long beach 04








[D]enial strategies suppress both facts and emotions, maladaptive coping strategies admit some of the facts and allow some of the emotions, both often in distorted form, and adaptive coping strategies accept the facts and allow the emotions to be felt, thus promoting more positive behaviours. The three groups of coping strategies may be considered to be sequential in the sense that moving from the first to the second and the second to the third requires that obstacles be overcome….
Some people who use denial strategies are likely to remain ‘stuck’ there regardless of the evidence. (links/references in the original quote) [1]

Those comments were written as part of a study on climate change denial, but their application is easily and accurately extended to peak oil denial and any number of political issues where too many prefer avoiding contemplation of the consequences of ideological principles … but I digress.

Another set of articles and opinion pieces have found their way into the blogosphere in recent weeks—some more ridiculous than others. All, however, share the same tired arguments loosely-constructed from a tenuous fact or two and then magically transformed into the definitive responses to we doom-and-gloom purveyors who get our jollies from sharing facts, evidence, information, and assorted other failings of reality.

This latest in a seemingly never-ending series of posts about peak oil denial and the playbook consistently referenced by the fossil fuel industry’s Happy Talk cheerleaders will examine this most recent collection.

‘There is a new energy reality of vast domestic resources of oil and natural gas brought about by advancing technology… For the first time in generations, we are able to see that our energy supply is no longer limited, foreign, and finite; it is American and abundant.’ [2]

As I’ve noted in numerous posts, I get all tingly when “vast” resources serve as the high-point of the denial machine discussions. “Awash” is a close second….

Notwithstanding some environmental concerns, newly accessible oil and natural-gas resources are being loosed across the United States at such a rate that the nation essentially now is awash in them. [3]

And of course, the always-popular might-perhaps-possibly-could-if-only-maybe:

This [northeastern Nevada] is just one of many potential locations all around the US that could possibly have oil. [4]


Phil Plait recently offered his perspective discussing the equally-prominent climate change denial operation still rolling along at top-speed … facts be damned:

I recently posted yet another debunking of a climate change denial post. The claims made by the writer, David Rose, were not just flatly wrong, but actually ridiculous….[H]e made a pile of other easily disproven statements that didn’t come within a glancing blow of reality.
I’ll admit: It’s no fun writing about this kind of thing. I hate it. I hate having to do it. I’d much rather be writing about galaxies and Saturn and supernovae, and it’s depressing to wake up in the morning and see yet another nonsensical article that I know will get repeated endlessly in the deny-o-sphere echo chamber.
But that’s precisely why I have to slog through it. The more people who can show these claims for what they are — wrong, willfully or otherwise — the better.
Why? Because, sadly, the people who deny the reality around them have a very large megaphone, and in some cases have a lot of motivation to use it. Money, power, riling up the electorate, or, perhaps worst of all, pure zealotry. Nothing is as impenetrable as an armor wrought from fervent ideology.
It’s also upsetting to know that we have the facts, the science, the scientists, and really all of reality on our side. But human nature is a contrary beast, and doubt is a seed that grows lushly in dark places.
It is also easily fed and nurtured, needing only a handful of voices to grow. These voices are legion. (links in the original quote) [5]

I know just how he feels.

A quick check of this blog’s Peak Oil Denial Category will reveal dozens of posts/series I’ve written on that very issue. Three years ago, I offered this in response to a plea on how to more effectively share the message of peak oil:

[Some] advised that finding an ‘enemy’ might be the most effective strategy. The accepted target was the fossil fuel industry. One rationale offered is that facts alone are not enough (true, sad to say), and by demonizing an easily-demonized entity, the peak oil movement may find more sympathetic listeners. I can’t argue with the rationale, but I wonder if the convenience and expediency of targeting the usual bad-guy is the best choice.
I’d like to offer a different enemy—one also easy enough to aim at for a variety of reasons, but critical to those of us who carry legitimate concerns about what life will be like in the years to come as declining oil production becomes apparent….
Why not go after those for whom facts are mere inconveniences to be disregarded when they conflict with a narrow-minded and clearly self-serving agenda? At the risk of starting a cat fight where truth may too quickly become a casualty, why don’t we more forcefully challenge those who deny peak oil (and global warming) and who do so for reasons that generally ignore reality in favor of narrowly-defined interests? Those motivations will ultimately do nothing but promote more eventual harm by denying the truths to those who clearly need them the most….
The far right all-too-consistently tosses out these oh-so-helpful hints [discussed in that post] without bothering to discuss all the (or even any) facts which, in the real world we inhabit, make their suggestions ludicrously impossible to fulfill. Of course, we run the risk of getting bogged down in he said/she-said arguments that quickly devolve into the lowest forms of ‘debate’, but why let those types of offerings go unchallenged? They feed on themselves, and it is tiresome and time-consuming to have to rebut all the nonsense. But if we don’t, uninformed readers and listeners have no reason to at least consider the possibility that there may indeed be other facts out there that should at least be examined in order to make informed assessments, rather than accepting the words of the few. More information is rarely a bad thing, and giving everyone the opportunity to examine the facts and engage in rational discourse as a means of seeking common ground makes for a healthier and more productive society.

I haven’t wavered in that belief, and the recent articles alluded to above give me yet another chance or two to bat down some more of the nonsense passing as advice and learned observations about the world of energy supply.

I’ll have more to say in Part 2.

~ My Photo: sunrise at Long Beach, Rockport, MA – 08.03.10


– I invite you to read my other blogs at richardturcotte.com

New features will debut soon at that website:



This new column begins on February 3, 2014. It’s a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50.

            * THE TRETIAK AGENDA

A political thriller filled with unexpected plot twists and drawn from real world historical events, this eBook is scheduled for Publication on January 28, 2014.

I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 6th. A few teasers will appear between December 16th and December 31st

            * LIFE WILL ANSWER

(The inspiration for the second blog at that website). This eBook is scheduled for Publication on February 12, 2014

I’ll begin posting excerpts on January 15th. A few teasers will appear beginning right after Christmas


Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Peak Oil Matters is dedicated to informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil—while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth.



[1] ( link to the PDF: http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php ): Psychological Adaptation to the Threats and Stresses of a Four Degree World – A paper for “Four Degrees and Beyond” conference, Oxford University 28-30 September 2009 by Clive Hamilton, Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University, Tim Kasser, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Knox College, Illinois, USA [p. 2]
[2] http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-15/fossil-fuel-euphoria-hallelujah-oil-and-gas-forever; Fossil Fuel Euphoria: Hallelujah! Oil and Gas Forever! by Michael T. Klare (at TomDispatch) – 10.15.13 (quoting Karen Moreau of the New York State Petroleum Council.)
[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebuss/2013/09/13/could-big-suv-boom-hint-at-fruits-of-energy-security/; Could Big-SUV Boom Hint At Fruits Of U.S. ‘Energy Security’? by Dale Buss – 09.13.13
[4] http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/10/23/the-us-oil-boom-is-far-from-over/; The U.S. Oil Boom Is far From Over: Part 1 by Callum Turcan, The Motley Fool – 10.23.13
[5] http://grist.org/climate-energy/why-debunk-climate-change-deniers/; Why debunk climate change deniers? by Phil Plait – 09.18.13