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16Jan 2013

Guardian: BP's disastrous forecast on peak oil.

Guardian: BP's disastrous forecast on peak oil.

   Sometimes a news story's structure has just the right cadence and sequence of thought to hit the reader with its most cogent point like a hammer blow- not on the first swing (ie in the lede) but just a bit below. And it's not the smack that readers may expect.

      One learns here that advanced methods of extraction, including of "unconventional and high-carbon oil" - such as from the Alberta oil sands that are glimpsed in that AP photo that the Guardian used - means that fears are probably groundless that  worldwide economic turmoil is looming when oil and gas production hits the wall. 

     Well, even among us greenies that sounds like goodish news to be found in the story. I'm all for a prompt plateau in fossil fuel emissions and orderly transition to renewable energy within the next few decades, or to fossil CO2 sequestration  (might as well sequester the burnt biomass fumes too), or both. But who would be all for one morning to wake up and gas lines are stretching for miles, everywhere, factories are closing and air fares soaring?

    Anyway, the business-story tone of the piece erodes and bit and then wham, half-way through the third graf the word disaster comes up. It's not quite the disaster the story's lede suggests, although a lot of readers will be thinking it. The piece is, perhaps consciously by Harvey but probably not, a natural reinforcer for Bill McKibben's landmark report in Rolling Stone last year on the political meaning of privately-held oil, gas, and coal reserves.  This is not to suggest Harvey's report is a typically award-winningly brilliant or novel construction. But it is one, savvy daily news story that works just exactly right for its purpose. The piece returns to its initial arc - that of a report on fossil fuel prospects - but the tail end of the third graf remains on the mind.

 

Comments

What you have said in the initial part is absolutely true that sometimes the readers get to read such articles that makes a completely blow on to their mindset. Such reads do have direct influence on our thoughts and actions. I liked the intro that you have made to explain your point.

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I was wondering what is really on this picture, good things that it is discuss below the picture. Now I know what is the painting all about. Thanks for sharing.
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. The current irrational exuberance about shale oil, oil shale etc., is just a pipe dream. The oil and gas industry are fervently hoping that if they say the words 'Peak oil is dead' enough, it will magically come true. People only get this desperate when things (from their perspective) are looking very glum indeed.

If Peak Oil were dead, oil prices would be in the $20-$30 range. But they are hovering around $100. The oil industry doth protest too much, methinks.

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