20 years ago, Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere published an article on “Scientific American” that was to start the second cycle of interest on oil depletion (the first had been started by Hubbert in the 1950s). Their prediction turned out to be too pessimistic, at least in terms of the supply of combustible liquids, still growing today.
In the past five years of writing about energy one of my favorite observations has been that people get into trouble because they “confuse Peak Oil and the Peak Oil Debate.” In other words, they confuse what Peak Oil IS and what Peak Oil MEANS.
The brilliance of the Transition Movement comes largely from its narrative. This should not be surprising for much of human brilliance shines from our stories and tales, providing the glimmers and flashes of hopes in the face of the shadow of death. It is the foreknowledge of our own inevitable end, and the desire that life should nevertheless go on, that creates such strong narrative desire in humankind.
Remember those long holiday road trips where the question endlessly repeated was “are we there yet”? Well, for many in the peak oil community, waiting for it to arrive has evoked a similar feeling, as the predictions of some academics, commentators, and bloggers have failed to materialize punctually.
I’ve noticed, over the past few years, a growing lack of enthusiasm in the formerly raucous festivities that once marked the end of one year and the beginning of another.
Peak oil provides a complete worldview that sheds light on everything that’s happening in the world. Those who don’t understand the bell curve are condemned to follow it.
The story of oil limits is one that crosses many disciplines. It is not an easy one to understand.
One of the wry amusements to be had from writing a blog that routinely contradicts the conventional wisdom of our time is the way that defenders of that same conventional wisdom tend to react. You might think that those who are repeating what most people believe would take advantage of that fact, and present themselves as the voice of the majority, speaking for the collective consensus of our time. In the nearly seven years since I started this blog, though, the number of times that’s happened can be counted neatly on the fingers of one foot.