Wednesday, January 24, 2007The Wisconsin State Journal carried an editorial which dismissed peak oil as "twaddle."
RENEW Wisconsin and the Madison Peak Oil Group submitted this response:
You based your editorial (Put the brakes on anti-car drive, January 24) on your assumption that the peaking of world oil and natural gas production amounts to “twaddle.”
Twaddle it isn’t. In every country that was blessed with oil and natural gas, production has historically followed a bell shaped curve, as first theorized by Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert in 1956. Since 1970, U.S. oil output has been in terminal decline. Other nations in similar circumstances include the United Kingdom, Norway, and Mexico. We are very close to reaching a global peak if we haven’t already.
The Madison Peak Oil Group, a different animal entirely from the Downtown Isthmus Group, includes some of the state’s most respected energy professionals. We are a clearinghouse for information on peak oil and natural gas, and we communicate the information individually and collectively in presentations and briefings to policymakers, business leaders, and public at large.
On the national stage, Representative Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican and former high school science teacher, founded the Peak Oil Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Bartlett is no one’s idea of a leftist.
In a presentation to Congress, Bartlett stated that peak oil “is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse Bible sect or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is a scientific conclusion of the best-paid, most widely respected geologists, physicists and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by the phenomenon known as global peak oil.”
Bartlett offers advice on what needs to be done: “We need to change the culture. We have had a culture which says ‘the more energy you use, the more successful you are’. We need to have a culture that says ‘the less energy you can use to be comfortable, the better off you are and the better you should feel about yourself.’ We need to have a culture which has entirely new goals.”
No doubt the ideas of the Madison Isthmus Group will strike many as a bit off the wall. But that doesn’t relieve citizens and communities from the obligation to think about and plan for the end of cheap and plentiful oil and natural gas.