Peak Oil… and Blindness

Here is a terrific report by Simon Michaux, senior scientist at Geological Survey of Finland (GTK): “Oil from a Critical Raw Material Perspective”. GTK is an internationally oriented geoscience research agency operating under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in Finland.

According to Nafeez Ahmed, the report was produced as an internal research exercise for the Finnish government, which until 2019 held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Intriguingly, it has not been publicized and you cannot find it, for example, in the GTK website.

It would be very difficult (and unfair) to provide here a sort summary of the wealth of information contained in its more than 500 pages. I won’t even try. (This is what we are talking about…)

Germany energy flow between energy source and application
(Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Energy Flow Charts)
(Copyright License:

Let me bring here only one of the conclusions:

This report shows that that peak date is either imminent or in our recent past (possibly 2015). It is no longer a case of mitigation or avocation for a change in society practice.

It has been shown with updated data that the Limits to Growth model first proposed in 1972 was conceptually correct (…) In this model, the global economic and industrial ecosystem will undergo a series of structural changes in the next 5 to 10 years, where a number of fundamental metrics will peak and decline. The first of these metrics is industrial output per capita. It can be argued that the global industrial ecosystem has already passed this point in 2008.

I will repeat it: Limits to Growth model first proposed in 1972 was conceptually correct. Hat tip to Donella H. Meadows et. al and the Club of Rome. As Robert Heinlein put it, being right too soon is socially unacceptable, and scientific work is no exception. I’m afraid that Limits to Growth will be studied in the future as a “Beauty” very intentionally put to sleep…

As I wrote here, in the very best case, it will have taken us more than 50 years to open our eyes and see the crude reality. (The red pill is hard to swallow.) How many more funerals will we need?

Science is perhaps the most powerful collective enterprise in human history. Yet, it is not enough. We badly need a better way to collectively deal with and decide about our future!

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