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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Oil Depletion Marginalization

Two premises to consider:
  1. When oil is cheap, people become wealthy
  2. When oil is expensive, people become wealthy
No one can, or really should, challenge the first premise. The current global economy revolves around the concept of cheap oil. And certainly, at least in the short term, some select group will benefit by scarce expensive oil, thereby justifying premise and conclusion #2.

Unfortunately, largely because of the second premise, oil depletion alarmists such as Matt Simmons can leave the wrong impression on many an enquiring, suspicious mind.

As a case in point, arguments put forward from the re Searched blog suggest that we look more closely to ulterior motivations of "peak oilers":
First off, in disputing the peak oil platform, I am not disputing the role oil had in the war in Iraq. Nor am I disputing the need for renewable energy-on the contrary. Global warming is a real threat to our future. The more we focus on the end-time ramblings of diminishing resources, we are turning a blind eye to the damage being done to our planet in the imperialistic race to seize these resources. Frequently, I have seen the peak oil "experts" incorporate population control into their lengthy discussion on diminishing resources, which is a potentially controversial approach to this environmental crisis . Part of the controversy here is that the heads of oil companies are the ones funding the "population at crisis levels" message and this is the message that the left uses to support the peak oil platform. Strange bedfellows, one might say. Even stranger, when you consider that a few of these "experts" also profit off of 9/11 conspiracy theory.
Lots of links embedded here that I have stripped out; read the original posts to get a flavor of the references. Seriously, this line of reasoning can get tangled up in complex conspiracy and counter-conspiracy threads. The conspirators chearleaded by Michael C. Ruppert of FromTheWilderness.com and the counter brow-beating supplied by the Dave McGowan one-man spittle crew.

Not that I agree completely with Ruppert, who has to his credit, alerted quite a few people to oil depletion issues based on his "tin-foil hattie" theories around 9-11. It's just that complex theories often can get deconstructed by simply summoning the obvious ulterior-motivated questions. For example, the standard framed argument of "governments always lie" can be used to refute or support any side of an argument.
  1. Saudi Arabia reports new proven reserves (False, governments lie)

  2. United States has essentially used up all its oil resources (False, governments lie)
So in fact, no matter how objective the proof, hackles of suspicion always accompany every argument that comes down the pike.

The goal of oil depletion analyses, and "Peak" theories in general, has historically been to simply estimate when the effects will take place. Unfortunately, those seeking to marginalize depletion, such as the Abiotic followers to the right and the Big Brother worriers to the left, need extra consideration. So here's some simple advice:
The RightThe Left
ignore at no riskuse facts and reason


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