August 21, 2005

A RATHER BRUTAL FISKING of the New York Times’ “Peak Oil” article, from Steven Levitt at the Freakonomics weblog:

One might think that doomsday proponents would be chastened by the long history of people of their ilk being wrong: Nostradamus, Malthus, Paul Ehrlich, etc. Clearly they are not. . . . The NY Times article totally flubs the economics time and again.

Oil, of course, is not a unitary commodity. Huge amounts of oil, from shale and tar sands and other reserves, become economically exploitable at prices not much higher than we’re seeing now. At most, we’re facing “peak cheap oil,” and so far I’m not convinced that we’re there yet, even though I’m not quite as optimistic as these guys are.

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