WSJ Gets it Wrong on “Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True”

I’m reblogging this because Gail Tverberg is a systems thinker and most people don’t think in terms of interconnected systems. Systems collapse (human systems that is), for the reasons she outlines in the post. An intelligent young person (are there any?), with many years to live ahead, would do well to study this and similar posts. Business as usual is over and there’s little use in planning a future life as if it was going to continue. It’s impossible to accurately predict the future, but certain things are a given: we’ve built a whole way of life around a finite, non-renewable energy source (fossil fuels) and they are going to run out (or become simply unaffordable), sooner rather than later. Renewables such as wind and solar won’t cut the mustard, because they can’t be scaled up cheaply, abundantly or with no financial or energy costs of transition or resource constraints. And at present, fossil fuels are implicated in all stages of their production, installation and maintenance (think: can you make a wind turbine in a factory powered by wind turbines, install it and maintain it using vehicles and machinery powered by wind?).
Read Gail and check her blog regularly and think about your future and how you might build resilience into your life in the face of economic, social and environmental collapse. Because it’s underway now.

Our Finite World

On Monday, September 29, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a story called “Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True.” The story is written as if there are only two possible outcomes:

  1. The Peak Oil version of what to expect from oil limits is correct, or
  2. Diminishing Returns can and are being put off by technological progress–the view of the WSJ.

It seems to me, though, that a third outcome is not only possible, but is what is actually happening.

3. Diminishing returns from oil limits are already beginning to hit, but the impacts and the expected shape of the down slope are quite different from those forecast by most Peak Oilers.

Area of Confusion

In many people’s way of thinking, the economy is separate from resources and the extraction of those resources. If we believe economists, the economy can grow indefinitely, with or without the use of…

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