Friday, October 21, 2005

con job and the man for it

With Mobjectivist’s critique of Michael Lynch and friends fresh in my mind (ponies), I listened to Lynch debate novelist James Kunstler on Open Source radio. (Skip past the beginning where the host interviews Kunstler.)

James “Rolling Stone” Kunstler ripped MIT’s Lynch a new one on points, even as Lynch maintained a façade of calm competence throughout the show. Lynch variously claimed that the pessimist geologists referenced by Kunstler were “afraid” to debate him (bullshit), and Oil Shale is likely profitable now that oil costs more than 40$ a barrel. (I have your shovel ready, sir. Please start with the kaka.)

I can easily understand why the likes of Colin Campbell would generally avoid debating an oil consultant duck fart like Lynch; for starters he is apt to attack the arcana of statistical models as a means to sidestep discussion of the reality of oil depletion.

Listening to Lynch, my imagination probably got the better of me, particularly at the very end of the interview, when Michael Lynch stated, with an edge in his voice, that he would be “very interested” to see what the price of oil would be next year, seeming implication being that the steep rise in prices since 2000 in energy is to be naught but a temporary flutter.

To me it is “very interesting” that he would bring that up, in the sense of things unsaid, or things known but explicitly not stated. Lynch is using a future anachronism to argue against peak oil. It will certainly be a non-sequiter looking back at this moment from the future; but many uninformed listeners might simply remember that Lynch said crude prices will be lower

Confused? Hurricane Katrina enacted a certain level of demand destruction for CRUDE oil, (not gasoline, which the USA is presently borrowing from European reserves.)

That’s what happens when heavy weather knocks over refineries; one can’t refine as much crude. So it just floats around.

So, certainly, expect the world to be awash in crude next year. Also expect the American Economy to be in shambles, thus enacting more demand destruction.

Peak averted? Cheap oil is back?

Very clever, Mister Lynch. You ride that Peak Pony.
You’ve fooled ‘em all, except them who know.


At 7:03 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger WHT said...

I heard that "interesting" comment and thought it more of a sign that he has money invested one way or the other, or perhaps even gets his jollies from high-stakes gambles.

At 12:42 AM, October 22, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

I think he is a paid prick.

One of the more effective ones I've heard, although Dan "Pulitzer" Yergin was quoted in USA Today recently sneering at Matt Simmons...

crezzy world.

The universe is panning for gold right now. Good time to have ones facts straight.

At 6:47 PM, October 22, 2005, Blogger WHT said...

I have been going at it with Lynch over at the message boards. He goes by the nickname "spike" there and responds to questions. He does have a fairly thick skin considering all the guff I have given him over his responses.

At 12:19 PM, October 23, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Michael Lynch -- in a short term functional sense, he say there are no constraints, burn it all and buy an air conditioner.

But on the PO message board he seems to believe in a peak -- safely decades out, of course.

"10) I believe it will peak at some point, of course. I don't know when, and recognize that any estimate is a wild guess, for all that people like Deffeyes claim to know. (Never confuse precision with accuracy, as Morry Adelman always said). It could be before 2020, especially if you exclude FSU. "

Given everything I know about oil, primarily ammassed in my spare time, I think the idea that we'll be producing 100 plus million barrels a day in 2020 and THEN we will peak --

is a DANGEROUS fiction that will ensure a die-off scenario if taken seriously by our government.

I don't think anyone does take it seriously, however, except for the uninformed.

And that is my basic problem with Lynch.

There is just a whiff of sulphur.

At 12:22 PM, October 23, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

One more comment on Spike:

"Never confuse precision with accuracy"

Also, never confuse imprecision with accuracy.

At 10:02 AM, October 26, 2005, Blogger NeonTetra said...

As for Lynch predicting that the price of oil will go down: he could be right due to demand destruction caused by recession/depression.

It has been noted that significant demand destruction would be difficult to achieve in the US, given American infrastucture. But demand destruction in Asia (China in particular) might occur much more rapidly: they haven't been gas guzzlers as long as we have. It will be easier for them to switch to bicycles than for us. So, the price of oil might fall if Asia has an economic slowdown. This has happened before, in the "asian tigers" currency crises of the early 90s.

This scenario would not do us much good, our economy and China's are closely connected. we would be having our own crushing depression as well.

At 10:09 PM, October 26, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

thanks for your comment. I am in agreement with you that demand destruction could cause crude prices to drop next year.

That is why I don't trust Michael Lynch.

If he is smart enough to put something like that together, (college grad and all) he is smart enough to understand why we are likely approaching a practical peak before 2010.

his arguments are poor, but his rhetoric is flawless.


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