This past week, the two sides of the peak oil debate have been solidified in the form of what you might describe as position statements. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) released a report titled, “Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down: Myths, Legends, and the Future of Oil Resources“, to debunk the theory that predicts the global production of easily available cheap crude oil will go into irreversible decline with the next decade. Unfortunately the actual report costs US$1000, and only an executive summary was made available as a press release. The pro-peak camp released several statements in response, the most technically comprehensive of which was prepared by The Oil Drum. To their credit, much of the pro-peak argument is based on research from openly available sources. Nevertheless, it takes a substantial investment in time to fact check this, whereas CERA asks us to either pony up the cash or trust their results on faith. Some of the economic basis on which CERA bases its position is ridiculed in video:
although the use of Stephen Colbert’s The Word format could have been better executed.
Unfortunately for the peak oil-ers, the argument has been muddied over the last few years by 9/11 conspiracies. Recent evidence of this appears in the November newsletter of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) which includes a link to Oil, Smoke & Mirrors, a movie that piggybacks widely debunked 9/11 conspiracies on peak oil theory. The straw man risk is clearly evident here and only serves to undermine any resolution of this ongoing debate.
When linking 9/11 to the global oil economy, I prefer the approach of Brian McNamara and Knife Party: