Oil Crisis (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/9/28
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Why has Shell repeatedly re-stated its oil reserves? Why is oil above $50 a barrell? Why do Goldman-Sachs think its going to go over $100? Why did America invade Iraq? Why is central Asia in turmail? Because there is an OIL CRISIS. And in his new book, Colin Campbell explains why, in a work that's accessible to both layman and professional. The grand old man of depletion studies, and currently president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, Colin Campbell distils a lifetime's study of oil reserves into this book. In his previous acclaimed book, the "Coming Oil Crisis," he explained why a crisis was imminent. Now, in "OIL CRISIS," he argues it's here, and the world is hopelessly unprepared for the consequences. Well meaning enthusiasm for renewables and high hopes about hydrogen will be seen for what they are when the wells stop pumping. It's a crisis of truly historic proportions. This is the book by the man who has the deep oil industry experience to properly unravel the issues, to illuminate for us the chamber of horrors into which we've just stumbled. To find out where you really are, read this book.
The book starts by explaining the history of the oil industry and goes through to explain the current situation stressing the exploration that has been done to date and explaining the Geological science why oil is abundant in areas and barren in others (something that has always intruiged me). The maths that is there is presented with easy to read graphs that clearly underline the message of the book - it certainly left no doubt in my mind.
The Author includes semi interviews with experts who are colleagues and friends either in the oil industry or associated with it that did help broaden the scope of the book.
Having said that Mr Campbell does indulge in conspiracy theory as to the origins of the 1st and 2nd Iraq wars, and the fall of the soviet union, although to be fair he himself admited that the truth may never be known and makes clear his own opinions. He does also cover areas in the book that are not his direct expertise such as modern classical economics (to be fair he has had experience working with economists, which as an engineer I can well sympaphise with!) he manages to cover them with care explaining the assumptions of classical economics (e.g. unlimited resources) and why from his knowledge of the oil resource modern economics is in many ways just that - a understanding that has served us well in a world of apparently infinite (expanding) resource - but not suited to managing an actaully finite resource.
All in all its a book I can heartily recommend, as it manages to explain clearly why we are running out of oil and the reckless breakneck pace it has been used at in the later half of the 20th century in clear black and white terms.
It is too bad that the author couldn't stay on track with his key points concerning oil depletion without all sorts of half baked political views that he doesn't back up with facts. This book is NOT a scientific, logical, complete analysis! Most of the anecdotes and yarns are interesting, but they do tend to get well off the main discourse.
The reader would be better served by other books such as Deffeye's volume "Beyond Oil ...", or indeed any of the numerous "peak oil" books published in recent years.
My first surprise was Mr. Campbell's admission up front that he would "digress frequently into political and other matters outside of [his] own professional expertise." To be blunt, in my professional opinion, much of this book is based on matters over which Mr. Campbell has limited or misinformed knowledge. A great example of this is the wasted text of Chapter 10 entitled "Economists Never Get It Right." In reading this chapter, I have the feeling that while Mr. Campbell might well have read some of the work of Keynes and Smith, it was well over his head.
Much of the book is a self-appreciation exercise, with Mr. Campbell's opinions trumping facts. He provides a number of conspiracy theories (nothing more) to support his opinions. His wildest begins on page 191 where he essentially accuses the US Government of carrying out the attacks on the World Trade Center. Further to this point, Mr. Campbell clearly carries a grudge against the US and makes various jabs at the country that are unnecessary to make his point. His view of the future also appears tainted by what comes off as his personal desires for a return to the simple life where in his home country (Ireland) "Women remain in the home...Christmas trees will no longer be exported to Germany...pubs will be stocked with home-brewed stout...people will meet in each other's homes for songs and to dance..." He also has decided that the ocean will provide "a near perpetual almost free supply [of energy].
If you are a nay-sayer that believes the world is about to end, and you want to grieve without critical thought, you might find this book useful. But for the rest of us who are capable of critical thought, look for another title. This book doesn't deserve the paper it was written on. Shame on NPR for giving it the light of day.
I would be happy to hear your opinions on this book. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks