The "Big Thirst"- for Oil


From a great graphic by Bill Marsh of the New York Times

The New York Times writes about the factors causing the rise in the price of oil, which hit $ 116 per barrel this week. Jad Mouawad hits all the usual suspects, such as the weak dollar, worries about terrorism (?) and demand, saying "Producers are struggling to pump as much as they can to quench the thirst not only of the developed world, but fast-growing developing nations like China and India, the two most populous countries." However he then goes on to say "The number of cars and trucks is projected to double in 30 years— to more than two billion — as developing nations rapidly modernize. And twice as many passenger jetliners, more than 36,000, will in all likelihood be crisscrossing the skies in 20 years."

And how much fuel is there to power all this? "A small band of skeptics view today's record prices as evidence that oil supplies have peaked — that half the globe's oil supply has already been used up. But most experts believe that there are still enough oil reserves, both discovered and undiscovered, to last at least through the middle of the century."


At which point I began to wonder what planet is this guy writing about. On this planet, the consensus is that we have to dial back our fossil fuel use dramatically and cannot possibly survive twice as many cars and planes. On this planet, more than a "small band of skeptics" thinks that we are running out of affordable oil long before the middle of the century, and the same band of skeptics understands a bit of economics- as things become scarce, the price goes up, way up.

The article is a confusing mish-mash that does not even mention climate change as a factor. In one paragraph it quotes "experts" saying ""We're in a bubble right now, Prices are rising because everyone expects them to do so. We've seen the same thing in the real estate market." and then concludes with "The situation is dire. We need to do relative sacrifices. But people don't realize how dire the situation is."

Far less confusing are the terrific graphics, including one on burning through oil and another on conserving oil. In this particular instance, two pictures are worth far more than a thousand words. ::New York Times

Related Content on