Peak Oil is You

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Page added on April 29, 2009

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Time to face the energy reality

Imagine a world in which oil production is declining, and prices are rising with no end in sight. Sooner or later, that world will be a reality. Peak oil is the point at which 50 percent of the world’s oil – the easiest 50 percent to get to – has been extracted. From that point onward, production will decline while prices rise. Almost no one disputes that peak oil is coming (if we haven’t reached it yet). The only questions are how soon it will hit, and how painful it will be for society.

President Obama has made it clear that America’s rate of oil usage (25 percent of the world’s usage for having 3 percent of the world’s population) has to come down. In doing so, Obama has become the first president to take energy seriously in 30 years. Whatever his other problems, Jimmy Carter at least understood the importance of the issue more than his successors. This isn’t a partisan critique: Bill Clinton was just as guilty of doing nothing about our looming energy crisis as Ronald Reagan or the two Bushes.

Conservatives need to face the reality that “drill, baby, drill” is a sexual innuendo, not a serious energy policy. Drilling off the coast of the U.S. won’t prolong our current way of life for more than a year or two. The fact is that the United States hit its peak of oil production back in the early 1970s, and every corner of the country has been explored. There will be no new major American oil discoveries.

Liberals need to face the reality that wind, solar and hydroelectric power alone won’t be enough to meet our energy demands, at least without a significant reduction in our standard of living. America needs to start building new nuclear power plants, and soon. Nuclear energy emits no greenhouse gases, and comes from a power source that will be around much longer than fossil fuels. Fortunately, President Obama was the only Democratic candidate in the 2008 primary to say he supported building new nuclear plants. Let’s hope he keeps his word.

Tiger Weekly

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