Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peak Oil?

"Oil is a finite resource", the President intoned in his address to the nation last night. "We're running out of places to drill."


Scientists are providing new estimates that as much as 2.5 million gallons of crude oil per day may be leaking from the damaged oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

2.5 million gallons. Per day. From one rig.


Robert Thorn said...
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Robert Thorn said...

Aren't you just making a hasty generalization? Just because this well is gushing prodigiously, does not come close to debunking the idea of Peak Oil. I don't know enough to say whether there is or isn't such a thing. Nevertheless, one can read variously that production from most of the world's existing oil wells is starting to decline. One can also read that in addition to US oil consumption continuing to increase at a significant rate, China and India's consumption is projected to grow significantly in the coming decades. Even it there isn't such a thing as Peak Oil, isn't it reasonable to believe that demand could and probably will outstrip our ability to access any remaning oil without having to rely potentially on wells at challenging sites such as the one Deepwater Horizon was drilling. Maybe we should call it Peak Accessibility of Oil.

In the Weekly Standard, Steve Hayward suggests that oil consumption will not slow nor decrease and that if we don't tap our own more "easily" accessible sources of oil, that will result in having to import more oil from nations less stringent about environmental regulations and leave both them and ourselves even more vulnerable to similar disasters - in our case to tanker spills. Completely valid. This brings me to my point. Why must we take increasing oil consumption as a given? Where is the conserve in conservative? Where is the discussion of prudence in our future energy policy starting now? Do we want to leave behind a world in which our children to have to seek this important substance through riskier and riskier means, but discounting that risk because we assume that technology will save them? Isn't that irresponsible? Doesn't that assume too much? And yes, I do think more accessible reserves of oil should be considered, but not if it delays any clear thinking about conservation of this resource.

Why can't we say...oil is here to stay in the short-term, but any discussion of green energy is still pie in the sky. So, let's try to use less of what is still available while we try to develop new sources of energy, more efficiently use energy no matter what the form, and treat resources to be husbanded rather than something that is never given a second thought.

We aren't even out this crisis yet and we haven't even begun to comprehend the impact of this event on the Gulf Coast economy and ecosystem. While it is still fresh and we haven't yet been distracted by the World Cup, the 2010 elections, the new iPhone, isn't it reasonable to question the demand for this amazing, important, but problematic substance. If we are going to continue to drill in places like Deepwater and eventually ANWR, let's charge for gasoline based on fully-burdened cost for that fuel, including present externalities and incorporating the risk of future BP Gusher events. As conservatives, let's be honest for a change and face up to some of the hard realities of the nature of our energy consumption. Green energy may be a pipe dream, but we also consume black energy as if this were a fairytale.

Goldwater's Ghost said...

Exactly where in my three sentence post would lead you to conclude that I advocate the opposite?

Now who's making a hasty generalization?

RT said...

I didn't really accuse you of advocating otherwise, but used your post to make general comment about the discussion of oil consumption. I should have been more clear about that.

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