Thursday, October 01, 2009

Peak Oil Summit Held Recently

The foremost peak oil experts in the world assembled in Podunk for intensive discussions on dealing with the collapse of the modern world from Peak Oil. One ingenious solution was to remove the tires from their automobile. Without tires, the car could not go anywhere, and would thus not require fuel. Et, Voila! An automobile instantly immune from Peak Oil!

In a more serious vein, JD at Peak Oil Debunked points out a problem with the "back to the rural land" approach so popular with Peak Oil Believers: rural living is highly dependent on motor vehicles.
Soaring gas prices are a double-whammy for many rural residents: They often pay more than people who live in cities and suburbs because of the expense of hauling fuel to their communities, and they must drive greater distances for life's necessities: work, groceries, medical care and, of course, gas.

...During the last bout of high oil prices, there was some reporting about gas stations closing in rural regions (Fears for rural filling stations, Rural motorists running on empty as pumps close) forcing people to drive long distances for gas. As you would expect, this can turn into a nasty EROEI situation.

...Perhaps the worst threat of all is a vicious cycle of depopulation. High gas prices cause commuting to work/the doctor/school/shopping to be too expensive, so people leave the rural towns/counties and move to larger cities. Govt. revenues decline (people fleeing) while govt. costs rise (gas for the cops, school buses, ambulances, inspectors, garbage collection etc.) Then merchants pull out and gas stations pull out, because there isn't enough population to support them. Govt. services get erratic. More people get fed up and leave etc. etc. Next thing you know, your rural "community" isn't there anymore.
These are details that Peak Oil Believers caught up in the emotion of their circular logic, may overlook. Not particularly susceptible to deep thinking in the first place, Peak Oil Doomers tend to carry their doom with them, inside their own heads. Simply put, they are doomed, even if no one else is.

Of course, persons who are prepared for EMP or other disaster that results in the collapse of the power system and the transportation system, will have devised workarounds for the absence of fuel trucks and local fuel supplies. Many of those workarounds are discussed at Al Fin Energy.

The utter stupidity of the modern Peak Oil Orthodoxy resides in how they define Peak Oil. Rather than looking specifically at recoverable reserves, the overwhelming tendency is to look at production numbers. Only a fool would depend so heavily on production stats without doing an in depth analysis of all of the factors (besides Peak Oil) that impede production. Yet that is exactly the deficient approach Peak Oil Doomers have taken. Given that prominent deficiency in their analysis, it is impossible for them to arrive at valid conclusions or prognostications.

The claim that the Earth will eventually reach a point of negative returns from the extraction of a presumably non-renewable resource such as oil, is something of a truism. An obvious, rather pedestrian conclusion to a very short chain of logic. The devil is in the details. And detail is what Peak Oil Experts, such as those pictured above, tend to neglect (among other things).

Can readers think of any reasons why oil production happens to be considerably lower than it could be at this point in time? Go ahead. Prove you are better than Peak Oil Orthodox Doom Believers. What relatively trivial alteration in the international oil infrastructure, would almost immediately boost crude production well beyond "peak" levels?

Previously posted on Al Fin



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