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.

1 comment:

  1. If we did not have oil we would be living like the 1800's or earlier. Whales could be completely extinct because of fishing them for their fat. Oil helped counter this. Oil provides a lot of good uses and it has provided some not so good things but that is mainly due to man not oil. We make our mistakes and learn. Most things in life are not black and white. Any alternative has its detractors as well.

    A goal should be to make the most efficient use of the material. Maximize the good and reduce the harm.

    Another goal should be finding the balance and synergy of all of these materials. That is what we need.

    And it's not accurate to say that oil is bad for the environment. It comes from the same earth we live on and was made from things that was previously life. When it ends up being bad it is because of the mistakes people make. Generally, things done to excess are not good. We need to find balance and using alternatives can help with that process. People should not see oil as evil and alternative fuels as our salvation. To be environmental citizens with concern for our world we should seek balance.

    Another thought, how do you think those wind turbine parts that turn keep from grinding metal to metal? Or what kind of equipment are we using in order to get them to build them or get them delivered?

    Oil is a resource, we just need to keep learning to use it more wisely.