14 September 2006

Oil Consumption: Stay the course!

Ever the red fish in a blue pond, the Boston Herald had some good news for any neocon or arch-capitalist who'd perhaps been feeling twinges of guilt vis-a-vis the quickly-dwindling world oil supply:

The world has tapped only 18 percent of the total global supply of crude, a leading Saudi oil executive said Wednesday, challenging the notion that supplies are petering out.

Abdallah S. Jum’ah, president and CEO of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known better as Aramco, said the world has the potential of 4.5 trillion barrels in reserves - enough to power the globe at current levels of consumption for another 140 years.

Break out the party hats and noisemakers, y'all! We's gots enough A-rab SUV juice to last us and our kids a lifetime! Our kids' kids, well, let's just pray to White Jesus that they're not too busy playing XBox to perfect nuclear fusion.

I don't know about you, but I feel more confident having read this. A Saudi oil executive -- what motive would he have to reassure us about the world reserves of crude? -- says our dear planet Earth has the potential to keep us going at current consumption levels for 140 years.

Maybe it's just naivete on my part, but I was shocked that this article was featured in the See, I Told You So section of Mount Rushmo's corner of the interweb. Is he just that stupid?

Short answer: Yes.

RUSH: Of course, all of this has to do with the market rather than regulations from government forcing any kind of change. I also think that, as always, nature -- which, to me, is (whispering) God. ... Nature is (whispering) God, and I always think it's better left alone not regulated by a bunch of no-nothing human beings who think they can do it better than (whispering) God.

Rush, of course, believes in the same Judeo-Christian (whispering) God that once drowned the entire world only to say, essentially, "Whoops! My bad!" once it was all over.

For those who can't be bothered to think any harder than it takes to read the pablum Rush serves up, here's the deal: In order to maintain our current consumption levels, we would need to achieve zero population growth worldwide, and hold off on building any new cars or factories.

Later on in the same article, however, we are clued into the much more likely scenario:

If global consumption rises about 2 percent a year from today’s levels of about 85 million barrels a day, [experts] say, the low end of that range would only be enough to last until roughly 2070.

In short, even giving Rush and this oil sheik the benefit of the doubt, they're still off by 75 years.

A frequent conservative criticism of liberalism has always been that it has no view to the long-term. Honestly, what's more short-sighted than the assertion, that because we've got enough oil to last a few more years, we should use it all?


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