Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Matthew Simmons, the oil industry expert who warned of peak oil years before almost anyone else had heard of the word, has died unexpectedly.

I quoted Simmons at length in my first peak oil cover story in 2004, own one of his books, and had often listened to podcasts by him. He often brought up details of petroleum use we never consider; for example, how much of our car fuel is spent just sitting in traffic, or how changes in the service station industry make 1970s-era rationing impossible now.

Always outspoken, he was back in the news a lot recently concerning the Gulf of Mexicco disaster, rightly suggesting that far more oil was leaking than BP was admitting.

As a member of the Bush-Cheney team, he brought conservative respectability to peak oil, spoke to audiences that might not have listened to someone with long hair and a beard. He was the Nixon that went to China.

Thanks, Mr. Simmons.

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