Peak Oil and The Olduvai Gorge
From Market Oracle
By Andrew McKillop
The Olduvai Gorge theory of Richard Duncan was that human society would be forced back to the anthropoid ape stage of evolution by peak oil and energy scarcity, and would live like Tanzania’s “Lucy” the best known precursor or human ancestor, taxonomically called “Australopithecus afarensis”, of about 2 million years ago. Duncan’s angle, developed in the late 1990s, was that peak oil and energy resource depletion would firstly make inevitable, then speed up this retreat and defeat of Humanity, as human society was forced back to hunting and gathering. An Internet search with Olduvai Gorge theory will produce hundreds of responses.
Among the admirers of Richard Duncan and his “back to the jungle” theory, Britain’s Prince Charles and the USA’s Bill Clinton have surely consumed a lot of jetfuel kerosene as well as motor gasoline in their lives, to date, and kept away from hunter gathering, as shown by their ability to avoid paperazzi and photo opportunity hunters. They also kept Duncan’s gory theory of mass human die off and backward evolution to hunting-gathering, due to Peak Oil and fossil energy depletion, out of nearly all of their speeches. As we know, certainly in recent years, the elite fear of peak oil has been replaced by global warming fear – as the best excuse to impose “world government”, unelected of course.
GOOD BYE PEAK OIL
Duncan’s theory was given significant media attention about 10 years ago, and was heavily cited by supporters of the US Gas Cliff theory, promoted by writers including Julien Darley and Michael Ruppert in 2004-2006, and by promoters of Doomsday energy shortage and oil soaring to $200 a barrel, such as Matt Simmons. The Gas Cliff theory, we can note, argued that gas resource depletion was running so fast, that US gas resources would be “practically exhausted” by about 2015. Today, we know that we face a towering cliff of unconventional gas resources – discovered since only 2007. Discoveries of unconventional gas march on and up, implying that probably 200 years, or more, of current world gas consumption are now available as exploitable resources, worldwide.
The keywords conventional oil and gas, and unconventional oil and gas, tell us all we need to know about global fossil energy for the next 50 years, at least. Peak Oil (PO) theory as developed by Colin Campbell, Jean Laherrere and Kjell Aleklett among others, only concerns conventional oil resource depletion, does not in any significant way concern gas resources, and also assumes that global oil demand and consumption can only rise.
The PO theory of the period 1998-2008, during which it had large media, corporate and even political support is easy to compare with M. King Hubbert’s US oil depletion theory of the 1950s: this also was only focused on conventional oil resource depletion on the supply side, and ever-rising oil demand. Hubbert’s theory however attracted little media interest or overt political support, but his theory very probably helped set US Middle East policy of the 1950s – still unchanged today. This is based on the notion of “incompressible dependence”, and possibly near total future dependence on Middle East oil, due to “Soviet oil dependence” being (very) politically incorrect during the Cold War. Oil dependence on Soviet fundamentalists was supposedly a lot worse than depending on Islamic fundamentalists.
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