PO guys are off, those guys are @#$@#@ “bad”.

Does anyone else see the irony?"
When Benny makes a few off-handed comments where he is clearly exaggerating just to make a point, no one gets depressed, contemplates suicide, sells their house and moves to the country to start subsistence living, etc. BIG difference!!!

DoctorJJ

 
At Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 5:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Observer, I didn't see Benny writing a book about it, I didn't see him on CNN braggin about the "inevitability" of 10$ oil, I don't see him running a website like TOD on that assumption.

All I see is a person making a prediction in a comment section of a blog, and admiting he failed.

If you can't see any difference in there, you are completely lost.

 
At Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

OptimisticDoomer, thanks for posting that link. It really made my day. Which Oil Drum editor is that in the picture anyway? ;) LOL

Speaking of interesting links, did anyone see this one in Tuesday’s NY Times? It pretty well debunks doomer claims that economic growth inevitably leads to greater environmental destruction:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/science/earth/21tier.html?th&emc=th

"In dozens of studies, researchers identified Kuznets curves for a variety of environmental problems. There are exceptions to the trend, especially in countries with inept governments and poor systems of property rights, but in general, richer is eventually greener. As incomes go up, people often focus first on cleaning up their drinking water, and then later on air pollutants like sulfur dioxide.

As their wealth grows, people consume more energy, but they move to more efficient and cleaner sources — from wood to coal and oil, and then to natural gas and nuclear power, progressively emitting less carbon per unit of energy. This global decarbonization trend has been proceeding at a remarkably steady rate since 1850, according to Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and Paul Waggoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station."

 
At Friday, April 24, 2009 at 12:33:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barba,

The comment by Gail the Actuary is:

"Another peak oil observer who has regularly promoted the idea of space based solar power is JD at Peak Oil Debunked, who has looked at the idea of solar power plants based on the moon a number of times (Lunar Solar Power, More on Lunar Solar Power)."

There is nothing sarcastical or otherwise denigrating in this comment at all.

It would be nice we PODders could drop the sarcasm and personal attacks. The quality of the dialogue and blog would improve without all the juvenile antics and attacks on 'doomers'.

Aaron

 
At Friday, April 24, 2009 at 4:56:00 PM PDT, Anonymous RiceFarmer said...

No time to be shy now... Here's what's coming over -- I would estimate -- the next two years: FDIC insolvency; Treasury default, the dumping of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency (I started predicting that in maybe 2002); hyperinflation; bankruptcy of the Federal Reserve; and collapse of the United States government as we know it. Federal Reserve notes are legal tender for all debts public and private. What does it mean if the privately-owned Fed goes bankrupt? Our map doesn't see that territory yet. -- Oh yes, and a new strain of swine flu has been discovered in humans in San Diego... And farmers are committing mass suicide in India and Africa because they can't pay the loans they used to grow their crops or they are being undercut by large corporations. I suspect that inflation is much more contagious than deflation. I don;t know how hard that stage will hit here. But deflation in any industrialized nation is like blood in the water. CoLLapse will looking like a feeding frenzy as the carcasses get stripped.-Michael C. Ruppert, April 23rd, 2009.

I couldn't agree more. The crash is coming. That is, if the flu pandemic doesn't shave off a few billion people first. Hope you idiots enjoy the ride, most of you will die.

 
At Friday, April 24, 2009 at 9:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo, Ricefarmer,
Here's some news: you're going to die someday, too. You're not immortal. I'd rather go out trying to prevent the deaths of billions instead of glorifying and cheering it on.
-Strangelove

 
At Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 1:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

“The crash is coming. That is, if the flu pandemic doesn't shave off a few billion people first. Hope you idiots enjoy the ride, most of you will die.”

And, if those hoped for catastrophes fail to materialize, there’s always the possibility of an Ebola outbreak or asteroid impact to warm the cockles of your little doomer heart.

I miss the good old days when doomers had the possibility of thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union to look forward to. Viral pandemics and economic crises are a poor substitute.

 
At Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 9:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

It's good to see that Ruppert's math skills are as good as his predictions! With a death rate of <6% there will not be billions of people dying from the swine flue. I know it must pain you, Rice Farmer and Ruppert, greatly to realize billions of people will not die.

 
At Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 7:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Aaron,

Sorry for being rude, but did you even read what I said? Let me repeat it for your pleasure:

While the post isn't necessarily sarcastical, the comments are.Where did you learn english? Seriously. Because when you say this:

The quality of the dialogue and blog would improve without all the juvenile antics and attacks on 'doomers'.... seems like a good sport atitude, until you read the very comment posted after you, which is basically wishing we all skeptics die of flu disease.

Jeeesh.

 
At Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 10:44:00 AM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Sheesh I get that some people really become convinced about peak oil doom for a variety of reasons, but some of these people are just insane. Thank God! A swine flu! Now the crash comes!

Also, the Federal Reserve literally cannot go bankrupt. The very concept is absurd. Hyperinflate-- sure, bankruptcy, no. (Assuming one knows what that word actually means, of course.)

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 5:37:00 AM PDT, Anonymous wchfilms said...

I mean, when you get down to it, why are swine flu... I mean, when you get down to it, why are swine flu and financial collapse brought into this board? This is about peak oil debunked not "every possible bad thing that could happen debunked"... because, these people are peddling doom/any doom, not actual science. Of course since we'll die sooner or later perhaps in a spectacular way, perhaps not, the doomers get the 'last laugh' ultimately anyway.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 5:37:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is this: Life is a risky business. There are constant threats everywhere to human existence, whether or not we create them. There could be a meteor or a sudden burst of gamma radiation from deep space (this IS a possibility, by the way). We could just lay down and die or try to forge forward. 200 years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of planes, ipods, or even the telephone, just in the same way these "doomers" scoff at the idea of any new technologies or the ability to shift to a world without oil and maintain a quality life. I for one would like to at least attempt to keep our lives as healthy and peaceful as they are now. "Doomers" are deluding themselves by thinking the "old days" were better. The average human lifespan was 30, much younger than most "doomers" are NOW. Now, I do worry about how mankind is going to adapt to the peak. I know it won't be easy, but I hope we come out well on the other side, not all dead and the equivalent of cavemen, as many others do hope. -Strangelove

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 5:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Sam M said...

Is anyone else highly amused by the irony of Rice Farmer confronting us with Ruppert's predictions on a thread about a site which concerns a site dedicated to debunking Ruppert and people like him? To make a prediction of my own, I expect Swine Flu to be the next SARS or bird flu - mass panic over what amounts to nothing.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 11:49:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Observer said...

Barba,

I have to agree with Aaron ”It would be nice (if) we PODders could drop the sarcasm and personal attacks. The quality of the dialogue and blog would improve without all the juvenile antics and attacks on 'doomers'.. I’ve been observing for months and I’ve noticed a change in you. You first came here with an attitude I would describe as, on the fence, polite and posing good questions, now that you appeared to have been converted, you’ve taken on the same over aggressive tone, with little to no facts to support your arguments.

Doctor JJ

When Benny makes a few off-handed comments where he is clearly exaggerating just to make a point, no one gets depressed, contemplates suicide, sells their house and moves to the country to start subsistence living, etc. BIG difference!!!Good point, in other words, Benny’s words do not carry any weight… Possibly because he has not done years of research and written books with a distinguished career in oil and finance behind him. Maybe that’s why people do not put much stock into Benny’s comments.

Doctor JJ, you also forget to mention all the people that have taken Simmon’s advise seriously, brought their debt under control, and are miles ahead financially because they used his advise, than if they listened to the optimists and lost 40-50% on the stock market.

Regardless, it does not change the fact that there is a double standard on this site, and honestly, if you wish to reach out to more people, you should attemp to bring this under control IMHO.

Consistently address incorrect comments from both sides of the fence, not just those that serve your purpose, would increase credibility; otherwise you run the risk of forever remaining a ‘tiny’ community with little to no impact.

Personally, it turns me off from your side of the argument every time you all purposefully let this type of stuff slide (I’ll assume I’m not the only one that feels this way). At the same time a large number of you use snide, sarcastic remarks mixed in with personal attacks to make your points, not an equation for success in my books.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 2:11:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hope you idiots enjoy the ride, most of you will die."

You go first.

DB

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 3:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I have to agree with Aaron ”It would be nice (if) we PODders could drop the sarcasm and personal attacks. The quality of the dialogue and blog would improve without all the juvenile antics and attacks on 'doomers'.. I’ve been observing for months and I’ve noticed a change in you. You first came here with an attitude I would describe as, on the fence, polite and posing good questions, now that you appeared to have been converted, you’ve taken on the same over aggressive tone, with little to no facts to support your arguments.With all due respect to both you and Barba, I can't blame him. While I agree that two wrongs don't make a right, let's not pretend, even for a second, that "the other side" is polite or deferential.

For all the talk about avoiding attacks, it's tiring to do so when that's the prime tactic of the opponents' side and somehow it's expected that people here are supposed to have a supreme sense of decorum.

Good point, in other words, Benny’s words do not carry any weight… Possibly because he has not done years of research and written books with a distinguished career in oil and finance behind him. Maybe that’s why people do not put much stock into Benny’s comments.Are you referring to Simmons?

Because I can show you any number of people with just as many years of research and finance who think Simmons is totally off the mark with "Twilight." Besides, it's a logically fallacious argument-- one that rests on an argument from authority-- to say that Simmons' past achievements should make us take him seriously.

The fact that he has blown so many calls the past few years makes me seriously question his predictive skill.

Doctor JJ, you also forget to mention all the people that have taken Simmon’s advise seriously, brought their debt under control, and are miles ahead financially because they used his advise, than if they listened to the optimists and lost 40-50% on the stock market.Examples? Never mind that Simmons' fantastic advice was by no means anything unique. One of the biggest mistakes amongst the wide-eyed oil commentators is to believe that because their heroes dish out the same advice as those whose coattails they ride they are also somehow incredible fonts of advice. Hell, "getting one's debt under control" is good advice in ANY MARKET.

That's like saying that Simmons is exceptional if he says, "don't stick your head in a meat grinder."


Regardless, it does not change the fact that there is a double standard on this site, and honestly, if you wish to reach out to more people, you should attemp to bring this under control IMHO.I told Benny that I disagreed with him. So what? You're getting uppity over ONE case where someone even made a statement.

Consistently address incorrect comments from both sides of the fence, not just those that serve your purpose, would increase credibility; otherwise you run the risk of forever remaining a ‘tiny’ community with little to no impact. Consistency, unfortunately, is in the eyes of the beholder. And really, is it better to be a large community of relatively poor quality (MySpace) or a smaller, more focused and generally interesting community?

Personally, it turns me off from your side of the argument every time you all purposefully let this type of stuff slide (I’ll assume I’m not the only one that feels this way). At the same time a large number of you use snide, sarcastic remarks mixed in with personal attacks to make your points, not an equation for success in my books.Hold on a second here, sir. It's the "other side" that's predicting billions of deaths, untold hardship, and a future of hellish misery and you're turned off by the snark here?

Really now?

You're upset that Benny made a silly call and Barba is a bit sarcastic, but you are mum about the guy who predicts mass deaths?

This is why I can't take your argument seriously.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 4:51:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Good point, in other words, Benny’s words do not carry any weight… Possibly because he has not done years of research and written books with a distinguished career in oil and finance behind him. Maybe that’s why people do not put much stock into Benny’s comments.Which brings us back to the original point of comparison to "distinguished" prognosticators. What does it mean when a "respected" analyst like Simmons misses the mark time and time again, so that he winds up being wrong more often than he's right? It cuts both ways: his predictions are worth listening to only because there's a good chance they'll come true, and when they routinely fail to do so, it calls his expertise into question.

With no offense intended to him, Benny is not a recognized expert. This isn't even his blog, and and his views have never been explicitly or implicitly endorsed by JD, Ari, or even a significant number of other commentators here. So you've set up a bit of a false equivalency by suggesting that when Benny blows a prediction, it's on the same level of an "expert" like Simmons blowing his umpteenth call. The number of people who take Benny seriously are nowhere near as legion as the number of people who take Simmons seriously. So, even leaving aside the notable fact that Benny has admitted his error, he has nowhere near the status in the "debunker" community that Simmons (or any other of the frequent targets of this blog) has in the "doomer" community. The reason why no one takes time to criticize Benny for getting things wrong is ultimately the same reason you don't see people getting into lengthy, scholarly debates with the crazy homeless guy on the corner wearing the "The End is Nigh" sandwich board.

Doctor JJ, you also forget to mention all the people that have taken Simmon’s advise seriously, brought their debt under control, and are miles ahead financially because they used his advise, than if they listened to the optimists and lost 40-50% on the stock market.This argument (and it's not the first time I've seen it employed) strikes me as a bit dishonest. First of all, it suggests that anyone who has criticized Simmons previously has suggested that people let their debt run wild, which is wrong on its face. Controlling one's debt and investing responsibly has always been good advice, and you didn't need to look to a guy like Simmons to hear it. It's another false equivalency to suggest that because I may happen to disagree with Simmons, I agreed with lunatics on the other side (like, say, those "Dow 36,000" space cadets).

More importantly, though, there's a problem with mistaking cause and effect. Simmons, Kunstler, et al. were predicting that the stock market would tank, sure. And, yes, to their credit, it did (years after they called for it, in some cases). But it didn't tank because we saw $10/gallon gasoline, and it doesn't validate any of their skills as futurists. As an illustration, if I had issued a warning to my friends in New Orleans in early August 2005 that they should leave town immediately because the Russians were about to launch a nuclear attack on their city, I would have been wrong. If my friends had listened to me, yes, they might have come out ahead by avoiding Hurricane Katrina, but that happy coincidence doesn't mean my original prediction was any less ludicrous.

Consistently address incorrect comments from both sides of the fence, not just those that serve your purpose, would increase credibility; otherwise you run the risk of forever remaining a ‘tiny’ community with little to no impact.Ah, this old chestnut. I don't think either JD or Ari have ever hidden their positions. As should be obvious from the title of the blog, this is not a news site, and it makes no pretense towards impartiality. Leaving aside questions of the rigorousness and reliability of the analysis, its perhaps better compared to Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation or Life After the Oil Crash than a site like the Oil Drum, which attempts to provide impartial analysis, and to clearly label opinion and editorializing as distinct.

JD and Ari have a specific editorial focus, and they stick to it. When they're called out on a legitimate error, they have never shied away from acknowledging it. But its disingenuous to criticize them for not being something that they've neither aspired to nor advertised themselves as being. I can't remember the last time JD threw his editorial weight behind a specific prediction that failed to materialize: for the most part, he doesn't pretend that he's in the predictions game, so why should he be saddled with the responsibility of addressing incorrect comments from other, unaffiliated "debunkers" any more than (for instance) Kunstler should be saddled with the responsibility of addressing a failed prediction of Simmons's.

At the same time a large number of you use snide, sarcastic remarks mixed in with personal attacks to make your points, not an equation for success in my books.I admit that there are times I've found the tone around here a bit abrasive. But, ultimately, I think it's a matter of personal style. It's one thing when the attacks themselves are undeserved, but in my experience there aren't a substantially larger number of ad hominem attacks (that is, attacks against an individual as opposed to attacks on a particular prediction/action/analysis) than anywhere else on the Internet. And as long as that's true, I really don't think either you or I have the authority to tell JD, Ari, Barba, Benny, DoctorJJ, or anyone else what tone they should adopt.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 5:33:00 PM PDT, Anonymous benny "centipede glut" cole said...

We need fresh posts more often. Otherwise the comment section gets stale, inward-driven.

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 7:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"Doctor JJ, you also forget to mention all the people that have taken Simmon’s advise seriously, brought their debt under control, and are miles ahead financially because they used his advise,"What about all those people who lost everything they had when the went long on oil waiting on it to hit $500/barrel???? No one, and I repeat, NO ONE has benefited financially if they followed Simmons' advice.

DoctorJJ

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 7:10:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Consistently address incorrect comments from both sides of the fence, not just those that serve your purpose, would increase credibility; otherwise you run the risk of forever remaining a ‘tiny’ community with little to no impact.

Personally, it turns me off from your side of the argument every time you all purposefully let this type of stuff slide (I’ll assume I’m not the only one that feels this way). At the same time a large number of you use snide, sarcastic remarks mixed in with personal attacks to make your points, not an equation for success in my books."

I found this interesting as this is the exact same thing I find at peakoil.com and other peaker sites. I wonder why they haven't lost credibility.
-Strangelove

 
At Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger OptimisticDoomer said...

I can only speak for myself, but I have no patience when the doomers come to this site stating the same BS they do on LATOC or the other boards. They offer no insight into the article posted or any good rebuttals, just the same old, 'we're all going to die' BS. It gets old, very old. If I wanted to read that crap I'd just go to LATOC. I come to this board specifically to get away from it.

Does Rice Farmer or the like really believe he is saying something we haven't all read 100x already? I'm glad this isn't my blog, because i'd just ban them all. It's not an attack on a doomer, it's just hoping they will go away! /end rant.

 
At Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

“you also forget to mention all the people that have taken Simmon’s advise seriously, brought their debt under control, and are miles ahead financially because they used his advise, than if they listened to the optimists and lost 40-50% on the stock market.”

True, unless they also got suckered into buying all the energy and commodity related investments that people like Matt Simmons, Boone Pickens and Jimmy Rogers were touting at the peak of that bubble last year.

I forget how many times I heard those guys saying that demand destruction would not happen, demand from China was insatiable, and energy and commodity prices would only go higher.

 
At Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 7:29:00 PM PDT, Anonymous mfellion said...

mfellion

This is a great idea to debunk the sky is falling crowd. Just looking at the oil liquids chart on price alone shows the price has nothing to do with the available oil, it has all to do with the opec monopoly, big oil monopoly and speculation. The same with production. It is not a coincedence that oil production fell in the US after 1970, it has nothing to do with peak production of known fields. Oil production declined here and went overseas where oil cost $.25 a barrel to produce. Production of oil just like any other good moves to low cost venues. The US was a high cost venue and still is compared to major oil producing countries. The problem in the next 30-40 years is not available supplies but the disconnect between price and that supply caused by the monopolistic oil distribution system currently in place.

 
At Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 11:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Observer said...

Yogi,

And I forget how many times I've read in popular mechnics, or other scientific magazines or on the web, that the electric car was just around the corner, no more gasoline everyone. It's 5 years out everyone, and this time it's different because {insert favorite reson here}....

Sound familiar.

Pot, kettle anyone?

 
At Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 1:30:00 PM PDT, Anonymous unending skeptic said...

JD:

I'm relatively new to your website after being a long-time reader of TOD, and agree with many of your criticisms of the tone and worldview of the Peak Oil community. I tend to think TOD is better in terms of content quality than LATOC or PO.com, which are frankly unproductive garbage heaps of pathological pessimism. Thanks for providing a sorely needed alternative viewpoint.

Two things to say, a point and a question.

Point - There is a response to the idea of WrongTomorrow over at www.jeffvail.net, where he makes the point that alot of times the value of an argument stems not from it's specific real-world validation, but the thought-process and nuance behind its analysis. Don't you think this is a valid observation?

Certainly nobody discounts the value of Plato, Kant, Descartes, Newton, Smith, Marx, Einstein or Rand because some of their predictions were wrong; it was their methodology and unique perspectives that were important. I think anybody who wants the amateur prognosticators of the blogosphere to be universally correct is expecting a bit much.

Question - While we're on the subject of predicting the future, have you seen the paper in American Scientist revisiting the Limits To Growth hypothesis? (http://www.esf.edu/efb/hall/2009-05Hall0327.pdf) I found it quite interesting. Once again, perhaps the methodology/implications were more important than the conclusions....

 
At Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 5:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I do believe there is a need for some scrutiny and some of these pessimistic ideas. What if we never tried to move from fossil fuels? We would assuredly run out and be in trouble. People pointing out that the oil is running out and this lifestyle is not sustainable forever as is pushes others to find the solutions.

What I don't agree with is when people remove themselves completely from society and look forward to others' deaths. I once saw the following statement: "Dieoff: fun to watch. Better with buttered popcorn." Honestly, who thinks DIEOFF is fun to watch!? Only someone really sick in the head could take amusement in the deaths of millions.

-Strangelove

 
At Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 7:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

mfellion: "Production of oil just like any other good moves to low cost venues. The US was a high cost venue and still is compared to major oil producing countries."

Hmm, I hadn't seen that concept before but it makes perfect sense. You could probably easily draw a "Peak Computer Chip" and "Peak Toy" Hubbert curve too in regards to American production and it would mean nothing.

 
At Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 7:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

And I forget how many times I've read in popular mechnics, or other scientific magazines or on the web, that the electric car was just around the corner, no more gasoline everyone. It's 5 years out everyone, and this time it's different because {insert favorite reson here}....You're being intellectually dishonest again. Just because one person says something wrong doesn't excuse another person saying something wrong. If I say I think Simmons's predictions are foolish, that doesn't mean that I'm simultaneously endorsing an
entirely unrelated prediction by any entirely unrelated individual on a subject that is (at best) tangentially related.

Even excusing that bit of chicanery, and assuming that just because I disagree with Simmons et al. I believe in unrealistic cornucopian BAU scenarios, you're speaking in the abstract: who in Popular Mechanics is making the prediction (is it the same individual/group each time?), what are the conditions of the prediction (why is s/he arguing that "it's different this time"?), and how is the prediction being couched? As someone who's admittedly not an avid reader of Popular Mechanics or any other science/engineering periodical, I'll take your word for it that it has its share of failed prophets, but examples would be preferable. If it is as you say, they should probably be added to the Wrong Tomorrow site, just like any other testable prediction.

Point - There is a response to the idea of WrongTomorrow over at www.jeffvail.net, where he makes the point that alot of times the value of an argument stems not from it's specific real-world validation, but the thought-process and nuance behind its analysis. Don't you think this is a valid observation?I certainly do, and I think it gets at part of my earlier concern about the nature of the site (that a good futurist deals in probabilities, and should not present his or her predictions as possibilities rather than certainties). At the same time, I think that many of these pundits make a deliberate decision to draw attention to their predictions over their methodologies. I think it's a bit weaselly to look back in hindsight and say that it doesn't matter that pundit X has been wrong in 90% of his predictions because his methodology is still worth discussing if pundit X has historically been far more interested and active in promoting his predictions over his process. At best, it points to an irresponsibility that makes his methodology suspect, while not necessarily invalidating it.

And this, of course, begs the question of whether or not the emperor is wearing clothes in the first place. Simmons's Twilight in the Desert, for instance, showcases some serious problems (like the fuzzy math/fuzzy logic mixup) that suggest his reputation as a reliable source on the subject of oil depletion may be overstated. And many other pundits in traditional peak oil circles (such as Kunstler) have no more formal training in the relevant fields of science and analysis than I do.

Question - While we're on the subject of predicting the future, have you seen the paper in American Scientist revisiting the Limits To Growth hypothesis? (http://www.esf.edu/efb/hall/2009-05Hall0327.pdf) I found it quite interesting. Once again, perhaps the methodology/implications were more important than the conclusions....An interesting article. Thank you for the link.

I think one of the major problems with the TEOTWAWKI predictions game is that when you reduce the arguments to their basic levels, they're basically undeniable. With regards to the Limits to Growth hypothesis, it's a truism that you can't have infinite growth within a finite system. Anyone who says or implies otherwise (and I don't deny that these people exist) is either an idiot or a liar.

But things get much more fraught when dealing with the question of where, precisely, the limits are, and what are the likely effects upon reaching them. To their credit, Meadows, Meadows, Randers, and Behren (the authors of the The Limits to Growth) were fairly upfront about what their project actually was. They were running a scientific model based on specific variables that returned a possible/probable outcome. It was an interesting and useful attempt to quantify the truism I mentioned above. But it should never have been presented as a concrete prediction (while the authors themselves didn't do this, per se, they should have been more active in denouncing this interpretation of their work).

The result was ultimately what Hall and Day bemoan in their introduction: because The Limits to Growth was interpreted as a prediction, and because that interpretation failed to materialize in the expected time frame, relatively few people take the work seriously any more. And this is the same problem with the contemporary crowd of peakists, doomers, and neo-Malthusians. They all see themselves as Cassandras and refused to acknowledge the chance they might really be the boy who cried wolf.

Other than that, I don't see too much to argue with in Hall and Day's article, and (if I may be so bold) I don't think many of the regular contributors here would, either. Given that JD and company accept that oil is finite and will peak, and that we can't continue business as usual in the future, I think we're all on the same page that we will need to develop and implement alternatives to oil.

 
At Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 2:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

“And I forget how many times I've read in popular mechnics, or other scientific magazines or on the web, that the electric car was just around the corner, no more gasoline everyone. It's 5 years out everyone, and this time it's different because {insert favorite reson here}....”

Then you should have a whole load of references ready to submit to “Wrong Tomorrow”. ;)

Here’s a vintage Simmons interview from last June:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YRu6bqKPjM

 
At Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 12:33:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124104549891270585.html#mod=whats_news_free?mod=igoogle_wsj_gadgv1

Massive NG discovery near Shreveport

 
At Friday, May 1, 2009 at 9:48:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My problem with the Limits to Growth is it's boiled down to "you can't get infinite growth in a finite system" is a straw man.

The real questions we need to answer are these:
How much growth is possible even in theory inside this limited system?

A more important follow up question is:
Are we anywhere near those theoretical limits?

I would wager that 1. We are nowhere near the theoretical limits
2. The limits are determined by our energy source
and
3. If we change from a limited energy source to an unlimited energy source (such as wind and solar) then we will find our current limits have just increased by orders of magnitude.

The reason I say this is we are barely scratching the Earth's surface. It's very, very unlikely that seams of minerals like those found near to the Earth's surface suddenly disappear the deeper you go down. With adequate energy we will find deeper and deeper seams of minerals. We also haven't even started mining the sea floor yet.

Yes, peak oil means the end of the oil powered paradigm. It doesn't mean the end of industrial civilization by a long shot.

Electrification of transport will cause one of the biggest booms the world has ever seen and lift billions out of poverty.

Wait and see.

DB

 
At Friday, May 1, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Observer said...

Interesting Mr. Daugherty,

Who’s really being intellectually dishonest? I never stated, nor implied that Simmons’ said wrong predictions are excused in any way by equivalent false optimistic predictions. Yet you make this correlation quite strongly in your rebuttal.

I was simply pointing out an obvious and glaring flaw in logic that the majorities posters here fall into; that is, the tactic used in discrediting PO spokesman (in this particular case, said false predictions) is often overlooked, glossed over, or purposely ignored as they apply to topics and articles written in support of POD, i.e. electric vehicle articles and their subsequent extremely optimistic posts.

For clarity, this does not mean I don’t believe electric vehicles may one day have a significant market share. I simply find the double standard applied in much of the logic on this and (wrong tomorrow’s) sites quite amusing, which goes back to my earlier comment regarding the lack of credibility I perceive in the arguments on this site.

 
At Friday, May 1, 2009 at 8:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

I'm having trouble seeing this double standard issue. As I see it, this site is against the "omg we're completely and totally utterly doomed forget everything there is no chance head for the hills" rhetoric. All this site has to do to refute that is show that there are all sorts of possible mitigations to peak oil utter doom. I think it's pretty clear to most non-utter-doomers that it's very hard to predict the future but it looks like there are lots of alternatives that some combination of will work out and it won't be that big a deal.

 
At Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Observer,

Your argument makes no sense.

First off, POD has a specific editorial perspective. That has nothing to do with "credibility." Arguments' legitimacy are not based on whether or not someone equally criticizes both sides. An argument's credibility is based on whether or not it makes sense and is logical based on the evidence. For an example of this, look at Paul Krugman in the NY Times. He is less critical of the Dems generally speaking, but he's a credible voice nonetheless.

Secondly, your argument about Wrong Tomorrow is completely incorrect for one reason: it's entirely user generated. You can put up any prediction you want. It's silly to say it "lacks credibility" when you can put up any prediction you please! All it is is an aggregator, so "credibility" is a strange argument... at best.

 
At Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 6:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Basset Hound said...

I feel that wchfilms is exactly right. I have encountered many doomers who believe all technology is evil, modern society is doomed, and the only thing to do is retreat to little no-tech agricultural compounds. They remind me of End Timers, save they don't happen to be religious. And the communities they describe seem to me, and I may be wrong, to be eerily reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge, 'Starting from Zero'.

Basset Hound

 
At Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 5:57:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

Getting kinda quiet on peak oil sites when things "quiet down", doesn't it :)? Seemingly applies here, and i'd guess the oil drum and others too.

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 12:12:00 AM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

Wow, seems that my nuclear oil rig scheme of a while back is actually happening.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/03/russia-arctic-nuclear-power-stations

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous paul said...

Well I can claim that my nuclear oil rig "prediction" is coming true already. (Although it was not really a prediction, more speculation)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/03/russia-arctic-nuclear-power-stations

Seems that extreme condition are the reason rather than EROEI though.

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 5:43:00 AM PDT, Anonymous HalfEmpty said...

Yep it's quiet. Flu-Doom is the hot new end-timer sell.

Head for the hills and buy my shit!

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 6:08:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous benny "centipede glut" cole said...

We need fresh posts more often. Otherwise the comment section gets stale, inward-driven.

Also...

JD - this blog has not benefited from moderated comments.

Why don't you let us have at it and delete the occasional offending post?

Justin

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 11:45:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Observer said...

Wchfilms

As I see it, this site is against the "omg we're completely and totally utterly doomed forget everything there is no chance head for the hills"Case in point. Many poster’s here quote their favourite unrealised prediction, then go on to point out their favourite pet solution (sometimes electric vehicles) blindly ignoring the fact that there are just as many (and in my opinion more) failed predictions on their pet solutions (anyone still talking ethanol?)

Two Points on your message Wchfilms:
1) I’ve personally never seen or heard one of the site’s favourite targets, Matt Simmons, say ‘head for the hills’. Most of his speeches and/or books end with the “there is still time to make changes” message, which seems to be the basic message here at this site. Which IMHO begs one of two questions, your (Wchfilms) definition of the site is wrong OR Matt Simmons shouldn’t be a target of the site.
2) Which leads me to the second point, I’ve read this comment before and I agree with it wholeheartedly (please don’t quote the silly site disclaimer in your rebuttal) this site should be caller doomer debunked as that is the target of the majority of the poster’s ire.

Ari,

An argument's credibility is based on whether or not it makes sense and is logical based on the evidence.Agreed, my point is that by leaving extreme view or predictions go unchecked, simply because they happen to be on your side of the argument, leaves readers believing that you either believe in those statements as well, or you’re too lazy to keep the site’s message on track… either option brings the integrity of your message into question.

I’m sure you’ll be able to find and quote many columns and/or sites that support your current approach or turning a blind eye to extremist views on your side of the argument. My advice was simply; if you want to take the site to the next level, keep your message on track, and keeping both sides in check (more credibility (IMHO).

It’s unsolicited advice agreed, take it or leave it. I’m running with assumption that you (ARI, JD, …) would all like to grow this community. For someone not yet convinced of your arguments, this is what I would like to see. I’m typically not alone on in how I feel, and considering I’m a potential convert, it might be worthwhile advice from your target audience… unless your target audience is the already

 
At Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD -

It's been over a month - please post something.

Here's some fodder.

Keith John at the Wall Street Journal quotes analyst Raymond James "non-OPEC oil production apparently peaked in the first quarter of 2007,"

And.

"If true—and the analysts note that true historical peaks are only visible in the distant rear-view mirror—then expect oil prices to jump back toward triple digits. All the more so if demand recovers—oil has clung to the $50 a mark even as demand cratered everywhere."

The analyst presumably being Mr. James himself.

Hmm. Maybe the Doomers will claim the US government launched H1N1 to spur petro demand destruction!

Did you know that the landed cost of a US military gallon of diesel or JP-8 is roughly $600. Think about that in an uparmored Hummer!

Ok. I am Bored. Please publish something new.

Hieronymous


(You can call me Hi, everyone else does.)

 
At Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 9:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous benny "centipede glut" cole said...

Right. If you don't post at least weekly, your blog dies. Better daily. You can steal stuff all over the web. Greencarcongress and Ghawar Guzzler have lots of items.

 
At Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM PDT, Blogger Yogi said...

The article on shale gas that someone posted a link to above is a good illustration of how improvements in extraction technology can lead to unconventional sub-economic resources being re-classified as proven reserves.

Now watch for the same process to be repeated with unconventional oil resources.

Here an article on Brian Westenhaus’s New Energy and Fuel blog:

http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2009/05/05/much-more-oil-coming/#comments

“Oil will track along with natural gas. For example, in the Barnett shale of Texas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated technically recoverable reserves of three trillion cubic feet in 1996. By 2008, the best estimate was 55 trillion cubic feet — a stunning 18-fold increase in what could be economically extracted from one area, thanks almost entirely to technological advance. More oil is coming, count on it.”

 
At Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 11:50:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anywhere said...

Did you know that the landed cost of a US military gallon of diesel or JP-8 is roughly $600.That's not true.

 
At Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 1:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger bc said...

Since I stopped reading oil sites, I've hardly seen oil mentioned much in the "real world", so I guess there is nothing really to debunk.

JD usually talks a lot of sense, but I am highly sceptical of space based solar, or lunar for that matter. I used to work for a company providing equipment into the space sector and I currently work for a supplier to solar power manufacturers. And I am a keen fan of science fiction ;)

One of our solar customers recently had over 100 engineers from various suppliers on site trying to get a new line up and running. It's a high tech, finely engineered business. The idea that you could make solar panels on the Moon is cloud cuckoo land to be honest.

Even launching and maintaining a pre-fabricated industrial scale facility in orbit would be vastly expensive. If it has to be zero-maintenance and remotely operated that adds even more to the cost.

Can you imagine a factory where all materials and personnel have to be flown in and out by airplane? Now multiply that cost by 100, and you have some idea how the economics of SSP come out.

What I just don't get though, is why the heck to we need to put stuff into space? We have plenty of spare land, and it's vastly cheaper than space. The people really touting "space industry" seem to be a coalition of US military (world domination at any cost) and US space industry (we'll have some of that cash, thanks!).

I'm not surprised Aaron has the gall to appeal for polite, rational discussion, he presides over one of the most hypocritical and rabid set of contributors on the web. There is no courtesy shown to people with a differing opinion there, and often little courtesy shown between posters with similar opinions! How about cleaning up your own cesspit before complaining about the smell from ours, Aaron?

 
At Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 2:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Who’s really being intellectually dishonest? I never stated, nor implied that Simmons’ said wrong predictions are excused in any way by equivalent false optimistic predictions. Yet you make this correlation quite strongly in your rebuttal.You were responding to Yogi's statement that "I forget how many times I heard those guys [referring to Simmons, et al.] saying that demand destruction would not happen, demand from China was insatiable, and energy and commodity prices would only go higher." You not only implied an equivalency, your response to Yogi deliberately mirrored that passage.

I'll grant you that you never outright said that "person X being wrong excuses person Y" being wrong. But since Yogi never even mentioned the ethereal articles from "popular mechnics, or other scientific magazines, or on the web" that you brought up in your reply, I can think of no other logical reason why you would have mentioned it, except to suggest some sort of equivalency on the level of "well, all sides are equally bad."

Agreed, my point is that by leaving extreme view or predictions go unchecked, simply because they happen to be on your side of the argument, leaves readers believing that you either believe in those statements as well, or you’re too lazy to keep the site’s message on track… either option brings the integrity of your message into question.When has either JD or Ari left "extreme views or predictions go unchecked"? You've been alluding vaguely to this all along: would you care to provide a specific example? When a legitimate scientific or methodological criticism has been raised, it is generally acknowledged, in my experience with the site. Robert Rapier has spoken up several times with fact checks concerning the oil industry and ethanol. In the year I've been reading regularly, I've seen JD withdraw and apologize for one of his posts when it was criticized for poor reasoning.

Case in point. Many poster’s here quote their favourite unrealised prediction, then go on to point out their favourite pet solution (sometimes electric vehicles) blindly ignoring the fact that there are just as many (and in my opinion more) failed predictions on their pet solutions (anyone still talking ethanol?)That's broad to the point of being useless. Even if I believe that electric vehicles will be a viable alternative to traditional petrol-powered ICEs, that doesn't mean I believe that every crank with a half-baked thought concerning electric transportation is worthy of taking seriously.

If pundit A came out and said that "within one year, everyone will be driving electric cars" and I was foolish enough to cite him or her as an authority on that specific issue, I'd deserve to look foolish when the prediction inevitably failed to materialize. But it's not reasonable to assume that just because both the pundit and I see a future in electric cars, that suggests that I agree with everything s/he has to say on the matter.

That, of course, cuts both ways: no one assumes that just because Ruppert predicts something that Kunstler, Simmons, et al. must agree. That's why they get called out individually, and that's the value of a site like Wrong Tomorrow, where a would-be futurist can be held accountable for his predictions, regardless of what broadly generalized group you would put him in.

I’ve personally never seen or heard one of the site’s favourite targets, Matt Simmons, say ‘head for the hills’. Most of his speeches and/or books end with the “there is still time to make changes” message, which seems to be the basic message here at this site. Which IMHO begs one of two questions, your (Wchfilms) definition of the site is wrong OR Matt Simmons shouldn’t be a target of the site.I can't speak for wchfilms, but for myself I can say that regardless of how Simmons frames himself, his statements still stand on their own merits. The fact that his statements are consistently alarmist and doom-laden is really more relevant to the issue, especially in light of the fact that he has a track record of failed predictions but still gets treated as a respectable authority by both the peak oil community and frequently by the mainstream media. And since Simmons's "expert analysis" is all-too-frequently cited as support of the doomer point-of-view, it's certainly fair game, IMO.

There really aren't any high-profile non-doomer/non-alarmist counterexamples in the peak oil universe (that I'm aware of, at least), but if you want to look at so-called financial gurus like Jim Cramer, who manage to be wrong about the stock market slightly more often than a tossed coin, you might find a similar case: wrong on a fairly consistent basis, but still treated as a reliable analyst by a number of outlets. Of course, there's always the off chance that they may be right about things on a given occasion, but it's the general trend of failure that is really more telling (put more simply, even a stopped clock is right twice a day).

I’m sure you’ll be able to find and quote many columns and/or sites that support your current approach or turning a blind eye to extremist views on your side of the argument. My advice was simply; if you want to take the site to the next level, keep your message on track, and keeping both sides in check (more credibility (IMHO).Of course, my position is that there are plenty of sites that serve to "keep the other side in check." And I don't mean flatly biased sites like LATOC or PO.com, either: the Energy Blog, R-Squared, even the Oil Drum (to a degree), spend a great deal of their time dousing irrational exuberance where appropriate. I don't think that's a niche that really needs to be filled, and I don't think POD is truly in opposition to that kind of analysis, especially since many of these sites are on POD's blogroll/links list for all to see. I wouldn't have stumbled across Robert Rapier's blog, for instance, if not for the link from POD's home page, and now that's one of the very few RSS feeds to which I subscribe.

JD and Ari may correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that POD is conceived as a energy news site, or as a general clearinghouse for oil depletion news. It is justified precisely as a counterpoint to the extremist end of the spectrum that is filled with sites like LATOC. Note that that isn't the same thing as saying that "it's all right because the 'other side' does it too." But as someone who was initiated into the peak oil debate by stumbling across Savinar's site, JD's blog did what R-Squared, the Energy Blog, and the Oil Drum didn't: it illustrated that the story wasn't all one-sided, and that there was a good amount of hype and questionable agendas lying behind the doomer argument. I can't see how diluting that message in order to fill a niche already filled by other well-established and better suited sites would be to anyone's benefit.

 
At Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 8:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anywhere said...

Did you know that the landed cost of a US military gallon of diesel or JP-8 is roughly $600.That's not true.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 11:50:00 AM PDT"

You are missing the point of landed cost. $170.94 is the purchase price for the barrel of fuel FOB point of production.

Add multiple secure transport and storage activities, administrative costs, and stock shrinkage and by the time a FARP in Iraq is refueling an AH-64D the LANDED cost is ~$600 a gallon.

I know this because the company I work for makes military gensets and sales people are continually hounded for even fractional increases in efficiency due the cost of fuel in the field.

Hi

 
At Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 2:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Observer: 1) I’ve personally never seen or heard one of the site’s favourite targets, Matt Simmons, say ‘head for the hills’. Most of his speeches and/or books end with the “there is still time to make changes” message, which seems to be the basic message here at this site. Which IMHO begs one of two questions, your (Wchfilms) definition of the site is wrong OR Matt Simmons shouldn’t be a target of the site.In the video at the top of this POD post, Simmons says (slightly paraphrased) "we could literally run out of usable diesel and gas and in a week we don't have food." This starts at about 4:15 in the video and he also says an oil shortage will cause "bank runs so fast your eyes will spin". That's pretty alarmist to me.

 
At Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 5:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anywhere said...

You are missing the point of landed cost. . .I understand what landed fuel costs are, and I know that they do not add $25,000 to the price of a barrel of fuel unless someone is engaging in some hinky accounting. Do you have a citation for this claim?

My battalion alone used thousands of gallons of fuel per day. We would represent about 1/2000th of the U.S. manpower in Iraq and I would hazard a guess that, as a non-aviation, non-armor unit we were, at most, at the median of per capita fuel consumption. A quick back-of-the envelope calculation shows that fuel costs alone would be costing the U.S. about $1T per year in Iraq. They are not.

Your experience with your employer shows only that, with fuel costs at a few hundred to a thousand dollars per barrel, a few percentage points of efficiency make a huge difference for gen sets that are running practically non-stop.

 
At Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 7:05:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorJJ said...

"You are missing the point of landed cost. $170.94 is the purchase price for the barrel of fuel FOB point of production.

Add multiple secure transport and storage activities, administrative costs, and stock shrinkage and by the time a FARP in Iraq is refueling an AH-64D the LANDED cost is ~$600 a gallon.

I know this because the company I work for makes military gensets and sales people are continually hounded for even fractional increases in efficiency due the cost of fuel in the field."
You're going to have to provide something more than just your comments to back up that claim or it never happened.

DoctorJJ

 
At Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 8:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Have you all enjoyed your oil price reprieve while it lasted?

Falling energy investment will have far-reaching and, depending on how governments respond, potentially gave effects on energy security, climate change and energy poverty. Cutbacks in investment in energy infrastructure will only affect capacity with a lag, often amounting to several years. So, in the near term at least, weaker demand is likely to result in an increase in spare or reserve production capacity. But there is a real danger that sustained lower investment in supply in the coming months and years, could lead to a shortage of capacity and another spike in energy prices in several years time, when the economy is on the road to recovery. The faster the recovery, the more likely that such a scenario will happen.Source
http://www.iea.org/Textbase/Papers/2009/G8_investment_ExecSum.pdfExactly, not similar, but exactly, as I posted in previous posts to Ari, who arrogantly dismissed such a scenario. Where are all your alternatives now Ari? Slowing down with the rest of the economy, many would argue slowing down faster than the rest of the economy as we had a temporary reprieve from oil prices. Oh yeah, and oil prices are starting their upwards march once more. I don’t see the electric car economy, many of you whish/pray/hope for kicking into high gear at the moment (when it should be).

Put your seatbelts back on, and for those of you that have been buying the junk on this site and in the malls, curb your spending and get your house back in order. You’ll need the extra cash to move around and buy food soon.

New Guy

 
At Friday, May 29, 2009 at 9:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

New Guy,

When did I "arrogantly" say anything of that sort? I'd like quotes, if possible.

Also, are you going to deny that oil prices are up at least in part because of the rather large cuts in production? Or does that not matter? How about because of speculation?

But I'm particularly interested in seeing you find the words you've put in my mouth. This should be fun.

 
At Friday, May 29, 2009 at 10:10:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I'd also like to point out to New Guy that while it is possible for oil prices to go back up, it's also unlikely in the near future.

The question is always about timing. The IEA report also does a fair bit of "coulda" policing. Note:

But there is a real danger that sustained lower investment in supply in the coming months and years, could lead to a shortage of capacity and another spike in energy prices in several years time, when the economy is on the road to recovery. Could. Key word, that. COULD lead to ______. Sure, but it also could not. The question is probability. How likely is that scenario? Note that several countries are implementing efficiency standards (for different reasons, but there nonetheless.) A similarly interesting question is what happens to demand in the next few years? Does it increase at a rate that outstrips the over 4 mbl/day cuts we have just experienced?

The problem, New Guy, is not that you are completely incorrect. You aren't. It's that you are overwhelmingly and singularly focused on one aspect of the equation.

BTW, as for electrics, why don't you try reading the papers? There are tons of stories on new compacts and electrics being field tested right now. You're right that it won't happen immediately (I never said it would, so don't try that tactic), but it will happen.

http://www.wwj.com/Mackinac-Panel--Electric-Vehicles-Now/4497177

I'm even more optimistic than before because we finally have a US government that is interested in guiding us through this in a responsible and forward-thinking manner.

Go moan and groan and doom-gloomsay all you want. I still wake up every day excited about what's to come.

 
At Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 12:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Careful what you wish for Ari:

Yes, your scenario is technically possible. It's just also technically improbable.

Your words posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 4:42:00 PM PST on topic "392. BOOK REVIEW: "THE MYTH OF THE OIL CRISIS""

Hmmm…I'd say that qualifies as rather arrogant.

As for your next comment…

Does it increase at a rate that outstrips the over 4 mbl/day cuts we have just experienced? please provide proof of this claimed 4 mbl/day cut. Everything I’ve ready points to an OPEC cut of 3 mbl/day and OPEC stopped making cuts prior to reaching that mark, 4 mbl/day is an exaggeration. And secondly, 4 mbl/day is a pittance in demand drop considering this was supposed to be the largest recession since WWII. Non-Opec nations have statistically peaked aided by the most recent financial melt down and price drops curbing their infrastructure spending. The 3 mbl/day cushion we now ‘appear’ to have is being chewed into everyday as the total world production ceiling begins to drop.

You’re completely mistaken if you think I’m unhappy or a doom-and-gloom preacher. I’m simply pointing to an obvious mathematical conclusion. I’m not the type to preach that you will die and I won’t simply because I believe an economic hurricane is coming. I’ve seen those arguments and I feel embarrassed for the writer’s stupidity. However, I do take much solace in the fact that buying into the peak oil point of view has financially rewarded me to the tune of over $100K as a result of being lot more cautious with my money because I believe the majority of financial good time are behind us as a result of shrinking energy returns.

You can either believe an economic hurricane is coming and do stuff to protect yourself (I’m not talking of idiotic relocations to remote areas) or bury your head in the sand and try to convince others that the math is wrong simply to make yourself feel better for ignoring mathematical certainties…

Once last comment on: The IEA report also does a fair bit of "coulda" policing. Have your ever noticed your complete argument is summed up and predicated with “coulda”. The electric car coulda…, nuclear coulda…, scooters coulda…, conservation coulda…yada yada yada coulda…

Yet none of these over occur on any scale worth mentioning….

Cheers

 
At Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 9:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Careful what you wish for Ari:

Yes, your scenario is technically possible. It's just also technically improbable.

Your words posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 4:42:00 PM PST on topic "392. BOOK REVIEW: "THE MYTH OF THE OIL CRISIS""

Hmmm…I'd say that qualifies as rather arrogant.


It’s arrogant to say that something of that sort is improbable? Wow! You have an awfully strange definition of “arrogant.”

No, I get it. Disagreeing with you is what’s arrogant. Never mind that I said that the scenario is possible. What matters, and what makes me ignorant, is that I said that it’s improbable.

See, I would have said that my saying “impossible” would be arrogant, because it would imply that I know for certain what will happen. But no no, in your world simply saying something is unlikely based on the evidence at hand is arrogant. Cute.

Also, note that while you may feel like you got a “gotcha” out of me, I actually LIKE being challenged. If you find something wrong with what I say, you’ll notice that I apologize and attempt to rectify it. But then again, that would mean acknowledging that perhaps I’m willing to be fair, and if you did that how could you be parsimonious? Must be a real humdinger!

As for your next comment…

First off, let’s attempt to parse some of this. You’re right, OPEC has not met the agreed cuts. I apologize—they have only cut actual production by about 3 mbl/day, or about 77 percent of the agreed upon cut. Still a VERY large cut. That equals about 1 bbl/year. No pittance like you seem to believe.

Nonetheless, you miss a key point here: 3mbl/day has clearly not put supply in line with demand, as evidenced by the current glut.

You’re completely mistaken if you think I’m unhappy or a doom-and-gloom preacher. I’m simply pointing to an obvious mathematical conclusion.

An “obvious mathematical conclusion?” What does that even mean?

I’m not the type to preach that you will die and I won’t simply because I believe an economic hurricane is coming. I’ve seen those arguments and I feel embarrassed for the writer’s stupidity.

Just curious: what do you mean by an “economic hurricane?”

And why do you think it’s stupid? I mean, plenty of people have died in Zimbabwe. But if you believe an economic hurricane is coming, what good is it having $100K? I mean, it’ll all just inflate away when the Zimbabwean hyper-inflation comes!

In all seriousness, though, you don’t need to buy into “peak oil points of view” to make sound financial decisions. I save and live frugally and I tend to be optimistic about the long-run. You should know, as you’re very quick to deride any optimism from me!

But here’s the thing: you’re not arguing “mathematical certainties.” You’re arguing statistical probabilities and prognostications. The only “certainties” here are that:

1. Oil is finite.
2. Oil production will peak at some point.

Very little else of what you argue is actually a “mathematical certainty.” Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between probability and certainty.

Nuclear power never occurs on any scale worth mentioning?

Uhh… around 20% of the US energy needs are met through nuclear. 80% of French needs are met through nuclear. Worldwide, during the 1980s one new nuclear reactor started up every 17 days on average. The IAEA predicts that the world nuclear energy base could double by 2030.

That’s not on a scale worth mentioning?

And yes, you’re right that electric cars haven’t really happened yet. But are you going to say that hybrids are also a technology “not worth mentioning?”

 
At Friday, June 5, 2009 at 9:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Ari,

It’s arrogant to say that something of that sort is improbable? Wow! You have an awfully strange definition of “arrogant.”

No, I get it. Disagreeing with you is what’s arrogant. Never mind that I said that the scenario is possible. What matters, and what makes me ignorant, is that I said that it’s improbable.

You’re a blast! Leaving yourself a small out saying it’s possible, doesn’t negate your extremely quick dismissal of the most likely scenario to occur. BTW, the small out you left yourself sounds very familiar, your group’s criticisms of Kunstler and Simmons.. Wrong Tomorrow??? The fact that this scenario ‘could’ and is most likely unfolding, a short 4 months after we exchanged ideas in that post, well, it basically says to me you don’t have a firm grasp on the problem if you missed the most likely outcome of the short ‘glut’ phase we are/were in. It does not lend much credibility to many of your other conclusions if you missed something so obvious to many others. Why should I buy into your eclectic vehicles and conservatism will save the world ideas when you have trouble reading the major repercussions of the economic downturn (only 4 months into the future). How many other major repercussions have you missed?? That is what makes you arrogant Ari, the most likely scenario was dismissed because it does not support your conclusions. Saying its possible really does not hold that much water, you were attempting to drive home the point that because you are an economist your conclusions were more likely to be right. You never did provide evidence why that scenario, the one likely occurring right now, was ‘improbable’.

As for your next comment…

I apologize—they have only cut actual production by about 3 mbl/day, or about 77 percent of the agreed upon cut. Still a VERY large cut. That equals about 1 bbl/year. No pittance like you seem to believe.
Fair enough, pittance is a little strong; however consider this, between 1974-75 world productions was cut by a similar amount, just shy of 3 mbl/day or 5%. Because of greater production rates, this year’s 3 mbl/day cut is only a 4% drop in production on the ‘supposed’ worst economic recession since WWII. A couple more points of interesting points. 1) The following year, 1976, production shot up 4.51 mbl/day or 8.5% (no guarantee the same will occur, simply interesting). 2) Current, existing, decline rate require the world to invest in new production capacity at roughly a rate of 1 Saudis every 2 years. In other words, roughly speaking 4.5 mbl/day of new capacity per year just to maintain current capacity. Put a monkey wrench in the investment of this new capacity, oh lets say a credit crunch followed by low oil prices, and the world now has a tough time maintaining world wide capacity. All of a sudden, the 3 mbl/day recent buffer (against $150/barrel) does not look all that comforting.


Cheers

 
At Friday, June 5, 2009 at 9:19:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Continued


Nonetheless, you miss a key point here: 3mbl/day has clearly not put supply in line with demand, as evidenced by the current glut. This is supported with??? American oil inventories are up one day and down the next, they appear to have stabilized, they are no longer constantly growing as they were in recent months, you may have noticed oil prices starting to creep up reflecting this.

An “obvious mathematical conclusion?” What does that even mean? My bad, big bold statement that was not explained. I go beyond your “oil is finite” and “oil production will peak at some point” certainties you point out. One fact not mentioned was that the EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) steadily for nearly a century. When I made reference to mathematical certainty, I was implying that once the EROEI is closely examined for alternatives they are all substantially lower (some order(s) of magnitude lower) than NG and oil. The trend has been and continues to be a declining EROEI, baring some unforeseen new discovery that is and will continue to be a mathematical certainty. With this in mind you are asking me to believe that the economy will continue to provide solutions with more and more expensive solutions with what looking like less and less available capital to implement them.

Just curious: what do you mean by an “economic hurricane?”
By now you must have realized that $150/oil was the catalyst to the economic recession (honestly if you can’t wrap your head around this, you must honest have some other hidden agenda), the spark that ignited the banking credit crunch. What happens if the IEA report is right? The “coulda” situation that is not necessarily “improbable”, but extremely likely. What happens if oil was to climb back over $100/barrel because of lack in production infrastructure investment when we don’t quite have our feet back under us yet… economic hurricane … vague description but it conveys my sense of ‘not a good year’ on the heals of a ‘absolutely crappy year’.

Cheers

 
At Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 9:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

New Guy,

Tell you what.

Start your own site. Call it "Right Tomorrow." Put up your predictions, and let them be tested. Better yet, when they're right or wrong, only keep the ones that are right! I know it really bothers you that Wrong Tomorrow puts up all sorts of predictions and lets them get tested, so only put up the ones you really like. The ones that are "mathematically certain" (what a bizarre phrase, and something that only someone with no real training probabilistic analysis would use). Only the ones you like. You can even do it on a blog site for free. That way, you can create a world where things go exactly the way you plan them. WITH MATHEMATICAL CERTAINTY. (Because we all know that scientamific predictions are always accurate.)

Oh, and you can explain to us how it is that we're in the 20th year of PEAK OIL predictions. I'm looking forward to it.

Show everyone your "mathematical certainties." If you are so damn sure of your predictions, you should be open to the idea of letting them get tested, right? I mean, if all of this is so definitely going to happen, then put it on a competing blog. Let everyone know that New Guy thinks that x and y will happen. Why not?

You can even get around to showing why demand for oil never stops going up even when it goes down! You can show how nuclear can never matter and never will matter! (I mean, right?) You can do all of this AND you can show us all how completely accurate your ideas are next year!

I mean, there could be book deals! Look at how much money the big peak names have made from books! Imagine the opportunities to build that money you made into more! You could be the next Simmons!

I'll level with you, New Guy:

You're not interesting anymore. You deal in truisms, falsehoods, and poor logic. You are obsessed with making "gotchas," but when you're wrong about something you don't bother acknowledging it. Come to think of it, having a "conversation" with you is like being back on The Panda's Thumb and trying to explain to the creationists why they're absurd. You use the same tactics, and quite frankly I see no reason to bother with it on a different topic.

Then again, the entire peaknik community reminds me a great deal of the creationist community. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Like JD, I'm taking a vacation. But my vacation is from you, New Guy. And it's a permanent one.

 
At Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 8:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Roberto said...

Ari,

I’m usually with you, but other than being arrogant himself, New Guy brings up some good points that you simply appear to dismiss.

What gives?

 
At Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 9:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Mathematical certainty!!

Check out a major cause of the financial crisis:

the Gaussian copula applied to CDOs, which quickly became a tool for financial institutions to correlate associations between multiple securities.[2] This allowed for CDOs to be accurately priced for a wide range of investments that were previously too complex to price, such as mortgages. However in the aftermath of the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009 the model has been seen as fundamentally flawed and a "recipe for disaster"

Basically about a bazillion bankers thought this geek's formula for pricing mortgage securities was "mathematical certainty" and relying on it nearly caused the crash of the entire world's financial system.

It is unknown what the production and consumption curves of oil will be. Assuming a simply bell curve (with a double top now apparently) is extremely juvenile.

It is unknown how much oil is really needed now or in the future versus conspicuous consumption. It is unknown what effects more scarce oil will cause on demand. The amount of unknowns is simply off the charts. The Doom crowd paints a pretty picture of horror but more likely the effects of oil peaking won't be noticed much more than any other economic transition.

 
At Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 10:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Roberto,

You're right. Some of his points are salient. But having a "discussion" with him is not worth it anymore for the reasons that JD took a break: it never leads to anything. If you are curious about anything he brought up, feel free to message me or ask them here. I'm glad to discuss things with people, but I no longer have the time or energy for the tete-a-tete that New Guy wants.

 
At Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

wchfilms,

The amount of unknowns is simply off the charts.

Then the very next sentence

but more likely the effects of oil peaking won't be noticed much more than any other economic transition.

You sound pretty certain for so many unknowns… care to retract one of the two statements?

 
At Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 2:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

but more likely the effects of oil peaking won't be noticed much more than any other economic transition.

You sound pretty certain for so many unknowns… care to retract one of the two statements?


"more likely" means "pretty certain" to you? likely!=certainty. English: learn it, use it. Then move on to experimenting with Logic.

 
At Friday, June 19, 2009 at 11:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Wchfilms,

"more likely" means "pretty certain" to you? likely!=certainty. English: learn it, use it. Then move on to experimenting with Logic.

Wow.

I’ll humour you.

Here’s the definition of ‘likely’:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/likely
seeming like truth, fact, or certainty; reasonably to be believed or expected; believable: a likely story.

The definition for ‘more’:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/more
in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number:

More likely = pretty certain (not 100% certain as your incorrect logic implies, but pretty darn sure of yourself)

English: learn it, use it

Good advice, I suggest you start with yourself…It might help you in deciphering facts.

 
At Friday, June 19, 2009 at 8:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

The "more likely" was in regards to utter doom and destruction of the Doom crowd. As in, more likely things won't be that bad. When I see a large number of unknowns glossed over by Doomers to get to some horrific result, I'm thinking it's more likely something else will happen considering the economies of the past and their own challenges.

Obviously it's guesswork, because guess what, none of us can predict the economy or what challenges await. All the oil could turn into ice-nine tomorrow.

I'm not sure which facts you think I'm having trouble deciphering. Your "mathematical certainty" thing isn't a fact, it doesn't even make sense. You can look at the past and present and see what happened and what we are doing now. That might give some insight into the future (it's better than nothing) but there is no way to predict the future from the past. The very utilization of that information itself changes things, which in part led to the banking crisis.

There have been COUNTLESS predictions based on static analysis of OMG WE ARE DOOMED. A huge biggie is population growth... well, turns out, it's leveling off.

If this baby keeps growing at this rate it will be 10,000 pounds by the time it's 50 years old!

 
At Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 7:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Also, more about facts:

These are facts:
It is unknown how much oil there is.
It is unknown how much oil is needed, if any at all.
It is unknown at what rate oil use will grow (due to say, China or India) if at all.
It is unknown at what rate oil production will decline after peaking.

What is fact? How much oil is currently being used, and how much has been used, within reasonable bounds of calculation.

There is no "mathematical certainty" because no matter how many ways you calculate eroei, etc, the fact is Peak Doom is built on extensive assumptions and conjectures.

 
At Monday, June 22, 2009 at 9:59:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Contrary to what some other may think, this is not a tete-a-tete, I’m simply using the same approach as others on this forum and deconstructing your arguments and supply reasons why they should be questioned or even why they are outright wrong.

So let’s start:
The "more likely" was in regards to utter doom and destruction of the Doom crowd.
Your exacts words:
The Doom crowd paints a pretty picture of horror but more likely the effects of oil peaking won't be noticed much more than any other economic transition.

Looks to me like you are trying to back peddle; your original statement implies that we will move away from oil in a similar fashion as the way we moved from coal to oil. A little fact you forget to mention is that: moving to oil meant moving to a richer (more energy), more accessible (at the time), more transportable form of energy. Appears to be an economic ‘no-brainer’; however, you’re implying this ‘no-brainer’ (my words) is roughly the equivalent to moving back to a less energy intensive, more expensive form of energy. Hardly what I would call “won’t be noticed”. Do you have a historical equivalent or example of a society seamlessly moving to the lesser form of energy intensity which also happens to be more expensive?

As for my alleged mathematical certainty statement, my exact words were “mathematical conclusion” which is a WHOLE lot different than “mathematical certainty”. Data can support multiple conclusions. Mathematical certainty was incorrectly quoted or referenced by members of this blog. Although not explained in any detail in the original post, subsequent posts explained that I was referring to EROEI. It is a fact that that world average EROEI on oil extraction has been trending downwards over the past century. It is also a fact that many of the stated alternatives (not all obviously), have extremely low EROEI, many of them much to low to allow society to function the same way as we have in the past, corn based ethanol is an example with an EROEI somewhere between 1 – 1.5. Plot out all the energy sources, their respective EROEI, as well as their contribution levels to the overall energy mix, and you will soon see that in order to maintain current energy total consumption level, nearly astronomical amounts of capital will have to be invested into lower grade (lower EROEI than oil) more expensive alternative sources of energy. My mathematical conclusion, there will be less available energy at a higher price for everyone. My secondary conclusion, this is also not good for the economy in the short term.

 
At Monday, June 22, 2009 at 10:00:00 AM PDT, Anonymous New Guy said...

Continued…

A huge biggie is population growth... well, turns out, it's leveling off.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population_estimates
The numbers here do not support your conclusion. Do you have another source for this statement?

Here is a list of other facts you missed, over and above the dropping EROEI on oil extraction stated above. Many of these facts will come as no surprise to this community as Peak Oil has already been acknowledged, what we are really debating is the timing and it’s effects at this point.
> Oil discoveries peaked mid 21st century and have trended downwards ever since.
> World oil consumption volumes have surpassed discovery volumes since the early eighties with the gap getting wider nearly every subsequent year.
>Oil fields all eventually decline in production rates, whether they follow a bell curve or not does not change this fact.
> With the exception of Prudhoe Bay production coming on line in the US, production has been declining since the early 1970s regardless of technology, money, or even historic high oil prices as incentive.

My question on the last point is why do we expect world production to be any different? And if you do not expect it to be different, thus expecting it to eventually shrink, how do you expect to replace lost oil production energy equivalents with expensive alternatives? And if the answer to that is conserve, how do you expect to have a healthy economy in order to invest intensively into alternatives when everyone is spending less? Is that not the definition of a recession?

And finally …
fact is Peak Doom is built on extensive assumptions and conjectures.
I’ll ignore “doom” and assume your mean “oil” as this is a peak-oil debunked site.
I’ve seen an order of magnitude more facts and figures from the peak-oil community than I have seen here at this blog:
more likely the effects of oil peaking won't be noticed much more than any other economic transition. sounds a lot more like assumptions and conjectures than a fact based position supported by examples and numbers.

Good day

 
At Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 9:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

Also, "And if the answer to that is conserve, how do you expect to have a healthy economy in order to invest intensively into alternatives when everyone is spending less? Is that not the definition of a recession?"

"Everyone is spending less" is not the definition of recession, but aside from that, sure a recession could occur in such a scenario, but then, many recessions have occurred in the past and many more will again, as part of the business cycle in Capitalism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

Each of these had varying causes, but none of these meant the end of the world. There is a myth that Capitalism requires exponential growth of something. That ignores that Capitalism expects and facilitates creative destruction. Have you seen many film cameras or typewriters around anymore? Did Peak Typewriter or Peak Film mean the end of the world or Capitalism?

This current recession makes more sense to be called Peak House or Peak Credit... the financial doomers are much more convincing.

 

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