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No, that is not what peak oil arguments boil down to. Peak oil arguments boil down to the observation that the humans are extracting (and burning) oil faster than it is being made, about five orders of magnitude faster in fact, and therefore at some point extraction will have to fall—presumably permanently, but at least for a few million years.

There are other resource concerns that are sometimes expressed in a form mimicking the peak-oil reasoning, but (with the exception of other fossil fuels and helium) the parallel is specious. Not, however, for the reason you cite (which applies equally well to oil), but because used platinum, phosphorus, lithium, and so on, are not destroyed; they can be mined from landfills or, in the case of phosphorus, the ocean. So intellectually sloppy advocates of conservation of these other resources imitate the well-founded peak-oil argument in a sad attempt to give their shabby arguments a veneer of respectability.

However, while Hubbert’s original reasoning for why an oil-extraction peak must exist is valid, his methods for estimating when it would happen have not held up.

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