PEAK OIL A HOAX
I find it fascinating that people are ready to disagree with the enormous weight of evidence produced by independent scientists all over the world which supports the reality of both peak oil and climate change because of an article or two they find on the internet.
On the Six Stages of Awareness that Chris posted a while back, this type of argument is just another form of denial. I believe that the people who advance these unproven theories (i.e. that CO2 is not responsible for climate change and that peak oil is a myth) are causing serious harm by offering people yet another reason to sit back and do nothing. That’s the last thing we need.
Abiotic oil is a theory that has very little support outside of Russia. Failing to take action on peak oil because of a belief that oil supply is limitless is analogous to smoking three packs a day because you read a few studies on the internet demonstrating that tobacco isn’t carcinogenic.
Likewise, the vast majority of serious scientists (more than 95%) around the world believe climate change is being accelerated by human activity – specifically, by the release of CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere.
If you wish to disagree with this consensus and the overwhelming amount of evidence behind it, please provide enough legitimate, peer-reviewed evidence to support your claim if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise it’s just more internet noise.
First off, I wholeheartedly agree with the above posting by Switters, so I won’t recap any of that.
When someone says that Peak Oil Theory is a hoax I first wonder to myself on what level do they believe that.
For example, are such individuals arguing that spefically we aren’t up against PO now in the next decade or so but that it will be ocurring at some point? This kind of argument would posit that only the timing part is the hoax. They may still believe that oil is a biogenic substance of limited reserve. In fact, this is one of the primary soft-peddling approaches I notice regarding PO. Essentially that real PO is so far down the road that humanity will be saved by innnovation and the fact that we are so reliant on it is more or less a moot point (however true it may be). Clearly, one could argue that humans are utterly dependent on air but that there’s no air shortage, so our dependence on air isn’t necessarily some terrible thing to remedy.
Another rung on the PO-is-a-hoax ladder is that there’s some global government/big business conspiracy that focuses on bad data to trick everyone into thinking that there is a supply issue. I won’t even bother repudiating this whisper in a hurricane.
Yet another version is the abiotic one advanced in the article that Selinko links to above. The problem with this counterarguemnt is that even if it is true it doesn’t solve any of the complementary problems that deepen the fundamental issue of supply. For example, even if oil is abiotic (or if some oil is abiotic) the infrastructure of the oil industry is still in disrepair and in need of hundreds of billions/trillions of dollars of investment. Not to mention the completely new infrastructure of these journey-to-the-center-of-the-Earth rigs that will need to be built/created to reach the abiotic deposits. I love when people say, "It’s there but it’s really deep." Talk about faith.
This point is absolutely critical. So even if there’s abiotic oil in deep reserves that would increase by 100 fold our supplies, there’s still a monumental problem of retrieval. We’d still be facing serious supply issues over the next two decades or so. This would also apply to newly discovered supposedly biogenic supplies.
I consider the abiotic position equal to that of creationism.
Further problems with the abiotic position.
1. Just because oil is abiotic doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s limitless. What if the Earth produces it at a rate slower than our consumption? Supply/demand factors would still be an issue.
2. The abiotic position doesn’t address the global warming aspect of oil use. Is the argument really, "Oh, goodie. Oil is abiotic so let’s burn all the oil we can get our hands on for the next several decades."
Very well stated, mainecooncat. Thanks for elaborating on my rather terse response.
Yet another point I would add to your excellent analysis: even if oil was abiotic, and even if we could design a way to extract it faster than we use it, where will the money and energy come from to build, operate and maintain such machinery? Regardless of what you think about abiotic oil, we are very close to a peak (if not past it) in "conventional" oil production. And since oil is what we’d need to use to build and run the machines to access and process the mythical abiotic oil, this presents a serious problem.
The other rather significant challenge to this plan is the fact that the economy is imploding around us and companies just aren’t in the multi-trillion dollar investing mood right now. There are numerous recovery projects that are much less ambitious than those that would be required to access abiotic oil that have already been stalled due to lack of credit and the low price of oil.
In short, forget about abiotic oil. It’s a worthless dead-end.
I have serious doubts about many of the crises being advanced today since there is money to be made and fear to generate. Some of those are peak oil, global warming, bird flu, aids tied to hiv, and the ever-popular war on terror. The dissenting voices receive little in the way of hearings. I become especially suspicious once mainstream really picks up the baton as they have with global warming. The effect of these crises is fear and if people are living in fear, it is easy or easier to control them.9/11 had many effects, but primarily this event terrorized the citizens and garnered support for the eternal war on terror.
So who profits from the crises?? Peak oil means shortages (I suspect manipulated shortages) good for control of the commodity and very good for overturning environmental restrictions. Global warming and peak oil kind of go together – now when the price is $3 or $4 or $5 or higher, we should just pay – after all it is in short supply and we are contributing to the warming of the planet for goodness sake. Yep, I am a skeptic. If these situations truly exist, there is little being done to alleviate them by govts. Oh yes, a carbon tax – that would really help. It would be a real cash cow for some. Just as our current financial meltdown is a tremendous opportunity for some to obtain very desired assets for pennies on the dollar. I spent several years studying peak oil and was a true believer – but no longer – I think the data is not there to support peak oil. Why? Because as Matt Simmons says, the data on oil reserves on the globe is not verified – (he does support the theory of PO) . We don’t even have sufficient data of the amount of oil in the reserve fields since many countries keep the info from public disclosure. So,is peak oil a reality – Time will tell.Keep in mind, those who don’t support this theory will not receive much play in the media.
As always, the question is: Who Benefits???
If you are interested, here is one video presenting another side on global warming.
Switters, where did you get this information? Also it’s a logical fallacy to say that because a large number of people believe something to be true, it is true. From my experience it usually is the majority that are wrong and the minority that are right about a given issue.
"Likewise, the vast majority of serious scientists (more than 95%) around the world believe climate change is being accelerated by human activity – specifically, by the release of CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere. "
"If you wish to disagree with this consensus and the overwhelming amount of evidence behind it, please provide enough legitimate, peer-reviewed evidence to support your claim if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise it’s just more internet noise."
Here’s a couple days worth of info for you to look through. BTW there is no such thing as a scientific concensus.
"Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…"
– Michael Crichton, A.B. Anthropology, M.D. Harvard
Peak Oil and Man Made Global Warming are two completely different things, oil is a finite resource that if continued to be used will run out some day, hence Peak Oil at some point in time is a fact. I have seen much more evidence that the Sun is responsible for the temperture on the Earth than I have that man is responsible, take away the Sun and the Earth is a block of ice.
First, I did not claim that because the majority believes something, it is therefore true. In fact I maintain a blog dedicated to challenging mainstream myths on nutrition, health and disease so I am quite familiar with "the tyranny of the majority".
I did say that if there is an abundance of solid peer-reviewed evidence supporting a particular theory, this evidence must be discredited or new conflicting evidence must be presented and reviewed in order for another theory to be taken seriously.
For example, it has long believed that eating cholesterol raises cholesterol levels in the blood. As it turns out, that’s not true. But in order to prove that, I first must point out the flaws in the evidence supporting the cholesterol theory, and then present evidence which contradicts it.
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) states:
[quote]The overall effect of human activities since 1750 is very likely (> 90% certainty) to be one of warming, with an estimated increase of energy, or radiative forcing, of 1.6 Watt per square meter over the whole planet. The relative contribution of various factors can be seen in figure 2. The main warming drivers are the various greenhouse gases and it is likely that the warming that they cause has been increasing during the industrial era at a higher rate than at any time over the last 10 000 years.[/quote]
Note that the phrase "very likely" used above reflects a probability of more than 90%. In this context, the term "scientific consensus" represents the position generally agreed upon at a given time by most scientists specialized in a given field. It doesn’t mean that the position is definitive, or that all scientists are unanimous. It means that a group of scientists looked at the same data and arrived at the same conclusion.
The data of the IPCC has been verified and reproduced by countless independent organizations around the world. Perhaps it may turn out that they were all wrong. But as of yet I have not seen enough data to disprove their conclusion. I will look at the link you sent me and see if that changes my mind.
The fact that some companies and groups stand to gain from peak oil and climate change is not evidence that they are conspiracies.
I recognize the difference between peak oil and climate change as theories. Someone earlier in the thread said "peak oil is a hoax, just like the idea that CO2 is responsible for warming." I was addressing both claims.
John Michael Greer, author of The Long Descent, just published an excellent post on his blog called "Arguments from Ignorance". I think it is relevant to this discussion. Here’s an excerpt:
[quote] I had a cogent reminder of this over the past week, when three efforts of mine to spark collective discussion about these issues – my book The Long Descent, a reading and booksigning at a local bookstore here in southern Oregon, and the most recent post here – fielded three responses that used very different arguments to make a common claim. A reader of my book emailed me to tell me he thought I was refusing to give proper weight to the possibility that new technology would save our civilization from the impact of peak oil; a serious young man who attended the reading came up afterwards to ask me what I thought about the possibility that the current crisis would drive humanity to achieve a new stage of spiritual evolution, after which we will easily replace fossil fuels with currently unimaginable resources; a new reader of this blog sent in a comment insisting that peak oil was an illusion manufactured by sinister elites who were suppressing inventions that would allow everyone to have all the energy they wanted.
Mind you, I’d encountered every one of these assertions before. Ever since this blog first started suggesting that the end of the age of cheap abundant energy was the natural and inevitable result of a human ecology hopelessly out of step with the realities of life on a finite planet, I’ve fielded a great many emails and comments insisting, basically, that it just ain’t so – that one way or another, for one reason or another, humanity could have its abundant energy resources and burn them too, and can reasonably expect more of the same forever. The three responses I’ve just cited by no means exhaust the full spectrum of arguments advanced to back this curious claim, but they’re good representative samples of the type.
Now it’s possible to dispute each of these claims on their own terms, and I’ve done that more than once on this blog and elsewhere, but there’s a very real extent to which this is a waste of breath. Each of them is what the old logicians used to call argumentia ad ignorantem, arguments from ignorance. They insist on the presence of a factor that isn’t actually present for examination and can’t be proved or disproved – a technological advance that hasn’t happened yet, an imminent spiritual transformation that has to be taken on blind faith, or a conspiracy so secret and pervasive that it can manipulate everything we think we know about the world – to insist that we don’t actually have to do anything about peak oil.
Such arguments prove nothing, of course; they’re the precise equivalent of using the phrase "then a miracle happens" to get from one step of a cookbook recipe or a mathematical equation to the next. Their only virtue is that they’re impossible to disprove. I’ve come to think that this last detail is why they’re so popular. It’s a very charming social habit, dating back to the 18th century Enlightenment, to profess the belief that people come to decisions about the world by sitting down with the relevant facts, assessing them calmly, and then making a decision on that basis. I think most of us are aware, though, that few decisions are actually made this way; much more often, people start from the conclusion that appeals to their emotions and intuition, and then go looking for logical reasons to support the belief they’ve already chosen. [/quote]
Read the entire post here: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2008/10/arguments-from-ignorance.html
hewittr wrote "The oil is naturally occuring from methane trapped deep below. The only
catch is that it requires deep drilling. making it more expensive."
Sorry, but this is chemical nonsense…. you can turn oil into gas, but you can’t turn gas into oil! Gas IS oil that has been ‘cracked’ because of the greater depth and heat. Gas always occurs deeper than oil. Therefore at great depths it is not possible for oil to be generated. Simple chemistry.
EVEN IF abiotic oil was being created from the bowels of the Earth, it’s plain to see from the production numbers that the Earth cannot keep up with our voracious demand!
To say Peak Oil is a hoax simply flies in the face of the data and the facts. We are consuming the stuff at five times the rate it is being found, and accelerating.
Get over it.
Oh, and one more thing. There are thousands of sites on the web that disagree with CO2 being the cause of global warming.
So what? The web’s full of bullshit too….. you need a bullshit filter!
mc wrote: "If these situations truly exist, there is little being done to alleviate them by govts."
And why is this so? Maybe it’s because there is NOTHING that can be done about it. Now THAT is the truly scary part….
We’ll just all have to adapt, just like we have…. and I sure am not looking back, my life’s improved out of sight!!!