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BP Energy Outlook: why the oil giant's forecasts are flawed

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Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters/File

(Read caption) A BP logo is seen at a fuel station in St. Petersburg, Russia. The BP Energy Outlook 2030 was greeted with a sort of breathless astonishment by the media, Cobb writes, who took it for a statement of fact concerning the one thing about which we cannot know anything for certain: the future.

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“Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment,” French philosopher Jean Baudrillard once said.  Substitute “forecasts” for the word “statistics,” and you’ll have a good understanding of the public reaction to the recently released BP Energy Outlook 2030.

The psychoanalytic definition of wish fulfillment is “the satisfaction of a desire, a need, or an impulse through a dream or other exercise of the imagination.”

The oil giant’s long-term forecast—really an “exercise of the imagination”—was greeted with a sort of breathless astonishment by the media who took it for a statement of fact concerning the one thing about which we cannot know anything for certain: the future.

 
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