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Beyond Oil

14 Aug 2008

Peak oil from a point of view that is not Chicken Little’s. In fact, from a very respectable point of view; the author’s resumé is extensive. The entire book is from a geologist’s perspective, and has scientific slant; almost nothing is assumed.

The book was a balanced view of peak oil, and in particular, examining the currently available alternatives. It’s very well done: balanced, exceedingly well researched and cited, and accessible without being patronizing. The guy really knows his stuff. He knows just what it would take to make several different energy sources profitable, and mentions that they are billion dollar ideas if you want to try. He lists further reading.

He doesn’t even have the religious ‘peak oil is fact’ thing. He shows how the American peak was predicted, how the math behind it works, and is very clear about the assumption one has to make for the formulas to hold. It’s an easy axiom to adopt, and several resource peaks have shown it works.

He’s also good about not mentioning his personal views on the topic. He only takes a tiny minute of your time for 3 or 5 pages at the end to mention how he feels about the whole thing. Decisions are yours to make: just the facts, ma’am. Fantastic.

This is easily the book I will give people on peak oil. I think there’s a chance the apocalyptic crowd will be proven right, but I think it’s vanishingly small. For all of the reasonable people, this one is the way to go.