Shocked and Persuaded

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Separating Fact From Fiction

Peak Oil Fact or Fallacy!

Michael Lynch makes some compelling points in his recent piece on ‘Peak Oil’ in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/opinion/25lynch.html?ref=todayspaper), but he calls on one very important fallacy commonly invoked by the Big Oil:  Rate-Of-Discovery Is Not A Concern!

He states that “easy oil” is gone is “vague and irrelevant”. If you replaced the word oil with coal a majority of geologists would agree with the contention that “easy coal” is indeed gone. If it isn’t than why are we resorting to horrific, both from a health and ecological perspective, techniques such as mountain-top-removal and strip mining of thousand of Appalachian and Northern Plains hectares? The answer is that the industry is desperate and the same curse will strike Exxon, Conoco, etc. Recent advocacy for hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale is a prime indicator of such desperation and presents similar concerns for human health and our fisheries here in the Northeast.

The fuzzy logic Mr. Lynch refers to is actually his estimate that their are 2 trillion barrels of “recoverable” oil. According to who? BP and the EIA estimated 1.26 and 1.32 trillion barrels, respectively. This amounts to anywhere from 30 to 43 years of oil depending on whether we do what we did in 2008 curbing consumption by 1.1 billion barrels or we reach the commonly held projection of 43.1 billion barrels by 2030. I think it is time for another Malaise Speech. Obama….Obama….!

Category: Ecological Economics, Energy

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