The myth of peak oil

In: Uncategorized

22 Nov 2009

George F Will has a useful op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post arguing that it is a myth that fossil fuels are about to run out. He argues, among other things, that this prediction has been made many times before:

“In 1914, the Bureau of Mines said that U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924. In 1939, the Interior Department said that the world had 13 years’ worth of petroleum reserves. Then a global war was fought, and the postwar boom was fueled. In 1951 Interior reported that the world had . . . 13 years of reserves. In 1970, the world’s proven oil reserves were an estimated 612 billion barrels. By 2006, more than 767 billion barrels had been pumped, and proven reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels. In 1977, scold in chief Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind “could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.” Since then the world has consumed three times more oil than was then in the world’s proven reserves.”

He also points to couple of authoritative articles – by Edward Morse in Foreign Affairs and Daniel Yergin in Foreign Policy – which argue that the world has plentiful reserves for decades to come.

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