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The Economist denies peak oil

by Jerome a Paris Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 05:24:08 PM EST

The Economist has clearly chosen its side in the debate about peak oil, and their arguments are as follows:

  • CERA says we're not running out of oil

  • the Saudis say they are not running out of oil

  • we'll "manufacture" oil (from gas, oil sands, and ethanol)

Their conclusion, in another article:

Western oil firms are beginning to address their difficulty in finding oil by manufacturing fuel instead. Man-made fuels, such as ethanol derived from plants, or diesel conjured from coal and gas, hold out the promise of secure and almost unlimited supply.

Gee, it's alright, then.


The CERA numbers

Not everybody agrees... and more importantly, the most recent data shows that the announced production increases for 2005 did not happen:

The Saudi numbers

Yes, the blatant manipulation of reserve numbers by OPEC numbers is reassuring, right...

Manufacturing fuel

On oil sands:

Big oil getting desperate: Making oil with nuclear energy
Will Canadian oil sands save the USA?

On coal-to-liquids:

Governor Schweitzer, I have a few questions for you
Answering Your Questions About Montana's Black Gold by Governor Brian Schweitzer
Dialogue with Gov. Schweitzer - words of thanks and of hope

but the most damning evidence of the Economist's shallowness comes from their own pages:

See the small print: GTL breaks even at 40$/bl if feedstock is lower than 2.50$/mbtu. And what's the feedstock? "G" as in gas, natural gas. and the price of natural gas?

Hasn't been below 6$/mbtu in the past year, and not below 4$/mbtu in the past 4 years... You'd think they'd take that into account in their estimates...

So. This is an intellectually dishonest piece. No arguments, beyond quoting a few partial or hardly disinterested sources of dubious value. No acknowledgement (or only of the very partial and limited kind) of the arguments of their opponents.The question is: why?

Is it a question of not panicking their readership? Is it that they really believe what they write, because it would go against too many of their unsaid assumptions? Is it denial? Is it incompetence?

I don't know, but it pisses me off to read this in the Economist. They are increasingly becoming hacks.

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What do you do if your lifestyle is threatened and you see no way of preserving it?

One could plan for a new lifestyle, or one could live in denial for as long as possible. Politicians and their lackeys always take the latter option.

We really need to discuss what the rest of us will do when certain basics of our current lifestyle become unaffordable. People always say they will drive less, or get a more efficient vehicle, but this neglects the costs of bringing in foreign products. With local manufacturing and farming no longer a major component of our purchases how will we adapt to a 100% increase of produce, for example?

You really need to stop reading FT and the Economist, they can't possibly tell you things you can't already find out elsewhere, and their is no reason to add to your frustration brought on by the widespread misinformation.

Just keep posting your diaries and hope some will become enlightened. We have already seen several conservative Reagan Republicans become critics of current US economic policies. It could happen in Europe as well.


Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 06:12:45 PM EST

You really need to stop reading FT and the Economist

I disagree, because they do bring out the information. They refuse to see it and to analyse properly at times, but they do provide it, and it is up to us to extract it from the more reassuring commetnary they provide.

They have value to me, and they help ME have some value as well...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 06:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just suggesting a way to keep your blood pressure under control. (wink)

Of course, being French, you always have cafes to unwind at...

Speaking of unwinding, I don't know about the rest of the world, but we can now buy (cheap) wine in cardboard boxes. Each box has a plastic bag inside with a spigot attached. This sticks out through the side of the box and makes pouring the wine easy. The benefit is that the bag is designed to collapse as the wine is drunk. This keeps the air out and keeps the remaining wine fresh longer.

After scoffing at the idea for several years, some of the better wineries are now doing something similar. Only their boxes are round and hold three liters. They cost more too.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 07:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These cardboard boxes with collapsing plastic bag have been in use in France for more than 20 years... You can even find good wines packed like that.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:41:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, though it's only been a few years since people have stopped looking at those disdainfully (they used to be associated with "cheap wine", but the collapsing vacuum bit prompted good brands to propose it too, so now it's better perceived).
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 06:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The professionals call it a "bag-in-box". In French, oeuf corse.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 11:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good God what a concept!
by observer393 on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 11:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course The Economist denies peak oil.

Any "Real (Market?) Economist"TM cannot admit of a true limitation to supply. It doesn't enter into economics. There are always subsitutes and the market is just what is needed to develop them.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 06:49:55 PM EST
A "Real Economist"TM will describe a resource shortage only as a temporary failure to go out and find some more of that resource. It's a time lag problem, it's a temporary supply problem, and technology will soon solve it at the impetus of unseen market forces.

Peak Oil is simply our failure to go out to Jupiter and fetch home the Oil Moon, Titan. That lil puppy will power our vehicles and generators for a thousand years.

The technology to fetch home entire moons exists today in the pages of Popular Science, Weird Stories, and Marvel Comics. It's simply a matter of sufficient market capital moving in that direction, followed by a brief period of correctly applied technology, and Voila! -- even China will be able to offer every citizen two cars in their garage, and a chicken and some pot. Or sumpin' laddat.

These highly educated economists, these Fellows of the Ivory Tower, shall henceforth be known as the Oil Moon school of economics, to distinguish them from persons possessing common sense.

Frames exist within larger frames. Draw a larger frame around your opponent's frame; he will appear wrong or insufficient. This is how wizards play.

by Antifa (antifa@bellsouth.net) on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 08:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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