Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
Page added on January 1, 2017
Best Books: The Boom: How Fracking Ignited America’s Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold, best history; The Price of Oil, Roberto Aguilera and Marian Radetzki, best economics.
Best Branding: “Water protector” used by Dakota Access pipeline opponents to disguise the fact that their victory would have almost no impact on water quality.
Sherlock Holmes Dog That Didn’t Bark Award to the EPA for examining fracking dangers in detail without mentioning evidence that any were realized.
Horace Greeley Award: Go Southwest Young Man! Scott Sheffield of Pioneer, who has pushed aggressively into the Permian shale basin.
Bernard “Monty” Montgomery Award for a Bridge Too Far: Elon Musk, who, before establishing his car company as a sustainable enterprise, added cash-hemorrhaging SolarCity to his stable.
The Groucho Marx Award for Zaniest Dictator goes to Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, who announced removal of the 100-Bolivar note when the replacement bill wasn’t available.
The Henry Fonda The Jury is Still Out Award goes to Royal Dutch Shell, whose acquisition of BG closed legally but has yet to be shown to be financially successful. The wager on natural gas sounds good, but the wager on remote natural gas deposits a bit more questionable.
The Gollum “Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds” Award to Donald Trump for promising to restore coal jobs and promote natural gas production at the same time. Runner up to the solar industry for “We’re competitive now, so the government should mandate purchase.”
The “If I Beat this dead horse one more time it will run” award to Richard Heinberg, who this year published his tenth book on the theme of peak oil and the energy transition/societal collapse. (Oil production has risen roughly sixteen million barrels a day since his first book on peak oil.)
The Steven Wright “Put the Humidifier and Dehumidifier in the Room and let Them Fight It Out” Award goes to James Howard Kunstler, author of “Too Much Magic: Magical Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation” and Albert Gore Jr., “[Technological progress is] coming so fast,” he says. “It’s very, very exciting” for respectively insisting technology isn’t and is the solution.
The Claude Rains “I’m shocked to find gambling at this establishment” award to Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, who ‘discovered’ that Exxon ‘knew’ about climate change (about a century after scientists first discussed it).
The Bullwinkle J. Moose “This time for sure” award goes to entrepreneur Richard Branson for his prediction that “every car on the road will be electric in 15 years”
Whistling Past the Graveyard Award to the solar power advocates, who argue vociferously that falling costs mean it is competitive, even as the end of subsidies cause a crash in investment in more and more locales.
The Vlad the Impaler “it can’t be killed” award goes to T. Boone Pickens for urging Rick Perry to “inject real fuel competition into the transportation mix” referring to his decades-long quest for government support for CNG-fueled vehicles.
The Bonnie and Clyde “Why Am I A Hero?” Award to coal, responsible for huge amounts of pollution but finds support from prominent politicians who don’t need to be named.
The Peter Venkman “It’s Technical” award to those arguing that energy return on energy investment (EREOI) is the real threat to oil supply, assuming that no one understands it and so it won’t be questioned.
The “Losing Money on Every Sale but Making it up on Volume” award goes to
that fossil fuel prices are volatile, but consumers should “Buy constant-price, and usually cheaper, efficiency and renewables instead, as the national and global market is doing.”
The Thomas Dolby “She Blinded me with Science” Award goes to opponents of fracking, who can’t seem to accept that anecdotes and vague correlations are not scientific proof.
The Whatever Award for Word That Needs to be Retired goes to “denial” and its variants, almost always used by people who are themselves science deniers, just of different science.
Finally, the Elton John “I’m Still Standing” Award to OPEC, for the obvious.