Sunday, April 1, 2007

Peak Oil-- No April Fool's Joke

The political airwaves have been filled over the last month with buzz about Global Warming and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. It seems like the commentary breaks down almost on political grounds. Many on the left hail Gore as a prophet, while the right-wingers ( Limbaugh,Hannity etc) excoriate Gore as a hypocrite and generally soft-petal any potential threat.

Bring up the subject of Peak Oil to these same cast of characters and you are likely to get a look of total befuddlement. Not only is Peak Oil largely ignored but it is often incorrectly described when it is addressed. Often a Peak Oil story will refer to "running out of crude oil," which when put on those terms, immediatly places anyone in the Peak Oil camp in conspriacy theory wacko territory. A better way to describe Peak Oil might be with an example of a full jar of jelly. When you first open the jar the jelly is very easy to extract and comes out in big spoon fulls. As more and more jelly is removed , much of it slides up the sides of the jar. It doesn't come out in full spoon fulls anymore. It is more and more difficult to get it out. There is still plenty of jelly left in the jar, it is just not coming out like it used to. Yes , there is still plenty of oil in the ground, but the fact is that is is going to be much more difficult to get out and much more expensive. Maybe alot more expensive than we can even contemplate. Combine that scenario with a growing energy appetite in China and India and now we have a major issue to discuss.

It's interesting to note that lately the voices that warn of impending Peak Oil speak loudly from both the left and the right. This posting on is fascinating in that Boone Pickens, Matt Simmons, and James Howard Kunstler all address the Peak Oil situation and emphasize the urgency of the matter. Okay, Kunstler won't be mistaken for a George W. Bush confidant anytime soon, but Matt Simmons is a member of Mitt Romney's Texas Finance Committee and I don't think anyone is going to accuse Boone Pickens of being a Liberal Weenie. For a real mind blowing experience Richard Rainwater is worth a read on the subject.

Here's the point. On a day when Tommy Thompson has decided to run for President and Hillary Clinton's campaign has announced that they have raised more than three times the record of any previous Democratic candidate at this stage of the process, we the people hear nothing from these alleged leaders on what very well could be the defining issue of our age. If you want an example of how a typical politician deals with this kind of issue look at my Senator, Charles Schumer. He has been calling for the release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve since 1999 when crude was $25 a barrell. Maybe energy policy isn't the Senator's forte.

There is a long time to go before the first primary votes are cast. Let's demand answers from these gum-flappers.

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