Monday, February 09, 2009

Peak Oil? Drill baby drill.

Joseph Romm's Climate Progress site has yet another reminder today that Peak Oil is a real consequence happening to us in real time. This one is based on a new report from Merrill Lynch that says we are there. This is similar to what George Monbiot got out of the International Energy Agency report back in December.

Some are concerned with the relationship of Peak Oil, the current economic crisis and the politics of both. Romm quotes from Greenwire (subs. req’d)
The global financial crisis has put a grinding halt to the frenzy in commodity investing seen for most of 2008.

This morning, CME Group — operators of mercantile exchanges in Chicago and New York — reported that trading last month fell 41 percent compared to January 2008 figures. Trading in energy futures and options at the New York Mercantile Exchange fell by 5 percent.

But output cuts by OPEC and the worsening oil production in countries outside the cartel could set the stage for another spike in energy and commodity prices in the years to come, experts say.

Analysts bullish on the long-term prospects of commodity prices say that oil could return to upward pricing pressure by as early as 2010 once demand growth returns to the world economy.
My response was left as a comment at Climate Progress.
We are now to the place where “drill baby drill” means “die, baby, die”.

We all know that oil is a finite resource. We all know that chasing the chimera of perpetual growth will, over time, increase demand, unless we do things radically different.

Why then do we fall for any effort that would take those resources that are becoming increasingly scarece and valuable and use them up as fast as we can. The only ones who will profit from this are those who are in a position to deliver the alternatives, or as the Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia told 60 Minutes, “Who has more sun than we do?”

When the American Petroleum Institute does their ad that says we have enough oil and gas in North America to fuel our cars and heat our homes for the next 60 years, why is no one asking “then what?”

I have asked this same question since I used it to ridicule Richard Pombo in 2006. The immediate economic gain of using up these resources as fast as we can is not worth the long term cost of having nothing left in the tank. I can think of no set of actions that is more likely to ruin the US economy as well as endanger all our futures, than this insane urge to drill more, use more. It is time to stop digging.
This is not just about some economic calculation. It is more like a political calculation. The economic point referenced above give no consideration to the costs of non-action on global warming. They seem to be issued with a prayer that the deniers be proven right. And in this, our "environmental" Senator Barbara Boxer says that there will be no action from Congress this year on Global Warming. I want to write:
Dear Senator Boxer,
When you grand children come to ask you what you were doing when you had a chance to make a difference, will you really feel good to say, "I did my best but there were just too many others who didn't want to go along." You are the one whose vote in the most recent farm bill was governed by the fact that, as you said, "We have our rice people and our cotton people." When it comes to climate change, what about our real people?

Are you willing to put your hold on this seat on the line in order to do what is right?

Yours truly,
Wes Rolley, Citizen.
Maybe we can all write a version of that… with a copy to your local paper, of course.

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