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Rep. Bartlett: Peak Oil is the Coming Tsunami

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) presented a cogent 60-minute backgrounder to the House of Representatives on peak oil and its implications.

His speech, which is worth reading in its entirety, is a clear overview of the theory and the current state of affairs. He challenges the economists’ stance that higher prices will lead to increased production and notes furthermore that more drilling “just will not solve the problem.”

His conclusion is that, if we have not already reached peak, we will do so shortly.

The market will, indeed, signal the arrival of peak oil. To wait until it does, however, is like waiting until we see a tsunami: by then it may be too late to do anything.

We now are doing a lot of talking here in the Congress and fortunately across the country about Social Security, and it is a big problem. But I tell the Members if the problem of Social Security is equivalent to the tidal wave produced by the hurricane, then this peak oil problem is equivalent to the tsunami. The impact and the consequences are going to be enormously greater than the impact and the consequences of Social Security or Medicare or those two put together.

It will take a sustained, conscious, coordinated national and even international, effort. If everybody is not working together and buying time by conserving and being efficient and using wisely that time we bought, then all we do is put off the inevitable.

The hydroelectric and nuclear power industries did not arise spontaneously from market forces alone. They were the product of a purposeful partnership of public and private entities focused on the public good. This is what we have to do relative to alternatives.

Bartlett, a conservative Republican now in his seventh term in Congress, has an established record as a researcher, academic, inventor and small businessperson. In the last role, he also became involved in building solar homes.

He has taught physiology and endocrinology at Howard University’s Medical School, was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, worked at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) as director of a 30-member research group in Space Life Sciences, and later joined IBM before starting his own firm.

In 1999, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) awarded Dr. Bartlett its Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award for “pioneering contributions to aeronautical and aerospace medicine through more than 20 patented inventions on respiratory support and safety devices used by pilots, astronauts, rescue workers, pioneering NASA life-sciences space experiments, and over 100 publications.”

All that by way of noting that Bartlett has some scientific credibility.

Let us hope that the speech and follow-ons begin to stimulate an urgent debate on energy grounded in reality, not partisan rhetoric.

As an aside, it will be interesting to see Bartlett’s stance on ANWR drilling when that comes to the House.



Wow. Can anyone verify if this is the first time such a presentation or discussion of peak oil has transpired in Congress?

Richard Burton

unable to open up to his original comments.Is there a way to make this happen? Thanks


Here is an alternate link (a transcription of the Congressional Record by ASPO):


Is there somewhere on the net a copy of the Peak Oil speech including the charts and graphs Rep Bartlett used?


I have been told from a staffer in his office that they should have the graphs in a few days at on their web page:

He is also giving another presentation on solutions to peak oil the week of April 11th.
I guess they should post the exact time on their web site. It will be on Cspan, probably in the evening like the last one.

You can also find the text (and the charts when they release them) at:

I did a quick search on the congress web site for "peak oil" but it comes up with all the pages with "oil" and "peak" in them. Maybe it is the first time this has come up??

Congress searches:


D.J. Bullock

Maybe it's time for Congress to rehear Dr. Steven Greer and his plea for declassification of the zero point energy state which produces antigrav propulsion systems capable of replacing all forms of current energy sources.


What is lost in the conversation of energy alternatives is how we are going to feed ourselves in the coming crises. Simply stated for every calorie in front of a person fed by the industrial agribusiness model of food production 10 calories of petrolem are required. Those 10 calories of oil only represent what is needed to plant, fertilize, treat against pest and weeds, harvest and then ship, on average in the US more than 1500 miles, to point of retail distribution. It does not account for the energy needs required to store or those of the end consumer to retrieve, prepare etc.

Realize that none of the proposed alternative energy solutions will provide for the part of the process requiring fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. That is a uniquely synthetic process using petroleum as a raw ingredient. It is estimated that if we a forced to return to a sun, soil, water and manure form of agriculture, we have the ability to provide for the food needs of maybe 40% of the current population.

The crises is upon us. It will impact more than just the implementation of renewable sources to continue the persistance of personal vehicles, infotainment, luxury eating, and the myriad of modern conveniences taken for granted that are completely predicated on the unceasing flow of cheap oil.

Read between the lines on Rep. Bartlett's comments surrounding economic impact. What do you think is going to happen as employers in this country are no longer able to remain open due to the coming price rise in petroleum, and are forced to lay off massive portions of the population? Add to that equation the reality of the agriculture sector also being forced to pass on the costs of production to the end consumer, now out of work, or possibly, without divine intervention, cease to produce at all.

I sincerely hope I am wrong about all of this. If not, we are in for one hell of a ride.

Daniel Hazelton Waters

I think that peak oil will be the best thing for civilization in the long run. Barring we don't kill ourselves first and the shock expecially in 2006 will be the death nail for fiat currency.
We have all kinds of ways of living with less oil and even ways of making oil now but we waited to long it seems we must have a crisis in order to modify society, we have peaked already! Look forward to economic copitulation thats like the great depression and 1979 rolled into one and greater circa 2006.
It's not all bad it will lead to less combustion and greenhouse gasses for a long time...

Jesse J. Stewart

"What do you think is going to happen as employers in this country are no longer able to remain open due to the coming price rise in petroleum, and are forced to lay off massive portions of the population?"

Don't worry, the U.S. government has anticipated $4.00-$6.00 gasoline and economic collapse, and has developed a comprehensive plan to deal with the public's reaction:

US developing 'Pulsed Energy Projectile' weapon to use against protesters and rioters - hits streets in 2007

'Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon'
02 March 2005

"...produces "pain and temporary paralysis" in tests on animals."




My friends don’t worry. The Peak Oil est arrive!
However, humans will survive. A lot of us will die. But a lot of us will survive.
Eventually, we will start using animals again.
We will be an integral part of nature again.
And guess what. We will start 'civilization' again.

Stan Froud

Check out PEAK OIL on Google.

Enough articles and white papers there to demonstrate that Peak Oil is imminent ...if we are not already on the downside of oil's bell curve.

Read: What Happens Once the Oil Runs Out? By KENNETH S. DEFFEYES, from the New York Times, March 25, 2005. Read, also, his book: Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak."



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