John Galt over at Three Sources had a good post on peak oil
. I tried leaving a comment but couldn't, and in any case I wanted to reproduce it here for my readers:
An Iranian talking about Peak Oil? I'd sooner believe Ted Kennedy talking about how alcohol makes one a better swimmer. Hmm, wonder why Iranians would be talking about this. Could it be because we're finding new deposits all the time, depressing prices and thus rendering Madman Mahmoud's "oil as a weapon" as effective as spitballs?
I call the Peak Oil doomsayers, the ones who genuinely believe we're running out as opposed to those trying to create a false panic to drive up market prices, "Malthus' philosophical descendants." I look to much earlier than the 1970s, John, for the first instances of "population explosion" Chicken Littles: we're all living proof that Malthus' 1798 prediction of mass starvation was pretty boneheaded. Similarly, the oil doomsayers are being proved wrong as we speak.
Last year I wrote about John Tierney's bet with oil doomsayer Matthew Simmons. The latter thinks we'll have such a scarcity that by 2010 the price per barrel will be over $200 (in 2005 chained dollars). In hindsight, I think they shouldn't have bet an absolute number of dollars ($5000), because what if the price is $199? It would have been better to negotiate some sort of option, where Tierney can make his own prediction of oil's future price. That way the winner's profit would increase with how correct he was.
Let's say Tierney thinks oil will average $60 per barrel for 2010, so they contract that Simmons will buy 100 barrels from Tierney at $130 each (the midpoint). If oil averages $60 per barrel, then Tierney will profit $70 per (less broker fees). If oil averages $200 per barrel, then Simmons will profit $70 (again less broker fees). And the more the winner is correct, the more he'll profit.
Anyway, in that entry, I noted Don Luskin pointing out how our *proven* oil reserves are constantly increasing. As you guys noted last month, U.S. reserves are now up by an estimated 50%, 15 billion barrels. That's on top of the Chinese buying PetroKazakhstan (owned by Canada -- will the wonders of globalization never cease?) so they can explore tar sands in Alberta, and OPEC nations developing their own reserves. The latter for years have *already* been pumping (pun intended) profits back into exploration and development.
Strictly speaking, I won't say "we" should be going nuclear. There are lots of us who are content with fossil fuels for specific reasons, although I think nuclear reactors are great for household electricity. All I ask is that you don't have to subsidize my choices, that I don't have to subsidize yours, and that you don't force me to trade in my gas-powered car before I'm ready. The new nuclear pellets are very promising indeed, but the Department of Energy subsidized the project, while Congress still has environmental regulations that keep nuclear power too expensive, or entirely restricted in a lot of jurisdictions. Sigh.
Indian Point, which is pretty antiquated, and I are on opposite sides of Westchester County. There are two radii for determining evacuation, depending on the severity of any problems. I'm inside the second, I think, but I don't worry about it. The biggest problems are the perpetual ones keeping the damned warning sirens working. The occasional reactor problem is far less dangerous to me than the idiot drivers along I-684 and Route 22.
The environmentalist nutjobs are always trying to shut down the reactor. They know they can't, but their lawsuits make IP much more expensive to operate. Thus its electrical output is much more expensive than it should be, in addition to all the environmental restrictions. Some putz years ago tried telling me that nuclear energy is the most expensive kind, and I had to educate him on why.