The sooner people get over the notion that they can protest finite
resources, the better.
The Earth is a limited sphere with a superficial crust relative to its
total size. On average the crust is 20 miles thick vs. the planet's
7,900 mile diameter. Under the oceans, where the most desperate oil
drilling occurs, the crust is as thin as 3 miles. Oil and other fossil
fuels exist only within that crust, and were depleted past the halfway
"peak" in America around 1970. Once peak production is passed,
extraction costs rise. There is no getting around it. The issue is
WHEN, not if, a peak will occur.
The current high price of oil is likely signaling a peak in global
supplies, which means life is going to get more difficult and no
amount of whining will create easy oil out of nothing. Most of the oil
we use was formed in two periods 90 and 150 million years ago, and the
existence of "abiotic" oil has never been proved. Cheap oil created
the illusion of resource plenitude by making people misunderstand the
difference between capital and income (finite vs. renewable energy).
The huge scale of modern life was mostly built on finite oil, with no
assurance that other sources can replace it.
After the global peak, nature will set the price of oil, and it's
probably happening now. That price includes tar sands (bitumen) and
oil shale, which require much higher energy inputs to extract usable
liquid. In the case of shale, they still haven't found a way to break
even, and most of it won't yield pure gasoline, just diesel, kerosene,
etc.. Tearing up vast areas of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming is not a
sane solution. The economy is sick if it must be a constant land-
Thanks to mindless population growth of 75 million annually
(worldwide), oil consumption will keep increasing unless radical
conservation measures are taken. World oil consumption is about 87
million barrels per day (an 11,200 acre-foot lake) and will easily top
100 million barrels/day as we blindly attempt to support 9 or 10
billion people by mid-century. Replacement-level birth control is the
best technological solution to resource shortages, but people get
offended at that notion. They can't think beyond their own wants.
Keep all of this in mind as you invent conspiracy theories and whine
about your "right" to cheap, easy fuel for ego-trucks and powerboats
while your truck/SUV hauls air most of the year, or carries passengers
who could live with something smaller or not hoard so much junk in the
first place. People themselves are getting fatter in an ironic
symbiosis with economic growthism. Conservation is still a joke among
most Americans. They only do it when prices force them to.
The ignorant, tattooed masses, listening to Rush Limbaugh while trying
to one-up their neighbors' horsepower, are blind to what's really
going on with oil. They are obsessed with money this, money that, but
they should be studying geology and biology. Many take pride in NOT
knowing the fundamentals of life beyond their immediate needs. "Stop
with that intelekshual stuff and pass me a beer!"
Nature doesn't owe anyone a living, and there is no birthright to V-8
engines and easy wages in the transport industry. No amount of
sneering at environmental laws will change that fact. More drilling in
Alaska won't make us "independent" from anything. It's all in the
math. The U.S. uses 21 million barrels of oil a day, which is a
billion barrels in under 50 days. That would deplete a best-case ANWR
scenario of 10 billion barrels in under 500 days, and U.S. consumption
keeps rising as the population grows by 3 million annually.
Some energy alternatives look good on paper but still can't touch the
massive scale of oil. Old fashioned conservatism and thrift is the
immediate answer to our energy problems, not a greed-based agenda that
assumes endless abundance. The old frontiers have already yielded most
of their bounty. Destroying more of nature is not the solution to
problems caused by gluttony and ignorance of limits.
Earth to human race: Drop some of your needs!