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Raymond J. Learsy

Raymond J. Learsy

Posted: August 25, 2009 04:37 PM

Peak Oil Agonistes: The New York Times Finally Comes Around to Where HuffPost Never Feared to Tread


This is a day of deep gloom for the McPeaksters, those preaching the gospel of "Peak Oil". The New York Times, otherwise deeply empathetic to oil patch pseudo science, this day burst one of the most entrenched of the oil patches' nuggets of disinformation, the theory of "Peak Oil".

There it was in the Op-ed section of the hallowed pages of the NYTimes, three columns wide, "Peak Oil Is A Waste of Energy," by Michael Lynch, a former director at the Center for International Studies at M.I.T.

His tone was unequivocal: "peak oil theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material." He goes on, "most arguments about peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance on how the oil industry goes about finding fields and extracting petroleum."

After expanding on these points, he goes on to conclude that "Oil remains abundant and will likely come down closer to the historical level of $30 a barrel as new supplies come forward in the deep waters off West Africa, and Latin America, in East Africa and perhaps the Bakken oil shale fields of Montana and North Dakota".

Mr. Lynch's "revelations" in the Times are especially gratifying in that at last, one of the great misnomers of public disinformation bordering closer to brainwashing has been brought to heel.

While others in the media followed the oil industry party line, The Huffington Post braved scorn and derisiveness providing a platform for a series of posts dating back to 2006 questioning the otherwise received truths ministered to a trusting and deceived public by the hierarchy of "Peak Oil." These included:

-"Oil is Not Scarce--The Oil Industry Continues To Play Us For Fools", 05.24.06"
-"Massive Oil Find In Gulf Of Mexico Brings Gloom To 'Peak Oil' Pranksters", 09.08.06
-"Peak Oil is Snake Oil!", 06.25.07
-"Why Does Abiotic Oil Theory Ignite Peak Oil Theorists' Fulminations ??" 08.14.08
-"President Obama's Pledge to End 'The Tyranny of Oil"; 'Peak Oil' Mutating to "Peak Consumption", 04.20.09
-"The International Energy Agency Shills For OPEC, The Oil Speculators and The Peak Oil Pranksters" 08.16.09

The last post above focuses on Fatih Birol, the IEA's top economist which also serves as the starting point of Mr. Lynch's Op-ed: "Along comes Fatih Birol to insist that we'll reach the peak moment in ten years, a decade sooner than most previous predictions." Then, Mr. Lynch proceeds to decimate Mr. Birol's theory.

All this may be gloom incarnate for the "Peaksters". For the rest of us it is a breath of fresh air, and as Mr. Lynch clearly puts forward, "This is not to say that we shouldn't keep looking for other cost-effective low pollution energy sources".