U.S. production of crude oil is now about ten million barrels per day, matching peak levels achieved in 1970 . The Energy Information Administration projects that U.S. oil production this year will be the highest ever recorded. Let’s hope this is the final stake in the heart of peak oil theories. As a young geology student in 1981, I was taught that oil production in the U.S. would follow a bell-shaped curve. It had already peaked in 1970 and was on a course of inevitable decline. The apparent logic was inexorable. Over the eons, geologic processes had generated a finite amount of irreplaceable petroleum liquids in the Earth’s crust. Once these were gone, they were gone forever. The necessary corollary was that we had to reshape our entire industrialized civilization by switching to renewable sources of energy. The longer we delayed, the greater the shock of declining energy supplies […]

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