a monkey that will go ape
generally though, it seems to me that debates about when precisely peak oil occurred or will occur (or foolish outright denial of the whole 'peak oil' concept) have a worrying tendancy to obscure more important discussions that focus on what we can do to make the transition to a non fossil fuel based society less painful.
definitely. reckon the more important conversation anyway is about reducing use, rather than what fuel to use. I don't really mean like riding a bike or more efficient light bulbs (tho that stuff is all, yunno, thumbs up) but the infrastructure things you're getting at; how & where we get our food/water/energy, how goods & people move from place to place, etc. all of which take a lot of time & an enormous amount of effort to change. that "the challenges are surmountable" line - eh can't say I'm even as ambiguously optimistic as you are, but we'll see I guess...
only tangentially related, but this looks good, it's down on the inter-library loan list