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The Forum > Article Comments > The developing scandal around the International Energy Agency and peak oil > Comments

The developing scandal around the International Energy Agency and peak oil : Comments

By Michael Lardelli, published 18/11/2009

According to whistleblowers the IEA has overestimated the rate of future oil production because of pressure from the US.

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It is not true that this "scandal" has not been reported in any Australian media. It appeared in The Age on November 11.

The statement "The corollary of the IEAís assumption that oil (energy) use must increase in line with economic growth is that, if energy availability is now in decline, then economic activity must decline with it" would only be true if oil was irreplaceable as a source of energy. This is patently untrue. Gas and electricity from any source can perform many tasks current done with oil. Peak oil does not mean NO oil - it means reducing supplies over decades. With increasing use of electricity for light vehicles and public transport and gas for some local heavy vehicles the demand for oil will decline along with the reducing supply.

The first sentence of the last paragraph begs an interesting question.

"It is tragically apparent that we can no longer trust the pronouncements of the high authorities to whom we usually turn when seeking advice on which to base decisions about our future"

Where does that leave the IPCC?
Posted by Martin N, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 9:56:39 AM
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Martin, you are right, gas and coal liquids can help but the emphasis
must be on the word help.
The scale and timing is too large and too short for other than
quick patches.
The government should plan for rationing and take control of oil
purchasing as the oil companies here are all owned by the overseas
majors. Can you see an Australian screen jockey ignoring an instruction
to hold off on a bid until the EU & US buyers have got what they need ?

Where does this leave the IPCC ?
Up the well known creek without a paddle !
Posted by Bazz, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 10:43:47 AM
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"...undeveloped oilfields and fields yet to be discovered."

Very hard cobber to estimate production from oil reserves yet to be discovered.

We've got more natural gas coming out of the NW cape than we know what to do with. About 2000 years worth. 400 years of coal, etc, etc.

These articles always have the prerequisite doom and gloom angle. It's necessary otherwise you don't have a story.

But the real question is - based on the same tendentious line of 'reasoning' - what will happen when a meteorite slams in to the earth sometime in the future? We'll die. End of story.
Posted by Cheryl, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 10:45:30 AM
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Cheryl said,
>We've got more natural gas coming out of the NW cape than we know what
>to do with. About 2000 years worth. 400 years of coal, etc, etc.

Gas there is a lot, but much is under contract to China and is years
away from delivery. If we convert our car fleet to gas, it will not
last all that long and we will might have to ban export.
It would take many years to install the gas in all service stations
and fit out all cars and trucks.

While your suggestion is valid, it falls down on the scale of the operation.

Most people thought there was hundreds of years of coal.
That was until the German Energy Watch people decided to check.
At *present* usage peak coal is in about 15 to 20 years time.
I'll bet tou didn't know that !
Posted by Bazz, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:03:05 AM
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The most interesting part of all this to me is how it happened at all. I gather the IEA was formed after the 1970's oil shocks to keep provide an unbiased and trusted source to the US government on oil. Obviously it has been doing the reverse lately, so what happened?

The sources Michael lists in his article are scholarly and so stay well above such speculation, but outside of that environment in a commentary here http://www.peakoil.net/uhdsg/weo2004/TheUppsalaCode.html one of the authors of those papers describes what he thinks happened. Here is a quote. As a background, the IEA used information from the US Geological survey as a primary source of data.

"The USGS commenced its study of world oil following the shocks of the 1970s, and for many years issued sound evaluations at successive meetings of the World Petroleum Congress. But a departure came with the study of 2000, under the projectís new director, claiming a Mean estimate of the total discovery to 2025 of 3.3 trillion barrels."

2000 was when Bush was elected of course. He is well known for never letting a fact derail his political agenda. His managing to get the entire CIA to lie about there being WMD's in Iraq is the most well known instance, but it was endemic throughout his tenure:

- When a government organisation planned to strengthen the lead poisoning regulations, the administration rejected the recommendation and replaced two members of the panel with individuals tied to the lead industry. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2004/02/62339

- Forced the National Cancer Institute to say that abortion may cause breast cancer. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465046762?ie=UTF8&tag=slatmaga-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0465046762

- Ordered the CDC to remove information about condom use and efficacy from its Web site.

There are lots more examples here: http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/documents/20080130103545.pdf

Bush's favoured "alternate energy" proposal was a Hydrogen based economy. The Hydrogen would be produced from electricity which would in turn be produced by his fossil fuel mates. http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2004/11/65693?currentPage=2 That of course required there is strong evidence there is a lot of fossil fuels around, and no global warming. Producing strong evidence is one few things Bush did do well.
Posted by rstuart, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:18:22 AM
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"We've been running out of oil since I was a boy" - Prof. Frank Notestein.

Another day, another peak oil fulminator. And, ooh! surprise! another global hunger Jeremiad on the same day!

The only thing more predictable is the roll-around of the next climate change scare piece.

Time to go look at some lolcats, I think ...
Posted by Clownfish, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 12:10:02 PM
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