Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peak oil

I love stories in the press about "peak oil". They are always presented like we have no choice but to drill baby drill.

Peak oil is a simple concept, when will we burn more oil per day than we pump out of the ground? If you're today's press, a little fear mongering is a great way to develop a headline or two.

The argument, (today's press's bread and butter) is that there is plenty of oil, or, we have already reached peak. Our latest oil shock was partially attributable to the demand issues of an emerging China and India. Many felt the peak was reached and the price of oil reflected that. The press ran with that worldwide.

But let's step back for a minute. Is the real issue peak oil? Or is the real issue peak demand? When will we humans stop growing our demand for oil? Or, more importantly, when will the nation that leads the free world, the US, reach peak demand?

So, do we have to drill our way to the last drop?

That is entirely our choice. We are not destined to run out of oil, or fight more wars over it. It's not pre-ordained. We are not locked in to a peak oil economy!

So I reject the idea that it's a supply issue and I reject the notion that we are stuck here. We all know that oil in every form is bad for our environment, bad for our geo politics, bad for our image around the world, bad for our soldiers and bad for our economy. What once was the engine of our growth is now a millstone around our neck.

Before we can address this challenge let's at least get it defined correctly. It isn't how much oil is out there or who we have to fight to get's how much we use. And we have a choice about that, and, we should support every effort to reduce it. Alternate forms of energy are out there and they are becoming more competitive every day.