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Page added on April 25, 2013

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Peak Oil Denial: Sticking To The Script (Pt 6)

General Ideas

This is the sixth in a series of posts [* links below] examining the latest entry straight from the playbook on peak oil denial—that seemingly never-ending attempt to ignore facts, mis-/under-inform readers, or create ever-rising levels of non-credible optimism.

[NOTE: Any quotes in this series are taken from the above-referenced Manhattan Institute paper unless otherwise noted. Links to sources/citations/footnotes within those quotes are located in the original report.]

This post focuses on oil and our warming planet.

~ ~ ~

What even remotely sane/rational person will disagree with this assessment:

Oil is a miraculous substance. If oil didn’t exist, we would have to invent it. No other substance comes close to oil when it comes to energy density, ease of handling, and flexibility. Those properties explain why oil provides more energy to the global economy—about 33 percent—than any other fuel. They also explain why, despite a century of effort, oil still dominates the transportation sector, with more than 90 percent of all transportation being fueled by petroleum products.

All true … and also the big problem for all of us. Finite resources are still finite, and limiting options isn’t our wisest course of action. Simple points worth keeping in mind … while also recognizing that the high prices needed to sustain these impressive displays of drilling and production technology aren’t viewed with the same delight by consumers. When they’re obliged to make changes as a result, the dominoes tumble in many different directions.

So when higher prices curtail demand, investment options narrow. What happens to the “assured,” constant supply then? And after that, then what?

Those facts haven’t stopped Obama, or his political appointees, or leading environmentalists from demonizing oil at every opportunity.

“Demonizing?” Seriously? I’m sure that’s another buzzword sure to enflame supporters, but, come on! (That’s not to say environmentalists don’t use that tactic, but painting all with the same broad brush lacks a few things needed for meaningful discussions and solutions—if those things matter.)

A related question: why laud the innovation in the fossil fuel industry yet chastise the relatively new kid on the block renewables for attempting to do the same—on a field where financially and historically it is way behind? (Worth taking a look at what other countries are doing in this regard.)

Shouldn’t an exceptional nation act and think and plan as an exceptional nation? We’re talking about energy supply. All options need to stay on the table, and the long-term perspective needed suggests we’re already behind in preparing for a different world of energy supply in the decades to come.

At some point, fossil fuel industry supporters can either voluntarily or not accept that (among other considerations): fossil fuels are now more costly and time-consuming to acquire, refine, and supply; they are not as energy “dense” as the unconventionals, so more needs to be made available to provide the same energy bang for the buck; optimistic projections ignore several very important facts: rapid decline rates in shale gas/oil production together with ongoing depletion of finite conventional s and resulting financial/investment challenges; reliance on the expertise of James Inhofe and his merry band of shortsighted climate change deniers won’t protect anyone from the reality of a warming planet.

Let’s not forget this, either:

Not just energy is important here, but net energy.  It’s the energy left over after we find and produce energy that is available for society to do all of its complicated and clever things.
Not only is the world struggling right now to increase global oil production, but all of the new and unconventional finds offer us dramatically less net energy to use as we wish. [1]

Waiting instead until most options are useless … not the approach of intelligent minds.

Who’s to blame is irrelevant at this point! Our planet is warming, changes are already underway, and it’s not getting any better. Is waiting for some cataclysmic event before we all accept reality a good idea?

Choosing to rely on the wisdom and expertise of industry to fashion solutions and adaptations based on reality and evidence and facts seems a bit wiser than keeping fingers crossed that the evidence (and overwhelming majority of professionals who actually know what they are talking about) is entirely wrong. Or more insane, still: thinking that these experts are all part of a vast conspiracy to do … something … for some reason which remains a secret—even to them!

It will screw up ideology to be sure, but future generations will still be around to argue the clumsiness and ignorance of the debate. Better than not being around at all or suffering who-knows-what kind of consequences in the decades ahead.

Just saying….

Peak Oil Matters



5 Comments on "Peak Oil Denial: Sticking To The Script (Pt 6)"

  1. BillT on Thu, 25th Apr 2013 3:03 pm 

    America is NOT ‘exceptional”!

    That said, the idea that we can change a 100+ year old infrastructure to some new, expensive, alternative one is also a joke. If you haven’t noticed, the economy is contracting, not growing. The financial system of the West is on life support from the Fed printing presses and may expire at any moment. When that happens, eating will be more important than gasoline or electric.

  2. econ101 on Thu, 25th Apr 2013 6:36 pm 

    My goodness just 6 parts so far on the big peak oil pitch? I know peak oil is political science, not physicial science, because I look at production figures and reserves. I also know the worlds EUR is burgeoning.

    Monterey Shale is the focus now. The anti fracking political scientists are out in covens trying to stop this. It will double the worlds supply of oil.

    Heir Burger mister has just given the ignorant villagers his speech and they are out to get big frackers! lol

  3. econ101 on Thu, 25th Apr 2013 6:39 pm 

    America is exceptional but some unexeceptional people are not, that is true.

    My goodness just 6 parts so far on the big peak oil denier pitch?

    I know peak oil is political science, not physicial science, because I look at production figures and reserves. I also know the worlds EUR is burgeoning sending oils eroei skyrocketing.

    Monterey Shale is the focus now. The anti fracking political scientists are out in covens trying to stop this. It will double the worlds supply of oil.

    Heir Burger mister has just given the ignorant villagers his speech and they are out to get big frackers! lol

  4. GregT on Thu, 25th Apr 2013 8:10 pm 

    Econ/SOS,

    You really need to get out more.

  5. BillT on Fri, 26th Apr 2013 2:29 am 

    They are too busy reading the petro porn and dreaming of a black oily heaven…lol.

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