James Hamilton on Daniel Yergin on peak oil

Michael Giberson

Clash of the titans: one of the world’s most prominent academic energy economists reacts to the peak oil commentary of one of the world’s preeminent establishment consulting energy economists. Self recommending, worth additional thought.

James Hamilton on Daniel Yergin on peak oil.


3 thoughts on “James Hamilton on Daniel Yergin on peak oil

  1. Glad you’re reading both sides of the argument. Now that you’ve read both sides of the argument, what’s your opinion? (For myself, I agree with Hamilton, and find Yergin’s arguments disingenuous and tiresome.)

  2. Tom, I challenge your characterization of there being only two sides “of the argument”. Particularly in such a complex market and set of policy issues as the global oil market, reducing arguments to a uni-dimensional spectrum ends up misrepresenting a lot of positions … including mine. I find some things to agree with and to disagree with in both Yergin and Hamilton (despite Levi’s characterization of my position as “pro-Yergin in his CFP blog).

    But with respect to Yergin’s analysis as represented in the WSJ article, since I have not yet read his book, I do not think it’s disingenuous to point out that technological change both reduces the cost of identifying the quantity of oil and reduces the cost of extracting it. This change in our estimate of total reserves is the consequence of the valuable application of human creativity to a difficult question. If I look at the totality of that essay I don’t see where he’s being disingenuous. In fact, I often see more disingeneuity in the judicious selection of peak oil advocates of when to use economic analysis and logic and when not to use it.

    So if you’d like to expand on your parenthetical, I’d be interested in your response.

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