George Will misunderstands the abundance of fossil fuels

Last Sunday George Will wrote about the abundance of fossil fuels in his column for the Washington Post. He began by surmising that Titusville, PA might have a claim to being most responsible for the modern world through the contribution of oil to world wealth. He then went on to list some of the many folk that have predicted (falsely) the arrival of a peak in oil production and the amount of reserves that are available.

In 1977 . . . Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind "could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade." Since then the world has consumed three times more oil than was then in the world's proven reserves.

He does not see that America, or the world for that matter, can wean themselves from a dependence on hydrocarbons, and quotes Keith Rattie, the chief executive of Questar, from a commencement speech as well as Edward Morse, from a story in Foreign Affairs in which Morse states that there is plenty of natural gas available – perhaps a hundred years at the present rate of consumption, and that the deep water fields just beginning to be exploited are significantly larger than thought. And he includes Daniel Yergin as stating that" the resource base of the planet is sufficient to keep up with demand for decades to come.”

From all this he concludes that it is only the environmentalists that are going to ensure scarcity for the planet. So where does one begin to disassemble what would appear, at first sight, to be a rational argument based on the utterances of three prominent individuals?

To pick the last first, it has unfortunately not been that long since I last wrote about Dr Yergin and CERA. Earlier this month I noted, after giving a number of occasions in the past that CERA had been wrong, that some of the assumptions that they were currently using to project future oil production were likely to be wrong also.

The most obvious immediate reason is the collapse of the oil industry in Mexico. Having fallen from the projected 4 mbd to potentially only 2.7 mbd next year, global supply is going to have to find another source for that 1.3 mbd. Bear in mind that Mexican production has been falling as fast as 100,000 bd per month at Cantarell and the magnitude of this problem becomes apparent. The current hope of seeing 10 mbd from Iraq by 2020 is, I would suggest, also perhaps more than a little optimistic.

So let’s tick Dr Yergin from the list, and move on to Edward Morse and the prediction of natural gas production from fields such as the Marcellus and from the deep waters of the world. This case is a little more tricky to argue, but only in the sense that there are considerable resources in both these regions of the world and that they will continue to produce significant quantities of fuel for some considerable time. The questions that are being raised are, however, more along the lines of how much and for how long will they produce and at what cost?

Evidence to date (that I am trying to explain in the tech talks, but haven’t got to the downside talks yet) is that by using new technologies these fields can be produced with very high initial yields from slickwater, multi-frac’ed horizontal wells, but that these wells have a much shorter life and faster decline rate than was predicted when the production from these fields were estimated. The deepwater fields require dramatically higher investment costs and while the technology and equipment is available, to some limited degree, there aren’t that many rigs that can be mobilized to drill in these conditions. Further continued production from some of the weaker rocks that the oil lies in, at these depths, is going to continue to be a technical challenge, driving costs higher and higher and further limiting levels of production available. Yes there will be oil, but it will be more expensive and there won’t be nearly as much as one might think at any one given time (the production rate) to even maintain current levels of production very much longer.

Which brings me to look at Mr Rattie’s speech, which is one that I have considerable agreement with. Except for the assumption that we can continue to grow our way into the future in terms of increasing supplies to meet an increase in global demand for energy that will increase by 30 – 50% over the next two decades. He lists some of the anticipated growth:

The Salt Lake Tribune recently celebrated the startup of a 14 MW geothermal plant near Beaver, Utah. That‟s wonderful! But the Tribune failed to put 14 MW into perspective. Utah has over 7,000 MW of installed generating capacity, primarily coal. America has about 1,000,000 MW of installed capacity. Because U.S. demand for electricity has been growing at 1-2 % per year, on average we’ve been adding 10-20,000 MW of new capacity every year to keep pace with growth. Around the world coal demand is booming – 200,000 MW of new coal capacity is under construction, over 30,000 MW in China alone. In fact, there are 30 coal plants under construction in the U.S. today that when complete will burn about 70 million tons of coal per year.

Mr Rattie also points out something that is sometimes missed in the debate about coal and natural gas fired power plants:

America has about one million MW of installed electric generation capacity. Forty percent of that capacity runs on natural gas – about 400,000 MW, compared to just 312,000 MW of coal capacity.

But unlike those coal plants, which run at an average load factor of about 75%, America’s existing natural gas-fired power plants operate with an average load factor of less than 25%. Turns out that the market has found a way to cut CO2 emissions without driving the price of electricity through the roof – natural gas’s share of the electricity market is growing, and it will continue to grow – with or without cap and trade.

That is surely true in the short term, but the questions about natural gas production, and the fact that if natural gas were, for example, to be used at double the current rate (i.e. to produce 50% of the nation’s electricity) then even if the current prediction of 100 years of gas at current levels of consumption were true, then at double the rate, the lifetime of the reserve would be cut to 50 years. Given the questions on production referred to above, it may, be quite likely that estimates are at about twice reality, and thus there might be 50 years of supply, but this is likely to be consumed at somewhat higher rates than current, so that the effective lifetime is going to be closer to 25 – 30 years, I would suspect. (And don't forget that Questar is one of the largest natural gas producers, who may be vulnerable in the fight to retain market share as the increased availability of natural gas from conventional sources struggles against supplies from the gas shales and from LNG supplies - in the short term).

Oh I anticipate that there will be adjustments in the fuel mix in the future, the decline in oil’s share of the market will have to be replaced with some alternate fuel, and natural gas will have to carry some of this burden. I tend to see that there will be problems in getting an adequate amount of energy supplied from renewable sources, as the scale of their use grows, and the realistic availability of good sites for development of new farms reduces. (It is all too easy to just say we need the equivalent of say half of Utah, without recognizing just what percentage of Utah is actually available – just to pick some numbers for the sake of discussion).

Put this all together, and in an ideal world, when gold, oil and natural gas production could continue to increase in availability every year, then George Will’s suggestions might well come to pass. Unfortunately when there is a realistic limit to the actual volumes available, as we are now seeing with gold, so shall we soon see with oil, and before then I would suggest that Mr Will seek additional advice from elsewhere – perhaps here?

Uhh, just what do you propose George Will doese understand? Seems he's wrong about everything he writes. Perhaps it is better to ignore him.

What exactly does George Will understand?

I think he understands quite a bit about baseball, and he is considered somewhat of an expert. One thing I don't understand is that as a kid, I devoured baseball statistics and learned quite a bit about how to interpret numbers and what probabilities mean. What is a batting average or an ERA but a probability estimate? Baseball is nothing without its vast vault of statistical information.

Over time I have outgrown baseball, yet I have retained some of that common sense feel for numbers that I learned studying baseball stats when I was 10 years old.

I suppose that what separates baseball from reality is that in baseball, "there is always next year". In reality world, next year will always mean "less". George Will, like most of his fellow conservatives, pines for a world that will never occur again. Will has actually learned nothing from baseball and continues to this day with a child-like view of life.

He is confusing a statistical model with a physical model.

The batting average of ARod may be used to predict a statistical possibility of hitting home run when next at bat, but the physical reality of swinging a 1 kilo bat hitting a 90 mph fast ball assures an undeniable physical connection - if well aimed.

George Will mistakenly thinks the statistics of past performance magically trumps physical reality of peak oil.

A batter could step to the plate with a batting average of 1000, but if they are hoisting a toothpick instead of a bat, then a hit is impossible.

George Will is seriously confused.

This is classic. Steve Andrews, commenting on the Will article and other such articles,...Moving Beyond Denial - Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Instead, they tell the reader a fairy tale, as they would any restless child: “A long, long time ago, someone said the world would run out of oil and they were wrong. The wolf didn’t come then, and won’t come now. The wolf fell into the tar sands. Three-D seismic killed the wolf. Tupi killed the wolf. Jump back, Jack2.”

Ron P.

I'm getting really tired of self-important, unqualified people named George.

A great giggle to start turkey day off with. Thanks Ron

George Will misunderstands... (insert any topic that deals with science, and depends on understanding math and physics).

Nothing to see here, move along!

I suppose I am starting to psycho-analyze the mind of a dyed-in-the wool conservative but this is what Will wrote in his baseball book "Bunts":

Two moral imperatives are: Be as intelligent as you can be at whatever you are doing, and savor the sweetness of life. James does both by marinating himself in the mathematics of baseball. Baseball statistics gave many of us our first sense of mastery, our first (and for some of us our last) sense of what it feels like to really understand something, and to know more about something than our parents do. Baseball people are Pythagoreans, but there are limits in life to what can be quantified. I began to suspect that I was heading for the wrong profession when, as a graduate student at Princeton, preparing to become a professor of political science, I opened a scholarly article on "The Judicial Philosophy of Justice Robert Jackson" and found a mass of equations and graphs. Part of baseball's charm is the illusion it offers that life can be completely reduced to numbers.

(He then goes into a rail against the DH rule)

That basically explains everything. He does not believe that numbers alone can explain anything, except to determine worth as a baseball player. He has actually regressed since childhood. To him baseball is the only pure form of mathematics, and everything beyond that is apparently impractical.

I know I have drawn some unwarranted conclusions, but so has Will.

As a dyed in the wool conservative/American right winger (I was born that way, nature rules at least in my case) I think I can comment on Will's mindset. It is that of a reactionary who looks back a bit more than he can look forward and deduces from that to such spurious conclusions as he has reached on PO. Contrast that with Matt Savinar a pure PO doomster who at every little break of continuity declares an emergency, and its time to head to the hills after you buy some dried food from him. I of course as a compromiser offer a solution, we send Will to Texas to reinvigorate oil production back to its peak, and show WT how a "conservative" does it, and we send Savinar with his dried food off to the mountains to never be heard from again. Yes these reactionairies are embarrassing when they speak of PO, but the response to them has been less than stellar, that much must be admitted.

In any culture or society it is always far easier to take the cowardly George Will approach to life. It is encouraged literally from day one by all authority figures and George Will is the personification of the cowardly conformist personality type. The saying in Japan is "if we all cross together on the red light we will be okay". OTOH Savinar is a rebel and appears to possess a fair amount of personal courage, which IMO is admirable. The irony is that cowards like George Will are supposed to represent the antithesis of what America is about, yet he is quite successful as a media personality.

And who is more likely to get a lot of people killed, George Will or Savinar? Suppose Chicken Little was right?

I chose Savinar because his shtick at times is pure bunkum paranoia, other than the fact that people here know him I could care less about his little deal and would never mention him. (btw he is no rebel he is another college grad pumped full of prof. malarkey and with a load of debt who is slightly off and away from the cubicle mainstream) As for Will his sidekick respectable conservatism is a shtick that has served him well, now if he would only retire and let his Johhny Carson go about doing his low rated show in peace.

You have a point. I don't read Savinar and Kunstler, never have blogged about that type of apocalypse, and try to stay pragmatic and just look at the numbers. I figure I can make a difference by staying a bit detached and let the models and interpretation alone affect policy decisions.

Besides baseball, I was also a fishing fanatic when I was growing up, and one article in a fishing magazine that I read back then changed the way I thought about our energy policy thereafter:

Read that article and you will see a real "conservative" thinking about the future, not some phony reactionary. Nurture rules in my case, nature rules in yours.


You found it! I remember reading this article from the fishing magazine so many years ago! I lost track of it in one of my many Microsoft crashes (I had a library of great old links and documents once, but Microsoft crashes have wiped many of them out)

It is such a FASCINATING article, one of those great paradoxical articles that was both right and wrong all at once. To be wrong in timing by any sizable margin makes you essentially wrong in fact when it comes to oil and natural gas (ask some of the bankrupt hedge funds who have bet their existance on price in these industries, if you can find any of their directors working in a Walmart or McDonalds somewhere)

What is amazing is how tiny the quoted numbers are for production and is a fascinating one, referring as I understand to projected scenarios for U.S. oil production...

"See Fig. 4. Here the Hubbert Curves are drawn for 150, 200, and 590 billion barrels of oil as estimates of the ultimate total production. You will notice that this whopping big increase only shoves the dreaded date of peak production and decline another 25 years into the future, predicted to take place in about 1995."

It has been pointed out in many refutations that the actual production of oil in the U.S. post peak has greatly exceeded what Hubbert seemed to think should have been there...but it made no difference once the U.S. peaked for good there was to be no return to the old high levels of production.

On natural gas, the article was much more correct...sorta. U.S. nat gas did indeed peak in 1974, even though there was a nice rebound from 1982 to 2000.
So how is that we have not seen widespread natural gas cutoff, and the price recently went through one the greatest price collapses in history? The answer is (a)exportation of industry using natural gas (outsourcing) and (b)Canada.

The new situation regarding so called "tight gas" and shale gas recovery is still up in the air, but a new "dash to gas" is already being promoted. Instead of a "if you produce it we will burn it" mode, the actual situation is taking on a "we're planning to burn it so you better produce it" mentality regarding natural gas. Either way, it is certain that the numbers given in the fishing magazine article are sure to be incorrect. We will produce more gas (the question is, can we produce enough and produce it fast enough to hold prices at a moderate level.)

And now, 33 years later, we are still going around the same track. The article written in the fishing magazine came before the boom time for SUV's, the golden age of the "McMansion", the birth of "exurban" lifestyle, before the age of the "telecommuter", before the golden age of wealth beyond comprehension of the 1980's and '90's (remember that in April of 1971 the Dow Jones closed at 941 1976, the year the fishing magazine peak oil article was published it finally broke 1000 (closing at 1002 points)but then began settling backward again, closing EVERY month of 1979 in the 800 point range. The Dow would not break 1000 months for two successive months until November-December 1982! (if you were coming out of high school in the 1970's as I was, you understand why we see this recent "Great Recession" is a joke unless it gets a hell of a lot worse...)

The above is one example as to how "exponential growth' does not exist. I mention this because the author of the fishing magazine article goes almost hysterical on this issue for most of the finish fo the article. Exponential growth only exists in the abstract as a mathematical construct. It is sound math, but has been converted into a "psuedo science" by everyone from pie in the sky motivational speakers to doomers. In the real world, little things such as recessions, depressions, wars, pandemics, "re-syndication" of investments, etc., get in the way. Remember that if you miss a few "doublings" your final sum will be off by orders of magnitude.

Enough said, I am not refuting the article, which was very good for it's day, and I am not refuting peak oil. I am simply reminding folks to be wary of the simple calculation that gives you the exact date of the could throw your life away sitting on top of the hill waiting for the advent of the catastrophe. I once (partially in jest, but not completely) said that if we are going to have this catastrophe let's JUST DO IT and get it to hell over with! It's the waiting that is killing us! Oh, Happy Thanksgiving! :-)



RC, There were a few follow-ups to this editorial, where the author got a bit nostalgic about not being able to travel as freely and never again finding that virgin fishing lake. At the time, as I recall, he seemed genuine in his concerns about what his generation was leaving the next generation of fishermen. That is what affected me most.

My huge point on exponential growth as a reality is that although it may not occur for human population and other concrete measures, it does occur for technology. Our capability in technical ways to discover oil is still likely exponentially increasing, just like Moore's law. Bring that around to fishing, the exponential increases in technology were the original Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor with the spinning neon tubes, then LED (I actually built one of these), then LCD, and now who knows what kind of 3D advanced signal processing with AI pattern recognition that can measure and weigh the size of the fish. Think about the advances in locating fish that occurred over the past 40 years and then compare that to the technical ways that we have found to locate oil. The two are kind of comparable, and only strict catch-and-release and limit laws and re-stocking policies have preventing us of completely fishing out every hole in existence. We achieve the same advances with our fancy oil locators, yet we have no limit laws and no replenishment in sight.

The only thing I can add is to put it all into a more formal, mathematical context.
That exponential or power-law increase in discovery rates leads directly to the dispersive discovery law. Here the acceleration (irresistible force) meets a constrained resource volume (immovable object). The result is the classic logistic sigmoid.

Apart from the math, I had an inkling all this was happening when I was younger. Everything you learned you learned when you were a kid.

BTW, That does not even get into all the other stuff we learned as fishermen -- ideas such as eutrophication and the natural life cycle of every lake that we visited. We knew that some marsh used to be a larger lake and that the process of entropy was relentless. Discovering reservoirs of oil are like finding that virgin hole, and that stringer full of fish, and imagining that inexorable decline.


Let me tell you a fishing story! :-) This story talks directly to the resource depletion issue.

One of the few times I ever saw my father actually shaken by a news story involved fishing. My dad was a down to earth, hard working mechanic, and most news he dismissed in a "been there, done that" sort of way. It just really didn't rattle him (once more around the block...maybe that's where I get my cynical nature!)

Dad was watching a news story when I came in from my job (I was about 15 years old at the time) and so I said nothing so he could watch in peace, and watched the finish of the story with him.

The show was showing advances in commercial fishing, and showed one of the advanced ships of the times that used pumps that sucked seawater through a tube at very high pressure and volume, screened the fish off and simply dumped the seawater back in the sea in a continious loop, very much like a giant vacuum cleaner. The story was describing how whole fisheries could be sucked dry of fish of all ages and sizes by such methods. The small or young fish would be ground up into fish products of various types, while the mature ones could be sold whole. The problem of course was that fish would never get to an age of maturity for reproduction, at least not in any natural way.

Finally when the show went on commercial, I could see dad was thinking this thing through. "Well" he said, "I wouldn't have thought of doing it that way. Imagine the day when you can suck all the fish right out of the sea."

I thought at first he was making a joke and I said, "I think that could be real danger..."

Instantly he snapped, "I know it, I'm not kidding around either." It was then that I noticed he had been shaken by the technological ability to do such a thing. He had grown up far out in the country of rural Kentucky where there seemed to be plenty of everything, most of plenty of space. He had never been an environmentalist, in fact he considered that for humans to believe they could actually affect the environment in anything but a marginal way was arrogence, hubris on the part of the human mind (this was a very common view among those of my fathers generation). So this story had been a breakthrough for him, because he could instantly see the mechanics of the device being was no longer about poles or even nets, it was about gas turbines driving huge high tech pumps. I don't know if the method of fishing has ever been widely used, but it sure made it's point on my dad.

A few years later, I made another point with dad, a man not prone to conceding his son many points...the discussion of capitalism came up, and although I am pro-capitalist, I could always see a huge contradiction in the system...I explained it to dad, "the problem is that your being rewarded for how fast you can turn the earth inside out," I said. "The faster you can get the raw material out of the ground, convert it to shiny new goods, and then get it back in the landfill so you can sell more shiny new goods, the more successful you the whole test of success is "how fast can you turn the earth inside out?"

I expected dad to nail me hard on that one, him being the old conservative he was, but instead he thought silently for a bit...and finally said, "Your right, I guess it is about that..."
I asked him, "does that seem sustainable to you?" He never answered, but he was always less willing to attack the environmental types he heard and met as the years went by. Sometimes we have to work our way to solutions over many years. Fascinating discussion, fond memories, as you say, much of what we think we know come from ideas planted in our youth.


I didn't even get into the distinction between "rule-driven" sport fishing and exploitative commercial fishing and the unbounded technology advances in that realm.

As Rockman would say -- now that The Black Swan has gotten to him -- we are feeding the "narrative fallacy", but a good story is a good story. Thanks.

Your dad grew up in rural Kentucky.

So did I and I have a 'fishing story' to tell also.

Fishing here is DEAD. The invasive Asian Carp have totally destroyed it. Not a little but TOTAL.

They are in the Mississippi and Ohio,Tennessee and Cumberland. They are in Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

They are in all our oxbow river bottom lakes. They are everywhere.

They breed rapidly. The consume voraciously. They take all the food other fish species require. They are ugly, smelly and not very edible. The scum on their bodies is very smelly and you do not want to get it on your hands.

No one will eat them. They are the worst nightmare for fishing imaginable.

At the Great Lakes they thought that they could screen them out. They couldn't for anyone in the country knows that water birds(wading and otherwise) will carry the eggs on their feet to other waters and so the screening will not work...

News is that they have now been found in all but Superior,where is might be too cold for them.

Otherwise IMO fishing is completely doomed.

Some here still try to take a few crappie or catfish but most don't even hook up the boat anymore.

I hope I am wrong about this and await any news whatsoever but so far nothing on the horzion.

Who is to blame? Those in the USDA or Fish and Wildlife who proposed carp for those raising pondfed catfish. Just like Kudzu,Multiflora Rose and much more that the hacks have done to destroy our native species.



You are dead on.

We have all sorts of new bugs showing up around here that none of the locals know anything about.

One is a flying beetle about a half inch long that is defoliating the black locoust trees severely-trees that are in fence rows and edges where the sun is good and the sol and water are good are sometimes killed.Trees in the woods that have to compete for sun are generally dead within a few years.

The black locoust was never a big source of timber but it is the hardest toughest most decay resistant tree available in this part of the world in any quantity.We do have some cedar but it really isn't very good for anything but fence posts and it's not as good for that as the black locoust.

Nearly all the local older rough farm buildings and sheds are framed with round black locoust and nearly all the older fences are built with it.(Chesnut was used extensively previous to the blight but nowadays a chesnut rail or post or board is a collecter's item.)

It is not unusual for a locoust fence post to last fifty years and interior posts in dry ground in sheds and barns last a lot longer.

Sawn black locoust boards and posts once well seasoned are so hard that only an experienced carpenter can drive a cut nail into it -common nails require pilot holes.

It is superb firewood.

We are losing this priceless tree just at the time when we need it the most as a substitute for chemically treated posts and lumber.

Perhaps the most alarming single aspect of this disaster is that there is so much bad news on the business and environmental fronts that I haven't seen this mentioned even on the net.It's lost in the noise.

What would once have been a front page item with an extensive follow up in the nature or farm news is not even on the radar.

I suppose the carp will continue to spread.There is always some idiot that will move them deliberately.People around here are known to drag anything home that will bite a hook and throw it in a farm pond or even a stream.And fishermen siene up minnows near where they live and haul them all over sometimes a couple of hundred miles when they take a weekend fishing trip.Leftover live bait is commonly thrown over board.

The only bright spot I can see in this mess is that maybe when things get tough enough people will be glad to have even a carp for the table.

thanks for relating your dad's insights. Sounds like he was a decent guy. Your implied guess that vacuuming the oceans with energy intensive pumps didn't actually end up the game changer is right on though. The tried and true methods of just running strainers either drifting on the current or being dragged through at set depth, or set as as great corrals that get a purse string tighetenned at the bottom and constricted until about all they contain is fish have proven much more effective than trying to pump the oceans on board. The scale of the straining operation is beyond comprhension. Pumps are used for moving fish all the time but not until the strainers vastly improve the water to fish ratio. the old hook and line has been scaled up too and gets a good chunk of whatever the strainers miss.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against commercial fishing--I loved it the few years I did it--but much the world's fleets are barely regulated and many, many stocks are plummetting. We are pretty much putting the fish rich regions of the ocean through one big sieve and not leaving near enough slip through the mesh.

Web -- sounds like that "narrative fallacy" from the "Black Swan" you chatted about before. At least he openly professes his desire to spin the numbers with his "story".

There are several possible reasons for Will to write as he does.

It may be that he is just a very good propagandist and is doing his part as a soldier in the juornalistic firing line to protect , defend, and encourage the growth of his chosen community.

There is nothing at all unusual about this-millions of people go to work every day making and selling products they don't believe in or care about.If this is the case he is extraordinarily talented, and his efforts are obviously amply rewarded in prestige within his community.

Another possibility is that he is a true believer.The degree to which people can delude themselves never ceases to amaze me-there are plenty of engineers who believe Jesus will resurrect thier embalmed carcasses some day.

It is very common to see even well educated people daily trust thier lives and business to he results of applied scientific work such as medicine , air travel, and modern communications.Yet they readily dismiss the just as legitimate work of scientists in other fields.

I recall the case of a world renowned astronomer-a man knowledgeable enough to do original researh in an extremely competitive and cutting edge field -who could not uderstand the basics of something as simple as Darwinian evolution , which has stood the test of time and is accepted without question by virtually every body with an open mind and some technical education-including of course the remainder of the faculty of his university.

Now just to see the fireworks fly-how many of us here are willing to put ourselves in the shoes of the cornucopians and really take an unbiased open minded look at thier arguments?

Although I think the odds of them being right are very slim indeed, there is a possibility -slight to be sure but real nevertheless -that they are right.

Now go ahead and put me in the oven with the turkey and roast me while the stove is already hot-we can't afford to go wasting energy. ;)


I'd like to offer another reason. Laziness. Any writer could have put that column together in short order. Will gets paid a lot of money for his writing, the less time spent writing the more time he has off to enjoy it. He not only benefits from not having to work as hard, he benefits from the controversy his articles create because they are not well researched. Controversy keeps his name out there, his earnings go up as his readership goes up.

Will is simply a more "acceptable" version of Rush Limbaugh.

The people who pay Will for his writing don't care if the readers are for him or against him, they just see the total number. All of us who clicked on the link to Will's article put money in his pocket later on :-(

Now just to see the fireworks fly-how many of us here are willing to put ourselves in the shoes of the cornucopians and really take an unbiased open minded look at thier arguments?

Mac, their arguments is the problem. They argue that those who predicted oil depletion earlier were wrong. The boy who cried wolf argument. Remember that the boy eventually got eaten by the wolf.

Their arguments are that the tar sands changes everything. They argue that Jack 2 changes everything. They argue that Tupi changes everything. They argue that we have enough shale oil to last for five thousand years. They argue reserves and not production.

Again, the problem is not the people, the problem is that their arguments are total nonsense.

I think I have an open mind Mac, but it is not so open that my brains fall out.

Ron P.

They argue that those who predicted oil depletion earlier were wrong.

That's a good argument. Why listen to people who don't know what they're talking about? If your financial advisor repeatedly lost your money, would you continue listening to him because eventually, someday he might get it right? (perhaps after he's lost all your money)

The boy who cried wolf argument. Remember that the boy eventually got eaten by the wolf.

So you base your judgement on what happened in fairy tales?

That's a good argument. Why listen to people who don't know what they're talking about?

First, it is no argument at all because they are not the same people. Also the circumstances are totally different. However I am not surprised that you think it is a good argument.

So you base your judgement on what happened in fairy tales?

No, that is their argument. They argue that you should never listen to the boy who cried wolf because he was wrong earlier.

And it is a very stupid argument because oil is finite, production must go into decline someday. If you never believe anyone who predicts decline simply because those who predicted decline before were wrong, then you are bound to eventually be wrong. You will get eaten by the wolf.

Why are such very stupid arguments always made by conservatives and believed by other conservatives? I fully realize that there are a few liberals who make such arguments and believe such dumb arguments, but they are outnumbered by conservatives by at least ten to one.

Ron P.


You know I know better.

But you have not quite got my point-if you are IN THIER SHOES YOU discount the evidence you and I rely on - if you are even aware of it's existence.You will overwieght the historical record of the pessimists being wrong and the cornucopians being right.The cornucopians are paradoxically actually be exhibiting MORE FAITH in science and technology as problem solvers than the scientists themselves who are warning us that the game is up.

(This even though at the same time the cornucopians silmantaneously often believe in an eternal life in either a paradise or a volcanic pit. There are layers of ignorance and cognitive dissonance that are capable of being peeled like the layers of an onion, although the layers are apt to be mixed like a section of sedimentary rock that has been uplifted and eroded.

Today I have had my dinner with several people of this sort.

Now I have said that the chances of the cornucopians being right are very slim-actually vanishingly slim in my opinion-but anybody who absolutely denies the possibility that there may be a breakthrough that will solve the energy crisis is guilty of a sort of fundamentalism at the personal level-that being the belief that current day science and engineering is the last word and that there will be no more paradigm changeing breakthroughs.

Keep in mind that breakthroughs need not overturn current theory-they just fit into places current theory has not yet occupied.

I have no idea in which field of science they will appear , or what applications they may be put to , but I expect to see a couple more such game changers in my life if the whole house of cards doesn't fall within the next decade or two , and my personal luck holds.

It may even turn out that breakthroughs as such are not necessary-incremental improvements of existing technology might solve the energy problem-I have no trouble believing that ten or fifteen years from now that a new house will get a solar cell roof (the cells built into standard sized interlocking waterproof frames and delivered on a truck from the local building supply) rather than an asphalt shingle roof.Knock off the price of the shingle job , cut the price delivered of the pv panels in half, and that roof might just be a real winner even without a subsidy after another decade of electricity rate hikes.

I don't have any problem believing that somebody may figure out how to manufacture an economical superinsulation-maybe made of hollow evacuated (holding a vacuum) beads embedded in something like styrofoam or cork.

(It occurs to me that perhaps such beads could be manufactured in quantity and cheaply by mixing a couple of suitable chemicals , molding pellets of the mixture, and coating the pellets with a layer of properly formulated molten glass.If the chemical mixture reacts by forming a gas due to the heat , a glass bubble will be blown-and if the reaction products cool thru the liquid stage all the way to a solid state, the bubble will have a vacuum inside. It might be that the process would require heating the assembled beads in a seperate step. Comments from engineering types appreciated)

Genetic engineering is in it's infancy-we might see crops that can manufacture hier own nitrogen at rates that make our current legumes look positively puny , or trees that can grow fast enough to really make it practical to burn biomass.
Remember that technical breakthroughs need not invalidate current science-they just sort of fit into previously unexplored niches of the sciences in many cases.

Somebody may found a religion that convinces people that kids are bad news-remember the Shakers?

Understand that I am not actually predicting any one of these things but rather that there is a significant non zero chance of game changing breakthroughs.

Everybody please remember that I am a realist as well as a dreamer and that I am working on turning our little family farm into a liveable doomstead.

I am not trying to make a case for the cornucopians -what I am trying to do is get the doomer element to understand thier case-AS THEY SEE IT.

Such an understanding will allow them to change the things they can change-accept the things they cannot change -and understand the difference between the two.

Forgive me for reminding those without religious faith that this little piece of wisdom is often encountered in the form of a prayer. ;)

George 'Polyanna' Will is a passionate climate change denier and he's saying we can't get off fossil fuels and there's no reason too because there's lots of FF left.
The only thing standing in the way is the 'religion' of
environmentalism which is his real object of attack.

This is interesting because some Peak Oilers say we will run out of FF limiting the amount of atmospheric CO2, which is also untrue unless there is a ban on unconventional oil and a coal phaseout according to Hansen.

His article shows a lack of understanding of energy. While 2 quadrillion cf of US shale natural gas sounds like a lot of energy it is only the BTU equivalent of 350 Gb of oil and the US uses 7.2 billion barrels of oil per year and 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which would gobble up that estimated shale gas in 80 years, less if you consider demand growth.

There is also a strange logic that because old estimates of oil were not correct, more recent estimates with improved exploration technology are also going to be incorrect because technology will find even more oil.

Just unbridled optimism.

Great points, nicely put.

It is probably best to just ignore this ignorant simpleton.
Post like the above seem to add credibility and exposure to a weak minded member of the right wing media.

Put Will's theory to the test.

There is the story that Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver's Travels) invited Bishop George Berkeley to dinner.

Berkeley had a theory called immaterialism that matter only existed in the mind.

Jonathan Swift left Berkeley standing at the door saying that if no material world existed, then he should have little trouble getting through the door.

Dr. Samuel Johnson who was debating Berkeley's philosophy suddenly kicked a rock and exclaimed 'Thus I refute it thus!'.

You are assuming that humans, when presented with an obvious fact, act rationally.
Humans base reality on story and myth, think heuristically rather than critically, and discount the future.
If facts could change things, Will and his simpleton ilk would be a moot point.

I guess everyone is right-- Edward Morse, quoted above, apparently believes there is about 100 years of gas left to burn, and George Will agrees pretty closely, if Marjorian is correct in his analysis of the Will belief system. And Daniel Yergen says that "the resource endowment of the planet is sufficient to keep up with demand for decades to come."

No one seems to dispute the numbers. Whether mathematical whiz like Darwinian, or innumerate subjectivist such as George Will, it looks like there is a 80-100 years of fossil fuel left, provided that we also take off all the mountain tops and destroy all fresh water supplies. Be generous. Give the engineers their head, say there is 200 years of fossil fuel left.

Not a bad deal for an old guy, I guess.

On the other hand, some folks might think that a century is a fairly small fraction of the total run of human civilization and might have second thoughts about turning everything to oil for the last hundred years. Some might consider that the desperate behavior of an addict.

And make no mistake-- addicts can be charming, literate, numerate and delightful. They are addicts nonetheless.

I don't think there is agreement on that one-the current societal and economic structure isn't set up to run for 40 years, let alone 200 IMO. There are issues simply because oil has peaked, even though oil supply is near record levels-the structure cannot hold at steadily decreasing supplies IMO. Again IMO this way of life might have 40 years but nobody knows for sure.

100 years is a short period of time to change the world's energy infrastructure. However, renewables are ramping up quickly, and this extends (and will eventually replace) fossil fuels. Also, more efficient appliances and vehicles means less energy use. EVs are a huge step forward. Human civilization is not quite over yet, IMO.

Apparently conservationist is changing his stripes.

Recently he said this:

The cheap oil is gone, everyone agrees on that.

very well put

Yes, I can remember when gas cost 25 cents/gallon. Last time I filled up it was $3.25. It will no doubt keep going up. This won't cause the end of civilization though, it will just cause more people to drive hybrids and EVs.

It obviously costs more to drill 200 miles offshore, extract oil from shale, tar sands, and the enhanced recovery techniques. But that is a quite different thing than saying the oil isn't there.

$3.25 is still cheap and you said the cheap oil is gone.
We have had an inflation rate of 10x since the early 1960s, so your 25 cent gas would cost $2.50 adjusted for inflation.

You can't have it both ways.

Yes, but how much has the increasing cost of producing oil CAUSED that inflation?

Yes, but how much has the increasing cost of producing oil CAUSED that inflation?

I would advise you to stop digging yourself a deeper hole.

Since this thread is partly about baseball.... How much did the original Honus Wagner card cost in 1909? (had to be about a penny)
How much is it worth now? (google it)

Is that due to scarcity ("the cheap baseball cards are gone") or how much of that is due to inflation? Did the cost of producing oil make that card rise by 235 million times?

Either way, you lose the argument. You actually lose it even more, now that you say scarcity of oil caused inflation. You are now officially NOT a cornucopian. And now I have two quotes of yours to throw back at you in the future.

I dont' think I would use the word "scarcity" to describe trillions of barrels of oil. It's just that the unconventional oil is more costly to produce. When commodity prices go up, that does cause inflation.

OK, I think I understand what you are saying. For example, let me rip your Honus Wagner baseball card into a trillion little pieces, mix it into a bowl of sludge, and give it back to you. Thank you for defining what scarcity means.

So now you say that we have suddenly entered the transition from available oil to unconventional oil that is very costly to produce and which will cause inflation because the energy used to get at that oil will come at the expense of other commodities such as food.

Now I have 3 nice quotes of yours:

The cheap oil is gone, everyone agrees on that.
The unconventional oil is more costly to produce.
Increasing cost of producing oil caused that inflation.

You do sound more and more like a pessimist.

So, con, what happens to demand as the cost of oil increases?

How much demand is 'discretionary?'

For individual citizens, long distance vacations are discretionary ...
But commuting to work is largely fixed.

What happens to those citizens as the cost of oil rises?
Does their wealth increase or decrease?

What happens to a nation when their citizens' wealth decreases?

So what happens to demand as the cost of oil increases?

It decreases. This is a good thing, in the long run.

How much demand is 'discretionary?'

For oil? In the US? Most of it, depending on how you define discretionary. I think suburbia, in the long run, is discretionary.

For individual citizens, long distance vacations are discretionary ...
But commuting to work is largely fixed.

NO!!!! Commuting is not fixed. Suppose you have a job in the city and you live in the suburbs. You cannot afford gas. Do you quit the job and eat yourself, or do you move to the city and rent out a room in crackville? Why can't you understand this??? That statement is equally as delusional as all of George's.

What happens to those citizens as the cost of oil rises? Does their wealth increase or decrease? What happens to a nation when their citizens' wealth decreases?

They become socialists?

Commuting is not fixed. Suppose you have a job in the city and you live in the suburbs. You cannot afford gas. Do you quit the job and eat yourself, or do you move to the city and rent out a room in crackville?

Right diagnosis, one of many prescriptions. Fast forward to gas lines and rationing. Your kids are doing well in school, you commute from one suburb to another (the norm these days). Do you move? No. First, your family is settled, and second, who knows if you'll have that job in three years.

So you find another way to get to work. With the number of minivans and SUVs on the road, we have no shortage of potential seat-miles. With the internet and cell phones, it's easier than ever to set up vanpools and carpools.

At least in the short run, we'll get to our jobs. In the 1970s, I carpooled, bused, and bicycled to jobs in Southern California - Kingdom of Kar Kulture - when gas was in short supply. Single-occupancy commuting by car is hugely discretionary, we just haven't had to face it yet.

I have heard of the argument that with less transportation fuel "if we can't run around the planet it's much harder to make good use of all that coal." That remains to be seen.

There is also a strange logic that because old estimates of oil were not correct, more recent estimates with improved exploration technology are also going to be incorrect because technology will find even more oil.

One eminent mathematician, E.T. Jaynes, has suggested that all conventional logic should be recast as probability theory:
Bayesians are people that believe that you can always improve your estimates as you gain more evidence. The art is in how the new evidence gets incorporated with the old estimates. Some people are't so good at doing that. The strange logic of people who dismiss previously incorrect estimates are definitely not Bayesians. A real Bayesian would thank you for straightening him out, and then use the new evidence and move forward. That is partly why Jaynes thinks logic should be recast, as classical logic of black&white does not work well in an uncertain world.

How often did Captain Kirk prove Spock wrong?

That's a pretty apt metaphor. If you think about it, George Will comes off pretty much like a human Spock. People figure that Will is completely logical with his bow-tie appearance and clipped precise speaking style. Most of the MSM takes him for some sort of genius.

Yet he is absolutely bonkers about a lot of the subject material. He is exactly the opposite of Spock. Didn't Spock always learn from his surroundings and new facts?

Yes, but Spock was half human.

A Thanksgiving fairytale for George Will.

Once apon a time an egg lie in a warm building with many other eggs. The egg was protected from predators and weather by the walls of the barn and temperature control. Soon the egg cracked open and there emerged a small turkey chick. And all around this turkey chick others just like himself emerged. Like a miracle, food was provided. It was warm and hospitable in the building. No foxes or other predators were there. It was the best place ever.
Day after day humans brought them food to eat. It was plentiful and easy. No predators were to be seen. They grew large in ways that were impossible in nature because they didn't have to seek food and were confined to the farm building. They were fed anti-biotics, dewormers and anti-disease compounds. They rarely got sick or died. Food was provided and they could eat their fill day after day. They grew fast.
After months passed a young goobler came to our turkey.
"I've heard something disquieting." The young gobbler looked nervous.
"Have you ever asked yourself why there are no older turkeys around here? "he said.
"I over heard one of those farmers talking about a harvest of turkeys! I couldn't believe it! They talked about prices, I don't know what that is but they will get these prices when the harvest happens! To us!" The young gobbler shivered.
Our young turkey was quite concerned but when the next day rolled around it was quite ordinary. The food was placed in the feeders like before. The heat of the building was at the same temperature as before. The farmers acted kindly to the turkeys as before. This went on day after day.
Then the young gobbler who had heard of this "harvest" came to our young friend again.
"I heard the farmers speak again. They talked about preparing for the holiday harvest. Seems like they met soon. I've got to get outta here! Do you want to come?"
Our turkey friend thought about this. He would wait and see. If tomorrow was the same he would stay. And sure enough the food came right on time. The farmers were friendly. The temperature was constant and warm. There was clean water. And so his friend left through an open door and was never seen again.
So it went for months. More and more food was provided. The turkeys reached a maximum weight. They grew to an impressive size. It was getting crowded in there but it was a minor inconvenience.
Then one day they were herded into trucks. After some hours they arrived at a building. And there they were killed, defeathered, gutted and dressed for the holiday.

Perfect place to repost FMagyar's pic, adapted from Black Swan Taleb

This originally plotted cumulative unawareness of a turkey's ultimate fate

The people in the know about oil depletion live in gray swan territory, enough to know that change will occur but not knowing exactly how much.

Areas of Agreement Between the Lynch, Will, Yergin, Huber, et al crowd and Peak Oilers:

(1) Discrete oil wells have peaked and declined, e.g., the discovery well in the East Texas Field (if memory serves, the Joiner #3 Daisy Bradford).

(2) Discrete fields, the sum of the output of discrete oil wells, e.g, the East Texas Field, have peaked and declined.

(3) Discrete regions, the sum of the output of discrete fields, have peaked and declined, e.g. Texas and the North Sea.

Now, Peak Oilers assert that the world, the sum of the output of discrete regions, has peaked or will peak--using regions like Texas & the North Sea as models. Lynch, et al, dispute that regions like Texas and the North Sea can be used as models for Saudi & world production. However, both Saudi Arabia and the world have shown flat to declining crude oil production at about the same stages of depletion at which Texas and the North Sea respectively started declining, based on the logistic (HL) models.

I'm curious, what facts do Lynch and others use to dispute this model? Or, is this one of the questions that they consistently refuse to debate?

The approach that Lynch uses usually revolves around taking some reserve growth curve and then demonstrating higher growth than previously predicted.

He also has been known to attack symmetry arguments, and doing something as simple as holding up a non-symmetric peak oil curve and therefore stating that Hubbert was wrong. The Logistic curve is by definition symmetric, and you need some extra work to explain this away. Yet to Lynch, these are all knee-jerk criticisms intended simply to cast doubt.

Thus quote Will:

The Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York, "may contain as much natural gas as the North Field in Qatar, the largest field ever discovered."

The Marcellus Shale covers an area of 65,000 square miles, and the North Field is 500 square miles. That's a factor of 130.

Mr. Will calls this good news. I suppose it is -- for makers of rigs, bits, pipe and such. We can be thankful for that today.

One way to win an argument with people like Will (not to say that they would acknowledge a loss based on logic) is to push them to state assertions to support their final conclusion and then use these to show that in fact their statements support your conclusions.

Will agreed that oil and other FFsare the foundation of our economy. We also agreed that alternative energy is inadequate to replace FFs. This is counter to most economists position about substitution.

Will agreed that our society would find it hard to wean ourselves off FF in the near future. This is also counter to economists positions about efficiency and the invisible hand.

So the only real point of disagreement lies in the supply of oil and other fossil fuels. To rephrase, he is saying "oil is the central driver of our entire way of life, it is so special that it cannot be replaced and we depend on it like we depend on water. But, oh, don't worry about supply issues, concerns about this is just fear mongering..." Surely any thinking adult would at least conclude from the agreed-upon conditions that the numbers at least warrant a close look.

I depend on the brakes on my car and, while driving down a winding highway at high speed, there isn't much for a substitute. Plus there is a minimum amount of brake power I need to stop. But I won't worry because when I last had my car at the shop 5 years ago there was plenty of brake fluid (no nee for regular maintenance, since today will be just like yesterday if not better). The guy who pulled up beside me waving his hands and shouting that something was leaking out of the back of my car was just a lunatic probably only concerned the damage of this fluid to the environment and road, and wanting more government regulations on "car safety" or some such nonsense. Every time I used the brakes before, the car stopped, no reason for concern. Now let's turn up the radio (maybe there's some baseball stats I can hear...)


Regarding the shale natural gas steep declines, the major shale companies XTO, Dvn Chk etc., all recognize this. Yet, they have given projections for eur for their average well in the various shale plays. For the barnett, they have used an eur of 2.4bcf. It seems the record to date has confirmed that. For the Fayatteville, their eur is similar to the barnett, and between SWN and CHK, it would seem their eur projections will be confirmed.

In the Haynesville CHK is using an eur 6.5bcf for the average well and HK is using 7.5bcf. It is generally recognized that they have the premier acreage in that play. A few of the early wells that CHk has drilled in the Haynesvill are coming up on two years where 80% of the well production should have declined (That's their estimate of the decline rate). That would mean they have produced approximately 5bcf of gas. If they have, (and I have no reason to doubt it), their ultimate recovery estimates would be realistic. If they have not produced at that level, they would be obliged to reduce their estimates for ultimate recovery, something they have not done.

For the Marcellus, RRC has been producing for a least two years. In that play the eur is generally estimated at about 4bcf for the average HZ well. Their recovery for the first two year wells would have been over 3bcf using at an 80% depletion rate. So, their eur estimates could also be confirmed based on the actual two year production.

The point I am trying to make is that the depletion rate does'nt determine the amount of gas these plays possess. IF their estimates of ultimate recovery are correct (and I do belive them), then the gas is there, and it's there in abundance.


I think you've understated your case. That the oil cos now drill 6 miles down into the ocean for oil, that alone tells one we on or approaching the down side of the oil age.

That new gas requires drilling down a mile and then going horizontally (and breaking rock) tells us that the gas downside isn't far behind. That large and critical parts of the industrial infrastructure are dependent on oil in particular, with no feasible conversion possible, tells one industrialism is in decline.

That ore grades are steadily diminishing means that metals and minerals, the other beam undergirding industrialism, blocks the the feasibility of alternatives rescuing industrialism, at least on anything like its current scale.

The destruction of the surface ecology is accelerating as the world becomes more desperate in its energy search, CO2, water, forests, soil, etc. Further down the road, that's all we'll have left, or what's left of what's left. Had nature bequeathed us twice as big a hydrocarbon gift, it's almost certain we would have done ourselves in. As it is we'll have done a lot of damage to ourselves. And yet, without the oil, we would have forgone a great deal of valuable knowledge. Can we hang on to it in the post-industrial era?

Several points I’ll offer for everyone’s considerations. First, I find it odd that a number of our fellow troopers point to Will’s conservatism as a source of his cornucopia. This strikes me again as an example of the “narrative fallacy” which Will himself uses to spin the numbers. I would guess I’m in the top 10 percentile of the conservatives on TOD (I am a Texan after all). My conservative nature fully supports PO and it’s ugly realities. Thus I do grin a little when I hear others use the narrative fallacy to explain certain aspects of the positions of others. After reading the “Black Swan” and being offered a clear picture of how this approach is used to abuse the cold hard facts I now see it used everywhere (especially by myself).

Secondly, I’ll run through my thoughts on our verbiage once again (I’m sure this may be getting annoying to some…sorry). We are not “running out” of oil/NG. We will be producing oil/NG 100 years from today…200 years perhaps…maybe longer. When PO proponents say we are running out of oil/NG they give the cornucopians out there all the ammo they need to prove we are wrong. Joe6Pack can still drive by the gas station and see prices that won’t stop him from filling up. And no lines…no signs saying “NO GAS”. All the proof he needs to prove that those PO nuts are full of crap: we haven’t “run out of oil” nor does it looks like we will anytime soon.

But obviously nothing I just said refutes the probability that we’ll never be able to produce oil at rates as high as we’ve seen in recent years. Nor do my words argue against the likelihood we’ll never be able to rebuild our oil reserves beyond present levels and, over the long haul, those reserves will continue to decline.

I don’t really like picking folks’ words apart. I also can be sloppy with my choices at times. And within our happy little family here we usually understand the points each is trying to make even when the words aren’t exactly correct. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about communications. And thus the word choices can be critical.

I use the baseball analogy again, since Will uses that narrative as often as he can. When an announcer says a player is "running out of pitches", the fan knows that they have meant that they have reached a point in the middle innings that they probably won't make a complete game. If they said a player is "running out of steam" or "running out of gas" as he rounds second base, it means he won't be able to reach home plate on the play. The only thing that baseball lacks is the "running out of time" analogy. Thus, reality lives in a state of suspense in baseball, as you can escape from any real-world time constraints.

My point is that the halfway point euphemism is quite popular in sports. I understand Will is (ab)using the narrative fallacy, and it is why I shove it back in his face.


Please continue to stress verbiage. In my case, I have a short term memory deficit so each time it is a welcome reminder ;-) For others more fortunate than me, hopefully they can repeat it verbatim like the lyrics of a popular song. A debate about Peak Oil that does not start off with the correct definition is a waste of everyone's time, and we have precious little time left.

Rockman, please understand it is nothing personal, it is just a matter of percentages.

Some liberals oppose a woman's right to choose abortion and some conservatives support a woman's right to choose. The opposite however is the usual case.

The South switched from overwhelmingly democratic to mostly republican during the civil right movement. Liberals, in general, supported the movement, conservatives, in general, opposed it. That is not to say that many conservatives, then as well as now, supported integration. The opposite however was, then, the general rule. Nowadays I doubt that so many of them oppose it but the South is still strongly conservative as a result of the civil rights movement.

I can remember, Rockman, when Texas was a very liberal state. I mean liberal in the sense of Sam Rayburn and LBJ. That is not the case today. So just being from Texas does not explain why you are conservative. It probably does mean however that you are a lot younger than I, a liberal from Alabama.

As I stated above, there are a lot of Liberals who do not believe in peak oil, Raymond J. Learsy comes to mind. The vast majority of strong opponents to peak oil as well as global warming are strongly conservative however.

As I said, it is just a matter of percentages but there are always exceptions, such as yourself.

Ron P.

Thanks Ron. But I didn't take the comments personal. In fact, my response was meant to be as much a humorous holiday tease as anything else (gotta remember y'all can't see me grining when I type). But I really meant the shot at the "narrative fallacy" tool we all use. In fact, what really hit me so hard after reading Taleb's point was how integral the NF was in my entire career (as well as all my cohorts). Not that I was intentionally misrepresenting my analysis. But even though we deal with hard numerical data at the end of the day we close the deal with a text based argument. Certainly not unique to our business. But now I make a concerted effort to minimize the verbal arguments I hear and refocus on the "facts".

p.s. As far as categorizing myself as conservative that wasn't too accurate. Won't burn up the page with details but I have maybe almost as many liberal attitudes as conservative. Granted most of my cohorts fall well on the other side of the C fence (and a few way out there at the homophobic/racist extreme) I don't tend to use the conservative and liberal categories. I tend to lump folks more into the opinionated idiot or the opinionated rational cluster. Both groups seem to be well represented by the classic lib/con species.

"Liberal" and "Conservative" are almost meaningless these days. One of my conservative colleagues is concerned about climate change and peak oil, and trying to steer our engineering firm in directions where we can help address it. More than one of my conservative acquaintances is in favor of some kind of a public option for health insurance, since it is devastating when people get laid off.

Just my opinionated opinion here, but it seems to me the left has shoved its opinionated idiots off to the margins, but the right hasn't quite got around to it yet.

water -- glad to see another opinionated rational amongst us. I did give you a pass for using left/right in the spirit of the holidays...a minor infraction. It's difficult for all of us to give up the old ways thanks to the efforts of both political parties to keep us focused on such divisions instead of the collusion between the two of them IMHO.


Your continued emphasis on the clarity of the message is spot on. As a relative newcomer to Peak Oil (~18 months) and TOD (~even less)I have been struck by the relative incoherence of the message by posters on this site. This community constantly laments over the fact that their message is not getting out - but when the message is not clear and consistent it gets lost.

In addition to your point (saying we are running out of oil when that is not the issue)I have observed two other issues that lose the audience.

First - the continual practice of conflating peak oil with global warming. They are NOT the same thing. At Denver (ASPO) I had a conversation with an individual who was emphasizing how we need to keep both themes in front of people. When I asked him why he thought they were the same thing he glibly replied "because they both involve fossil fuels". This is logical nonsense. That is like saying football and tennis are the same sport because they both involve athletes. As long as people try to keep these two issues together they are significantly reducing the size of the audience that may agree with them.

Second - making peak oil into a political issue instead of an issue of reality. This one baffles me. I was introduced to peak oil by several (very) conservative friends. After studying it and becoming convinced that it is real I then started lurking on TOD and learned to my dismay that because I am an ignorant conservative I will never understand peak oil. Talk about losing an audience - the most recent Gallup poll indicates that the country rates itself as 40% conservative, 36% moderate, and 22% liberal. Critics of peak oil are already starting to brand its adherents as left wing kooks pushing a big government agenda. After reading some of the posts on TOD I am beginning to see why. But Peak oil is not a political issue.

Good communication requires clarity of message, delivered consistently, backed by empirical evidence, and unclouded by side issues. The current peak oil message from TOD posters fails on these fronts. Having said that I will continue to lurk on TOD - because the posted articles by the major contributors to TOD are excellent, very informative, and on message.

You are correct. Peak Oil theory and AGW theory have no practical relation at all.

1. AGW theory has a well established science behind it, with a network of academic and government-funded research, supported somewhat by a coalition of environmental groups who can scrap together a bit of funding from charitable contributions.

2. Peak Oil theory has no organized science to speak of behind it. There are small concentrations of research scattered throughout the world, and these get held together somewhat by ASPO. Some of the large governmental or intergovernmental organizations expend some effort, such as IEA and EIA, but their work is shoddy. All of the interesting and productive work is being done by amateurs who fact check and disprove much of that work, with a few outlaws from the industry getting some visibility.

The only thing they really share is that corporate research will not lift a finger to pursue the verification of either AGW or PO.

AGW also has a significant network of critics, who will nitpick the science to extremes. Peak Oil has a few critics, but they don't have to do much because the EIA and IEA essentially does all the work for them, and they consider debating amateurs beneath their dignity.

So the roles are basically reversed. AGW and climate change has the laymen doing most of the skeptical criticism, while Peak Oil generates most of the important projections from the laymen.

There is another subtle difference between PO and GW. Po will show it's effects in real time. When we don't have enough we will feel it immediately. GW will continue to feed on itself over an extended period which gives the illusion of no immediate problem. By the way, I am another conservative, who believes that PO is not a political issue.

Hi Web and Texas_Engineer.

While you are right in the absolute sense, you are missing the point. AGW and Peak Oil are tied because the possible solutions frequently overlap(A simple example: Reduced fossil fuel use will help prepare for the post-oil future while also cutting CO2 emissions on the AGW side.) It is politically expedient to ally yourself with those who desire the same outcome as you do.

Another reason is that the negative effects could be synergistic. Scenario: Drought as well as critical diesel fuel shortage(can't haul or pump water), resulting in crop failure. Which is most to blame: PO or AGW? And is it worth doing the math to find out?

You make some valid points Canuck. But consider I know a fair number of folks who might listen to my thoughts about PO but if I mention AGW in the same conversation I'll be writen off as another kook. I know this phenominon may unique to my sphere but I doubt I'm the only one. And then if you pitch AGW to the "drill, baby, drill" crowd you have not just lost the battle but the entire war IMHO.

But I also don't think it's agreat sin to toss the two together here on TOD either.

ROCKMAN -- Funny, my experience is the flip. I know lots of environmental scientists and engineers concerned about AGW, but when I bring up PO they treat me like some doomer pessimist.

I dunno -- these days I think you had to go through rationing in WW II or odd/even days for gas purchases to even get PO as a remote possiblity.

Texas_Engineer, you are absolutely right that neither peak oil nor climate change are (or should be) political issues. But you have this wrong:

"That is like saying football and tennis are the same sport because they both involve athletes."

Everyone knows that they are the same sport because they both involve balls.

Peak oil and global warming are not the same thing but are both symptoms of humanities overshoot of its environment when looked at from an ecological perspective;

"And yet, without the oil, we would have forgone a great deal of valuable knowledge. Can we hang on to it in the post-industrial era?"

You worked hard, made scacrifices of time, personal pleasure and even to your long-term health. You placed those hard-earned savings (knowledge) in the bank for safe-keeping. Meanwhile, your son, the investment banker, using the latest technology and algorithims....

People discard books and close libraries now, because of the "savings" they can get using the electronic media and world wide web. When the collapse comes, the internet will be among the loses. Computer hardware is built on the model of planned obsolescense. Loss of knowledge in societal collapse, as the complexity dimenishes, is a given. It's only a matter of how much, midevil monastaries and such notwithstanding.

The wise thing would be to develop libraries into meeting places.

I dont worry about internet failing, it is far to usefull and
rewarding in efficiency for societies that maintain it to fall
into disrepair. And manny of the usefull functions could be run
with a fraction of the servers if we replace automated searches
with sorted digital libraries.

There are so many things annoying about Will on so many levels but perhaps the most annoying thing is his whiny sense of certainty, his apparent frustration that not everyone around him is as brilliant and intelligent as he is.

Be that as it may, what is it about the conservative mindset that puts more of them into the camp that doubts things like peak oil or global warming. Shouldn't there be a difference in not wanting things to change and the inablity to see the reality of that change? To my mind, a conservative would want to preserve capital, to err in such a way that there is a healthy surplus of capital left upon death. In the face of some doubt, it seems prudent to operate under the assumption that we have or will shortly reach the peak. As the old adage goes, it is better to be safe that sorry. Same principle should apply to global warming. But no. So called conservatives seem to want us all to live on the edge, to let their skepticism force the rest of us to take very big chances about the future.

Most of the conservatives I know are dedicated to preserving (conserving) the status quo. The only change they value is to enhance that status in their favor. They find their comfort zone and stay there. Most liberals I know are about change. They promote it and hope for it, even if its outside of their comfort zone (if they even have one). One will give you answers, the other questions everything.

Ghung -- I guess you and I hang out with diiferent type conservatives. All the ones I deal won't stop talking about changing things. It's starting to get a little anoying actually. They absolutely despise the status quo. In fact I can hardly think of anyone I know, regardless of their politics, that's happy with the s.q.

I was refering to their own status quo.Most of the conservatives around me are very "comfortable".The only time they wan't to change things (besides their income) is when they think someone wants to spend their money.

I was to Ghung. Working in the oil patch I'm surround by hard core conservatives and they are as animated about wanting a system change as much as the few liberals I know. Maybe your conservatives are doing better then mine.

BTW...Happy belated Turkey Day!

Thanks RMan! Back atcha. Yea, I'm surrounded by well heeled Republicans in MacMansions. It's going to be fun to see how they heat/cool those things in a few years.

Ghung -- After I posted the obvious occured to me. My conservatives are mostly oil patch and many are suffering severly these days. Guess your locals are in a better economic light.

Rockman -- Your conservatives sound like populists. These days both the left and the right are fed up with the status quo (represented by Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bernanke, and Geithner). Both wings seem to be ripping into the administration on the Wall Street bailout.

Me, I like the status quo that consists of hot showers every morning. I'm really gonna miss them when they're gone. Pumping water, heating it on a fire, and pouring it into a bathtub once a week won't be quite the same.

Water -- "Populist". I kinda like that...thanks. Tends to make me think of our Revolutionary War days for some reason.

Populists have a long history in the States, it's basically any movement favoring the people over the elites. On the liberal side, there were Teddy Roosevelt's Progressives and LaFolette of Wisconsin, and on the conservative side, George Wallace and (my guess) the current Tea Party protesters.

That being said, it's really hard to define liberal/conservative populists. Huey Long was clearly populist, favored redistribution of the wealth, but sounds to me like an authoritarian. I have no idea where to place him on the political spectrum.

of course the biggest populist name right now is Sarah, our ex-gov (I know people who had worked in her local office, they weren't sad she resigned). Well at least the media likes to label her populist, it does seem to be a bit of a catch all term.

With GW and peak oil the arguments against are always based on a kind of odd logic that takes some bit of information or some statement and spins a counter argument to illustrate a point.

We need to get to the point where we demand they prove a positive, rather than we feeling a need to overcome a negative. In other words, make them prove their point of view with their own in the field data collection and scientific interpretation. They must drill their own ice cores and have real scientists they employ analyse the rings to determine information. They must send professionals to Greenland, the Artic and Antarctica to collect data. They must employ geologists to compile oil reserve data, depletion rates, new discoveries, etc. and draw conclusions from that data and make the data available for all to see.

As long as those that are peak oil and GW aware are willing to engage in this game of proving a negative wrong, we will be behind the 8 ball, scrambling to find the right words to convince someone that will always find another way of forming a stupid thought in the form of a question. Stop giving them that power. Take back the power by making them prove a positive.

I see gas as the wild card in several of the misconceptions the public wants to believe. First I agree that we will always need hydrocarbons. Trucks should run on compressed natural gas CNG when diesel becomes prohibitive. That's why we should minimise gas fired electrical generation as that is primarily the job for nukes. I was surprised to see a load factor as little as 25% for US gas fired generation. With cap and trade that will probably increase maybe to 60-80%. Electricity will be expensive because of both of gas fuel costs and carbon charges that are only 30-50% less than of cheaper fuel cost coal.

The other wunnerful thing about gas peaking plant is that we can delude ourselves that geothermal and intermittent renewables like wind and solar are doing the heavy lifting. Behind the scenes the gas plant is picking up the slack. We nod approvingly at the geothermal plant and wind farms we pass on our Sunday afternoon drives. The gas backup plants are tucked away somewhere unnoticed. My suggestion is nukes for baseload electricity, gas for transport and minor peaking power. Have renewables by all means if there is lazy cash somewhere that needs spending.

Our home energy ratio is currently about 75/25 in favor of solar (off grid). Its hard to know exactly but I know how many usable KwH our PVs produce and how much our generator uses/produces, as well as how much propane we use anually (not much). Combined with passive solar and solar dhw, alternatives are doing the heavy lifting in our house. That being said, I suffer no delusions regarding the future role of alternatives vs. hydrocarbons in our society's future energy mix and issues of embedded energy, etc.
We arrived at this point incrementally and not without fits and starts, but improving the above ratio is always foremost in my mind. I have little patience for the George Wills who I feel are wasting critical time and energy telling people what can't or shouldn't be done. For us it has been a win/win journey. George Will can kiss my ass.

Trucks should run on compressed natural gas CNG when diesel becomes prohibitive.

that is dangerous. the 100 yr ng supply first of all is made up of what the gas supply committee calls "resource", possible and speculative resources to be more correct. boone pickens persists in calling, what the ng supply committee called resourses: reserves. check the potential ng supply committee report for youself, it is there in black and white. it is after all called "potential" ng supply.

the resouce base is estimated by using a volumetric calculation, an assumed and completely arbitrary recovery factor and further assuming that wells can be drilled on 80 acre or 40 acre or whatever spacing.

first, volumetrically calculated recoveries are not supported by performance. second, there is no evidence that wells can be drilled close together and achieve the same recovery as widely spaced wells. there is, however, evidence that drilling wells too close together results in even lower recoveries for at least the barnett and haynesville shales.

a rough rule of thumb is 1/10th, i.e. reserves supported by performance are overstated by a factor of 10. so that 100 year supply is really a 10 yr supply.

many on here claim that the reserve base is only waiting for higher prices, and that is fine, but reserves are based on current prices and operating conditions.

so how is converting transportation to fantacy based cng going to replace prohibitive diesel ? sounds like a plan for freezing in the dark.

elwood - You've got me thinking about a new metric we might want to work into our collective conversation. The 100-year supply predictions are obviously based upon a totally improvable model. Besides not knowing how much producible NG we have regardless of price, we really can't predict demand that far out either. Alternatives, population growth, recessions, etc seem to produce another 100 year unpredictable set of factors.

Not that the amount of proved producing NG in the US is that solid a number it is regulated to a fair degree by the SEC when it comes to public corporations. Certainly much more accurate the estimating foreign production. We can't guess the proved producing numbers for the non-public companies but we do have a good accounting of total US daily NG production. Not a perfect solution but we can use the ratio of public vs. non-public daily production to inflate the proved producing total proportionally. Off the top of my head I don't know if the proved producing reserve number/total daily NG is closer to 10 years or 40 years. Perhaps some of our hard-core number crunchers out there might take on this task.

Granted that doesn’t predict where we’ll be in 70 or 80 years. But it would be interesting to see where we are today.

I don't know the reasonably assured gas reserves for the US but for Australia the estimate varies from 65 to 500 years including coal seam gas and amounts contracted for export as LNG. If use of natgas in electrical generation was kept to an absolute minimum it would free up a large amount for use in transport. At first that would be heavy haulage trucks and farm machinery. Whether the PHEV approach will replace liquid fuel demand for cars is unknown. PHEVs with smart charging may be able to absorb more renewable power but this is yet to be proven on a large scale. If
1) the car fuel transport problem can be part solved using PHEVs and
2) gas fired electrical generation is kept to a bare bones minimum
that could mean decades more highway time for big rigs using CNG. However since gas fired electricity has less CO2 (depending on cycle type) than coal fired perversely cap and trade could divert more gas to that use.

Gas could also be saved using single room electric heat pumps instead of gas fired whole home heating. Gas fired Combined Heat and Power CHP may suit some cold areas with plentiful gas. What could be needed is a portfolio standard like a maximum of say 0.2kg of CO2 for every kwh of electricity from a stationary source. That cuts out straight gas fired electricity or renewables backed to more than 50% that way. It leaves in nuclear and straight-through renewables or renewables with storage.

When the Titanic went down it was women and children first in the lifeboats. When oil goes down I suggest it is trucks and tractors first for natural gas. To make that possible other gas users can and should switch to something else.

so how is converting transportation to fantacy based cng going to replace prohibitive diesel ? sounds like a plan for freezing in the dark.

In 2007, highway freight trucks (two axle/ six tire and combination trucks) used 1254 E12 + 3564 E12 = 4818 E12 Btus = 37.3 E9 gallons of diesel fuel which is the energy equivalent of 5 Tcf; 37.3 E9 x 126.7/.96 = ~5 Tcf

Picken's plant is to replace natural gas electricity with wind.
29% of US 23 Tcf goes to electricity = 6.6 Tcf.

According to a city engineer friend in Atlanta, the CNG MARTA buses need to be refueled about 2.2 times as often as the diesel buses and the tanks are huge. Usable energy density will require exteme pressures or the tank would need to be about the size of the sleeper on today's rigs. Also, the converted buses have had reliability problems. Converting millions of trucks will require huge investments in $ and energy. Priority 1 should be to get as much freight (and people) off of roads and on to rails. Whatever, we need to start yesterday.

I was talking about highway trucks but why not low pressure (7 psig) low temperature(-260 C) LNG?

LNG has 60% of the energy per unit volume as diesel fuel.

You can run diesel-electric trains on LNG and don't need any expensive electrification of rails, which is rather pointless as grid electricity burns up more energy than anything else.

If you look at rail, it's really only used to haul low value bulk cargo, so by tonnage is moves a little less than 50% but by value it moves about 20%.

This idea of electrified rail 'saving us' is nonsense, IMHO.
You need trucks.

designing a cng fuel tank for an otr truck is indeed challenging. first, the tank needs to be designed for a burst pressure of > 3500 psi plus a safety factor. this will in turn limit the maximum diameter of the tank (within practical limits) meaning that the tanks will need to be made longer. the weight of the steel alone would be significant, i doubt the tanks will be made of aluminum but i could be mistaken.

some long haul trucks have diesel capacity for 1000 miles, long haul trucks would become short haul trucks . lng is probably not practical either because of the time drivers spend in truck stops and strip clubs. there are (at least in theory) limits on how long a driver can stay behind the wheel.

Elwood, I can't see any real likelihood of going to lng anytime soon as a truck fuel.I have had some small amount of experience working with liquid oxygen and variuos compressed gases.The technology works at a large scale but scaling it DOWN rather than UP is the problem.

I believe building insulated pipelines capable of carrying the liquefied ng to many various locations and delivering it in relatively small quantities is out of the question , financially.

If gas is compressed and liquefied at the truck stop, a substantial capital investment will be required in the form of compressors and refrigeration equipment-and such equipment consumes enormous amounts of electricity.It is not unusual for a busy truck stop to pump ten thousand gallons or more diesel per hour.I'm sure somebody else more adept at hunting up the figures will supply us with the energy requirement necessary.

Then there is the problem of building a satisfactorily strong tank -low temperatures play hobb with the strength of metals -they become brittle.And ordinary sized tanks have a lot of surface area in relation to thier volume, meaning they need a LOT of insulation.It seems more likely that very high pressure tanks that are not insulated will prove to be cheaper-and less energy will be required to refuel.

Of course there could be advances in synthetic materials that make the insulated liquid tanks cheaper than the larger ordinary high pressure tanks sometime between now and the time diesel supplies become a real problem.

There is room to suspend ordinary high pressure tanks under the trailers of tractor trailers and coupling the tanks to the tractors is very simple and cheap and easy.Furthermore a great many trucks haul heavy materials that do not occupy nearly all the available cargo space even if using an enclosed van.

Conversions are always a pain in the axx.Most if not all the major engine manufacturers already build natural gas and propane fueled engines and they are quite as reliable as diesels.When Catepillar and Mack and Cummins put thier own names on them at the factory, dual fuel and ng fuel systems are basically trouble free.

My guess is that when we see ng trucks they will displace diesels in areas and on jobs where ng is handy and trips are short at first.Then ng will become available at larger truck stops along the interstates so that a truck can refuel easily on a long trip.Switching trailers and tractors only takes about five minutes and on the fringes of areas where ng is available "drop and hook " can get the job done so long as some diesel is still available.

Truck drivers are subject to very stiff penalties these days for exceeding permitted workimng hours and stopping to refuel or switch drivers will not break the industry.Drivers find it necessary to hang around truck stops -you can't do much joyriding in a truck.Strip clubs are pretty much totally off limits except when driving a personal vehicle.Drivers simply can't afford to be around places that serve alcohol when on the job-even if they are known teetotalers.

But in the end the future of long distance hauling belongs to the train.The fuel, maintainence,and manpower efficiencies are overwhelming and coal fired and nuclear electricity are apt to be cheaper than ng at "retail"-meaning a couple of hundred gallons at a time at a truck stop..Furthermore it seems very likely that we will have quite a bit of wind power available in the future.Given the exceptional energy efficiency of electric trains even solar electricity might be cheaper in a decade or two than diesel.

One thing is for sure-a railroad tank car is of a size well suited to either liquid or high pressure ng storage and will hold enough to make the cost per gallon stored reasonable.Adding two or three of them to a frieght train behind the locomotive will not be a huge burden to the railroads.

It looks like all that ng is really out there. MAYBE it will be cheap.If so I can load some tanks up on the back of my truck and keep on trucking.A little red on my face if I'm wrong about the price of it wouldn't bother me a bit.

Cost of LNG per diesel equivalent gallon is $1.09. Engines run 10% more efficient than extraclean diesel. Lube oil and maintenance are higher though.

LNG trucks for sale--300-500 miles per fill-up.

Nortel LNG truck fleet

Natural Gas Technologies
Low-Cost Refueling Station
As the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) advances toward widespread commercial application, the need for LNG and CNG refueling stations with low construction and operating costs becomes more urgent.

At present, the cost of a typical LNG refueling station is high, between $350,000 to well over a $1,000,000 for the mechanical systems alone. These costs compare unfavorably with the cost of a conventional gasoline station, at about $50,000 to $150,000. Several issues tend to create the large difference in cost. The primary one is the need for specialized equipment for storing and handling the cryogenic liquid (mostly methane) that constitutes LNG fuel. [The methane is maintained in a liquid state in a vacuum-insulated tank at a temperature of about -130 to -160°C (-200 to -260°F) and at a pressure of about 25 to 135 psi.]

The purpose of this research is to develop the avenues by which natural gas can be dispensed economically so that the commercial acceptance of LNG and CNG as vehicle fuels can be enhanced. The primary objective is to provide natural gas fueling stations designs that are comparable in cost and performance to conventional filling stations.

The “newness” of LNG as a fuel also contributes to the higher cost, as research must be conducted to develop new equipment and improved methods to handle the fuel. Finally, these issues must be resolved: “The cost will decrease when purchasing volume goes up,” versus “Purchasing volume will not go up until the cost decreases.”

The research is supported by public (U.S. DOE) and private (Gas Research Institute, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Southern California Gas) funding. Collaborations with other private sector parties will contribute funding for the construction and demonstration phases. The research will demonstrate new technologies and fuel management strategies to further establish natural gas as a viable, economical, technically sound, and environmentally friendly alternative to diesel fuel and gasoline.

The LNG/CNG refueling station will have the following features:

Ease and safety of use and operation. Attendants and drivers with little or no specialized training will be able to operate the facility to refuel vehicles.
Consideration of fuel management. The station will be able to dispense fuel at temperatures and pressures compatible with the vehicles' various fuel tank conditions.
Capability to refuel warm and high-pressure vehicle tanks. The station will include provision for dispensing cold fuel into a warm vehicle tank or a tank at high pressure, without great inconvenience and without significant delays.
Flow capacity. The station will be able to dispense fuel to heavy-duty vehicles at 30 to 50 gal/minute.
Upgradeable. The station design will be modular in nature, allowing for economical configurations that can be used for small private operations to large municipal transit fleets.
Innovation and simplification will achieve the lower cost goals. For example, most current designs for LNG fueling stations use a high-volume, high-pressure pump to transfer fuel from the station tank to the vehicle tank. These pumps are very expensive, and their use contributes significantly to the high cost of conventional LNG refueling stations. To provide CNG fuel, a separate compressor station with associated mechanical and storage system is required at a cost roughly equivalent to the LNG stations.

INL researches intend to reduce the cost of the fueling station by using a design that avoids the need for the high-volume pump and uses the high-pressure pump to provide CNG as needed providing an integrated LNG and CNG fueling station.

Worried about freight trucks running out of fuel?

Got yer facts right here, Mackie. :oD

We know you don't like trains much--you completely passed over their HUGE contribution to the total Civil War picture as you knitpicked about firing rates of rifles during individual battles when you discounted the importance of ALL new tech to that war a month or two back. Trains will have a much larger role in the future because their roadbeds are cheaper to maintain than the ones we now subsidize for long haul trucking. We will be resource constrained. The current road system will not be maintained. Just ride around the crumbling redundant asphalt in a place like western Mass to get a preview of what the highway system will look like when we start to do the Dubai thing (in one fashion or another) on our debt.

Local developed road hubs can be well served by a vibrant rail system. Flying and renting a vehicle for personal trans is more practical than driving a long way now, that would work at least as well from well developed rail. Airport subsidies are huge. If we don't reorder our subsidies away from roads and airports to a more readily maintained and fueled rail system we WILL LOSE big time. This won't happen overnight but the move needs to start yesterday. Just in time delivery is not nearly as cheap as the finance boys make it out to be when all the subsidies it requires are added in.

It looks like all that ng is really out there.

all that ng is really out there if possible and speculative resources are really reserves as boone pickens insists on claiming.

i agree, however that the resource estimates are really "out there", as in "outer space" (no pun intended).

In case anyone's interested US DOE's plan is to install 305 GW of wind by 2030 to get 20% of electricity from wind and reduce natural gas use for grid generation by 50%, which I think is very cool. ;-)

As a thought.... Say Public Opinion is equal to George Wills! Than there is still a long way ahead for convincing the General Public Opinion for every body. Don't give up folks.

Does anyone know where those statistics came from that he posted regarding earlier predictions regrading oil running out? I could swear I read them somewhere recently, but I can't remember where they came from. Anyone know? Thanks!