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It’s a Dogma-Eat-Dogma World

Byron W. King, Whiskey & Gunpowder
…I thought of professor John Haller [and the plate tectonic theory] immediately when I saw the headline in The Wall Street Journal, “Producers Move to Debunk Gloomy ‘Peak Oil’ Forecasts.” The first several sentences sum it up:…

So it appears that Peak Oil theory is beginning to gain some traction. And apparently, the Peak Oil concept is gaining credibility among policymakers in both the U.S. and abroad. This could lead to policy incentives that discourage future reliance upon oil, and further lead to policy incentives that encourage the development and use of alternative forms of energy. And thus some key players in the oil business are becoming more focused in their efforts to “debunk” the Peak Oil concept. Peak Oil is no longer a fringe concept being discussed by a handful of small-time, granola-eating, tree-hugging players at the margins of intellectual respectability. Peak Oil is becoming part of the mainstream in science, economics, politics, and policy. This may just be because the evidence of the rocks is starting to make sense. This is what happens when you follow the facts.

Good News From the Front Lines

I think that this latest news from the front lines of policy debate is actually quite good. Peak Oil has developed a credible scientific basis, and the evidence from the oil fields of the world has begun to withstand the initial rounds of cavalier dismissal, if not pathological denial. And the ominous implications of Peak Oil are of such high risk and severity of outcome that the concept has popped up on the radar screens of the highest-level political and economic decision-makers in the world. When it comes to Peak Oil, you simply cannot afford to bet against it. That is, if you lose the bet, you lose it all. And that is a lot to lose.

Peak Oil has moved out of the farm-club competition and is now in the major leagues. The question is can Peak Oil and its theorists and proponents hit that big-league pitching? Can Peak Oil stand up to “debunking” by the likes of Exxon and Saudi Aramco?

Let me put it another way: Can the likes of Exxon and Saudi Aramco stand up to the hard evidence of Peak Oil?
(19 Sept 2006)
The original article draws a parallel between the growing acceptance of peak oil and the eventual acceptance of plate tectonics (the revolutionary geological theory). -BA

Those quick to deride peak oil theory also don’t know Jack

Barrie McKenna, The Globe and Mail
WASHINGTON — A chronic pitfall for economists is that the daily deluge of data often obscures more meaningful long-term trends.

Even months of data can seductively point to a conclusion that doesn’t stand the test of time.

It’s that old adage of not seeing the forest for the trees.

Consider oil. The flavour of the month is to dump on the peak oil thesis — that world oil production has maxed out and is condemned to fall.

As the price of crude climbed ever higher last year, peak oil was all the rage. The conventional thinking then was that we were condemned to paying high prices because the world isn’t finding adequate new supplies of oil and gas to meet burgeoning demand — in Asia, North America and elsewhere.

In the past few weeks, as the price of oil has plunged more than 20 per cent from July’s record high of more than $78 (U.S.) a barrel, economists have begun to second-guess and even joke about what last year was considered sound analysis.

…it is the horizon that we should all stay focused on. The world’s big oil fields are fewer and far between, and much more costly to locate and exploit. Many of the key producing regions remain geopolitical danger zones — Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia and Venezuela. On the demand side, the rise of China and India as huge consumers is not a passing phenomenon. Likewise, the move to greater energy efficiency and alternative fuels won’t happen overnight, even in the developed world.

So if you look carefully through the undergrowth, the peak is still there. Oil will be an increasingly scarce, and expensive, commodity.
(19 Sept 2006)

The Forest and the Trees — the Oil News Imbalance

Dave Cohen, The Oil Drum
A news imbalance exists in the reporting of supply-side developments affecting peak oil claims. Apparently, there is nothing but good news lately-actually, this is being reported as the absence of bad news. This trend has driven down oil prices since early August. Is the trend real?

…Let’s look briefly at the forest, not the trees. There’s plenty of bad news.

…As you read about all of the shorter term “good news”, remember that the perilous longer term supply-side trend reported here at The Oil Drum remains the same. The current enthusiasm for dismissing peak oil concerns misses much of the big picture.
(19 Sept 2006)

Discovery Channel and Paul Lussier Company Start Production on ‘FINAL HOUR,’
8-Part Series Addresses Critical Issues of Sustainability

Press Release, Yahoo Biz
SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ — Discovery Channel announced today that production has begun on FINAL HOUR, an historic eight-part television series that bridges the gap between science and action surrounding the most critical issues of our time. Set as hybrid of drama and non-fiction storytelling entirely based on scientific fact, FINAL HOUR addresses core issues of climate change, poverty and fears of peak oil. Rather than merely present issues, the series uses some of the world’s greatest minds to present ground-breaking solutions to sustainability and potential means to save the planet. The series premieres in Fall of 2007.

FINAL HOUR has been invited to participate in the 2006 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. The Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
(19 Sept 2006)

ASPO Australia patron re-elected
Appointed (Queensland) Parliamentary Sec. for Main Roads

ASPO-Australia patron, Andrew McNamara, Member for Hervey Bay, has been re-elected in the recent Qld state elections and appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Main Roads to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads (Paul Lucas). He is also chair of the Premier’s Task Force on Oil Vulnerability, which is due to report sometime soon. ..
(13 Sept 2006)
Hopefully this will speed Queenslands Oil Vulnerability Taskforce, the report from which is nearly a year late. –LJ