I found this article at Gizmodo to be chuckle worthy. In it author Matt Novak flags a UPI syndicated news story from 1975 predicting that America will be out of oil by 2015. Or, you know, this year.
“The United States may be totally independent of Arab oil by the year 2015,” the article states. “Unfortunately, so will everyone else because statistically that will be the year the last barrel of oil is pumped from the last well on earth.”
Note the tone of the article. There is no hedging here. The U.S. wasn’t projected to be out of oil. The author of the article included no suggestion that this might be an estimate. This was reported as fact. America, and the world, would be out of oil by 2015.
Because, you see, peak oil was settled science. Except, it also turned out to be wrong science, as most malthusian projections do, because it failed to take into account humanity’s infinite capacity to invent and innovate. In 2015 the big problem for the oil industry isn’t that they can’t find more oil, but rather that the market is being flooded with oil and that’s driving down prices.
But what’s really funny is Novak’s reaction. You see, his intent in flagging the 1975 article was to illustrate that “peak oil” theories could no longer be relied upon as justification to move humanity away from fossil fuels.
“Peak oil is a myth. The terrible dogma of peak oil is not why we should be embracing alternative energy. Global climate change is the reason. Clear and simple,” Novak writes, with no apparent irony. “Everyone needs to stop wearing peak oil like a fucking security blanket.”
The problem is that if the settled science of peak oil was wrong, why should we believe the settled science of climate change? Because the climate change alarmists are guilty of the same sort of false predictions the peak oil alarmists were.
For instance, Al Gore predicted in 2008 that by 2013 the arctic ice cap would be gone. He was wrong. By 2013 the arctic ice cap was growing. And while we’re often told about climate models which predict doom for the future of humanity, it turns out that most of those models – more than 95 percent of them – haven’t accurately predicted actual observations.
I know, I know. This makes me a “denier” (though the AP stylebook says that term is now verboten). But if being skeptical of scientific conclusions that seem motivated more by ideology and politics than a desire to accurately observe and interpret the world around us makes me a denier, then I guess it’s so.
The peak oil alarmists were wrong. The climate change alarmists are wrong too.