I'll quote part of it:
imports supply nearly two-thirds of our daily needs, according to the United States Energy Information Administration. Most of this oil comes from countries that are either unstable (Nigeria) or whose leaders or people dislike us (Venezuela, Saudi Arabia).... If there were another oil embargo, we would be in real trouble. If Mexico fell into chaos, if Venezuela stopped sending us oil, there would be extreme hardship.He suggests we provide incentives to the oil companies. Most of us may not agree that oil companies need "incentives" other than profit. Profits are incentives. They need not be windfall profits to be effective incentives. Still, the profit margins of the oil companies are not relevant to the amount of, and finite nature of, the supply of the oil they sell. They don't make it, they just go and get it. When it runs out they can't make any more - and it will run out regardless of what they charge us for it.
Beyond that, what if we are close to peak oil — that point at which we have pumped out more than half the oil on the planet? What if supply slips and demand continues to skyrocket, as they are already doing, and these trends continue indefinitely? What if the world has a bitter fight over its remaining oil? Even if this battle is fought with money and not guns, we are at a disadvantage with our pitiful currency and our budget and trade deficits.
In my humble view, we are now in a short-term oil bubble. It will pass and correct, as bubbles do. And speculators will make millions, whichever way it goes. But the long run is terrifying. If we are at or past peak oil, if oil states stop or even hesitate to send us the juice, if Canada decides not to fill our needs, we are in overwhelming trouble....
He doesn't view global warming as a crisis on a par with running out of gasoline, but whether we go green or risk disaster from global warming we will still stop using fossil fuels. That is the nature of a finite supply - it will not remain abundant.
I agree with Mr. Stein that we are in a temporary oil bubble - there has not been a slow-down in production world-wide, all trade routes are open, and while demand continues to rapidly rise as China and India industrialize, it isn't rising faster than predicted. There is a record price in oil but no record shortage to go along with it. But the price of oil today, high or low, is not the point.
Mankind - and this may include our great-grandchildren in the near future - is going to stop using fossil fuels like it or not. I don't know if the needle on the gauge of the world's gas tank is closer to F, at the half-tank mark, or closer to E. That low-fuel light might be blinking, I don't know. We could argue about how much is left in the tank all day long. What should concern us is there are no filling stations with more gas for us ahead. Not "no gas next 100 miles." No gas for forever.
The Oil Age will end. The solution, hopefully, is to develop alternative energy. Mr Stein cites Glenn Beck, warning "we need a new moon-shot mentality here."
Sort of. I think we need to treat it as a national crisis to a larger degree. We need to plan for what to do in case of emergency, and we need a long-term plan to ensure our standards of living do not fall. We need to think in terms of the Cold War, yes, but not just the moon-shot - this effort will need to be much greater than that. The moon shot was only part of the Cold War. Think of the entire effort. We face our own tsunami, typhoon, hurricane, earthquake, whatever you want to call it - and this is not dismissive of the tragedy of events like the current tragedies in Burma and China. A worldwide and persistent fuel crisis has the potential to cost more lives, to reduce standards of living even lower, than any earthquake or flood or storm. Unlike a storm or earthquake, though, this threat might be and should be preventable.
And if not, then we prepare for it and carry on as a republic and a civil society - but we must face this crisis with more courage and more wisdom than we have used so far.