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Drum on Peak Oil

We mentioned Washington Monthly blogger Kevin Drum's series on peak oil last week; part 4 and part 5, along with a concluding observation, have now been posted.

Grist's Dave Roberts is exactly right: Drum's policy observations are by far the most disappointing aspect of the series. Not only does Drum act as if all solutions are equally reasonable (and assume that solutions beyond improving car efficiency and drilling more -- such as changing the way we structure our communities -- are politically impossible), he pointedly ignores the bigger context of the "peak oil" scenario: greenhouse gases and climate disruption.

That said, the Washington Monthly articles are worth reading if only for the straightforward and blessedly hyperbole-free analysis of what peak oil is, why it's a concern now, and how soon it could hit.

Comments (1)


I don't want to speak for Kevin, but I think that he was probably just choosing his battles in the series. Unfortunately, as noted by the NY Times earlier this week, the art of persuasion is largely dead and a lot of people already have their mind made up w/regard to environmental issues and the people that support them.

Peak Oil is still a relatively new discussion. If Kevin can inform people on the issue without letting their automatic classification system take hold (Oh it's an environmental issue...I've already made up my mind about environmental issues), then I think he has done a great service to the community.

I agree though that so many other solutions are already out there and they just need to be implemented. However, like with most things, we're probably going to have to have to do this gradually. Step 1 (w/regard to oil) is to make more fuel efficient cars. It already has momentum, so I think focusing on it first just makes sense. It would be nice to have declining consumption at the same time, but I don't think it will work out that way in the near term with China & India ramping up their consumption in forthcoming years. Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later), these complimentary strategies will follow.


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