I appreciated an article by Paul Roberts, author of The End of Oil in 2004, which appeared in the June 2008 issue of National Geographic. But I enjoyed the resulting letters to the editor even more. The six letters published in the magazine’s print version covered a wide range of beliefs, and I print two in their entirety because they represent the end points as I’ve come to see them.
First, from John P. Hammett in Midland, Texas: “We should immediately allow unlimited drilling on all federal land not in a national park or monument and all offshore areas, including the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic. The law of supply and demand is still working. We can work our way out of the mess by increasing our supply. We cannot conserve our way to a surplus; we can only lower our standard of living, our health, and our security by using less.”
My comment: WTF? We lower our security by using less oil? I’d bet this guy’s a McCain supporter. Here’s what renowned energy expert Matt Simmons says about McCain: “John McCain is energy illiterate.” “He’s just witless about this stuff. As a lifelong Republican, I’m supporting Obama.” A dozen oil and gas men sitting around a conference table in Lafayette, La., chuckle nervously as he continues. “McCain says, ‘Oh, we’re going to wean ourselves off foreign oil in four years and build 45 nuclear plants by 2030.’ He doesn’t have a clue.”
Drill, baby, drill.
Back to National Geographic with an excellent letter from Jason DeVries from Lindstrom, Minnesota: “Some familiarity is found when comparing oil and toothpaste. I need toothpaste daily. The tube in my cupboard once held a large amount, easily obtained. I squeezed and watched with pleasure as the paste poured out. Lately, however, it has been more difficult. I know it is there, but it’s harder to find and is discovered only with significant effort. Recognition of my depleting reserved occurred some time ago, but my concern has been buffered, for each day the paste ultimately arrives. Even now, when the tube is flat and worn, I know that extreme pressure near the nozzle will produce ‘white gold.’ Sadly, such effort produces false hope, for experience reminds me that one day even that will stop. My supply will run dry.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you’re interested in a crash course in economics — the real version, albeit based on neoclassical theory — check out the crash course posted by Chris Martenson. It’s worth the three hours, in 3- to 18-minute doses.
And while we’re on the subject of economics, here’s some absolutely huge news from across the pond: France is hosting a summit within the next few days. The goal: eliminate hegemony of the U.S. dollar. Hello, Greatest Depression.