Saturday, April 23, 2005

MetaFilter "peak oil" update

April 22: Earth Day or Peak Oil Day? | MetaFilter

A good update on where we are with respect to Peak Oil. The Simmons link, including this one, is quite good (btw, he incidentally notes what the ANWAR debate is really about -- not the publicly stated expectations, but rather the dream/nightmare that very large reserves will be found, the extraction of which would likely have devastating local consequences).

I've been a "Peak Oil" guy since I did my environment engineering stuides at Caltech in 1980. The question is, of course, not "if", but rather "when", and "how" the transition will be made. Back then we thought the 1990s or so, but it looks like it will be somewhere between 2005 and 2020. I'm cautiously optimistic that rich countries would cope; I fear for the less rich nations. Of course in the post-9/11 world it ought to be obvious that if Peak Oil causes social disruption in poor nations, that the rich will not escape unscathed.

Now if that odd research on fusion-in-a-bottle works out ...

Update 5/4/05: The April 30, 2005 issue of The Economist did a review of the Oil industry, and specifically addressed the Peak Oil question. They are oil optimists They don't actually make a prediction about when Peak Oil will occur; but on is left with the impression that The Economist thinks oil will go out of fashion before a maximal production level is reached. Certainly nothing before 2030! So those looking for anti-Peak Oil ammunition have a readable resource for their arguments.

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