free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 134. PEAK OIL HYSTERIA

Sunday, October 16, 2005


-- by Wildwell

Peak oil hysteria can be measured on a parallel scale to:

1) Car ownership and car dependency
2) Planning regime and geography of a nation

The most worried people are those that live a lifestyle that requires the use of a motor car and see little or no alternative for the foreseeable future. It's notable that Europeans are more 'laid back' abut the issue and so on.

This does not mean that there isn't a problem; merely the perceived problem is less in the minds that don't follow daily fuel rises and so on because of a need to go about their daily business. A typical commuter in London, Paris, Madrid, and Tokyo would just not notice the problem using electric trains, buses and having little to with agriculture.

In the United Kingdom, London centric news is reported first. There can be major problems in rural Wales, but this would not show up on the radar in London, simply because it doesn't figure in the minds of people who take electric trains, deal in IT or many service industries and have large incomes. Indeed, sales of SUVs in London have doubled in the last 12 months, despite record oil prices - proof of the relative disposable income of some sectors of the population.

British telecom recently ran an ad in a Transport professional's magazine looking at their view of the future. It described 'Green webs'

The ad starts 'Sustainability, and the management of scarce resources' are becoming increasingly key issues that will shape the future'. It goes on to describe how 'Green Webs' will manage travel, transport, energy, water supply, recycling and industry supply chains. Later it talks about a staggered rush hour, efficient mobile devices and networks. Essentially it talks about the 'Information age' and mentions things will change because of oil rising above $100 a barrel and how highly production of food localised will be done using robotic machines. The point of the ad is that transport is about to go through an IT revolution with real time capacity allocation, yield management, tracking and automation - spreading the load and maximising resources.

The ads run from page 12


At Sunday, October 16, 2005 at 7:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

This is very true, and can be seen in the breakdown between doomers and optimists I have personally experienced. Although there are many exceptions, doomers tend to be Americans who own cars and drive a lot. Optimists tend to be Europeans who have non-car options, or live in forward-looking countries like Norway which can supply virtually all its electric power needs with hydro. The American doomer sound bite "$5 gasoline will cause blood in the streets" rings hollow in Europe because they are already paying $5 and society is totally tranquil and normal.

At Sunday, October 16, 2005 at 9:21:00 PM PDT, Anonymous popmonkey said...

JD, the peak oil optimist side you present seems to be simple good old fashioned anti-amricanism.

my problem with this kind of view point is that it assumes that PO optimism can exist without America. i.e. both American PO awareness or the American economy. i find that naive at best. while labeling americans as the worlds biggest consumer has undertones of negativity, of labeling america as glutonous and wasteful (not arguing those points, as they are true!) the worlds biggest consumer is also a key reason why economic growth has been possible on a global scale.

take america out, and you've got a void much bigger than the supply/demand chasm that will open up as PO unfolds.

the idea of self-sustaining countries living simpler, localized lives is not an optimistic view, imho. humanity didn't get this far to have everyone pull back into their nationalistic shells. to me that IS a doomster attitude.

i'm not saying, hey, lets figure out how to allow americans keep their gas guzzlers and wasteful lifestyle. but what i would like to see is less of this negativism about america; it's just constructionless criticism and useless hindsight really; and work on mitigation for this largest consumer that also was key in the very existance of relatively healthy economies in both the regions you mention (europe and japan).

At Sunday, October 16, 2005 at 10:07:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a lurker on the boards, I'd say that one or two of the optimists seem quite a bit more believable than all the pessimists. The user "goillini" in particular seems to have a really good grip on things...if you're looking for "guest perspectives" I'd say you couldn't do much better than him.

The user "Dezakin" is also extremely, extremely knowledgeable about nuke plants and seems completely optimistic...he may be less "realistic" than Goillini but he might be interesting to just have do a writeup or two on what he views society as going to do in the next decades, or just about nuclear power potentials, he can definitely back it all up with statistics.

I've been reading your blog for a while, some of it has definitely been quite informative and interesting. Much more so than nearly all the guys who can't write anything about the subject without including the words "powerdown" and "overshoot." Not to say they're necessarily wrong, but they're completely closed to any other views and keep using the two terms like a religious mantra, even though when pressed half of them admit that they figure we'll switch into a nuclear powered economy. :P

Or the people that constantly demand "peer-edited reports from scientific journals" and then hold up the Hirsch report as evidence.

At Monday, October 17, 2005 at 2:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Wildwell said...

Stating that Americans are the biggest car driving nation on earth is not Anti-American, merely a statement of fact.

America on the whole is a force for good (and yes there are plenty of anti-US government Americans) but will go down in history as the great ‘Oil Empire’. That said, I’m still confident that the nations strength in innovation and IT will allow it to pull through more than many imagine. It is doesn’t there are other empires waiting to the wings to replace it for better or worse. Personally I’d prefer America to still be the leading world superpower, but this might mean it’s citizens thinking outside the box.

At Monday, October 17, 2005 at 2:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

You got me there. I definitely do have an anti-American bias. In fact, it's so bad that I actually left the country. ;-)

But you're right, and I understand your feelings. Too much America-bashing is counterproductive. The world does need America, and watching it go down the toilet isn't in anybody's interest. Whatever the solution is, America will be a big part of it.

On the other hand, I am adamant that first world car culture (U.S. car culture above all) is the root of the peak oil problem, and I will not yield on that point. I'm totally disgusted by gas guzzling U.S. doomers who tell me I'm in denial about petroleum depletion. (Yes, that has happened, many times.)

Anyway, I will try in the future to take your advice to heart and be more balanced. We are all in this together.

At Monday, October 17, 2005 at 3:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually the people that worry the most are the people that actually stop to think about it. They come from many different demographics. Most people don't bother to think about it. Its weird that your experience has been so one sided, but it also proves nothing, just like this article.

At Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 1:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an American, and like many Americans I am very worried about the consumption habits of my countrymen and the energy policies of my government. But in a post-oil world, America will end up in much better shape than many nations. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and if worse comes to worse, there are the equivalent of 1 trillion barrels of oil in Colorado and Utah oil shale. American coal is going to be a critical part of any solution to world energy problems in the second half of this century. Moreover, unlike many European nations, Americans are not virulently anti-immigrant, and this allows us to steal scientists and engineers from the developing world to keep our first-world status secure in spite of declining birth rates and an ageing native population. I understand why people bash America. I'm an American and I sometimes bash America. But don't count my country out. She will be a force for good when the shit goes down. You're gonna want her on your side.


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