January 31, 2012

Peak oil in Nature magazine

Nature, in some respects a scientific journal, has just published a comment (Climate policy: Oil's tipping point has passed) by peak-oilers James Murray and David King. They are "frightened" by the purported decline of oil production and its attendant escalating price. To solve the problem they suggest "taxing oil to keep prices high." Seriously.

They first identify themselves as committed pessimists:
There is less fossil-fuel production available to us than many people believe.  
[F]orecasts by state oil companies are not audited and seem to be exaggerated. 
[S]everal recent studies suggest that available coal is less abundant than has been assumed. 
[R]ecent reports suggest that both reserves and future production rates [of natural gas] have been substantially overstated.
Then they identify themselves as economically illiterate:
From 2005 onwards, conventional crude-oil production has not risen to match increasing demand. [...] The price still reflects demand [b]ut the supply chain has been unable to keep pace with rising demand and prices. 
Historically, there has been a tight link between oil production and global economic growth. If oil production can't grow, the implication is that the economy can't grow either. 
The price of oil is likely to have been a large contributor to the euro crisis in southern Europe, where countries are completely dependent on foreign oil.

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