2011-06-13 11:53:16Suggestion to cover peak oil
John Cook


Someone emailed me asking about the skeptic argument that peak oil/coal means the IPCC projections are exagerations and suggested SkS cover this:

 The article below also cites recent other studies that are relevant to the question of fossil fuel reserves/supply.

Validity of the Fossil Fuel Production Outlooks in the IPPC Emssion Scenarios by Hook Sivertsson and Aleklett 2010 in Natural Resources Research


I haven’t read through the whole paper in sufficient detail yet and of course don’t have the expertise to critique but this paper seems to suggest  that fossil fuel energy reserves are much less than the IPCC assumes,  will become more expensive (supply vs demand), may not keep up with demand and constrain economic growth and the validity of the emission scenarios of IPCC AR4 are questioned.

I really think one of your group might need to analyse this information.

Not sure if this one is helpful


If anyone is interested in covering this, it's all yours :-)

2011-06-13 14:09:51
Dana Nuccitelli
With all the shale gas and tar sands and crap they keep finding, I find the argument hard to believe. It would make for a good rebuttal, but it would take a good amount of research. Might make a good guest post if we can find an energy expert.
2011-06-13 14:20:11Energy expert
John Cook


I'll add this to my list of solution arguments - really must get off my butt and get the wheels rolling on this!

2011-06-13 18:39:03
Glenn Tamblyn


I can't comment on peak oil/gas etc quantitatively. But surely there is a post in 'Peak Coal - Not'  There is enough of that stuff to go on for a long, long time. And the associated notion of the economic lifetime of a coal plant once constructed. If a plant has an economic liife of 40 years and we need to wind down CO2 emissions much faster than that then the economic term 'stranded asset' sounds like the Mother of all understatements


2011-06-13 22:24:54Peak oil is over-hyped in my opinion
James Wight


Sure, conventional oil production is arguably at or near its peak. But business-as-usual can continue unabated by switching to unconventional liquid fossil fuels which contain even more carbon (albeit are harder to extract). And as Glenn says, peak coal is not on the horizon. Our problem isn’t a shortage of fossil fuels – it’s an abundance of them.

2011-06-14 00:08:31A cautionary note...
John Hartz
John Hartz

SkS has to avoid the temptation to become "all things to all pople." Peak Oil is a complex and controversial issue and there is a plethora of organizations/websites addressing it from a myriad of perspectives. In this case, discretion is the better part of valor -- don't open a new can of worms by discussing peak oil on SkS.  

2011-06-14 00:14:55The Oil Drum
John Hartz
John Hartz

The Oil Drum is a good source of informtion about oil production.

Here are the first three paragrphs of today's lead story:

Saudi Arabia’s crude production is surging and the kingdom is busy developing new super-giant fields in the clearest sign that Riyadh sees sustained demand growth for oil.

The kingdom has accelerated the development of its super-giant Manifa oil field, in the waters of the Gulf. State-owned producer Saudi Aramco announced in its 2010 annual review, published earlier this month, that the field would pump at its maximum rate of 900,000 barrels a day by 2014, a decade earlier than previously thought.

The accelerated timetable, which received little attention as it was overshadowed by the Opec meeting some days later, suggests that Riyadh sees greater oil demand. The company said in its 2009 annual review that Manifa, which has a price tag of about $11bn, would not reach full capacity until 2024.

2011-06-14 00:37:06@John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz

The Oil Drum's homepage includes a "links" BlogRoll (left-hand side). One the category headings in the BlogRoll is: "Enviornamnet & Sustainability Sites". Suggest that you ask the editors of Oil Drum to insert a link to SkS.

2011-06-14 05:38:21
Andy S


I'm something of a peak-oil, gas, coal skeptic (Peak Fish is a distinct probability, though). The Hubbert curve is misleading, in my view, especially with regards to the decline side, which will more likely be some kind of bumpy plataeau or gentle decline in a time of rising prices. Even though respectable opinions may differ on future fosil fuel production rates, I think the IPCC is wise not to adopt a resource-restricted limitation on its more pessimistic scenarios.  I agree with Badger, SkS would be wise not to link itself to any Peak Oil arguments and should remain agnostic on the issue. I have already seen skeptics try to link AGW and Peak Oil as contradictions, when in reality they are unrelated problems with their own uncertainties and timescales. 

I doubt that any of the prominent skeptics would raise peak coal as an argument in favor of AGW inactivism, not because it's wrong (history shows that reality is not a constraint on their range of arguments) but because it goes against the grain of their business-as-usual, the market-can-solve-evrything mantra.

I guess I'm something of an energy expert, having spent most of my career working in oil exploration. But that experience has taught me how much I don't know about the future of oil resources. I would rather leave the subject of Peak Oil to others to debate.

If anyone wants to read a well-documented case against Peak Oil alarmism, I would suggest getting Robin Mills' The Myth of the Oil Crisis, which can be bought as a Kindle download for eight bucks. The author is an oil man based in the Middle East but. like me, considers fossil-fuel caused climate change to be the biggest and most pressing problem we are facing.

2011-06-16 22:35:12Hansen says more than enough fossil fuels to cook the planet
Stephen Leahy


Saw a chart James Hansen used last week in meeting in Oslo showing estimate of the enormous amounts of FF still left in the ground - most is just harder to get at.

Can't use even 25% of known reserves or kiss 2C goodbye - my article on the 2009 Nature paper