Thursday, April 21, 2005

Trying to be optimistic about an imminent oil peak

It seems that it is the job of America's politicians to be optimistic about everything. For a congressman convinced that world peak oil production is here or very near, Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) seems remarkably upbeat considering what the likely consequences are if he's right. Bartlett says that we can do much to conserve and still have nearly everything we want and need. To bridge the gap we must then set out to build an alternative energy economy. But, if he truly understands the significance of an imminent peak, then what he's acutally trying to do is to keep our spirits up so that we will at least focus on possible constructive things to do in the wake of that peak.

Regardless of what Bartlett understands about peak oil and its effects, I must give him great credit for saying something on the floor of the U. S. House that is likely to win him few friends. To admit that we face an imminent peak is implicitly to admit that we all face hardship and will have to live on less, perhaps a lot less. No one in America gets elected on such a message. The last person to try it was Jimmy Carter.

But, perhaps Roscoe Bartlett cares more about the future of the country and the world than he does about his current job. In that way he reminds me of a fictional politician on TV who goes by the same last name.

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