Generally the book does a very good job synthesizing all of the various complexities associated with peak oil, from the overestimation of OPEC reserves (pg. 33), to the summary of current peak date forecasts (ch. 7), the challenges to mitigation strategies (pg. 130), the Energy Return on Energy Invested of alternatives (ch. 13), and the obstacles to scaling up alternatives (ch. 14). It is very comprehensive in the way it takes each alternative, one by one, and analyzes their market potential and the challenges and risks of their adoption.
One criticism of the book is that the authors chose to treat climate change with a good deal of skepticism. Obviously the "climategate" scandal shed a lot of negative light on the way scientists build their climate models. Correlation of temperature changes to greenhouse gas emissions does not necessarily imply causation and anyone who's familiar with modeling - for example, financial modeling - knows that the modeler can adjust the countless assumptions to make their model come to pretty much whatever conclusion they desire. So while there may be a great deal of skepticism (much of it funded by the largest greenhouse gas emitters) about the anthropogenic roots of global climate change, there is little doubt about the basic scientific measurements confirming global warming since the beginning of the industrial revolution. So the problem comes down to the simple question: "are you confident enough with your skepticism of the anthropogenic roots of global climate change to risk doing nothing and potentially endanger all future generations of life on earth?". Which brings us to the "precautionary principle". For a group of authors who so competently apply the precautionary principle to the problem of peak oil, it's disheartening to see them completely ignore it for climate change. Certainly, the militaries of the world (including the United States, Canada, Germany, China, & Russia) understand the issue and have been actively building contingency plans for wars resulting from global warming and peak oil. If our militaries are taking the two problems seriously, perhaps we should as well. After all, the solutions to our energy security problem, our peak oil problem and our climate change problem are the same: become more efficient in our use of energy, transition our transportation infrastructure to be less dependent on fossil fuels, and build massive new sources of renewable energy.
In chapter 16, the authors name specific countries as peak oil winners and losers, and their conclusions largely mirror the Peak Oil Proof Portfolio:
- Winners: Oil Exporting Countries
- Losers: Oil Importing Countries
- United States
- Major economic downside potential as China spends US dollar reserves on oil
- Massive recent oil investments (in US Dollars) may help mitigate problem
- South Korea
- Most of Europe - specifically Germany, France and Spain
Additional investment advice is given in chapter 18, including:
- Avoid holding long-term bonds
- Consider investing in inflation-protected TIPS bonds
- Invest in commodities as a hedge against energy-induced inflation
- Avoid investment in consumer goods companies
- Consider short sales of stocks
- Invest in countries which are energy secure
As for the Peak Oil Proof Portfolio, it's up 4.16% since its inception, vs. 3.07% for S&P 500.