No+bell+curve - No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil...

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No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil Published on Energy Bulletin ( http://www. ) No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil Published Mon, 10/26/2009 - 07:00 by Energy Bulletin If levity were allowed in the serious matter of running out of cheap oil, one might say A funny thing happened on the way to the peak. The maximum rate of global output may be somewhat higher than the already reached ca. 87 million barrels per day, but world oil does not want to go there. Like a frightened horse in a dark forest, it has stopped; keeps neighing and shaking its sweaty head, letting the rider (global society) know that this is it. No further! A clear sense of direction has been lost and those mysterious lights that flicker here and there only make our mobility provider turn its insides out. The notion that accelerated drawdown of a nonrenewable resource must reach a climactic bliss point of intensity beyond which market incentives move into high gear to substitute away from it is beyond debate. But oil is a resource like no other. The economy s ever more evident inability to reduce dependence on it while retaining growth raises the strong possibility that the peak -- as rationally defined, rather than empirically experienced -- will never be reached. What proved to be correct for individual nations, well-defined regions, and specific fields in the relatively early stages of exhausting traditional oil -- namely reaching an objective maximum rate of output and declining smoothly thereafter -- seems staggeringly improbable for the entire world in the sunset phase of the petroleum age. What looked like a summit, arching against a clear sky of commonplace obviousness from a distance, is turning out to be the mirage of a Sphinx from the near. To show this, we need to keep in mind that in the life of any geographically defined oil wealth -- from a single well to the planet -- there are three peaks: One relates to physics, the other to economics, and the third is the actually recorded, de facto peak. Let s start with this last one since it is the most transparent. De Facto Peak file:///C|/Documents and Settings/pgrasmsn/Desktop/No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil.htm (1 of 7) [11/4/2009 12:47:33 PM]
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No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil Data on peak resource experience suggests that the zenith of exploitation should be somewhere around the point where reserves become half depleted. As far as oil is concerned, we can throw this compass into the wastebasket. Disagreements over how much is left are too big to be reconciled by averaging. The time may have come for the empire of economic soothsaying to sign the instrument of surrender. We don
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course ENVIRON 404 taught by Professor Rasmussen during the Fall '11 term at University of Michigan.

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No+bell+curve - No bell curve in the jaws of peak oil...

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