Oil, next to water, is our most precious natural resource. It is the life blood that powers our world. Without oil, we could never have achieved half of what we as humans know we are capable of. This being said, it is fundamentally imperative to understand oil for what it is, a finite natural resource. There will come a day when we wake up and all the oil will have simply vanished. There is a title for this doomsday scenario; peak-oil.
Peak-oil is defined as the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. Simply put, it means that as the demand for petroleum increase with population overtime, oil deposits will eventually drop off, causing the demand to sky rocket. A shortage such as this could cause widespread panic throughout the United States, possibly leading to massive food shortages in urbanized areas.
Personally, this isn’t quite the America I had imagined growing old in. I had hoped I might walk down a road amidst my amber years and have it not look just like Mel Gibson’s “The Road Warrior.” Unfortunately, some would rather have us leave it to chance then look to a solution. Michael Lynch, in an opinion piece for the New York Times, is one of these people.
In his article “Drilling for an Oil Crisis,” Lynch bashes defenders of the peak-oil theory over their response regarding a recent Wiki Leaks release. The story regarded a Saudi oil executive who had disclosed to an American diplomat that official estimates of Saudi oil reserves had been grossly exaggerated. While I admit that Lynch makes valid points regarding the credibility of the claims, he also wastes no effort in gleefully disregarding any possibility of peak-oil from ever occurring.
The opinion of Mr. Lynch is like that of a lazy squirrel. He would rather us sweep all this messy business under the rug than look towards reasonable solutions. He cites an eight billion dollar budget proposed by the Obama administration as going towards “…all sorts of unproven, unrealistic and inefficient energy technologies like wind farms and electric cars.”
I for one believe that research into these new technologies is essentially what needs to be done. Only through the development of our infrastructure and alternative energies can we hope to stand independently in a growing global economy. To remain dependent on petroleum is to condemn us to death, this much is fact.