Saturday, August 31, 2013

Whatever happened to Peak Oil?


Time for another update from Debunking Peak Oil:

Just like Y2K, you would have been better off listening to your senile old grandma, who said it was all a bunch of hype, than all the overly-concerned "scientists" like Deffeyes and "researchers" like Heinberg.

Now, you may be wondering: How in the hell did I know that Peak Oil was a farce and wouldn't happen? The answer to that is very simple, and I wrote about it in #128 many years ago: The collapse of modern civilization is too good to be true

We are certain to see more of these "Chicken Little" scenarios in the future, so (with a hat tip to Jean Baudrillard) let me leave you with a helpful rule.

JD's IRON LAW OF MEDIA EVENTS: The probability of any disaster scenario occurring is indirectly proportional to the degree it is hyped by the media/Internet etc.

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20 Comments:

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

Whatever happened to Peak Oil? Why, the same thing that happened to the paperless office predicted in the 1960s, global cooling in the 1970s, acid rain in the 80s, the ozone hole in the 90s, Y2K, and anthropogenic global warming in the 2010s, that's what!

Somewhere, the spirit of PT Barnum has to be laughing his ass off!

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Here in SF we don't really need to worry, thanks to our previous District 5 Supervisor there is a 128-page report from his Peak Oil Task Force to prevent this scenario. Merely follow what the report recommends: "residents be allowed to graze goats in their yards, keep more than four chickens per property, and raise and eat their own rabbits and hogs as supplemental protein sources." Mmmm, can't wait!
See: Ross, Raising Unicorns

Ross has his guns, he'll be our Mel Gibson and save us from the Humungus in this new wasteland (in which, perhaps not mere coincidence, SF looks a lot like Burning Man—hipsters won't have to drive to Black Rock anymore! A blessing in disguise because they'll no longer have gas for their cars).
See: Ross as Road Warrior

According to the report, "San Francisco can also expect rising food prices, possible food shortages, greater poverty and declining revenue, particularly in the tourist sector which is dependent on the cost of airplane and automobile travel. Mirkarimi said at the conclusion of today’s hearing that he hoped the report would not gather dust, as so many other city reports over the years. 'It’s very important information, that I believe is going to be highly instructive, for months and years to come.' ”

And of course the report suggests, "expanding and diversifying the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s funding, and continuing to promote bicycle transportation. There is no time to lose."

As Tower of Power told everyone almost forty years ago, "There's Only So Much Oil in the Ground"
Listen: Urban Renewal
OK, that's obvious, some day in the future extraction will peak but the level will not plummet catastrophically, it will level into a long plateau for an unknown number of years. Like it or not, the human race is committed irrevocably to technology and has little choice but to keep marching down that road.

The other option is to buy some guns and move (with Ross?) to one of those survivalist communities in Idaho.

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or not, the human race is committed irrevocably to technology and has little choice but to keep marching down that road.

Where does that road lead to?

Are you saying, some day in the future there will be a problem, but I'd rather not adapt and hope that the I don't outlive the oil?

If we are committed to current technologies, then the landing will be nothing but hard.

You are more cynical than Rob.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What I'm saying and what the Peak Oil Debunked guy is saying is only that we're not going to run out of oil and gas any time soon.

What exactly are you saying? That we are going to run out soon? Or if we don't give up fossil fuel immediately, we're doomed? The latter may in fact already be the case, since, with the effects of climate change already becoming evident with drought and increasingly violent storms, the hard landing has apparently already begun.

Of course we have to "adapt," but do you have a technology that we can use right now that will replace oil and gas?

Like a lot of Peak Oilers, you adopt a holier-than-thou attitude that suggests that you have the answer that the rest of us are perversely resisting. Come off it.

 
At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course we have to "adapt," but do you have a technology that we can use right now that will replace oil and gas?

This is a strawman. The argument is that if we do not drastically reduce our oil and gas consumption, the problems we create will be two orders of magnitude worse (that's 100x) than whatever problems we cause because of reduction.

The answer is simple. Tax consumption to raise prices until consumption goes down by 50%. People will "adapt" to that a lot easier than they can "adapt" to hurricanes.

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

So much austerity, so little time. At least the sacrifice will be shared, right?

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Unlikely. But this post is only about the Peak Oil fallacy and nothing else.

 
At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peak Oil is not about running out of oil. It is about running out of cheap oil, which is happening.

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/newsroom/img/posts/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-06%20at%2011.03.16%20AM.png

http://quotes.post1.org/historical-crude-oil-price-chart/

http://www.GasBuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx?city1=USA Average&city2=&city3=&crude=y&tme=132&units=us

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

When will the apocalypse happen?

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No idea what you mean by that, Rob. Cheap oil is a thing of the past, that you may be sure of.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

My earlier post did not stray from the topic. The Peak Oil fallacy exists as a way to sell us an austerity agenda based on a crackpot Malthusian ideology that people are bad, people pollute,and there's not enough to go around. It is the ideology of oligarchs who want to accrue more money and power for themselves at the expense of the masses they loathe and fear. If we believe in the lie of Peak Oil and that technology can't help us, they have made us their willing slaves. Mission accomplished!

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So what? The price of oil now seems high enough to encourage conservation but not high enough to stifle economic activity. What exactly is the problem?

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

Rob, I really don't know why putting the fallacy of Peak Oil in a broader context should get under your skin. The rise in oil/gas prices has been part of the 2/3 decline in the American standard of living over the past 45 years. If that's a big "so what" to you, so be it.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Bullshit. Evidence, please.

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

Could you be more specific? If you ask a motorist who fills his gas tank each week, he would say gas prices are "bullshit!"

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8TDhpYBu0o

http://www.infowars.com/articles/economy/peak_oil_index.htm

If the hyperlink is missing, the information is worth the copy and paste.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

How we learned not to guzzle

"At the same time, the amount of oil we are using in our vehicles, homes and businesses continued to decline last year, down 14 percent from a peak in 2005. Surprisingly, oil use was lower in 2012 than in 1973 (when the nation’s economy was only about a third of its current size). The main reason is that we are demanding better mileage from our vehicles and driving them less."

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The main reason is that we are demanding better mileage from our vehicles and driving them less."

But why are we demanding better mileage? Because gas is more expensive.

And why are people driving less? Not just because people couldn't afford it during the downturn, but attitudes toward personal transportation are changing.

Might those attitudes have changed if people thought oil was endlessly cheap? We'll never know.

Vince, above, is delusional. Many offices are practically paperless today; global "cooling" had little to no scientific basis; acid rain is very real, but not as scary as the media made it out to be; the ozone hole was very real, and heavily influenced the (mostly) worldwide ban on CFCs; Y2K was, again, largely a media creation; and anthropogenic global warming has the support of a large majority of scientists behind it. Lumping Peak Oil in with a bunch of theories and crazes that you think are silly doesn't prove a point about anything except one's own ignorance.

I'd recommend reading The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch. As a physicist and mathematician, he doesn't have much to say about global warming per se except to point out that mankind has always found a way out of problems like this, and he believes that we'll solve our energy and environmental issues eventually. If you share his optimism, that's great. (I'm on the fence, but prefer the optimist perspective.) But you also have to recognize that fringe scientific theories and even the most overblown media crazes can influence society in positive ways, and the urgency that they bring can inspire the innovation that we need to get ourselves out of this mess. If the idea of Peak Oil gets people to think about their own resource consumption, isn't that a good thing?

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

"Surprisingly, oil use was lower in 2012 than in 1973 (when the nation’s economy was only about a third of its current size). The main reason is that we are demanding better mileage from our vehicles and driving them less."

Since the median wage has remained flat or even declined somewhat since 1973, this hardly comes as a surprise. People are simply making the best of a bad situation.

 
At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

"But you also have to recognize that fringe scientific theories and even the most overblown media crazes can influence society in positive ways, and the urgency that they bring can inspire the innovation that we need to get ourselves out of this mess. If the idea of Peak Oil gets people to think about their own resource consumption, isn't that a good thing?"

Now it's my turn to ask for evidence. Who has won in the games of fraud that you, in part, recognize as such? Seeing a pattern to the hustles is hardly delusional.

 

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