Chomsky on Peak Oil  

Posted by Big Gav

Noam Chomsky has spoken about peak oil in a recent interview. He doesn't think OPEC production will peak for quite a while (but he's basing his views on Exxon's data), and can actually see a bright side to it.

If you're interested - I don't know if we have time to talk about it - there's quite an interesting article about it in the Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, in the current issue ["Oil: Caveat Empty" By Alfred J. Cavallo], which is a very serious journal, and the person who wrote it I know is very good.

He points out that Exxon/Mobil, the biggest energy corporation, and the one that's very quiet and conservative about this, just published its forecasts, and for the first time ever, they bring this up.

What they predict is that within five years - five years - non-Opec oil will have reached the peak. Non-OPEC means U.S., Canada, and so on. Venezuela - Venezuela isn't OPEC, but most of the non-OPEC oil producers will have leveled off. That's five years.

And Exxon does not predict that alternative sources like tar sands, shale and so on will replace it - they think that's way too expensive and uses too much energy in fact.

Their prediction is that it's just going to have to come from OPEC, meaning mainly the Gulf. So the gulf states are going to have to sharply increase oil production even to meet current demand, let alone the future demand, which is rising. And that's not a long way off, they're talking about five years.

So yeah, this is a very serious issue, and my own guess is that if we ever get the secret documents about the planning for the Iraq war, my expectation is that these considerations will have entered significantly.

As to when you get a peak for OPEC, that's farther off - decades, but it's certainly real.

There's another side to this, there's a sense in which it's advantageous if the oil peak is earlier. The reason why is it will compel the world, primarily the U.S. here, to move toward something like sustainable energy.

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