I have written a number of posts (most recently here, with other links therein) about the follies of those who do their damnedest to debunk the reality of Peak Oil with what can be charitably described as almost-factual claims. Common themes and buzzwords seem to populate most of the efforts, as if they are all working from the same playbook of right-wing nonsense.
Erik Curren touched on this theme recently, wondering aloud about the lack of coincidence in the disinformation campaign revving up once again. Erik cited a recent Steve Levine Foreign Policy post about the “cottage industry” developing in recent weeks about how we’re on the verge of that elusive “energy independence.” Both are typically good reads from these two writers.
I’m thinking that we now have an almost-official test to decide if one should pay any attention to the kool-aid-sipping advocates of “peak oil nonsense” and its relatives.
The playbook used has few components, given the limited facts* supporting their contentions [* a term used loosely in quantifying their arguments, since they are predominantly fact-free). But it’s become commonplace to find most if not all of their limited buzzwords and claims in every pseudo-argument put forth.
I recently posted (here and here) about the deniers’ repeated assertions that “Peak Oil advocates believe we are soon running out of oil”, despite the fact the fact that no credible Peak Oil proponent EVER makes that farcical claim. Anyone imputing that statement to Peak Oil proponents demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about the simplest aspects of this subject.
But bless ‘em, they keep trotting out that same nonsense over and over. I guess when you don’t have facts to support your claims, using the same sincere-sounding terms is as good a Plan B as one can have. It’s on Page One of the Faux News Bible.
A second test is just as to employ. If you are reading anything which purportedly calls into doubt the inevitability and reality of Peak Oil, and the writer makes the claim of “vast” resources/reserves/supply/Whatever as a point of rebuttal, you can stop reading. Anything subsequent to that claim (alone or in combination with the “running out of oil” nonsense), will only further demonstrate the non-serious nature of the argument offered. Why waste your time?
As for “vast” … what exactly does that mean? Sounds impressive as all get-out, doesn’t it? Vast is almost unquantifiable; it’s a ginormous, huge-like plentifulness which almost makes questioning it at all an exercise in its own foolishness. Who wants to doubt anyone who asserts we have a vast anything? How do ever run out of vast? If we have vast, we have enough….
Unfortunately, some of us are actually obliged to live on a planet where facts matter. Rational discussions and attempts at finding worthwhile solutions thus necessitate full and fair consideration of those damned annoying truths. No doubt: a solid fact can ruin a nonsensical argument in no time, which is why it’s apparently best not to even dwell on them at all if you can instead put forth weighty phrases which sound so much more meaningful instead.
Facts are boring; but an embellished and unquantifiable non-truth? Now that’s worth reading!
Calling it the “seventh-largest oil or gas find” of 2011, the New York Times’ Clifford Krauss* recently explained that explorations hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle (hello!) resulted in “an estimated 250 million barrels of retrievable” oil found in the Skrugard field. (* I discussed a previous report by Mr. Krauss just under one year ago.)
At the risk of confusing our ardent Peak Oil debunkers, world-wide energy demands require approximately 85 million barrels of oil per day (i.e., 24 hours; one-seventh of one week; one thirtieth of one month).
So the complex calculations needed to understand this in terms all of us can appreciate requires that we:
(1) Take the 250 million barrel figure cited;
(2) Take the 85 million barrel per day figure I used;
(3) divide 250 million by 85 million [or if that is too difficult, then divide 250 by 85 and then add lots of zeros after)
The result is how long that vast find will last energy users here on fact-based Planet Earth.
If the result was too difficult to compute, I’ll save you the trouble. That 250 million barrels of oil, if fully developed and brought to market at some distant point in the future, would get us through a whopping seventy-some hours! [As in: today is Tuesday, so all of that field would be bone-dry by Friday.]
As I’ve noted previously (one example here), these are the types of supporting “facts” routinely used by our denier counterparts in attempting to persuade readers that Peak Oil is just so much hooey. It’s another sure sign that we’re dealing with a peculiar kind of proposition–one that relies on as few facts as possible.
Now, however, the crop of deniers have apparently been instructed to add the following statement to their stable of non-existent- or half-truths. When assessing the value of information being offered, Test Criteria # 4 now in place [my emphasis]:
Peak oil, the belief that the US is running out of domestic oil or natural gas, is increasingly being discredited…. 
The technological breakthroughs in seismology and fracking are allowing access to reserves unknown just a few years ago, putting the lie to the now-discredited theme of ‘peak oil’…. 
In truth, the “now-discredited” Peak Oil “theory” is being discredited only by those fact-free, disingenuous voices, but perhaps I’m being too nit-picky. “Now-discredited” sure as hell sounds good! Who cares if the non-discrediting is being done by the ill-informed?
It’s not a hell of a lot different than the “running out of oil” claim which curiously enough is made only by those denying Peak Oil. Using their lack of understanding and instead attributing it as an assertion made by us liberal-atheist-socialist-doomer-unpatriotic scumbags is an admittedly good trick! Not high on the integrity or character scale, but a good trick nonetheless.
More recently, Erik Curren raised some necessary questions directed to those of us on the factual side of the Peak Oil fence as to how we go about educating the public. I maintain (and frequently post accordingly) that one of the ways we must do so is to continue pointing out the fallacies, disinformation, and outright nonsense spouted by those with a vested interest in making certain that the fossil fuel industry remains front and center in supplying our energy needs well into the future … facts be damned!
I first raised this issue more than a year ago, and remain just as committed to it now as I was then. The nonsense helps only a few (and I have yet come to a logic-based understanding as to what motivates people to deny reality, avoid taking steps to help prepare others for a more secure future, and why they have decided that this ought to be their contribution).
If peers in the “pro-”Peak Oil camp continue their efforts not for self-serving reasons but to awaken the public to the challenges we’ll all face (as they clearly do), then we must continue to point out the “rubbish, gibberish, claptrap, balderdash, blarney; informal hogwash, baloney, rot, moonshine, garbage, jive, tripe, drivel, bilge, bull, guff, bunk, bosh, BS, eyewash, piffle, poppycock, phooey, hooey, malarkey, hokum, twaddle, gobbledygook, codswallop, flapdoodle, hot air; dated bunkum, tommyrot; bullshit and crap” [courtesy of my Macbook] which gets peddled by too many who so obviously have very little concern for the long-term well-being of their fellow citizens.
I’ll speak more on this the next time.
 http://www.smallcapnetwork.com/Why-Peak-Oil-is-Nonsense-A-Look-at-Small-and-Mid-Cap-Domestic-Oil-Stocks-OXY-BEXP-NOG-KOG-OREO/s/via/3414/blog/view/p/mid/1/id/13/; Why Peak Oil is Nonsense: A Look at Small and Mid Cap Domestic Oil Stocks by John Udovich, November 13, 2011
 http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/energy/9591-the-oil-map-of-the-world-is-shifting-to-the-west; The Oil Map of the World Is Shifting to the West by Bob Adelmann, November 1, 2011