[extropy-chat] Debate on Peak Oil

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Mon Apr 25 06:52:18 UTC 2005

> ...while the US has an
> equivalent amount sitting under ANWR, plus additional reserves
> elsewhere.

Among other not well known facts about the US oil reserves:  the proven reserves in 
California are as large as the proven reserves in Alaska.  The difference is that the California 
reserves are nigh untouchable due to environmental activism in that State, even more so than 

The US is not particularly short of of petroleum reserves.  It is short of politically exploitable 
petroleum and natural gas reserves.  If the US exploited petroleum and natural gas reserves 
in North America to the exclusion of imports outside of North America mixed with some sane 
policy, the US could survive nicely for several decades.

There is a similar situation with heavy metals production.  The US is blessed with rich 
deposits of heavy and precious metals, one of the few industrial materials that the US 
produces in excess of domestic consumption.  Yet environmental politics has been actively 
encouraging the exploitation of similar deposits in South America instead of domestic ore 

The importation of many of these mining products is a political outcome, and largely the 
result of environmental activism.  Which is not to say that clean environment doesn't matter, 
but that all the activism has accomplished is 1.) exporting these issues with far worse 
manifestations, and 2.) creating messy geopolitical scenarios that are not really necessary.  
There is a complex dance of many different interests, a number of which do not give a damn 
about Peak Oil, true environmental cleanliness, or even energy efficiency.  

The underlying problem is that few of the players *really* care about sane energy generation.  
Most of them are using resource generation as a chip in an ideological game, as though the 
ideology was more important than basic resource management sanity.  Most of the rest of 
the world doesn't give a damn about their ideological games and just wants something that 
works reasonably well.  Most people just want reasonable access to resources at a reasonable 
price that vaguely reflects real scarcity absent political interference and gross externalities. 

But apparently the human race is not mature enough for that discussion.

j. andrew rogers

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