Monday, May 5, 2008

Rush on Oil

Chart from EIA Data

A few props to Rush Limbaugh before the mockery begins. His radio show helped get me fired up about, and engaged in, politics back in the 1990's. I actually believed that when the Repubs gained control of the organs of governance, that they would live up to the ideals of balanced budgets, small government, pulling back from being the World Cop, etc. Plus, how could I not have a soft spot in the heart for a boy from Southeast Missouri who made good?

The problem is, his act has grown stale as he has shifted from vigorous outsider and gadfly-to-the-powers-that-be to whiny lackey and lickspittle-to-the-powers-that-be.

Fool me once, shame on you. I won't get fooled again.

And now, Herr Limbaugh has decided to talk about Peak Oil (hat tip to Fabius Maximus for bringing his quotes to my attention):

The Four Horsemen of the Energy Apocalypse Caused This Oil Mess
Rush Limbaugh
...You have China and India growing rapidly, folks. The supply has to grow in proportion or these prices are going to keep rising. The only people getting what they want out of this are the environmentalist wackos. They are the only people happy about this. Have you seen these stories, these scaremongering, fear-oriented stories? Some people predicting $200 a barrel per oil. Somebody out there saying $10 a gallon gasoline. Now, let's not get carried away here and pile on the panic, but for heaven's sake, can we look at the real world? Not at the windmill wackos and how they would like us to see the real world. Let me give you some reality, and this is from Bloomberg: "Brazil may be pumping 'several million' barrels of crude daily by 2020, vaulting the nation into the ranks of the world's seven biggest producers." Several million barrels of crude daily by 2020. They're talking about pumping oil 12 years from now, folks. How can that be if we're running out? That stupid question that Bush got about we're reaching our peak, asinine. Absolute BS, undiluted, pure stinky BS...

Rush is funny. Not one of the Four Horsemen he talks about is named "geology."

Herr Limbaugh talks about oil as if he's never heard of the concept of "depletion rate" or has ignored the fact that Cantarell is doing just what Texas did after her Peak - declining and declining at a prodigious rate.

(Easy exercise for you FutureJacked readers who have not already done this - go to this link at the Energy Information Administration, click on the "Download Series History" tab next to the MS Excel icon, then choose the tab "Data 1", then select columns A and B from 1920 to the most recent montly data point and graph it as a scatterplot - that is Peak Oil. Real simple. Too simple for Rush.)

This is going to be bad, bad, bad, folks. Like we talked about in Catastrophic Abundance, the transition crisis we face is going to be made far worse than it needs to be due to the cognitive dissonance faced by the population of wealthy western countries. The vast majority of men and women in Europe and North America have their mental "software" coded in such a way as to view as "normal" this amazing period of cheap and ridiculously abundant energy - a period of history that is now ending.

Imagine the conspiracy theories and ugly populist politicians that are going to flourish in an environment where people can't view as "normal" the hard choices and changes we are going to have to endure in the coming decade. The new normal is going to be so far outside the processing ability of their mental software that I am not sure how they are going to react. I just know that angry herds of men can do great damage when they feel "stabbed in the back..."

P.S. Just as an aside, the techno-optmist inside me is rooting for a solution to the "oil problem" and I have no doubts that alternatives will be found to petroleum - and probably alternatives that are far more sustainable and friendly to the earth - it's just that I am not convinced they can be put in place in any sort of time frame that is not two decades out, at least.


Fabius Maximus said...

Nicely said! I have added a link to this on the original post.

Flagg707 said...

I do appreciate it. Keep up the great work.