The Death of Peak Oil: End of a Flawed Theory
John Kemp, Fiscal Times, 22 July 2013 (hat tip: Big Picture)
Failed predictions about peaking oil supplies, and steep rises in the price of other commodities, all stem from the same error: assuming a world of roughly constant technology, rather than one where technology is constantly changing, sometimes slowly, at other times in large disruptive jumps. Malthus, Jevons, Beal, Hubbert, the authors of Limits to Growth, Hirsch and the modern peak-oilers all failed to see how technology was already changing the world even as they wrote, and would alter it beyond recognition within just a few years.
There is no doubt that some in the "peak" crowd, underestimate potential reserves because of a misunderstanding of the technology out there.
But I have to guestion the mathematical ability of those who say we are out of the woods. Demand has been flat worldwide because of bubble driven economic growth collapsed. Since some hydrocarbon fuels are not easily stored, a lot of the pricing is very elastic. Small drops in demand up or down, can have radical changes in prices. Construction has similar problems. You can't store construction workers to be used at a later time. Right now, construction costs, where you haven't been running into material price competition with bubble-driven Chinese expansion, have been low. If demand were to pick up, the price would go up dramatically.
The very inability of the World Economies to get themselves out of their bubble driven mess should give people pause about the common model used for economic growth. Yes the 1970s population/resource alarmists overstated their case, and I think the NTE (near term extinction) folks are very likely doing the same thing now. But being wrong in the short term is not the same as being incorrect overall.
If we used these new resources as wiggle room to get away from our reliance on limited supply fuel sources, I would be a lot more impressed.