Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Peak Oil's theorists "extraordinary narrow research base"

From EnergyResources mailing list:

I've just spent an evening talking with an economist whose work is on devising economic incentives to do something about greenhouse.

He's been wondering if he shouldn't branch out into the oil rollover issue. He accepts Campbell's point that the official figures for oil reserves are bodgy.

Having spent a week checking the data he told me that, as a professional researcher, he was struck by several anomalies:

1. The entrenched positions of Campbell and Laherrère, and of their adversaries like Adelman.

2. The remarkable number of scholarly citations of Campbell and Laherrère's most conspicuous article in a reputable journal (in Scientific American in 1998). Scanning for citations across a vast database of scholarly publications  in most disciplines(and mostly referee'd), he came up with the miserable number of just 3 citations in 5 years.

Possible explanations:  that no one feels competent to comment; that no one disagrees, that no one agrees, that no one wants to think about the idea, that no one in the field takes the authors seriously; that no one else who is interested in scholarly publication has access to the necessary proprietary information about oil resources.

3. The extraordinary plurality, by contrast, of (non-referee'd) internet sites and non-scholarly publications discussing these issues.

4. The extreme difficulty of getting back to the primary sources about oil resources--i.e. prior to the data's being simplified into impressive graphs and nice round global or regional totals. Though he dislikes Adelman's ideology, he agrees with Adelman's point, in a recent comment on an article by Bentley, that Campbell and Laherrère can't simply claim these figures are derived from confidential research that they have done as consultants. The detailed figures have to be made available to others to see if they might be interpreted differently, or might fit quite different predictions.

5. The "extraordinary narrow research base" on which all this semi-activist activity is based. Numerous scientific authorities (e.g. Bentley and CSIRO's Robinson) that Jack thought had done independent research proved to be merely re-designing the graphs based on the same original data --data that in most cases  goes back to the same two energetic individuals: Campbell and Laherrère. He pointed to several articles with up to ten citations of these two names in their reference list. He also noted that these two seemed to have set up organisations and (he suspected) friendly specialist magazines. He pointed to polemic or tendentious phrases in their articles that he did not think a genuinely independent scientific magazine would have allowed. Though they speak of an intense debate among their peers and of the need for better data, it is hard to find out what their peers actually say. Jack also noted that he believes while Huppert may have predicted the US's oil peak, he may have got others badly wrong.
 
Jack said he could imagine circumstances under which a genuinely rapid "rollover" of oil prices might occur. Most likely, he thought, if one of the major middle-eastern nations abruptly failed to fill its annual designated oil quota--either because the oil was not physically there, or because they had become convinced oil prices were now about to rise so rapidly that it made no sense to sell it off till later. That news might trigger price rises, that would cause other nations to also hold back their oil, that in turn would trigger price rises, that...

Futher Discussion:
groups.yahoo.com/group/energyresources/message/48515

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

Peak Oil Notes - Aug 27

A midweek update. Oil prices fell sharply on Monday in response to another …

Deflationary Collapse Ahead?

Both the stock market and oil prices have been plunging. Is this “just …

My Chicken of an EV

A little over two years ago, my wife and I entered a new phase of life in …

In Clash of Greens, a Case for Large-Scale Solar Projects

Weaning the U.S. economy off fossil fuels will involve the wide deployment …

Why the $20 Oil Predictions are Wrong

As the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) retests the $40 per barrel …

Peak Oil Review - Aug 24

The great oil price slide of 2014-15 is taking on epic proportions.

Fracking Arrives in the UK

Fracking has finally arrived in the UK, eight years on from …