Books et al.Geology

Predicting peak oil

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Science  08 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 155
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2220

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"We have no choice but to proceed into a future which we may be assured will differ markedly from anything we have experienced thus far. Among the inevitable characteristics of this future will be the progressive exhaustion of the mineral fuels." These words sound very much like what you might hear in various quarters today, but they were written in 1949 by the American geophysicist Marion King Hubbert. Hubbert is best known for developing the theory of "peak oil": the idea that oil productionwill be characterized by an initial period of exponential growth, followed by a peak (or peaks), followed by a substantial decline. Debates about Hubbert's predictions were intense in his lifetime and continue today. The Oracle of Oil is a masterful telling of Hubbert's life and ideas.