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Peak oil debate in Canada newspaper:
Energy policy or disaster

Eric Sprott and Sasha Solunac, Financial Post
In the past month, Peter Foster has written two editorials criticizing “peak oil theorists.” Rather than questioning the geology (although he clearly believes that even geologically peak oil is nothing to worry about), Mr. Foster apparently relies on blind faith in “free markets” and “human ingenuity” to avert an energy crisis.

Furthermore, according to Mr. Foster, any attempt by governments, through energy policy or otherwise, to do anything about the looming crisis is wrong. He likens such actions to those of “old Soviet planners” and attempts to turn the peak-oil problem into a left-versus-right ideological debate. Unfortunately, we believe that laissez faire in this instance is tantamount to a head-in-the-sand approach that accelerates the problem rather than alleviating it.
(2 November 2005)

A tax on imported crude oil?

Roland Wilson, New Era Investor
A recent article in the British Independent newspaper raised one or two points of interest. The proposal was for Dick Cheney to impose an oil import tax at these currently high crude oil prices and use the revenues to invest in tar sands and oil shale development. The other suggested benefit would be the motivation for US drivers to seek more fuel-efficient measures if gasoline had no prospect of falling below $2.

To be more precise and as far as the USA was concerned, crude oil imports would be fixed at $60-$70 a barrel thanks to the top up effect of the goverment fuel duty. The price fix is actually a floor price for crude, it would never drop below it hence encouraging more oil consumption.

This looks a laudable goal, force down consumption and divert money to alternative energy sources. Also, the artificially high price would be a bulwark against that deterrent against R&D – low oil prices.

Would it work though?
(2 November 2005)
Worth reading, along with a recent wider discussion of oil taxes on The Oil Drum.-LJ

Pfeifer: Peak Oil in 2005?

Dale Allen Pfeiffer’s Blog
More evidence is coming in weekly to suggest that world oil production peaked in 2005. Within this past month, two notable petroleum experts have produced statements to that effect. First there was Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, who said this past October. “In my humble opinion, we should now have reached ‘Peak Oil’. So, it is high time to close this critical chapter in the history of international oil industry and bid the mighty ‘Peak’ farewell… At present, global oil output fluctuates around 82 mb/d as some institutions try vainly to push 2005 statistics towards 83 and 84 mb/d (as they always do). But they will be obliged to backtrack as ‘actual’ oil supplies fail to follow their ‘paper’ ones.”(1)

This was followed by Colin Campbell’s announcement at a conference in Rimini, Italy on October 28th that 2005 could be the year when world oil production peaks, to be soon followed by an irreversible decline. According to Dr. Campbell, “the maximum peak of production as far as conventional oil will be reached, after that there will be a long decline. However, for other types of hydrocarbons including gas, the peak will arrive before 2010”.(2) …
(30 October 2005)

Peak oil now in Dutch mainstream press

Marcel aan de Brugh, NRC Handelsblad
Pessimisten voorspellen piek in mondiale olieproductie al binnen vijf jaar

‘Het plafond komt in zicht’

Er komen almaar meer auto’s, vliegtuigen, trucks. Dus is er meer olie nodig. Maar hoe lang kan de productie ervan nog opgevoerd worden? ,,Over drie tot vijf jaar hebben we het plafond bereikt.”
ROTTERDAM, 29 OKT. Kjell Aleklett wil geen doemdenker zijn. Maar alles wijst nou eenmaal in één richting: al over drie tot vijf jaar bereikt de wereldwijde olieproductie haar maximum. Daarna gaat het alleen nog bergafwaarts. ,,We staan voor een ingrijpende verandering, maar zijn er niet op voorbereid”, zegt Aleklett, die directeur is van Aspo, een groeiende internationale organisatie die zich zorgen maakt over de energievoorziening van de wereld.
(29 October 2005)
Mentioned in a peakoil-dot-com forum by waegari, who says, “Today the miracle has come to pass. Dutch leading newspaper NRC Handelsblad has a story on peak oil.”

UPDATE (Nov 4). Paulus Punselie of the Netherlands writes:

Although Peak Oil was covered on the front page of the economic bulletin of NRC Handelsblad, of which I am a subscriber, last Saterday, I am not so happy with the contents of the article for several reasons.

First, it focusses solely on oil as the driving force of transportation. Our dependence on oil for food production, modern medicine, water and sewage, plastics and so on is not mentioned at all.

Second, the article quotes Chevrons’ Executive David O’Reilly, who bluntly states that high oil prices are cutting demand. Maybe by now, but obviously, demand has never been as high although prices have increased (more then) five-fold since 1999.

Third, the article gives sort of an impression that a technofix will come to the rescue if we just had enough time. This is not at all certain, even if we had enough time. Additionally it mentions hybrids, diesel from natural gas(!) and coal, biodiesel and conservation as the solution. Re-arranging the way we live as a possible option is not mentioned. (I fully aggree with Jim Kunstler that this chioce will eventually be forced upon us if we do not choose to)

All admirable and also a positive development the Peak Oil subject is covered, but the article tells only a small part of the story. It is certainly not the big red light we need.

Morning rememberance: Richard E. Smalley

As Big Gav notes, we have lost a keen observer on energy issues, the Nobel-prize winning chemist Richard E. Smalley from Rice University. I had the honor of seeing Smalley speak as a conference key-note several years ago, and he stirred me to think about our energy predicament in a way that I hadn’t since my teenage years in the late 70’s. The fact that he recently had become one of the most articulate scientific spokesman for energy and water issues also boded well for our future. He may not have solved it with his proposals for a nanotechnology-based energy grid, but he sure could smell out the overly ripe ideas, from abiotic oil to tidal power.

…Why did Professor Smalley give lectures in a field outside his area of expertise, with keynote addresses, hearings before congress, and his taking on a bunch of wild-eyed energy optimists, all the while trying to beat the cancer that had slowly eaten away at him the last few years? Why did he try to make us all aware of our dire energy predicament even though he could have rested on his Nobel prize laurels? Why did he urge everyone he ran across to help get young people interested in math and science, even though he remained a royal pain to deal with one-on-one on a technical level?

Because he probably gave a damn, that’s why.
(31 October 2005)