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Why the Peak Oil Movement Failed

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As I glance back across the trajectory of this blog over the last ten and a half years, one change stands out. When I began blogging in May of 2006, peak oil—the imminent peaking of global production of conventional petroleum, to unpack that gnomic phrase a little—was the central theme of a large, vocal, and tolerably well organized movement. It had its own visible advocacy organizations, it had national and international conferences, it had a small but noticeable presence in the political sphere, and it showed every sign of making its presence felt in the broader conversation of our time.

Today none of that is true. Of the three major peak oil organizations in the US, ASPO-USA—that’s the US branch of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, for those who don’t happen to be fluent in acronym—is apparently moribund; Post Carbon Institute, while it still plays a helpful role from time to time as a platform for veteran peak oil researcher Richard Heinberg, has otherwise largely abandoned its former peak oil focus in favor of generic liberal environmentalism; and the US branch of the Transition organization, formerly the Transition Town movement, is spinning its wheels in a rut laid down years back. The conferences ASPO-USA once hosted in Washington DC, with congresscritters in attendance, stopped years ago, and an attempt to host a national conference in southern Pennsylvania fizzled after three years and will apparently not be restarted.

Ten years ago, for that matter, opinion blogs and news aggregators with a peak oil theme were all over the internet. Today that’s no longer the case, either. The fate of the two most influential peak oil sites, The Oil Drum and Energy Bulletin, is indicative. The Oil Drum simply folded, leaving its existing pages up as a legacy of a departed era.   Energy Bulletin, for its part, was taken over by Post Carbon Institute and given a new name and theme as Resilience.org. It then followed PCI in its drift toward the already overcrowded environmental mainstream, replacing the detailed assessment of energy futures that was the staple fare of Energy Bulletin with the sort of uncritical enthusiasm for an assortment of vaguely green causes more typical of the pages of Yes! Magazine.

There are still some peak oil sites soldiering away—notably Peak Oil Barrel, under the direction of former Oil Drum regular Ron Patterson. There are also a handful of public figures still trying to keep the concept in circulation, with the aforementioned Richard Heinberg arguably first among them. Aside from those few, though, what was once a significant movement is for all practical purposes dead. The question that deserves asking is simple enough: what happened?

One obvious answer is that the peak oil movement was the victim of its own failed predictions. It’s true, to be sure, that failed predictions were a commonplace of the peak oil scene. It wasn’t just the overenthusiastic promoters of alternative energy technologies, who year after year insisted that the next twelve months would see their pet technology leap out of its current obscurity to make petroleum a fading memory; it wasn’t just their exact equivalents, the overenthusiastic promoters of apocalyptic predictions, who year after year insisted that the next twelve months would see the collapse of the global economy, the outbreak of World War III, the imposition of a genocidal police state, or whatever other sudden cataclysm happened to have seized their fancy.

No, the problem with failed predictions ran straight through the movement, even—or especially—in its more serious manifestations. The standard model of the future accepted through most of the peak oil scene started from a set of inescapable facts and an unexamined assumption, and the combination of those things produced consistently false predictions. The inescapable facts were that the Earth is finite, that it contains a finite supply of petroleum, and that various lines of evidence showed conclusively that global production of conventional petroleum was approaching its peak for hard geological reasons, and could no longer keep increasing thereafter.

The unexamined assumption was that geological realities rather than economic forces would govern how fast the remaining reserves of conventional petroleum would be extracted. On that basis, most people in the peak oil movement assumed that as production peaked and began to decline, the price of petroleum would rise rapidly, placing an increasingly obvious burden on the global economy. The optimists in the movement argued that this, in turn, would force nations around the world to recognize what was going on and make the transition to other energy sources, and to the massive conservation programs that would be needed to deal with the gap between the cheap abundant energy that petroleum used to provide and the more expensive and less abundant energy available from other sources. The pessimists, for their part, argued that it was already too late for such a transition, and that industrial civilization would come apart at the seams.

As it turned out, though, the unexamined assumption was wrong. Geological realities imposed, and continue to impose, upper limits on global petroleum production, but economic forces have determined how much less than those upper limits would actually be produced. What happened, as a result, is that when oil prices spiked in 2007 and 2008, and then again in 2014 and 2015, consumers cut back on their use of petroleum products, while producers hurried to bring marginal petroleum sources such as tar sands and oil shales into production to take advantage of the high prices. Both those steps drove prices back down. Low prices, in turn, encouraged consumers to use more petroleum products, and forced producers to shut down marginal sources that couldn’t turn a profit when oil was less than $80 a barrel; both these steps, in turn, sent prices back up.

That doesn’t mean that peak oil has gone away. As oilmen like to say, depletion never sleeps; each time the world passes through the cycle just described, the global economy takes another body blow, and the marginal petroleum sources cost much more to extract and process than the light sweet crude on which the oil industry used to rely. The result, though, is that instead of a sudden upward zoom in prices that couldn’t be ignored, we’ve gotten wild swings in commodity prices, political and social turmoil, and a global economy stuck in creeping dysfunction that stubbornly refuses to behave the way it did when petroleum was still cheap and abundant. The peak oil movement wasn’t prepared for that future.

Granting all this, failed predictions aren’t enough by themselves to stop a movement in its tracks. Here in the United States, especially, we’ve got an astonishing tolerance for predictive idiocy. The economists who insisted that neoliberal policies would surely bring prosperity, for example, haven’t been laughed into obscurity by the mere fact that they were dead wrong; au contraire, they’re still drawing their paychecks and being taken seriously by politicians and the media. The pundits who insisted at the top of their lungs that Britain wouldn’t vote for Brexit and Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win the US presidency are still being taken seriously, too. Nor, to move closer to the activist fringes, has the climate change movement been badly hurt by the embarrassingly linear models of imminent doom it used to deploy with such abandon; the climate change movement is in deep trouble, granted, but its failure has other causes.

It was the indirect impacts of those failed predictions, rather, that helped run the peak oil movement into the ground. The most important of these, to my mind, was the way that those predictions encouraged people in the movement to put their faith in the notion that sometime very soon, governments and businesses would have to take peak oil seriously. That’s what inspired ASPO-USA, for example, to set up a lobbying office in Washington DC with a paid executive director, when the long-term funding for such a project hadn’t yet been secured. On another plane, that’s what undergirded the entire strategy of the Transition Town movement in its original incarnation: get plans drawn up and officially accepted by as many town governments as possible, so that once the arrival of peak oil becomes impossible to ignore, the plan for what to do about it would already be in place.

Of course the difficulty in both cases was that the glorious day of public recognition never arrived. The movement assumed that events would prove its case in the eyes of the general public and the political system alike, and so made no realistic plans about what to do if that didn’t happen. When it didn’t happen, in turn, the movement was left twisting in the wind.

The conviction that politicians, pundits, and the public would be forced by events to acknowledge the truth about peak oil had other consequences that helped hamstring the movement. Outreach to the vast majority that wasn’t yet on board the peak oil bandwagon, for example, got far too little attention or funding. Early on in the movement, several books meant for general audiences—James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency and Richard Heinberg’s The Party’s Over are arguably the best examples—helped lay the foundations for a more effective outreach program, but the organized followup that might have built on those foundations never really happened. Waiting on events took the place of shaping events, and that’s almost always a guarantee of failure.

One particular form of waiting on events that took a particularly steep toll on the movement was its attempts to get funding from wealthy donors. I’ve been told that Post Carbon Institute got itself funded in this way, while as far as I know, ASPO-USA never did. Win or lose, though, begging for scraps at the tables of the rich is a sucker’s game. In social change as in every other aspect of life, who pays the piper calls the tune, and the rich—who benefit more than anyone else from business as usual—can be counted on to defend their interest by funding only those activities that don’t seriously threaten the continuation of business as usual. Successful movements for social change start by taking effective action with the resources they can muster by themselves, and build their own funding base by attracting people who believe in their mission strongly enough to help pay for it.

There were other reasons why the peak oil movement failed, of course. To its credit, it managed to avoid two of the factors that ran the climate change movement into the ground, as detailed in the essay linked above—it never became a partisan issue, mostly because no political party in the US was willing to touch it with a ten foot pole, and the purity politics that insists that supporters of one cause are only acceptable in its ranks if they also subscribe to a laundry list of other causes never really got a foothold outside of certain limited circles. Piggybacking—the flipside of purity politics, which demands that no movement be allowed to solve one problem without solving every other problem as well—was more of a problem, and so, in a big way, was pandering to the privileged—I long ago lost track of the number of times I heard people in the peak oil scene insist that this or that high-end technology, which was only affordable by the well-to-do, was a meaningful response to the coming of peak oil.

There are doubtless other reasons as well; it’s a feature of all things human that failure is usually overdetermined. At this point, though, I’d like to set that aside for a moment and consider two other points. The first is that the movement didn’t have to fail the way it did. The second is that it could still be revived and gotten back on a more productive track.

To begin with, not everyone in the peak oil scene bought into the unexamined assumption I’ve critiqued above. Well before the movement started running itself into the ground, some of us pointed out that economic factors were going to have a massive impact on the rates of petroleum production and consumption—my first essay on that theme appeared here in April of 2007, and I was far from the first person to notice it. The movement by that time was so invested in its own predictions, with their apparent promise of public recognition and funding, that those concerns didn’t have an impact at the time. Even when the stratospheric oil price spike of 2008 was followed by a bust, though, peak oil organizations by and large don’t seem to have reconsidered their strategies. A mid-course correction at that point, wrenching though it might have been, could have kept the movement alive.

There were also plenty of good examples of effective movements for social change from which useful lessons could have been drawn. One difficulty is that you won’t find such examples in today’s liberal environmental mainstream, which for all practical purposes hasn’t won a battle since Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act. The struggle for the right to same-sex marriage, as I’ve noted before, is quite another matter—a grassroots movement that, despite sparse funding and strenuous opposition, played a long game extremely well and achieved its goal. There are other such examples, on both sides of today’s partisan divide, from which useful lessons can be drawn. Pay attention to how movements for change succeed and how they fail, and it’s not hard to figure out how to play the game effectively. That could have been done at any point in the history of the peak oil movement. It could still be done now.

Like same-sex marriage, after all, peak oil isn’t inherently a partisan issue. Like same-sex marriage, it offers plenty of room for compromise and coalition-building. Like same-sex marriage, it’s a single issue, not a fossilized total worldview like those that play so large and dysfunctional a role in today’s political nonconversations. A peak oil movement that placed itself squarely in the abandoned center of contemporary politics, played both sides against each other, and kept its eyes squarely on the prize—educating politicians and the public about the reality of finite fossil fuel reserves, and pushing for projects that will mitigate the cascading environmental and economic impacts of peak oil—could do a great deal to reshape our collective narrative about energy and, in the process, accomplish quite a bit to make the long road down from peak oil less brutal than it will otherwise be.

I’m sorry to say that the phrase “peak oil,” familiar and convenient as it is, probably has to go. The failures of the movement that coalesced around that phrase were serious and visible enough that some new moniker will be needed for the time being, to avoid being tarred with a well-used brush. The crucial concept of net energy—the energy a given resource provides once you subtract the energy needed to extract, process, and use it—would have to be central to the first rounds of education and publicity; since it’s precisely equivalent to profit, a concept most people grasp quickly enough, that’s not necessarily a hard thing to accomplish, but it has to be done, because it’s when the concept of net energy is solidly understood that such absurdities as commercial fusion power appear in their true light.

It probably has to be said up front that no such project will keep the end of the industrial age from being an ugly mess. That’s already baked into the cake at this point; what were once problems to be solved have become predicaments that we can, at best, only mitigate. Nor could a project of the sort I’ve very roughly sketched out here expect any kind of overnight success. It would have to play a long game in an era when time is running decidedly short. Challenging? You bet—but I think it’s a possibility worth serious consideration.

The Archdruid Report



33 Comments on "Why the Peak Oil Movement Failed"

  1. peakyeast on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 4:27 pm 

    … ? whatever…

  2. banjo on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 4:41 pm 

    I didn’t realise Peak Oil was a “movement” I thought it was about the midpoint of global oil production and inexorable decline. Sure the exact date is fun to debate but that’s another story. Also Heinberg was one of the few who talked about a catabolic ratchet down of economic activity. Since 2008 us debt is 20 trillion and growing…

    Anyhow I’m sure everything will work out with windmills solar electric cars cold fusion etc.

  3. GregT on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 5:54 pm 

    “most people in the peak oil movement assumed that as production peaked and began to decline, the price of petroleum would rise rapidly, placing an increasingly obvious burden on the global economy.”

    Gee, sure glad that didn’t happen.

  4. Jerry McManus on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 6:44 pm 

    Gawd, the so-called “archdruid” has officially become totally bereft of original ideas. One wonders why he keeps writing.

    Anyway, I’m with banjo. As anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of our predicament can tell you, resource depletion is here to stay.

    Fossil fuels in particular, the burning of which are really the only thing keeping several billion people alive, are depleting rapidly.

    Supplies of fossil fuels are growing much more slowly than in the past and will soon tip into exponential decline.

    That dynamic will eventually crush the global economy, trigger yet more resource wars, and foul up our climate beyond all recognition to boot.

    No amount of pontificating and navel gazing by clueless “archdruids” and other peak-oil idiots is going to change that.

  5. dave thompson on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 8:25 pm 

    It will be fantastic to see this energy independence movement the Trump team is going to bring on.

  6. makati1 on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 8:49 pm 

    dave, the next 4-8 years are going to be much more exciting than the last. Not the party kind of excitement, but the horror show kind.

  7. Boat on Fri, 16th Dec 2016 9:46 pm 

    mak,

    You keep pushing doom back years at a time. Up to a potential 8 now. Have your 70 web sites changed your mind or did you come up with this new projection on your own.

  8. makati1 on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 12:08 am 

    Boat, when you fall of a chair, it hurts. When you fall off of a roof, it breaks bones. When the coming fall happens, it will be SPLAT! Like you fell off of the Empire State Building’s spire.

    No one could guess the extreme measures that TPTB would go to to keep BAU. Printing trillions of worthless dollars, negative interest rates, fake stats on employment, bail-in’s, bail-outs, the fake economy numbers, fake income stats, fake GDP numbers, etc.

    How much longer will it last? Obviously not long. Are YOU prepared? Nope! You are just another stupid American in deep denial of reality.

    SPLAT!

  9. mikeb on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 5:45 am 

    A primary reason “peak oil” flopped as a conceptual paradigm is that the promulgators of the message turned out to be insane–including Greer himself. It was a “movement” full of fake experts and Jeremiahs–Kunstler, Simmons, Orlov, et al. big mouths and cranks all.

    Greer’s contribution to this fiasco was this: He went on a national radio program and announced that everyone who currently lives through the aid of medications would soon die.

    The year was 2010, and that’s when I realized what kooks populated the peak oil cult and jumped ship.

  10. Davy on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 7:05 am 

    “A primary reason “peak oil” flopped as a conceptual paradigm is that the promulgators of the message turned out to be insane”. Obviously, you don’t understand peak oil or you would not have used the above statement in the past tense. You do have a point with the earlier message of peakers. I was part of it early on with dramatic actions spurred by sure thought starting in 2005. In 2008 I was prepped for the crisis I had preached about then the new normal was born. Peak oil dynamics played a part in that financial fiasco as an accomplice along with other damaging activity.

    The point about peak oil today is it is alive and well and working together with financial decay and abrupt climate change destroying global growth. Growth is still occurring but not robust healthy growth that must occur. Much of this growth is fake growth or bad debt based growth. Peak oil, as was commonly discussed by peakers back in the early days, carelessly diminished technology and the power of debt to create a fossil fuel bubble. The oil bubble became part of a commodity super cycle supported by unprecedented financial repression and associated malinvestment. We did not see how the two would be mixed by powerful forces of central banks and markets. Moral hazard and corruption was a basis of this as all Ponzi schemes are.

    We are now in the aftermath with slow, dangerous, and debilitating demand destruction as the price we are paying for malinvestment. Deadly deflationary is the symptoms of demand destruction from deflating bubbles that is really one big bubble of globalism. This new normal with markets and oil is really beyond simplification but the keys are the interaction of economic policy with technology. Peakers have always know the world was full of oil that was never denied. We know that conventional oil did peak and most peakers failed to understand that occurrence would drive unconventionals with technology. Yet, financial repression was the ingredient techno optimist disregard as the key driver of the technology that flooded the market with oil. The bubbly markets allowed huge flows of capital and what we now see is a trap of grossly overpriced asset markets in dangerous equilibrium. The other issue is natural gas and associated liquids and its rise as a component in liquid fuels due to this commodity bubble.

    The key thing to understand about peak oil is it can’t be properly understood except in relationship with the dynamics of the economic phenomenon of globalism and financial repression. We have proven we can invest poorly. We have proven we can manipulate these investments if they do not produce a proper return. We have forced interest rates to zero and market activity is driving some negative. Someone is paying for this. We have the moral hazard of wealth transfer and destroyed wealth classes. Uneconomic oil has been produced and a global economy created that can use uneconomic oil. With rates so low many oil projects could cash flow but now are in dangerous dance with bankruptcy. This is more than rates it also involves extending and pretending financial policy.

    We now have an oil sector not being invested in properly because of a bubble induced glut and macro deflationary effects. Few understand just how dangerous this is in combination with a global economy that must grow. Alternatives and EV’s will never plug this gap. They may help but not solve this oil supply and global growth issue. Sure oil consumption growth is growing but very slowly and not at a level that oil price would suggest it should. Real global economic activity has dropped considerably and now is supported by market manipulation by central banks. Oil producing nations are in a bad way now with oil stuck at a price level they cannot afford socially.

    What peakers missed was the phenomenon of demand destruction. Demand destruction is powerful and it is not all peak oil dynamics but POD is playing a big disguised part. Renewables and EV’s have the potential to play a bigger part in mitigating the dramatic stalling of the oil complex but not enough nor quick enough. We are heading for a dangerous break where oil supply at the proper price is not there and that may break the back of the global economy. We may just have the global economy die of a thousand cuts of which peak oil dynamics was one of the most important.

    Today much of this demand destruction talk claims alternatives and technological efficiency are responsible but that is a gross exaggeration. The real culprit is old fashion economic decline. This economic decline is not going away and is showing every indication of being near an accelerated fall. Oil will follow. Production and price are trapped in a global decline. Price may gyrate but it will never be healthy again because the underlying economy will never be healthy again. Peak oil is real and it is being manifested as a global peak economy which oil is intimately part of. Oil production is trapped in our global trap and this will not end well.

  11. onlooker on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 7:52 am 

    One of the best summaries Davy I have read of last few years on the economic energy front. Especially this paragraph “The oil bubble became part of a commodity super cycle supported by unprecedented financial repression and associated malinvestment. We did not see how the two would be mixed by powerful forces of central banks and markets. Moral hazard and corruption was a basis of this as all Ponzi schemes are. ” Yes, after 2008, a concerted effort was made to funnel money to the large institutions namely banks and the oil industry. It is easy to understand how the illusion of normalcy can be maintained when the US govt, major corporations, the Western stock markets and the MSM media are all conspiring together. For a major gird of BAU is a belief in the viability of the system. So the repression Davy speaks of is subtle and deceitful. Buying of ones own bonds by the Oil Industry and the Government (s) is an example of that. So also the observation of the peak oil dynamic is very sage. We do have now a downward momentum of oil production and oil price which in turn pushes the Economy down more and that in turn pushes the Oil Industry down and so on. Basically, we have a System that is trying to prop itself up with phony or bad investment especially in an Oil Industry that is fast losing its capacity to function well for the Economy and other bad investments intended to bolster economic activity but not having any way to maintain or sustain its impulse given the over saturation of Debt which is another factor relentlessly propelling the Economy down and the anemic condition of western first world consumers. The Whole Economic System is fast losing integrity because its bedrock features are in their last stages of utility.

  12. rockman on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 8:36 am 

    Davy – “Peak oil dynamics…”. Yes…the POD. It’s easy to be critical of the early warnings of PO being overplaying. Such as greatly overemphasizing dates and predicting prices/production rates many years into the future. Such errors did not invalidate PO but gave deniers ammo to distract/confuse the discussion. But to be fair very few had experienced the complexity of the POD. The Rockman lived and breathed the oil patch for decades and understood the potential of PO 40 years ago. But was just as incapable of predicting the complex relationship between geology, economy (including debt, monetary easing, etc), politics (including religious friction), third world expansion, etc. IOW the POD. Which you just gave a very good summery IMHO.

    But even with the POD template we’ve now come to understand much better making such predictions really aren’t much easier IMHO. In fact perhaps we’ve learned that trying to quantify the future is detrimental to dealing with PO.

    A simple and current example: the KSA et al are “planning” to make a very modest production cut. And look at the wide ranging predictions of the future: higher/no change in prices, more shale development/continuing decline of shale production, more/less ME social and political stability, etc. And with the uncertainty of such a very near term and rather simple situation we still see folks predicting the energy dynamic many decades in the future.

    And then cluttering the conversation with arguments about the validity of those predictions. Not unlike the efforts of many in the early days who began warning of a PO future. Same old line: smart folks know stuff. Really smart folks understand what they don’t know.

  13. yoananda on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 9:23 am 

    we still ran out of cheap oil

  14. Jef on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 9:25 am 

    The only failure has been to acknowledge that peak oil happened.

    All anyone can talk about now is economics as if things had been different we would still be on an ever upwards path of exponential growth.

    The world is acting as if one of these days some brilliant economist will figure something out and we can get back to it.

  15. Boat on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 9:28 am 

    If peace were to break out in Lybia and Nigeria another 1.5 Mbpd could come to market rather quickly. If OPEC is successful with dropping production 1.2 Mbpd prices should rise to the point 1500 DUCTS would be fracked along with an aggressive return of drilling rigs to the US.
    Unless war/geopolitical events further cut oil production all I see is years of to much production. As the US raises their production will 0PEC/Russia have the will to cut production even further? That dynamic seems more likely as the conversation rather than a lack of oil caused by depletion.

  16. Cloggie on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 10:04 am 

    The only failure has been to acknowledge that peak oil happened.

    Not really, peak conventional oil was just not as significant as the prophets did imagine it would be.

    OK, conventional oil peaked? Yawn. There is so much more to (fossil) life than conventional oil.

  17. Davy on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 10:13 am 

    Yea, clog, I know the feeling of an urge to yawn when you sing about your techno optimism.

  18. onlooker on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 11:17 am 

    Yep Clog, your ignoring all the signs that right here we have pointed out. I suppose peak everything and climate change also make you yawn. But what is coming is not a yawning matter

  19. Apneaman on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 12:16 pm 

    onlooker, clogO is the great hand waver, denier, contrarian and outright deceiver depending on who he is responding to. He constantly contradicts his own ever shifting positions and sometimes it’s 2-3 times in the same thread. He follows behind Trump like a puppy. Trump makes a denier comment in the media and 5 minutes later ClogO goggles and throws up a bunch of denier links that he either did not read or does not understand. Shameless. No matter how many times others expose his ignorance on any subject he continues to throw the same debunked pseudoscience up al la Joseph Goebbels repeating lies until accepted as true strategy. 72 years old, but has the debating and rhetorical skills of a remedial jr high school student. Also sufferers from a severe case of the Kruger Dunning effect.

  20. Cloggie on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 12:30 pm 

    But what is coming is not a yawning matter

    Well onlooker, since you are in the know, with me being ignorant, perhaps you could enlighten me with what “is coming” regarding peak everything and climate change.

    My personal expectation for perhaps my last 25-30 years:

    – peak oil: nothing happens other than yoyo-ing energy prices and more solar and wind and geothermal (in Holland)
    – climate change: 1 degree extra, no flooding

    OK, but since I am ignorant, as per you, I would love to have a personal prognosis from my better.

  21. onlooker on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 1:24 pm 

    Yes Ape, I have noticed that.

  22. Apneaman on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 3:23 pm 

    Old douch – “climate change: 1 degree extra, no flooding” What a total fucking retard,

    5%-7% more moisture in the atmosphere from that 1 degree. Ask Boat and rockman about flooding. They live in the cancer capital of america, Houston and got two record breaking rain bombs this year. Many billions in damage and some lives lost.

    Of course poor Louisiana’s record breaking rain bomb was something else especially since in spite of all that tech and trained up professionals there was no warning because the meteorologists did not see it coming. The new abnormal is much more unpredictable than before the humans radically changed the atmospheric chemistry of the planet. Emitting 40,000,000,000 tons of invisible green house gasses every fucking year will do that.

    What we can say about the Louisiana floods and climate change

    “In this case, it’s the stunning, multiday flooding in southern Louisiana that hit after a low pressure system combined with record amounts of atmospheric water vapor, dumping more than two feet of rainfall over three days in some places. At least 11 people were killed, and thousands have had to leave their homes.

    [How over 2 feet of rain caused historic flooding in Louisiana in less than 72 hours]”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/15/what-we-can-say-about-the-louisiana-floods-and-climate-change/

    How Climate Change Helped Cause Massive Floods in Louisiana

    South Louisiana received nearly 30 inches of rain between August 10 and 17

    http://time.com/4482109/climate-change-louisiana-flooding/

    Clogturd sounds just like Stephen Colbert

    “Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.”

    https://twitter.com/stephenathome/status/534929076726009856?lang=en&lang=en

  23. Dredd on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 4:22 pm 

    So, the Earth has been made infinite by Druids?

    They were quite the sorcerers.

    “These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power… and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.” – Diodorus Siculus

    Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor referred to the druids as philosophers and called their doctrine of the immortality of the soul and reincarnation or metempsychosis “Pythagorean”:

    Neodruids believe in the immortality of oil and the reincarnation of drill holes.

    Archorseshit still stinks to this very day (A Closer Look At MOMCOM’s DNA – 4).

  24. Nony on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 8:48 pm 

    Web traffic on peaker sites is down. TOD is dead. Never see “new peakers” joining your sites. It’s dying. BAU is rocking on. Peakers can’t even keep ASPO going. Ha. Ha. Ha. Peak Oil, a flub story.

  25. GregT on Sat, 17th Dec 2016 10:30 pm 

    “Web traffic on peaker sites is down. TOD is dead.”

    Web traffic on;

    Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu, Yahoo!, Amazon, Wikipedia, and Twitter are all up. Sheer ignorance and stupidity are not only both alive and well, they’re flourishing!

  26. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 6:00 am 

    Old douch – “climate change: 1 degree extra, no flooding” What a total fucking retard,

    Friday, charming as always. You knucklehead know very well that I meant with “no flooding” that no coastal area will be lost to the waves.

    Meanwhile, back to the facts, Friday prefers to avoid like the plague:

    http://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Screenshot-2016-03-21-at-09.18.43-PM.png

    Sea levels are falling again over the last 6 years. Oh the mysteries of climate change.lol

    Friday once described himself as “the global enlightener of the internet masses”, obviously supported by fellow doomerite makati.

    Friday as the wannabee Climate Lenin.

    There is a psychological angle to this climate hysteria: general boredom with life, the juvenile need for Tall Tales and the deep desire to distinguish oneself from the “stupid masses” and market yourself as the “misunderstood genius” who sees it all coming.

    TOD is dead because that site harbored the real professional fossil fuel bean counters. They counted, concluded and closed shop. Fossil fuel depletion: not going to happen any time soon.

    The worst thing that could happen to the brave frequenters at this last hold-out of peak-oil and climate doom: nothing substantial will materialize.

    – no fossil fuel depletion
    – no significant climate change
    – no WW3
    – gradual and orderly energy transition on environmental, autonomy and cost grounds

    Are We To Be Spared Nothing?

    LOL

  27. oracle on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 9:08 am 

    “no coastal area will be lost to the waves”

    Well, Cloggie, I guess you haven’t been to NJ where they trucked in sand *twice* to recreate their BAU beaches after some somewhat outlier weather events in recent years.

    And your chart is one of those lying things people do with convenient charts — generalize. So this is also the world ocean level decline? Please present also a chart of average world sea level, and maybe better yet, charts for sea levels in, say, a number of coastal cities around the world.

  28. oracle on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 10:04 am 

    This author is an idiot.

    Peak anything is the pattern you get when you start using some finite resource that becomes harder to find and extract over time. There are ample *data* of this in the petroleum industry itself — the US conventional oil in the early 1970’s — conventional oil production worldwide.

    http://www.euanmearns.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/totalliquidsdec141.png

    People like this author look at this chart and marvel at how it looks like petroleum supply goes up and up! The blue part is at a plateau. The yellow, black, red and green parts are destined for their own peak. The purple part (technology improvements) might arguably continue to stretch topped-out production rates, but can it realistically keep up with population growth and growing use of energy?

  29. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 10:14 am 

    Every Dutchman can confirm that sandbanks, beaches and dunes are on the move all the time, regardless of rising sea levels or not.

    Here examples of German bunkers, intended to keep the Anglo imperialists out (to no avail and with the hindsight of 2016, sadly), disappearing in the waves:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNfa7JOJyVU

    Nothing to do with sea level change.

    And again, when I am talking about “coastal areas” I didn’t mean beaches but cities like Miami.

    Regarding generalizing… I would say that the Seven Sees are communicating vessels, so if you observe a change in sea level at one place, you got ‘m all.

    Now I know that the situation is a little more complicated as the planet is not a hard diamond, but fluctuates under the influence of gravitation from the sun and moon and temperature, etc. But the differences are so insignificant that I can’t be bothered to upset myself. I’m sorry.

  30. rockman on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 10:21 am 

    Jef – “The only failure has been to acknowledge that peak oil happened.” Maybe yes…maybe no. Not trying to pick on you specifically but back to my main point. Global peak oil may have just happened. Or might not happen for many years in the future. Doesn’t matter because that specific date has little relevance on our lives. High energy prices a few years ago, lower prices today and much lower prices 15 years ago are all a result of the POD…the dynamics of the global energy system.

    Step back and look at the PO we know for a fact that did happen: US PO in the 70’s. What was the US POD like shortly afterwards: political strife with ME oil exporting countries (think about: you recall US citizens paying much attention to anything in that part of the world before 1970?), long gas lines, major swing towards better mpg vehicles, 4,500+ US rigs drilling, US govt beginning the investment of many tens of $BILLIONS in the SPR, etc. And then in the early 80’s: low oil prices devastate the US energy industry but also gives a boost to our economy, little US interest in ME politics, etc. And all because of the same situation: the US POD.

    And for more then 10 years folks have been wasting space here arguing about whether we’ve reached GPO or not. Obviously with production recently reaching an all time high we had not reached GPO years ago. And that doesn’t mean a f*cking thing. The US has spent $trillions and thousands of our lives “exporting democracy” to Iraq…twice. US consumers dealing with record high energy costs and high unemployment, etc. And not because of a GPO that hasn’t happened. But the global POD became very well entrenched.

    And today? Much lower energy costs (but not as low as 15 years ago), massive energy industry layoffs, more $millions and a few American lives fighting ISIS that invaded an oil producing region, growing internal political pressure on oil exporting countries as budget shortfalls kick in, etc. And obvious not a result of being at GPO…or not being at GPO.

    The world has been dealing with the global POD for many years. And will continue dealing with it indefinitely whether we’re at GPO today or if we don’t reach it for many years into the future. Which brings me back full cirle to the original point: the date of PO (global, US or any other country) is so insignificant compared to the impact of the POD on our lives that it isn’t worth mentioning IMHO.

  31. rockman on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 10:28 am 

    “Every Dutchman can confirm that sandbanks, beaches and dunes are on the move all the time”. Actually the RELATIVE sea level around the North Sea is falling as a result of glacial rebound of the basin. And the RELATIVE sea level along the Louisiana coast has been rapid rising for decades due subsidence into the GOM geosyncline.

    Neither of which supports or contradicts a GLOBAL sea level rise increasing due to AGW.

  32. Apneaman on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 10:30 am 

    ClogO, you sure go to a great deal of effort for someone who “can’t be bothered”.

  33. yoananda on Sun, 18th Dec 2016 11:00 am 

    “Obviously with production recently reaching an all time high we had not reached GPO years ago.”

    if production is counted in “barrel”, yes, but not all barrels are born equals.
    It could be that in terms of BTU we have already reached GPO after all …

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