[ExI] Peak Oil -- Amory Lovins

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu May 31 09:46:09 UTC 2012

On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 03:08:42AM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:

> > You're taking one guy, on his word, without knowing the details
> > which were not subjected to peer review? Really?
> Eugen, don't have a knee jerk reaction just because you don't like
> what he says. Nobody gets invited to TED once, let alone twice if they

I don't know what he says. Neither do you. That's the point.
Before we can evaluate the claims, we need to know what 
exactly the claims are (=numbers and models) and what his
peers say.

> are not serious.
> Read his bio:
> http://www.ted.com/speakers/amory_lovins.html

I've heard of the guy before, of course. Actually I skimmed the executive
summary of his new book http://www.rmi.org/rfexecutivesummary
and what you say doesn't seem what he says. In order to substitute
some 30 TW in 40 years you need a substitution rate which is more
linear than exponential, and we're some 1-2 orders of magnitute 
remote from the global substitution rate required.

It can be done but it won't be done if we don't do it. 
And alsmost nobody is doing it at the moment. That is my
beef with grand plans in general.

> Listen to the talks. Then decide for yourself. You seem to be having a

Sorry, I don't do video. No time for this. TED is better than most,
but still information density too low, not enough novelty to bother.
I've never watched a single TED video from start to finish.

> religious reaction, rather than a rational one and I think you're

Yes, I'm religious. My cult abhors one thing: lack of rigor.
The best kind of arguments for my persuasion are these published
in peer-reviewed journals. Violators will be burned... naw, just

> better than that. Lovin's answers to the problems we face aren't the
> same answers everyone else is giving. Hear him out.

I agree with what I've read so far. I'm just not seeing it done
on time.
> >> > If the Chinese and Indians figure out a way to leapfrog our technology from
> >> > the latter 20th century, then I would agree we may have seen peak demand for
> >> > oil.  But it isn't clear that they will do that, in which case they will
> >> > want their personal ape-haulers and will drive the wheels off of them, just
> >> > as we did.  The demand on oil will be astonishing.
> >>
> >> I don't know the basis for Lovin's claims precisely. I am pretty sure
> >
> > If you don't know what his claims are precisely, why are you wasting
> > your time, and ours?
> I know what his claims are. I just don't know the details of how he
> arrives at the conclusions he arrives at. He did quote a Duechebank
> report regarding peak oil demand... If you really want to know, I
> would advise getting his book, "Reinventing Fire"... while I have not
> read it, I have read excerpts and what he says sounds pretty rational
> to me.

Does anyone have an electronic version of the ebook? There are
13 publications by Lovins on LibGen, but his latest book isn't
there yet.
> > Amory Lovins has 331 hits on The Oil Drum. A possibly more focused
> > search still gives 59 hits http://www.theoildrum.com/search/apachesolr_search/%22amory%20lovins%22
> > I'm not going to read them, but perhaps you should.
> This is pretty typical of the stuff on the oil drum comments...
> "I'm surprised by your lack of familiarity with Lovins. He is widely
> published, a recognized international expert on renewable energy, and
> someone that everyone interested in peak oil solutions should pay
> attention to.
> Read Winning the Oil Endgame cover to cover and let us know what you think."
> >> he was talking globally though. If we do reach peak demand prior to
> >> peak supply, that's good for all of us! Add one to the optimism
> >> column... hopefully.
> Eugen... If you want to be well versed on energy policy, and I think
> you do, then don't you owe it to yourself to read things from more
> than one source? Lovin's approach is BIG, and bold. He wants to fix a

I *am* reading as much as I can digest, actually. The Oil Drum is
actually including plenty of reviews, and varied opinions. They
might pick you apart in the comments if they don't like what you
say, but you can publish dissenting opinions.

> lot of large problems all together, and by solving all these big
> problems together, rather than tackling little bits independently, he
> arrives at a solution that really sounds plausible.

We have plenty of solutions that are plausible. We've had such
solutions in 1970, in fact. The trouble is that we don't execute
> I would recommend you listen to the two TED talks if nothing else. I
> have been a subscriber to his snail mail mailing list for a couple of
> years, and get letters in the mail from his organization pretty
> frequently. He runs a real organization, with real money and real
> clients.

I do not doubt that. Can he make ~10 gigamonkeys (or much less, if
we fail) play ball? And monkeys don't want to play ball.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list