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Monday, November 22, 2004


The fact that Rice University professor Richard Smalley has a nay-saying colleague on campus probably helps hone his arguments in the long-run. From Voice of America, this exchange:
But Amy Jaffe, who studies energy matters at Rice University's Baker Institute here in Houston, dismisses such talk.

"These people are acting irresponsibly, in my opinion, scaring people," she said. "They said a few years ago that Russia would peak, and now we know the amount of resources there is much greater than we previously imagined."

However, one of Ms. Jaffe's colleagues at Rice University, Richard Smalley, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996, says he is worried that the peak oil scenario could be true.

"I find the arguments for an impending peak in worldwide oil production quite convincing," he said. "If it turns out that this is not true, then we will all be incredibly lucky."

Parsing her statement, I suppose responsibly scaring people involves such techniques as announcing color-coded terror warnings. I further gather that this viewpoint should not be surprising, as Ms. Jaffe works at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy -- named after the infamous spin-meister, Saudi apologist, and shadowy scaremonger. The projection of fear as originating from your opponents is standard practice among this cadre of oil-industry tools.

On a more interesting and less shrill note, another voice joining the peak oil and depletion is one Jan Lundberg, who formerly ran Lundberg Survey Incorporated which published the one-time "bible of the oil industry," the Lundberg Letter. He now publishes CultureChange.org, an interesting website dedicated to what one would call low-impact sustainable living. I don't have a clue as to Lundberg's earlier viewpoint, but his having been involved as an observer in the oil industry for that length of time, I, for one, admire someone that would stick their neck out there on a chopping block, presumably alienating any former oil-industry contacts.

Check out this for a recent Lundberg opinion piece and this for a brief synopsis of the rationale for his changed outlook. He's been at the opposite side of the fence for a few years now; frankly I don't know how I didn't notice his name attached to the CultureChange site until now, considering how often I had heard the "Lundberg Letter" mentioned in news reports over the years. I suppose he hasn't been getting any awareness-raising publicity from former "colleagues" like oilmen Bush and Baker :)


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