Tuesday, August 23, 2005


As oil continues to trade in the mid-sixties, peak-oilers are having a field day, salivating at the prospect of "the world running out of oil" and gushing all kinds of doomy and gloomy predictions about "the global economy collapsing," SUVs becoming extinct, and the sky generally falling.

But they are in for a crude awakening, should they make a discovery of an inflation-adjusted chart that shows how oil has climbed to much higher peaks before:

and Pierre Lemieux's accompanying article, where we learn that
The relative price of oil (in terms of other goods) has fallen by perhaps as much as two-thirds between the 1860s and today. During the same period, the price of oil in terms of salaries has decreased by more than 90%

and that
the history of the oil industry is replete with exaggerated demand forecasts, pessimistic supply limitations and sky-high prices. The median forecast of experts polled by the International Energy Workshop in January 1986 was for crude oil prices of $240 by 2005 (in today’s dollars). Four years earlier, the median forecast for 2000 was $400.

Of course, these environmentally concerned ladies and gentlemen have many subtle and refined methods for producing a sustainable growth in gas prices. "Make your choice: it's your car, or your caribou!" Thomas Sowell writes:
Today production is being held back, not by price controls, but by political hysteria whenever anyone suggests actually producing more oil ourselves. Organized nature cults go ballistic at the thought that we might drill for oil in some remote part of Alaska that 99 percent of Americans will never see, including 99 percent of the nature cultists.

People used to ask whether there is any sound if a tree falls in an empty forest. Today, there are deafening political sounds over oil-drilling in an empty wilderness.

Having taken care of American oil production, our peakmongering friends have their answer to imports as well, in the form of Islamic and Communist dictatorships protected by demands of "no blood!" Dr. Sowell comments,
Many of the same people who cry "No blood for oil!" also want higher gas mileage standards for cars. But higher mileage standards have meant lighter and more flimsy cars, leading to more injuries and deaths in accidents -- in other words, trading blood for oil.

So what can we do? Dr. Sowell thinks:
Apparently the only things we can do are the things in vogue among nature cultists and the politicians that cater to them, such as windmills[...]

But that is yesteryear's fashion, blown away by the wind the moment somebody actually wanted to build a windmill. See The Wall Street Journal:
First, critics declared the spinning turbines a menace to avian culture since they might chop up migrating birds. They also saw a threat to the habitat of dolphins and seals, since the windmills would rattle the seabed [...] On its Web site, one antiwindmill group listed among the side effects of renewable power the potential for dreaded "turbine glint."

So there you have it, the Left's own Axis of Evil is complete: urban sprawl, turban shots, and turbine glint!