free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 128. FREDDY HUTTER'S ACID TEST

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

128. FREDDY HUTTER'S ACID TEST

Freddy Hutter is a longstanding critic of Colin Campbell, and the publisher of an outstanding peak oil resource called Trendlines. He had a great post at The Oil Drum this morning, and I hope he doesn't mind my reproducing it here for wider consumption:
Next time u are at a doomster site, look for dates...

In what year will the globe be down to 1 billion?

In what year will we bulldoze the suburbs and use the salvage to rebuild in the city cores?

In what year will North Americans no longer have cars?

Heinberg came to Vancouver last year and told us we should start building massive manufacturing plants in the West for shoes, etc 'cuz soon China and other nations will not be able to find or afford fuel for tankers or freighters. Tell us Richard, in what year will that momentous crossover occur?

In what year will the Antarctic be ice free and similarly, in what year will NYC be under nine metres of water? The Hadley GCM Model says only 26cm (about 10 inches) by 2100!

When "they" start giving time lines, it opens up their rhetoric for challenges. That is the acid test of a good site.Source

11 Comments:

At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 8:13:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet again, horrible reasoning. For instance:

1) In what exact year did the last dinosaur become extinct?

2) In what exact year was the first homo sapiens born?

3) Exactly how many light years away is the furthest star in the milky way?

4) On exactly what date was Jesus born?

5) What exactly was the amount of ash spewed into the atmosphere by the erruption of Krakatoa?

6) In what exact year was the first Frankish king born?

7) When exactly had the Western Roman Empire passed the point of no return towards collapse?

Etc.

For example, with the dinosaurs, most geologists would say "roughly" 60 million years ago. They don't mean that this happened in exactly 59997995 years ago. They mean give or take a few millenia.

But no one doubts that they're roughly correct, given the available data. And so on for all the examples given above, and countless others that were not. Asking for exactitude is a red herring. Peak Oil will occur in the next 20 years, more likely in the next 10. Exactly when it occurs is anybody's guess; but that doesn't invalidate the general figure.

 
At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 8:15:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact, just to drive the point home, despite the fact that there are several films of the event, it's impossible to determine the exact time that John Kennedy was shot. It's impossible, despite the films, to determine the precise interval between the first and second shots, and the second and third. We can fix it to within a second or so. But that's not exact.

 
At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 8:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many sunspots will we observe next year?

What year will the seven billionth person be born?

What year will the siberian tiger go extinct?

What year India disappear under the Asian continent?

What year will Mt. St. Hellen's errupt again?

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Sorry, I just could resist showing the scope of the error in this argument. It's just flat out awful.

 
At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a world of difference between riduculously precise numbers like those and simpler numbers like a projected date of a near-future event. Sigh...

 
At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 6:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Peak Oil will occur in the next 20 years, more likely in the next 10. Exactly when it occurs is anybody's guess; but that doesn't invalidate the general figure.

This is the pessimistic position now? LOL.

That's been my position all along, and I've been consistently lambasted as a denialist fool with my head up my ass. So, welcome aboard Anon. You're a cornucopian.

That's the problem with your critique. With loose dates like yours, we're all on the same side -- you, me, Colin Campbell, Mike Lynch, Laherrere, OPEC, Total, BP etc. You have no basis for being critical.

 
At Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 9:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous popmonkey said...

i think the point here is that for civilization to collapse, i.e. PO doomster point of view, things would have to happen during a very short period of time.

we're talking months, or even weeks, according to Savinar.

Anon, your point about #1 is exactly the reason this blog entry actually makes sense. #1 is irrelevant because we don't even know if the dinosaurs went out in a flash or over many centuries.

if all the PO phenomenon take decades to come to be, then civilizataion collapse is not the end result. the economy will not crash instantly. PO will be non-event. note, not saying it won't happen, just that it won't have much of an effect (not my opinion, just making a point).

all of the numbers you ask for have one of two charactertistics:

either

. the very fact that we don't know means that we cannot predict the effect it will have.

-or-

. it totally doesn't matter what the value is.

meanwhile, deffeyes says peak oil will happen within 3 weeks of Thanksgiving 2005. if he can predict PO happening within a 6 week period, why not predict all or at least some of the other events that will follow?

that's why this acid test makes sense even tho it's not immediately intuitive.

p.s. btw, the reason why deffeyes can make that sort of prediction is very simple. it'll be a long time before we know if he was right or not! and that's only if, say in the summer of 2006, we can definitely determine that PO has happened. even in that scenario it would be difficult to either prove or disprove his Thanksgiving prediction.

 
At Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 3:00:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see any difference, given the lack of perfect data, between asking the year for peak oil and the year that the Siberian tiger will become extinct. Or to any of those other questions.

 
At Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 3:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger Nick said...

I think it's worth pointing out that Deffeyes is joking when he specifies Thanksgiving 05. Further, my impression is that Deffeyes is not a doomster. Unlike Kunstler, for instance, he explicitly says he's not qualified to evaluate renewable alternatives. His main argument is the middle of the road one, that PO is important, and that the transition to alternatives could be painful if not handled well.

 
At Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 5:36:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

I think it's worth pointing out that Deffeyes is joking when he specifies Thanksgiving 05.

Ah yes... The ol' "I was only joking" ploy.

I predict peak oil is going to happen in 2050. Of course I'm only joking (unless I'm right, that is).

It's good for wagering too. "I'll bet you $100 the Celtics beat the Lakers." If the Celtics win, I collect the $100. If the Lakers win, I was only joking.

Good for threatening people too. "Fork over $1000 in cash, or I'm going to put a bullet in your head." If I get the $1000, all is well. If you call the cops, of course I was "only joking".

 
At Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 7:09:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is the pessimistic position now? LOL.

That's been my position all along, and I've been consistently lambasted as a denialist fool with my head up my ass. So, welcome aboard Anon. You're a cornucopian.

That's the problem with your critique. With loose dates like yours, we're all on the same side -- you, me, Colin Campbell, Mike Lynch, Laherrere, OPEC, Total, BP etc. You have no basis for being critical."

1) No, you're lambasted because you often seem to reason poorly. I'm fairly sure we're about ten years out from the beginings of the most serious consequences of peak. But that's no reason to be optimistic. That's not enough time to do anything about it. It's like sliding towards a large truck on an icy bridge. You've got time to see it coming, you know you're going to hit it, and only a fool would say something like "Hey, let's be optimistic about this!"

You are lambasted because you post ridiculous fairy tales about lunar/ solar energy (just as an example). If peak occurs in, say, 2015, and the first of what would have to be a couple score of missions to the moon don't begin until 2018, how is this going to help us in the slightest? The damage that will prevent those moonshots occuring will already have been done. We might still make it back to the moon eventually, but it will be a long, long time before that happens.

2) I am not a cornucopian. A cornucopian would believe that peak is 50+ years away, or that oil is continually produced via an abiotic process.

3) Loose dates are not a problem, and no, we're not all on the same side. I look at a date of 2015 and realize it means doom and chaos. You look at a date of 2015 and think it means moon energy. Hardly the same.

 
At Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 1:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger Robin Goodfellow said...

There is no doubt peak oil is going to be gradual. It's not going to be just like, one day, some guy says 'oh shit, we're ALL OUT OF OIL' and then everyone starts rioting in the streets, the Son of Man returns in glory, etc. etc. That doesn't make it less of a threat. That makes it harder to notice. It also gives us time to do the things Freddy Hutter thinks we can't do, if we actually bother to start.
I'd agree with him that the acid test of a site is precise timelines - in other words, if they can claim really precise timelines, they are underestimating the complexity of the world and probably not a very good site.

 

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