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Posted by Big Gav

To save Reptile Rants from becoming a random assortment of Peak Oil notes interspersed with other interesting memes, I've moved the energy related stuff here.



I recently tried to explain the idea of peak oil to a friend, so its a good summary to start this blog. One day I'll explain how I came to be interested in the whole subject.

Peak Oil could be considered a fringe idea (or even a conspiracy theory), but it seems to explain the way the world is going pretty accurately, so I'm increasingly becoming a believer (and I've done a vast amount of reading over the last 2 months, having sort of ignored references to it for a year or so before).

Its based on the "Hubberts Peak" theory which accurately predicted the peaking and decline of US oil production (predicted in the mid-50's to occur in 1970, mocked for over a decade, fact since 1971). Peak oil applies this same theory to global oil (and other fossil fuels).

Nevertheless, some people hold its just nonsense (the head of BP for example, in a speech a few days ago), others that its a green conspiracy and others that its just another way of pumping up a stockmarket (oil and oil company shares) bubble. So have a look around and decide for yourself.

Here's an article published today on the subject - if you look you'll see new stuff appearing continuously (I use Google Alerts to track whats happening).

http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=792

This article is also pretty good:

http://www.nypress.com/17/22/news&columns/AaronNaparstek.cfm?page=1&last=6

Or if you enjoy Edgar Allan Poe tales:

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2004/12/a_midwinter_nig_1.html

There are a few sites run by geologists that try to accurately predict the peak (the available data is incredibly murky) - the best one is the ASPO - look at their monthly reports:

http://www.peakoil.net

I've even just started a blog to track stuff so I can try to work out what the truth is:

http://peakenergy.blogspot.com

A good general directory of links is this one:

http://www.drydipstick.com

The range of opinion on the likely effects varies widely - the extreme pessimists (dieoff.org) say we're all going to die and have headed off to the hills and gone feral (in 2003). The optimistic camp say its not a problem and rising energy prices will encourage the market to go out and develop new energy sources. The oil geologists ask what the new energy source is going to be. The greens say we all need to reduce energy consumption and live much more frugally. Dick Cheney says its time to occupy the entire middle east and wipe out those terrorists who hate freedom.

(I made that last one up).

A comparison of the different camps can be found at:

http://www.oilscenarios.info

A good discussion on possible alternatives (its not an optimistic one) is this :

http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~frank/BerkeleyGroks_Goodstein.htm

Anyway - the timing of the peak and how long it takes to travel down the slope seem to be the key issues if you're working out how to react to the idea. No one agrees on either - the peak could be now, or it could be in 2025 depending on who you believe.

As its bound to result in a huge amount of change, there is certainly money to be made from it - however its almost certain that the net result will be negative unless some new energy source is found - most people will come out worse off.

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