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Monday, February 20, 2012

Could This Be The End Of The Peak Oil Debate? asks Novelist

Could This Be The End Of The Peak Oil Debate? | EconMatters
  "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win." - Gandhi

Could This Be The End Of The Peak Oil Debate?
By Kurt Cobb

Protestations in the mainstream media that we need not worry about a peak in the rate of world oil production anytime soon are suddenly coming fast and furious. 

Nature, a respected scientific journal, has the reactionary forces in full attack mode.

An op-ed in The National, an English-language publication in Abu Dhabi, set the bar very low when it comes to facts and logic.  

Bloomberg Businessweek emitted a piece entitled "Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong" on the same day the Nature piece appeared--almost as if the writer knew it was coming.
 The Bloombergpiece trots out mostly tired, irrelevant arguments and a few that are relevant but factually wrong. Gail Tverberg does a good job of critiquing this very sloppy piece. 
Chris Nelder at Smartplanet takes on the Bloomberg piece as well as a number of poorly argued responses to the Nature article.

But the latest counterattack actually began last fall with Daniel Yergin, the smooth-talking and smooth-writing oil optimist that peak oil activists love to hate.  
Yergin felt compelled to push back in The Wall Street Journal at peak oil ideas in the course of promoting his new book.

"There is no such thing as bad publicity." This corresponds perfectly with Gandhi's phase three of a struggle. The opposition is now forced by obvious circumstances--i.e., no increase in oil supplies despite years of record prices--to explain away something that peak oil theory explains perfectly.

... the former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, agreed to a debate last week with one of the foremost scientific voices in the peak oil camp.

 ... Hofmeister chosing to give his imprimatur to the notion that peak oil needs to be debated speaks volumes.

...investors such as T. Boone Pickens and Richard Rainwater have ideas on peak oil. 

Major banks such as Australia's Macquarie Bank and Germany's Deutsche Bank (PDF) are also embracing the near-term peak thesis. 

And, embarrassing government leaks like this recent one in Australia and this one from the British government last year demonstrate that behind the scenes government planners and politicians are gravely concerned.

... the debate has now been elevated to the national and international stage. And, that means we can look forward to a continuous clash that is increasingly in the public eye.

Now is also the opportune time for a well-financed, coordinated communications strategy that can take advantage of a new media environment more open to the idea of resource constraints.

The opposition has to explain why oil production has been flat since 2005 despite high prices.

...say "Bakken, Brazil, offshore, tar sands, technology" enough times in a row, it will make $100-a-barrel oil go away. 
.......... keep pointing out that the trend remains flat despite all of those things.

The peak oil movement now needs to focus on planting doubt about the official story. And, the best way to do that is continuously to poke holes in the arguments of the optimists, arguments that can be shown to be ridiculous by combining simple logic with the data that is publicly available.
About The Author - Kurt Cobb is the author of Prelude, a peak oil-themed novel, and a columnist for the Paris-based science news site Scitizen. His work has been featured on Energy Bulletin, The Oil Drum, 321energy, Common Dreams, Le Monde Diplomatique, EV World, and many other sites. He maintains a blog called Resource Insights. (EconMatters author archive here.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

Protestations in the mainstream media that we need not worry about a peak in the rate of w

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