Peak Oil News: A Propensity For Human Ingenuity

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Propensity For Human Ingenuity

We use oil because it is cheap, and it is a highly abundant source when we developed engines, power plants and many other devices that would run on it. But let's imagine for a moment that there had been no such commodity as crude oil. Would that have meant we'd now be sitting in the dark without having progressed much technologically over the past century?

I don't think so. Human ingenuity is more creative than that. We'd have found another energy source. It might not have been quite so cheap. It might not have been so readily available. It might have other environmental costs, but we'd be progressing along another level of development. It might even be a cleaner one in some respects.

As oil supply diminishes, as it no doubt will eventually - although perhaps not quite so quickly as the alarmists might have us believe - alternatives will be found. If all oil imports were cut off tomorrow by war, collusion among producing countries, worldwide rebellions, or hurricanes whatever, we'd survive because we'd have much greater incentive to develop those alternative energy sources.

The reason these alternatives have not already flourished is to a great extent because of the much cheaper availability of oil.

Gradual depletion of the world's oil reserves is nothing to fear, and it is by no means a transition that will have to take place overnight.

It doesn't have to be viewed as a negative thing, or cause for alarm.

It might even be good for us.


At 5:24 PM, November 23, 2004, Blogger Gary Malcolm said...

Good for us? Now that's a hoot.


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