There's a common tactic on discussion boards that I call "link bombardment." It consists of presenting a veritable blizzard of links on a subject
to create the impression of knowing what one is talking about. Anyone who reads the posts is expected to believe that the poster has read and (more
important) understood and rationally considered all the material linked. It is also expected that few readers will actually do more than glance at
the volumes of material linked, so that meaningful discussion of the material is usually avoidable.
The answer to link bombardment is to present a rational argument, with minimal links to provide data in support of that argument where it is needed (I
will present only one, below), and invite response. So:
I'll present the link first. Please ignore the opinions expressed and concentrate on the data graphs. I will present my own opinions here. Note
the graphs for North American oil production, and for the different peaks for different regions of the world. Very significant points occur when the
majority of the world's oil production will occur in OPEC countries (2007), and when the majority of the world's oil production will come from the
Middle East (2025), due to earlier declines elsewhere, for reasons that will be clear shortly.
Here's the link: dieoff.org...
As noted above, we have already seen an example of peak oil. It occurred in the United States in 1970. Prior to the 1970s, the U.S. had been a net
exporter of oil. In 1973, the U.S. (along with many other countries) experienced catastrophic oil shortages caused by a politically-motivated embargo
imposed by the OPEC cartel.
Many people insisted at the time that we weren't running out of oil, which was technically true (the global peak was still many years away). But
even though the shortage was politically caused, it was also caused by peak oil, not by the global peak (not yet a reality), but by the U.S. peak.
If the U.S. had not reached its oil peak in 1970, OPEC would not have been able to cause us economic problems with its embargo.
So in that sense, when people insisted that the shortage was not caused by running out of oil, they were wrong.
Similar considerations apply today. "Peak oil" is not a single event with everything running smoothly until we hit it. Oil is produced locally and
combined together on the market, so what we have is a lot of regional peaks, and the global peak is something that happens when the decline in regions
that have peaked outstrips the increasing production in regions that still haven't.
A lot of regions of the world have already peaked. These include North America (1985), Central and South America (2005), Europe (2000), the former
USSR (1987), Africa (2004), and Asia (2002). The only major oil-producing region that has not yet peaked is the Middle East, which is expected to
reach peak in 2011.
If we haven't reached the global peak yet, the reason is because increases in Middle East oil production have so far managed to oustrip declines in
the rest of the world. But what that means is that the world's oil consumption has come to rely on oil from the Middle East, and if anything should
happen to disrupt that flow -- like a war in Iraq, for example -- there is no place in the world from which the lost oil production can be
So, when the oil companies insist (as they did in one of the links from the bombardment) that today's rising prices are not caused by peak oil, they
are, at best, only technically correct in the same sense as people were right about the 1970s shortages. The rise in prices is indeed caused at the
moment by non-geological factors such as the Iraq war.
But at the same time, they ARE caused by geological factors, because if oil production weren't already declining everywhere except the Middle East,
the Iraq war would not have the effect that it does.
We don't have to wait for peak oil to actually happen to see its effects. We've seen the effects of approaching the peak since the 1970s. Just
open your eyes.