The solution to the greenhouse problem?
/ peak / climate /
As Mother Jones brings up the shady financing of "skeptical" environmentalist greenwashers, with regard to the climate change issue - the MoJo story discussed here, tabled here and presented in flash elegance here - I wonder whether the problems associated with burning fuel like we're running out of hydrocarbons, might take care of themselves (anyway, after the widespread havoc that global warming is about to bring) because, well, we are running out of hydrocarbons. In fact this last link from the Guardian quotes an unnamed american analyst, calling us to "kiss our lifestyle goodbye", because everything you have come to depend on via cheap oil (and that's a lot of stuff), is about to become vastly more expensive - unless alternative technologies are invented which are practical - and soon.
You know that some serious storm is brewing up ahead, when chairmen of energy investment groups casually remark that 100$ a barrel isn't too high a price for oil:
"The current tightness in global oil markets is likely to be a permanent feature as the world nears peak output," said Matthew Simmons, chairman of energy investment group Simmons & Company International.
"Prices are going to go way higher -- $100 isn't very expensive," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Peak Oil UK conference in Edinburgh.
The theory of peak oil -- that describes when global production will peak followed by a decline -- attracted an unlikely alliance of oil geologists, greens, nuclear power advocates and bankers to the conference in Scotland, where North Sea oil production has already peaked
Note that what is considered by many to have been the most widely read public case for the "peak oil" eventuality, namely Colin J. Campbell's and Jean H. Laherrère's, The End of Cheap Oil [pdf, html version here], published in Scientific American back in 1998, suggests that the year oil production peaks is 2005. Others differ on this though, claiming that we don't yet know if there is going to be such a peak in the near future (or 2014 - depending). The difference is that, if it's happenning already, there's very little we can do anymore to prevent some sort of catastrophic effect in the near future. If it's to happen in 25 years there's plenty that can and should be done (assuming that someone is seriously looking already into the various alternatives). There seems to be more of an argument of "when" nowdays, rather than one of "whether". Although there are people writing in the WSJ who would argue otherwise... Of even greater note however in this WSJ editorial is the endorsement of Chinese "good governance" by the neo-maoists at the WSJ editorial page: "...Demand for oil grows daily in China and India, where good government is finally taking root..."
(I also note in passing that -as in the climate change "debate"- it seems to be economists and not geologists or engineers that have trouble coming to terms with the concept of "natural limits" of one sort or another... I'm starting to wonder whether economists as a profession are aware that infinities do not exist in nature - I suspect that were economists doing QFT they would see no need for renormalization [obscure physics joke - ignore]).
Anyway, there seems to be compelling, yet indirect evidence that the oil companies are aware of the problem and taking steps to protect themselves.
More on Peak oil: ASPO and Hubbert's Peak. See also "Plan War and the Hubbert Oil Curve"