Note to Bernie Sanders: Something is More Than Rotten in the State of Denmark, and Peak Oil is Coming to Take it Away

Being from an English-speaking country where books abound, I'm well aware of the likelihood that I enjoy access to more books on the topic of peak oil (and related topics) in my native language than a person of any other native tongue. This of course has nothing inherently to do with the English language itself, but goes with the territory of being the language of a people with a large population who are significantly industrialized and stratified in their specialties to the point that there is a large enough educated class and agglomeration of bibliophiles for books to proliferate on any and every topic.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I assume, perhaps wrongly, but none the less educated about some of the people in charge of Denmark, that they will build more seawalls just higher. It has held back the ocean so far for many countries, why wouldn’t it still work.

Additionally, they probably believe they have a bit of time to help society transition. They are some of the most helpful people in the world. They will assimilate the new people in their schools. They will make them become one people…in time.

Finally, the elites in charge, were educated in the US. They have mastered English better than most Americans. I’m certain they can read about everything you are concerned about in the English version. They have a plan to deal with the rising sea and for social ills. Denmark will be fine.

Yes, I do hope that Denmark (and the rest of us) will be fine. But about seawalls holding back the waters, well, certain cities if not regions have somewhat pulled it off, but entire countries? I remember once hearing that Denmark has some of the most coastal area of all countries in the world due to all its inlets and islands. But regardless, I do question the viability of seawalls being able to hold back rising sea levels. Seems like a techno-fix vying for a date with Murphy’s Law if you ask me.

“They will assimilate the new people in their schools. They will make them become one people…in time.”

That’s a whole other issue, which I intend to elaborate on another time (and have somewhat alluded to in my posts on authentic multiculturalism). But in short, yes, I believe that the immigrants and the locals will have to assimilate – to the land. That goes for Danes, as well as everybody else. In other words, depleting energy sources will mean that we’ll have to adapt to our places, regardless of how long or short we’ve been there for, and regardless of what language(s) we speak.

And in terms of what you mention about the “elites” and all, well, I hope it won’t turn out that way. Best that the rest of us are aware of future energetic constraints and are in effect able to deal with situations with a decent understanding of what’s going on, but that may very well be wishful thinking. I wouldn’t want to get the short end of the stick when tightening energy supplies mean tightening food supplies. Venezuelan “elites” don’t seem to be doing too good of a job of dealing with that right now.

On the topic of peak oil and who is writing what about it, is there any reason why you reference bloggers and academics, in the case of Ugo someone with zero oil and gas experience, no training in academics or even the geology, engineering or technology involved that has continued to make peak oil a moot point in polite society because…well… you know…it is like picking your nose at a gala, everyone knows you really don’t get the point…?

Oddly enough, on the one post that you didn’t comment on peak oil, some other guy by the name of RGR, who sounded just like you, was kind enough to come in and make up for your absence. He too had a very similar thing to say about Ugo, almost word for word for what you just posted. Lo and behold Ugo actually visited the site and left a clarifying reply to the comment (pointing out that it was completely wrong), which you can go back and view for your self here. But I’ll just copy and paste it to make things a bit easier, and just in case RGR forgot what you wrote earlier… I mean, if RGR forgot what RGR wrote earlier… I mean, if you forgot what RGR wrote earlier… I mean… ah crap, I don’t think I know what I mean.

Ugo: “Hello, RGR. Thanks for noting my shortcomings - we all have plenty and maybe I have more than others. Still, for the record, I feel that I could note that I worked for some 10 years in industrial projects related to oil refining and some 20 years in joint projects with the aerospace industry. So, maybe I know a tiny bit of what industry is and how it operates. Just a little note and thanks for your interest!”

So does your response mean, in a sort of backhanded way, that you can’t be bothered with the science on the topic?

As far as Ugo being involved in refining, that is great! Building airplanes is even cooler!! But no one cares about either in the upstream focused debate of peak oil, but why don’t we just check out his knowledge on the topic? Basic knowledge mind you, we’ll keep it to first grader levels. Ugo, and his knowledge and writing from his website:

“Let’s go back to 1998, when Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere raised up again a problem that had been first noticed by Marion King Hubbert, in 1956.”

Colin Campbell was writing about peak oil, and declaring it, in public and written form, before 1990. And Hubbert? He declared peak oil for the US first in 1938. According to him then, it was supposed to happen by 1950.

So the question is, is Ugo ignorant of upstream issues (refineries having nothing to do with geology), or did he know these basic facts and just decided to tell a lie instead?

Hello, Johnny. Thanks for the nice words you have about me. As a small comment, maybe you are right that I know nothing about geology, but it is strange that they accepted me as a faculty member in the Department of Earth Sciences of my University. Evidently, I was able to fool all the geologists working in there, despite my evident incompetence in the matter.

About Campbell and Laherrere, of course, they were speaking about peak oil before 1998, but I hope you could take into account that I wrote that they “raised the problem” for the first time in 1998, meaning that it was when they published a widely known article on the matter in “Scientific American.” The same for Hubbert, whose 1956 paper was the start of the diffusion of the concept. I hope you don’t mind if, about the point you make, I would tend to use the term “nitpicking”.

Hi, Allan. Thanks for showing the cover of my book in German. About it, you may be interested to know that it sold more than twice copies in Germany than it sold in the US. Discussing with the American editors, they told me that these books just don’t sell very well in the US. For most Americans, apparently, the question of peak oil is considered settled, in the sense that it doesn’t exist and never will. In Germany, instead, the debate is more lively and there is much more interest in the matter.

Really? I would never have guessed that, if not simply because of the population difference. In general, I’d say that says a lot about American way of thinking. As well, I suppose it also means that perhaps I’d better start brushing up on my German. Scheisse.

Ugo, can you get more out of them as to why they think ‘books like that don’t sell’ when you can? Marketing research, memos from the stratosphere? Americans can’t really consider peak oil settled because the number of Americans who have never heard of it is huge. Junk food and junk news is heavily consumed in America. To the exclusion of a balanced diet.

@Stromfeldt I’ve added your website to my page of links. I’ve neglected updating my page lately but that will change.


Ugo, the issue isn’t so much a lack of understanding of geology (Colin Campbell certainly knows plenty on that topic, but also has gotten peak issues terribly wrong) but rather the more multi-disciplinary approach of certain organizations seems far more capable of understanding and modeling the disparate parts.

I am more disturbed that your experience with even the most basic peak oil history didn’t include Hubbert’s 1938 claim of peak oil (in the US, by 1950), whereas even the geologists (in this case Tom Ahlbrandt, formerly of the USGS and project chief for their 2000 World Assessment) are very well aware of it. By focusing on his latter claims of peak oil, the impression is generated that he got it right the first time, when in fact he had been declaring the same type of ideas nearly 20 years earlier. I understand this might lead some to question the very validity of his method, but this is completely proper for anyone doing scientific work on a topic. You face the facts and the history, it is what it is, and not mentioning such a critical fact is itself revealing.

Just as it is to not mention that Campbell was declaring peaks back in 1990, and his later work you referenced and I quoted was not even close to the beginning of his kick the can technique in this regard.

Basic facts of peak oil, yet those who focus on only the modern part of the claims (certainly are you aware that by 1919 David White of the USGS was also declaring peak oil in the US?), and being particular about the ones they mention, appear to be advocating a position, rather than examining the history of these types of resource economic questions with the objectivity that any university professor should have, and most certainly my years of scientific work required as a matter of course.