Policy ForumSCIENCE AND INDUSTRY

Oil: Never Cry Wolf--Why the Petroleum Age Is Far from over

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Science  21 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5674, pp. 1114-1115
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096427

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Summary

A new tide of oil doomsters is once again heralding the end of the Oil Era. The so-called Hubbert model, which they use, considers geology a faith more than a dynamic science influenced by many factors. Hydrocarbon reserves are finite--of this there is no doubt. And yet, contrary to the Hubbertians' claims, no one knows just how finite they are. More than geology, technology and economics dominate the evolution of reserves. The problem with the oil doomsters' thesis, according to the policy forum by Maugeri, is that geology is not destiny, but rather only a part of a much more complex picture that does not indicate the world is running out of oil.

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