Thursday, December 01, 2005

The POD People

I wonder how much longer the Peak Oil Debunkers will continue their assault?

Will the POD people continue their conspiracy crusade long after we’ve passed the peak? Will future generations tell stories, pass down myths and create religions based on magical fountains of infinite oil bubbling from the ground? Will they perform rituals and sacrifices to bring back oil, and use old rigs as sacred sites?

Because the entire notion that Peak Oil can be debunked, in itself requires one to believe in magical fantasies. Essentially, Peak Oil relies on the idea that there is a essentially a finite supply of oil. As we pump it out of the ground, what’s left in the ground diminishes. One day, we will have pumped all the oil worth pumping and we’ll stop. Now that day won’t occur when maximum production occurs. It will occur after the number of producing wells and fields has dwindled dramatically. So essentially, the whole theory of Peak Oil says that one year, we will pump oil at the maximum possible rate. After this year, we’ll never pump oil at that rate again. Peak Oil doesn’t even address running out. It just says production will decline after the peak. It assumes we’ll run out, because there is a finite amount of oil to pump.

Now the abiotic oil theory says that oil is continually being replenished from sources deep in the Earth. There’s no proof of this. No evidence. In fact all of the test wells, that suggest this could be the case, turned out to have biological markers in them. So chemists were able to show that the oil had a biological origin. Now Stephen Gould admits that abiotic oil will likely be contaminated with biotic oil, but this means little so far. What we need to find to prove his theory is a single well with verifiable abiotic oil. Then his theory will be proven. We just need to find only one.

Let’s say we find one field that fits the theory. What then? Well, it still takes one million years for the Earth to produce enough oil to run civilization for one year. So it doesn’t really matter. In fact those that say oil will never run out are technically correct. The oil is replenished from the decomposition of biological matter at one millionth of the rate that we consume it. Big frigging deal.

So back to the POD people. In order to prove that Peak Oil is a myth, one has to prove that oil is not finite. After all that’s the core of the Peak Oil argument. How do we prove that oil is infinite. Well, some sort of theory needs to be constructed to explain where the infinite supply of oil resides. We know that using traditional scientific techniques and logic, that the mass of oil in the Earth, must be less than the mass of the Earth itself. So the infinite quantity of oil can’t be residing in the physical space, bounded by the Earth. We know that oil doesn’t exist between the Earth and the moon, because our spaceships and satellites don’t get oily in space. Perhaps the dark matter in space is oil? How would we verify this? Would it matter? How could we get it to Earth? But still, it’s thought that our universe is finite. If it is, then it can’t contain an infinite quantity of oil. If our universe is infinite, then it could contain an infinite quantity of oil. But still, how do we get it?

So maybe the oil exists in an inter-dimensional region of space? Perhaps it exists outside our space time continuum? So how do we get it? And an infinite amount of oil burned, would require an infinite quantity of oxygen. Where will we find that? And finally, it would be bad to pump and burn an infinite quantity of oil. After all, it would add an infinite quantity of mass to our planet in the form of CO2. At some point, our planet would collapse and begin fusion, becoming a star if it didn’t simply explode first. That would be bad. Even that day would be peak oil day, because we’d quit pumping oil, as we’d be dead.

So what’s left for debunking Peak Oil? Well, magical fantasies can be used I assume. And that’s what the POD people are engaging in when they think they can disprove Peak Oil and thus prove there’s an infinite supply of oil to be pumped and burned.

So let them believe in Hydrocarbon Elves and Natural Gas Faeries. The alternative, dealing with reality and living within the boundaries of our space-time continuum is hard. It’s hard work. It’s real hard. It’s hard. Let them believe their magical stories and myths a little longer. It makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.


At 3:09 AM, Anonymous isaiah said...

entertaining post as always.

of course, the simple answer to abiotic oil theorists is that the USA peaked in 1970, UK in 1999, Norway in 2000, Mexico in 2003, etc. at least a dozen countries are in terminal, irreversible decline. we don't see any magical replenishment in the countries that have already peaked.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we should register

and parody people like michael lynch and huber, et al.

what do you think weaseldog?


At 2:40 PM, Anonymous fizure said...

along the lines of something linke the rediscovery institute:

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

That would be funny.

I like that idea. :)


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