Friday, February 16, 2007


Dumping on “Peak Oil”

Lots of people still want to dump on peak oil, for example making the public think that peak oil advocates say we’re “running out of oil.” In reality, peak oil has never been about running out. We’re talking about a production peak followed by decline, which will come about because the remaining oil is harder and harder to get, making it higher priced and less available. Although that probably sounds like a “market problem” to a lot of people, it spells disaster for Petroleum Man’s lifestyle.

An example is this article. It is titled “Running out of oil may not be the issue at all,” making it sound as though peak oil advocates are saying the reservoirs will be sucked dry. The article similarly kicks off with the same canard: “All the talk of when the world will run out of oil could be rendered irrelevant because of geopolitical issues...” Again, this suggests to the reader something that peak oil isn’t saying.

The article’s point that politics can block access to oil is of course correct, and this certainly will play a part in creating oil shortages. That said, it is highly unlikely that enough political barriers can ever be overcome to make a significant difference. The approach of the US government in particular seems geared more to making enemies than friends, which can only aggravate the situation.

People are free not to believe in peak oil, but they are doing the public a disservice by creating misunderstanding of what peak oil is all about.

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