In his 1956 paper, Hubbert wrote:"On the basis of the present estimates of the ultimate reserves of world petroleum and natural gas, it appears that the culmination of world production of these products should occur within a half a century [i.e., by 2006]."It's really bizarre that someone could read anything - literally, any single thing - about Hubbert's Peak and declare that Hubbert predicted that we'd run out of oil yesterday. You'd have to be a moron. Seriously.
So get in your Hummer and take your last drive, Clive. Sometime during 2006, we will have used up every last drop of crude oil on the planet. We’re not talking “decline” in oil from a production “peak,” we’re talking “culmination,” completely gone, kaput, dead out of crude—and not enough natural gas left to roast a weenie. In his 1956 treatise, Hubbert wrote that Planet Earth could produce not a drop more than one and a quarter trillion barrels of crude.
Palast doesn't believe in geology, you see. Palast believes that the current high price of oil is driven not by supply-chain constraints, but by oil cartel manipulations.
There is so much stupidity in the next few paragraphs:
Have we peaked? Worldwide oil reserves continue to rise even faster than America and China can burn it. Since 1980, reserves, despite our binge-guzzling, have risen from 648 billion to 1.2 trillion barrels. Yet, weirdly, despite the rising flood of discovered crude, its price quadrupled between 2001 and 2005.... The oil squeeze tightened after the Bush Administration, beginning with the energy bill of 2001, abandoned conservation and encouraged a monstrous jump of two million barrels a day in U.S. oil consumption.So we've got a number of dumb assertions in these sentences:
So please don’t slander Mother Earth and say she’s run out of oil when it’s man-made mischief to blame. Evil, not geology, has a chokehold on energy; nature is ready to give us crude at $12 a barrel where it was just a few short years ago.
1) Reserve size is a linear determinant of oil production. By this logic, Canada should produce more oil every day than Saudi Arabia.
2) Reserves have grown faster than consumption. Palast says reserves have doubled since 1980. We consumed 64 million barrels per day in 1980. So at first, it looks like Palast is right. Of course, by accepting these numbers without qualification, Palast is inadvertently giving a lot of credit to the rulers of OPEC, all of whom multiplied their stated reserves severalfold during the 1980s, usually with no explanation. This oil magically appeared on the ledgers, and has never left or been explained. Palast mentions this nowhere in this piece. (I confirmed Palast's numbers at the EIA website of the US Department of Energy.)
3) If it weren't for Exxon, we'd be at $12/barrel oil. This is simply idiotic. The price of production for a large chunk of the world's oil is higher than $12/barrel. I'd have to check, but I'm relatively certain that if oil dropped to $12, all production in Alberta and Alaska would stop, most of Russia would stop exporting, and maybe a solid chunk of places like Venezuela and Iran, too. All told, $12/barrel would cut several million barrels of production from the world market, meaning - yup - the price would go through the roof again.
All of this is simple economics, but Palast needs to ignore Econ 101 if he can make a case against the Exxons of the world.
(Let no one ever say that I'm unwilling to criticize idiots on the left. Damn it, I want the people on our side to be angry and right, not just angry.)