Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've got some good news and, uh...

It turns out we all may have been worrying about anthropogenic climate change (global warming) unnecessarily. Following recent questions about how big US coal reserves really are, one analyst says we don't have to sweat carbon emissions - we're going to run out of fossil fuels way sooner than we thought.
This fits with my intuition: We face such a huge looming problem with fossil fuels exhaustion that we should be thinking about moving away from fossil fuels due to rising costs and lowered production rather than because we might melt the polar ice caps. We need to embrace solar, nuclear, and wind because we just do not have as much fossil fuels left as the climate doomsters think we do.

If the Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, and Peak Coal folks are correct then why do the IPCC types spend so much time talking about climate catastrophe? My guess: Human-caused climate disaster makes for a far more dramatic moral story of human sin. Talk of using up all the coal and oil doesn't satisfy the need to see human action in such sinful terms. If we run out of oil then we suffer from the exhaustion of the oil but nature doesn't suffer as much as we do. We sin, but against ourselves. By contrast, if we heat up the planet the argument can be made for humans as massive sinners against nature. [More]
Oookay, there is room for all kinds of ideas, but we have been continually disappointed by the failure of an Energy Judgment Day to dawn. I changed my major in college from petroleum engineering to chemical engineering because a professor assured me we would be out of oil long before now.

I think energy markets will advise us clearly about how fast we are running out of fossil fuels. And I don't see any real panic buying there yet.

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